Vaulters soar at Arkansas Qualifier


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Two more Jayhawk pole vaulters made big leaps up the NCAA leaderboard as a Kansas track & field contingent took part in the Arkansas Qualifier Friday inside the Randal Tyson Track Center. Senior Nick Maestretti and sophomore Hussain Al Hizam became the fourth and fifth KU pole vaulters to enter the top-20 of the most recent national rankings by way of career-best outings.
It was another impressive outing from the Kansas pole vault crew, with Jayhawks comprising each of the top-five collegiate spots on the podium and Maestretti and Al Hizam ending their day on the top-two steps. Both Jayhawks turned in career-best vaults that put themselves in prime position to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in three weeks. Maestretti, who hails from Minden, Nevada needed two tries to clear 5.46 meters (17-11), while Al Hizam soared over on his third try at the height. The clearances moved both Jayhawks into the school’s all-time top-10 indoor list and to No. 11 on the most recent NCAA pole vault rankings.
 Senior Nick MaestrettiAl Hizam also made headlines in his native Saudi Arabia as his performance broke his own national record which he set just a week ago at the Tyson Invitational, also in Fayetteville.
The Jayhawks now feature five pole vaulters the rank inside the top-18 in the NCAA this season. Those ranked 16th or better after Feb. 26 will qualify for the national championship meet to be hosted by Texas A&M on March 10-11 inside Gilliam Indoor Track.
Senior Sydney Conley returned to the long jump runway after a 13-month hiatus and appeared to show little signs of rust. The Fayetteville native got better as she went through the competition, with her final attempt resulting in her best leap of the day. She posted a mark of 6.22 meters (20-5) on her last jump, good enough to earn her a runner-up finish and only three inches shy of her personal record in the event. The performance inserted her name at No. 3 on the Big 12 chart with the league meet just six days away.
For the third-consecutive week, freshman Jedah Caldwell managed to shave time off her season-best 200-meter clocking as she continued her climb up the national chart. The Chanhassen, Minnesota product completed her lap in 23.59 to earn her second collegiate win in the event and rewrite her own Kansas freshman record. Caldwell’s run moved her into the top-30 of the latest collegiate rankings and has been topped by only three other NCAA DI freshmen in 2017.
A handful of Kansas runners will be in action Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Indiana. Action from the Loftus Sports Center will commence at 10 a.m. (CT) and conclude at 2:10 p.m. (CT). Get live updates and results by following Twitter at @KUTrack and logging on to
Men’s 60 Meters
11. Quentin Dancer – 7.00
Men’s 400 Meters
6. Isaiah Cole – 48.81 (PR)
Men’s Pole Vault
2. Nick Maestretti – 5.46m (17-11) (PR)
3. Hussain Al Hizam – 5.46m (17-11) (PR) (Saudi Arabian National Record)
4. Nick Meyer – 5.36m (17-7)
T5. Jake Albright – 5.36m (17-7)
T5. Paulo Benavides – 5.36m (17-7)
10. Chase Pennewell – 4.91m (16-1¼)
Women’s 200 Meters
1. Jedah Caldwell – 23.59 (PR) (Freshman record)
— Chloe Akin-Otiko – DNF
Women’s 400 Meters
5. Megan Linder – 55.74
Women’s Long Jump
2. Sydney Conley – 6.22m (20-5)
Women’s Pole Vault
4. Andrea Willis – 4.09m (13-5)
T5. Laura Taylor – 4.09m (13-5)
7. Alexis Romero – 3.94m (12-11) The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.