| Lokedi is now the owner of five of the seven fastest 10,000-meter times in KU history.
STANFORD, Calif. –In her first collegiate track competition in nearly 10 months, Sharon Lokedi once again posted one of the program’s fastest 10,000-meter times as she kicked off her outdoor season Friday night at the Stanford Invitational. The performance highlighted an impressive day for the Kansas distance squad in northern California, which saw athletes compete in two meets in the Bay Area.
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-caliber field through the early portions of the race. She settled into a consistent pace over the final miles of the race that eventually produced another one of the fastest 10K races her career and in program history. She completed the 6.2-mile race in a time of 33:37.01 to finish 12th overall and come within 50 seconds of her school record posted at the national championship meet last June.
Lokedi now owns five of the school’s seven fastest 10,000-meter times, including the top three. Her 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 Austin, Texas May 25-27.
Earlier in the day, several Jayhawks were in action 30 miles north of Sanford at the San Francisco State Distance Festival. Senior Nashia Baker shaved nearly 50 seconds off her previous career best in the 5,000 meters to finish ninth. The Lansing, Kansas native completed the 3.1-mile race in a new personal-best clocking of 16:44.29. Baker’s time marked the fifth-fastest ever posted by a Jayhawk, with All-Americans Lauren Bonds, Julia Saul, Rebeka Stowe and school record holder Natalie Becker the only other Kansas runners to post a faster 5K time.
As of Friday night, Baker sits among the top-50 in the early-season West Regional rankings as well as in the top-10 of the Big 12 list.
On the men’s side, junior Chris Melgares kicked off the day on a high note with an impressive 10,000-meter run. The Manhattan, Kansas product went under the 30-minute barrier for the second-straight year at the meet in San Francisco, breaking the tape in 29:30.07 to claim sixth overall. The time was the eighth-fastest 10K in KU history and immediately inserted Melgares’ name among the all-important top-48 in the West Region standings.
Melgares’ younger brother, Michael, also enjoyed an impressive day inside Cox Stadium. The redshirt freshman added a 15th-place finish in the 5,000 meters after he crossed the finish line in a personal best time of 14:12.17.
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 11 a.m. Follow all the Kansas performances throughout Saturday by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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