Two bronze medalists highlight day one of NCAA Championships
EUGENE, Ore. – A pair of Jayhawk underclassmen claimed third-place finishes as the No. 6-ranked Kansas men’s track & field team competed on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships Wednesday inside Hayward Field. Freshman Gleb Dudarev earned bronze in the hammer throw, while sophomore Hussain Al Hizam claimed a bronze medal of his own in the pole vault. Kansas concluded Wednesday in fifth place in the team standings after amassing 11.5 points after the first day of action.
DUDAREV ADDS NCAA HAMMER THROW BRONZE TO HIS RÉSUMÉ
Gleb Dudarev added more hardware to his already-crowded mantel after picking up a bronze medal in the hammer throw Wednesday afternoon. The freshman, who entered the meet as the NCAA leader in the event, improved in each of his final four throws of the competition and never fell lower than sixth on the leaderboard. Sitting in sixth as he entered the throws cage for the sixth and final time, Dudarev unwound for a throw that measured out to 73.44 meters (240-11), moving him up three spots to third, where his day would eventually end.
Dudarev’s final throw, which ranks as the third-farthest in Kansas history, earned him First Team All-America honors for the second time in his freshman season after also earning the distinction for the weight throw during the indoor season. His third-place finish matched the program-best for the NCAA hammer throw and marked the fifth time a Jayhawk has achieved All-America status in the event.
Dudarev closed out his freshman campaign with a pair of Big 12 titles and school record and already the owner of a handful of the top weight and hammer throw marks in school history, which includes each of the top-10 heaves in the hammer throw.
AL HIZAM VAULTS TO BRONZE MEDAL FINISH
For the 11th time in school history, the Jayhawk men saw a pole vaulter claim a top-three finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after Hussain Al Hizam soared to third-place Wednesday evening. The sophomore out of Jubail, Saudi Arabia, who was seeing action in his first national championship meet began his competition strong. He cleared each of his first two heights without a miss and quickly moved his name to the top of the leaderboard after clearing the bar at 5.45 meters (17-10½).
Hussain Al Hizam”For most of the day conditions were good, but after the 5.45 (meter) bar, the wind started to swirl and turned almost into a headwind,” explained Al Hizam. “I feel like that’s what made the difference. Some guys were fortunate to get the tailwind and others didn’t. That’s just part of this sport though and it’s something that you have to deal with.”
Despite the adverse conditions, Al Hizam turned in three solid attempts at the height that measured 5.55 meters (18-2½) but was unable to get over, bringing his competition to an end. Despite the miss, his first-attempt clearances at the earlier heights helped elevate his name to third in the final standings.
The finish earned the Jayhawk sophomore a spot on the First Team All-American team for the first time in his young collegiate career and the marked the highest finish by a KU vaulter at the NCAA Championships since 2010.
“I felt like I could’ve finished a lot higher today,” concluded Al Hizam. “I had a good warm-up and was feeling good, I just got a little unlucky. But getting third at this meet is definitely something to be happy about. I went out there today and tried to show everyone what I got. Next year will get here quick and hopefully that will be my time.”
Jake Albright joined Al Hizam in the event, earning a 12th-place finish by way of a clearance of 5.30 meters (17-4½). The senior’s performance earned him second team All-America honors for the third time in his career and the second time this year after he claimed 11th the NCAA Indoor Championships.
* Junior Nicolai Ceban threw to honorable mention All-America status in the shot put for the first time in the outdoor event. After fouls on his first two attempts of the competition, he posted a third-attempt mark of 18.60 meters (61-0¼), which inserted his name at 17th on the leaderboard, which is where his day would end. Ceban will have one more chance to earn hardware this week when he hits the throws ring for the discus, set for 7:05 p.m. (CT) Friday.
* Senior Strymar Livingston ran to a 16th-place finish in the semifinal heats of the 800 meters. He took sixth in his heat with a time of 1:48.17, but missed out on a spot in Friday’s final by just over one second. The performance earned Livingston a spot on the Second Team All-America team for the first time and marked the first time a Jayhawk has earned first or second team All-America status in the event since 2005.
* The men’s 4×400-meter relay squad also ran to Second Team All-America status by way of its 16th-place finish in the semifinals to close out the night. The quartet of Ivan Henry, Jaron Hartley, Strymar Livingston and Tre Daniels passed the baton around in 3:07.52 to claim sixth in their semifinal heat and 16th overall. The finish marked the third time since 2012 a Kansas 4×400-meter relay team has finished among the top-16 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
The women will take center stage on day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships Thursday as the Jayhawks will see four individuals and a pair of relays compete inside Hayward Field. The day will begin with the semifinals of the women’s 4×100-meter relay at 6:32 p.m. (CT) and will conclude at 9:48 p.m. (CT) with the 4×400-meter relay. Follow all the Kansas performances and results by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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