Lokedi Runs into Record Book at Stanford Invitational
| Lokedi’s 10K run at the Stanford Invitational took down the school’s 37-year-old record.
PALO ALTO, Calif. – For the second time in 2016, sophomore Sharon Lokedi inserted her name into the school record book as she smashed the Kansas 10,000-meter record Friday night at the Stanford Invitational. Lokedi’s performance took down the longest-standing school record in program history, the 10K mark originally set by Karen Fitz in 1979.
In what has already been a stellar 2015-16 season for the Eldoret, Kenya native, Lokedi carried over the momentum from All-American cross country and indoor track seasons with a school-record performance in her outdoor season-opening performance at the Stanford Invitational.
Running in a field filled with several professionals as well as some of the top distance specialists in the collegiate ranks, Lokedi kept pace with the NCAA Championship field through the early portions of the race. She completed her first mile in 5:13 and, as the pace quickened with the front-runners, the Jayhawk settled into a steady and consistent pace that eventually produced the fastest 10K race in program history. Each of Lokedi’s final 12 laps took less than 81 seconds, which included a 76-second final lap that helped secure her school record. She completed the 6.2-mile race in a new personal best of 33:10.06 to finish 14th overall and shatter the 37-year-old school record by 1:17.
Lokedi’s time also moved her up near the top of the early season NCAA 10K rankings. As of Friday night she sat inside the top-10 and is already in prime position to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary, which will be hosted in Lawrence May 26-28.
Lokedi now holds the school record in the indoor 5,000 meters in addition to the 10,000 meters and is also the No. 2 Jayhawk in the indoor 3,000 meters. Each of those performances have come within the last four months.
Nearly 60 minutes after Lokedi’s record run, senior Evan Landes toed the start line in the men’s 10,000 meters. Like Lokedi, Landes had a career-outing coming away from Cobb track with a personal best and one of the fastest 10K clockings in school history. Landes claimed fourth overall with his time of 28:58.43, a time that was just seven seconds shy of the men’s school record.
Landes is now just the second Jayhawk to finish a 10K race in under 29 minutes and the first since school record-holder Craig Watcke did so at the 1989 Kansas Relays.
Earlier in the day, several Jayhawks were in action 30 miles north of Palo Alto at the San Francisco State Distance Festival. Senior Kelli McKenna turned in a career outing in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. The Madison, Wisconsin native traversed the water jumps and barriers in a new personal-best clocking of 10:23.28. McKenna’s time made her the second-fastest Jayhawk in the event all-time, with two-time first team All-American Rebeka Stowe the only other Kansas Steeplechaser to post a faster time.
As of Thursday night, McKenna sits among the top-20 in the early-season NCAA Steeplechase rankings as well as No. 1 in the Big 12.
McKenna’s junior teammate Courtney Coppinger wasn’t far behind after she crossed the finish in 10:31.72, also a personal best. The time was good enough to earn Coppinger a ninth-place finish.
On the men’s side, sophomore Chris Melgares kicked off the day on a high note with an impressive 10,000-meter run. Melgares went under the 30-minute barrier for the first time in his career, breaking the tape in 29:56.76, to claim sixth in the standings.
KU freshman Dylan Hodgson also enjoyed an impressive morning in San Francisco. In his first collegiate outing in the 3,000-meter Steeple chase, the Washington, Kansas native looked like a veteran finishing within the top-five of a stellar field. Hodgson clocked in with a time of 8:59.63, earning him a third-place finish.
Jayhawks will be busy once again Saturday as they will be in action at the Texas Relays as well as the Emporia State Relays. KU is slated to compete in both the men’s and women’s 4×800-meter relays in Austin, set to start at 10:40 a.m. Action from Emporia is set to begin at noon. Follow all the Kansas performances throughout Saturday by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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