Meyer’s Vault Highlights Jayhawks’ Day in Manhattan
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Career-best performances from junior Nick Meyer and sophomore Tre Daniels produced two of six Kansas victories Saturday at the Ward Haylett Invitational. Meyer became the 10th Jayhawk in school history to break the 18-foot barrier in the pole vault while Daniels posted the first sub-47-second 400-meter race of his career.
Meyer, a native of Kingman, Kansas, entered the day already among the top vaulters in the nation, sitting at 13th in the latest NCAA rankings. By day’s end, he would vault his way up not only the national leaderboard, but the all-time Kansas charts as well. Competition got out to a slow start for the junior, who needed two attempts to clear the bar on each of his first two heights of the day at 5.15 and 5.25 meters. The next height of 5.35 meters was all Meyer would need to claim his third pole vault victory in as many weeks. It again took him two tries, but his second time was the charm, clearing the bar easily and notching yet another individual victory.
His day was not done there, however, as Meyer raised the bar to 5.50 meters in an attempt to tally a new career-best height and put his name among the best vaulters in Kansas history. On the first two attempts at the height, he came painfully close to a clearance, but narrowly clipped the bar each time, leaving himself only one more opportunity to surpass 18 feet. This this occasion, the third time was the charm as Meyer inched over the bar. The mark bettered his previous career high by nearly four inches and moved him to eighth on KU’s all-time outdoor pole vault list. In addition, Meyer became the 10th Jayhawk to top 18 feet. The performance also moved Meyer to sixth among Division I pole vaulters and first in the Big 12 with the conference meet looming in less than a week.
Daniels also tallied a career outing Saturday, with the fastest 400-meter race in his short time as a Jayhawk. Running in front of family and friends, the Manhattan product finished the quarter-mile race in 46.70 to claim the first individual victory of his season. The time shaved nearly .5 seconds off of his previous personal record and made him the third Jayhawk this season to break the 47-second barrier in the event. The mark moves him into the all-important top-48 of the West Region standings and in prime position to qualify for the West Preliminary, to be hosted in Lawrence, May 26-28.
Daniels beat out senior teammate, Drew Matthews, who added a runner-up finish in the 400 with his personal-best time of 47.18. Senior Jaime Wilson took third in 47.86.
The Jayhawks saw five career-best times posted in the 800 meters with junior Daniel Koech leading the way with his clocking of 1:50.52. Sophomore Matt Anyiwo was close behind, finishing third in 1:51.35. Kansas runners claimed the next three spots, as Bryce Richards was fifth in 1:51.54, Brandon Bernal sixth with his 1:51.62 and Adel Yoonis’ 1:53.14 half-mile time that was good for seventh place.
Other notable outings Saturday came from sophomore Nicolai Ceban, who won the discus with a throw of 56.29 meters (184’8″); sophomore Ezekiel Welch who notched his first victory of the year in the triple jump by way of his 14.60 meters (47’11”) leap; senior Jaime Wilson topped the Ward Haylett field in the men’s 200-meter dash with his time of 21.58; senior Dasha Tsema, who was the top collegiate finisher in the women’s discus, turning in a mark of 51.68 meters (169’7″).
The Kansas track & field teams will now turn their attention to the league meet next weekend. The 2016 Big 12 Outdoor Championships will be held at Lowden Track & Field Complex in Fort Worth, Texas, May 13-15. Log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack for results and updates throughout the weekend.
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