Lokedi Leads the Way on Day 2 of NCAA West Prelim

Rock Chalk Park // Lawrence, Kan.

Severe weather again wreaked havoc on the NCAA West Preliminary Friday afternoon
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Sharon Lokedi kicked off the morning with a bang as she secured her spot at the NCAA Championships in two weeks by way of another stellar 10,000-meter outing Friday at the NCAA West Preliminary inside Rock Chalk Park.
With one day of competition remaining, seven Jayhawks and three relay squads still have the chance compete for their spot at the national championship meet to be held in Eugene, Oregon June 8-11.
Lokedi added yet another impressive accolade to her already stellar sophomore season as she earned a spot in her first NCAA Outdoor Championship via a qualifying performance in the 10,000 meters. The Eldoret, Kenya product entered the morning as the region’s fifth overall seed and played up to that billing as she turned in one of the fastest times of her career.
Lokedi stuck with the lead pack as the pace stayed steady over the early portions of the 6.2-mile race and remained among the top-five runners as the field began to spread by the midway point. The pace quickened over the next two miles, but while she fell back in the pack, Lokedi kept herself inside the all-important top-12.
The second-year Jayhawk closed her race strong and held off efforts from several runners to tally a 10th-place finish. She crossed the finish line in 34:38.31, the fifth-fastest 10,000-meter time ever posted by a Jayhawk.
She will run in the 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Championships on Thursday, June 9 at 9 p.m. (CT).
With the weather wreaking havoc outdoors, the pole vault competitions were moved to the Jayhawks’ indoor track facility, Anschutz Pavilion. Despite being in the familiar confines, the KU men’s vaulters had a disappointing day on the Anschutz runway. Two weeks removed from claiming the Big 12 pole vault title, junior Jake Albright was unable to notch a clearance while the Jayhawks’ other 18-footer, junior Nick Meyer, went out after two clearances.
Nick Maestretti nearly turned KU’s fortunes around, but came up just shy in his bid to a first-career trip to the NCAA Championships. The junior posted a top clearance of 5.28 meters (17’3¾”) but came up just shy, finishing one spot short from the top-12.
Though none of the Jayhawks’ six vaulters entered in Friday’s event were able to advance to Eugene, it appears that the group will remain a strong one next year as five of the six are set to return to vault in the Crimson and Blue.
Kansas pole vaulter Laura Taylor turned in an impressive final performance of her sophomore campaign after she tallied a personal best and came within one miss of reserving her place at the National Championships.
The Tualatin, Oregon product posted a top clearance of 4.12 meters (13’6¼”) to turn in a new personal best in the event. The mark was nearly enough to send her back home to Oregon for the NCAA meet, but with it taking two attempts to get over that mark she came up on the short end of a tie break which left her outside the top-12, finishing in a tie for 14th.
Taylor’s clearance still moved her to ninth on the Jayhawks’ all-time pole vault chart and she is just the fourth Jayhawk underclassman to clear 13’6″ or better.
Junior sprinter Zainab Sanni came painfully close to advancing to the nationals in the 100 meters. Competing in the third of six quarterfinal heats, Sanni posted her third-fastest 100-meter clocking of the season when she leaned across the finish in 11.53. The time, which earned her a third-place finish in her heat, was nearly quick enough to move her on to the NCAA Championships for the second-straight season; however, the mark was just .01 seconds short of punching Sanni’s ticket to Eugene. The Jayhawk finished 14th out of the 48 entered in the competition.
Though Sanni didn’t claim a spot among the 100-meter semifinalists heading to Eugene, she will possibly get three more chances to advance on Saturday. She is entered to compete in the 200 meters and could also run legs on the Jayhawks’ 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays.

  • Senior Daina Levy was unable to advance in the hammer throw after fouling on all three of her attempts. She entered the meet as the No. 2-ranked thrower in the nation.
  • With the discus postponed after two of three flights, Levy leads the event after she posted a season-best toss 53.00 meters (173’11”).

One more day of action is still to come from the NCAA West Preliminary. Seven Jayhawks are still slated to compete as well as a trio of Jayhawk relay squads. The first field events are set to go off at 9 a.m., with the women’s 4×100-meter relay to kick off the running events at 10 a.m. Watch the final day’s events live at KUAthletics.com/watch and follow @KUTrack on Twitter for updates.
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