Sprint medley relay sets school record at Texas Relays
AUSTIN, Texas – The Kansas women’s sprint medley relay highlighted the Jayhawk action at the 91st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas on Friday, running away from the competition in their heat on the way to a Jayhawk program record at 3:51.17.
Comprised of Jedah Caldwell, Zainab Sanni, Nicole Montgomery and Marleena Eubanks, the sprint medley relay team finished eight seconds ahead of the next-fastest team in its heat to clock the sixth-best overall time in the event.
Caldwell kicked off the relay with a great opening 200-meter leg, getting out to a solid lead before passing the baton on to Sanni, who extended the KU lead in her 200-meter leg. Montgomery further spread from the pack in her 400 meters, letting Eubanks run free to anchor home the record-breaking time.
The previous record, which was also set at the Texas Relays, was in place since 2014 when Sanni joined forces with Alisha Keys, Adriana Newell and Rhavean Anderson to clock a time of 3:51.51.
Sophomore Andrea Willis also had a great day in Austin, winning the college division of the women’s pole vault and notching a career-best mark of 4.25 meters (13-11.25 ft.) to improve her personal best by 18 centimeters (7.25 inches) and become the No. 5 performer in Kansas women’s history in the event.
Willis, a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, started the day shaky, missing on her first two attempts at the opening bar of 3.85 meters (12-7.5 ft.), but cleared on her third attempt to move on to the next height.
After clearing her next bar without a miss, Willis was faced with another two misses on her third height but was able to make it over 4.15 meters (13-7.25 ft.) on her third attempt before hitting her PR mark on the first go-round.
Willis was one of three to make it over the 4.25-meter bar but was the only to do so on the first attempt, and with all three athletes failing to clear the next height, Willis came out with the victory. The winning height of 4.25 meters is the best mark achieved in the NCAA West Region so far this outdoor season, and is second-best in NCAA Division I.
“Really happy for Andrea today,” head coach Stanley Redwine said. “She is such a hard worker, so to see her get a career mark like that is great. She is a great example that when you put in the effort to get better, good things happen.”
LaTyria Jefferson finished second in the women’s B section of the high jump, falling to Texas Tech’s Cyre Virgo in a jump-off for first place. Both athletes cleared 1.78 meters (5-10 ft.) on their third attempts and were unable to get over 1.81 meters (5-11.25 ft.) so were forced to the jump-off to determine the winner.
Both athletes missed on 1.81 meters, 1.79 meters and 1.77 meters before Virgo cleared 1.75 meters (5-8.75 ft.). Jefferson was unable to get over the same bar, giving the Red Raider the win. The junior Jayhawk’s best mark was just one centimeter shy of her personal best of 1.79 meters (5-10.25 ft.), which ranks her fifth on the Kansas all-time charts. Jefferson’s best clearance currently ranks seventh in the NCAA and third in the West Region.
“It was tough to see LaTyria come up just short in the jump-off, but still really excited for her performance today,” Redwine said. “She is a great talent, and for her to perform this well this early in the outdoor season is great. We are excited to see her keep putting in the work and improving as the year goes on.”
The Jayhawk women’s distance medley relay team saw success as well, finishing fifth overall with a time of 11:40.14 to conclude Kansas’ Friday action at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Riley Cooney opened the race with a 3:32.25 1,200-meter leg, giving way to Honour Finley who ran her 400 meters in 57.37. Hannah Dimmick ran the 800-meter leg in 2:11.71 before handing off to Catherine Liggett who clocked a 4:58.82 1,600 meters.
The Jayhawks will conclude the Texas Relays on Saturday and will also have a large contingent competing at the Oral Roberts Invitational in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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