KU track and field sends two men to NCAA Championships, four more to Friday’s preliminaries
photo by: Courtesy of Kansas Athletics
The Kansas men’s track and field team built on its third-place showing at the Big 12 Conference Championships earlier this month with a strong start to Wednesday’s NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, Calif., qualifying a pair of Jayhawks for June’s national tournament.
Pole vaulter Clayton Simms posted KU’s top performance on the night in its final field event, finishing fifth at 5.40 meters to punch his ticket. Simms, who entered the meet ranked third in the West Region in the pole vault, will get another chance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, after finishing seventh as a freshman last year.
Patrick Larrison put up a personal best in the shot put at 19.38 meters to punch his ticket to the championships. He will also throw the discus Friday.
Four additional KU athletes moved on past the first round of preliminary competition: Michael Joseph (46.04 seconds, 13th place) in the 400 meters, A.J. Green (1:48.68, 13th) and T.J. Robinson (1:49.32, 18th) in the 800 meters and Cameron Wilmington (50.68, 11th, a personal best) in the 400-meter hurdles. They will return to action Friday.
Simms was the lone Jayhawk pole vaulter, out of five entrants, to make it out of the competitive field. Ashton Barkdull, a 15th-ranked freshman, made it to 5.30 meters and finished in 13th but came one spot short of qualifying due to tiebreakers, as a result of several misses in the early rounds.
Justice Dick ranked between Green and Robinson in the 800 meters entering the competition but came in 32nd Wednesday.
The KU women’s team, with eight Jayhawks in competition, began its preliminaries Thursday, while the men’s team, including Big 12 champion distance runner Chandler Gibbens, will return to action with more events Friday.