KU Track Continues to Impress at Big 12 Championship

Big 12 Outdoor Championships
Lowdon Track Complex // Fort Worth, Texas

Sophomore Nicolai Ceban turned in a fifth-place finish in the shot put and led a strong KU scoring effort in the shot put.
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FORT WORTH, Texas –Another high-flying performance from a Kansas pole vaulter as well as a strong team effort in the men’s shot put led the Kansas track & field squads on day two of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship inside Lowdon Track & Field Complex Saturday. The Jayhawk men will head into the final day of competition in third place after amassing 45 points through the first seven events of the meet. The Kansas women moved to fifth in the team standings with 26 points after six events have been scored.
Sophomore Laura Taylor tallied her highest-career finish at a league meet Saturday with a stellar outing in the pole vault. The Tualatin, Oregon native began her day with a flawless series in her first three heights of the afternoon. The perfect start moved Taylor to the top of the leaderboard as the bar went up to 4.06 meters (13’3¾”). Again, Taylor needed only one attempt to soar over the bar, which marked her highest mark of the season.
Though Taylor was unable to notch another clearance, she still managed to collect her first top-five finish at an indoor or outdoor league meet and earn five more points to her team’s score.
Taylor’s performance also moved her inside the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings with the West Prelim meet looming in less than two weeks. The sophomore now sits 32nd in the region and has likely punched her ticket to the meet hosted in Lawrence, May 26-28.
The Kansas men saw a large scoring outing in the shot put with three Jayhawks finishing among the top-seven finishers. Sophomore Nicolai Ceban led the group with his fifth-place finish, turning in a final attempt mark of 17.96 meters (58’11¼”). Senior Paul Golen was next after he tallied a personal-best mark of 16.86 meters (55’3¾”) on his fourth trip into the ring. Junior Kenny Boyer rounded out the Jayhawk scoring effort with a personal-record heave of his own, notching a mark of 16.69 meters (54’9¼”) on his third attempt.
The KU trio combined for nine points, the second most by a school in the event.
Junior Dylan Poirier closed out a career outing in the decathlon Saturday afternoon with the help of career-bests in three of the five day two events. Poirier entered the day sitting in seventh overall with 3,455 points but managed to up his standing to as high as third during the final day of competition.
After posting the field’s fourth-best time in the 110-meter hurdles at 15.10, Poirier posted an eight foot personal best in the discus with his toss of 33.69 meters (110’6″). The junior then moved to his marquee event, the pole vault, where he turned in the competition’s second-best clearance at 4.80 meters (15’9″). That mark was good for 849 points and temporarily moved him to third in the overall decathlon standings.
Poirier added his third-career best mark of the day when he hit 40.17 meters (131’9″) in the javelin. He then closed out the day in the 1,500 meters where he clocked in with a time of 5:21.12 to cement his final standing of sixth in the decathlon scoring.
He ended the two-day competition with a career-best 6,568 points, a score topped by only eight other Jayhawks in program history.  
Junior Zainab Sanni had a busy but productive day in the semifinals of the 100 meters and 200 meters. The Aurora, Colorado product begin her evening with a season-best clocking in the 100-meter semifinals. Sanni broke the tape in a wind-legal 11.47 to finish second in her heat and fourth overall. The time, which earned her a spot in the event final for the second-straight season, moved Sanni into the top-30 of the latest NCAA West Regional rankings.
Two hours later she returned to the starting blocks for the 200 meter semifinals. There she earned the automatic qualifying spot after she took second in her heat by way of a career-best time of 23.33. That time gave her the fourth-overall qualifying spot into Saturday’s final, and puts her among the top-50 in the collegiate standings this season
Sanni will lace up the spikes for the 100-meter final at 6:25 p.m. Sunday and will follow in the 200-meter final at 7:30 p.m.

  • Junior Strymar Livingston advances to the 800-meter final after taking second in his preliminary heat in 1:50.20. Livingston will try to claim his first conference title in the event final set for Sunday at 6:55 p.m.
  • The Kansas women saw a pair of Jayhawks run to qualifying spots for the 400 meter final. Junior Adriana Newell claimed the sixth overall spot with her career-best time of 54.05, while freshman Nicole Montgomery was not far behind after she earned the seventh spot in 54.46. The KU duo will hit the starting blocks for the quarter-mile final at 6:05 p.m.
  • Sophomore Nick Giusti turned in a personal-best en route to a qualifying spot in the 400-meter hurdle final. Giusti took fourth in the semifinals with his time of 53.67. Junior teammate Alex Wilson also advanced to the event final, posting the sixth-fastest qualifying time at 54.12. The men’s 400-meter hurdle final is slated for 7:20 p.m. Sunday.

The final day of the 2016 Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships will kick off at 11 a.m., Sunday with the women’s discus. Action from the track will begin at 4:30 p.m., with the running of the 4×100-meter relays. Stay updated on all the Jayhawks’ performances via the meet central page at Big12Sports.com and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack. A complete recap, results and videos will be posted after the completion of the day’s events.
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