Lokedi breaks 30-year-old NCAA Championships meet record on the way to 10K national title
EUGENE, Ore. – In front of 9,702 yelling fans at Historic Hayward Stadium in Eugene, Oregon, Kansas senior Sharon Lokedi took down a 30-year-old NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships meet record in the 10,000-meter run to win her first national title and earn just the second individual outdoor crown in Kansas women’s track & field history.
Lokedi, a two-time First Team All-American in the 10,000 meters coming into Thursday, hung with the front pack the entire race, pacing in the 1:16-1:20 per lap range, until the final three laps when the pack made its move. Lokedi moved with the leaders, running a 1:14 pace for the third-to-last and penultimate lap before cruising to an astonishing 1:08 pace in the final trip around the track to finish with a time of 32:09.20.
?? NATIONAL CHAMPION!!! ??
— Kansas Track & Field (@KUTrack) June 8, 2018
“(Assistant) Coach (Michael Whittlesey) just said to stay with (the leaders) and have your own rhythm and sit with people,” Lokedi said after the race. “With a mile or two laps to go, if I felt good, he said to just go for it. I just felt good and I was like, ‘Why not? Let me just go and see where I’ll end up.’ It felt great.”
Lokedi’s time proved to break Sylvia Mosqueda of California State Los Angeles’ meet record of 32:28.57, set on June 1, 1988, by 19.37 seconds, and also broke her own school record by 11.99 seconds.
It took 30 years, but Sharon Lokedi had no problem shattering Sylvia Mosqueda’s 1988 10K record. pic.twitter.com/LVchlEjIY3
— NCAA Track & Field (@NCAATrackField) June 8, 2018
“It was just pure joy finishing,” Lokedi said. “I looked behind me and I was like, ‘I’m a champion.’ I was so happy. I didn’t expect that. It was honestly pure joy. I could not even believe it.”
Not only did Lokedi become just the second Kansas women’s individual outdoor national champion, joining KU great Lindsay Vollmer, who won the heptathlon in 2013, but she also became the first Jayhawk – male or female – to win the 10,000-meter crown. Additionally, the win came one day prior to the five-year anniversary of the 2013 Kansas women’s team winning the national title – the only women’s NCAA team championship in the history of Kansas Athletics.
With one crown in her bag, Lokedi will hit the track again this weekend, racing in the 5,000-meter run on Saturday, June 9. The race is scheduled for 5:25 p.m. PDT (7:25 p.m. CDT) and is scheduled to be televised on ESPN and online at WatchESPN.com.
Senior Courtney Coppinger, the school record holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, looked to be in prime form in her semifinal race, keeping the same mentality she has had all year. Hovering around sixth and seventh the majority of the race, the fifth-year senior picked it up in her final few laps to close the gap and earn an auto-qualifying spot, finishing fourth in her heat and 10th overall with a time of 9:57.09, which is the fifth-fastest clocking all-time at Kansas.
The steeplechase final is set for 3:54 p.m. PDT (5:54 p.m. CDT) on Saturday, June 9.
Kansas sophomore Andrea Willis finished tied for 18th in the women’s pole vault in her first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning All-America honorable mention status. She cleared the first bar of 4.00 meters (13-1.5 ft.) but was unable to make the second height of 4.15 meters (13-7.25 ft.).
Junior LaTyria Jefferson finished 24th in the long jump, her first of two events this weekend. Her best mark of 5.71 meters (18-8.75 ft.) earned her All-America honorable mention designation. She will compete in the high jump on Saturday, June 9 at 3 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. CDT).
The Kansas men will pick up the action at the NCAA Championships on Friday with Nicolai Ceban and George Evans in the discus at 5:05 p.m. PDT (7:05 p.m. CDT), Barden Adams in the triple jump at 5:40 p.m. PDT, and Bryce Hoppel running in the final of the 800 meters at 6:44 p.m. PDT.
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