KU track and field well represented on final day of Kansas Relays

photo by: Carter Gaskins/Special to the Journal-World

KU's Aaliyah Moore (9), Lona Latema (1) and Dorcas Kiptanui (10) run the invitational women's 1,500 meters at the Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

The Kansas track and field team continued to add to its array of victories at the Kansas Relays on the meet’s final day Saturday at Rock Chalk Park.

A strong freshman year for KU runner Emmaculate Jemutai — who in just her second meet with the program broke a school record for the indoor mile in February — continued, as she won the invitational women’s 800 meters with a time of 2:05.53.

Close behind was senior Addison Coppinger, who was the runner-up at 2:08.47.

KU saw success elsewhere in the meet, too. A day after cruising to first place in preliminary action, Arkansas transfer and KU graduate student Yoveinny Mota did even better in the finals for the women’s 100-meter hurdles, claiming victory with a time of 13.25 seconds. She beat out Alexia Austin of Northern Colorado (14.11) and fellow Jayhawk Lauren Heck (14.40) for the medal.

Freshman Sidney Smith almost exactly replicated her 58.61 mark from the 400-meter hurdle prelims when it came time for the final Saturday, clocking a time of 58.60 and earning first place. Junior Addison Brooks took third at 59.51.

Another junior, Aaliyah Lindsay, shone in the women’s long jump, winning decisively by jumping 6.15 meters; the next closest participant only made it to 5.70. KU sophomore Brenna Schwada jumped 5.65 for fifth place.

Lindsay paired with teammate Tayton Klein to complete a long-jump sweep for the Jayhawks; on the men’s side, Klein won with a mark of 7.52. Jaden Patterson (fourth place, 7.21) and Creed Puyear (fifth, 7.01) also made the top five on the men’s side.

Sophomore Cale Littrell won the men’s invitational 3,000 steeplechase, clearing his listed personal record by more than a second with a time of 9:06.56.

In one particularly big event for the Jayhawks, KU-affiliated runners — Lona Latema, Dorcas Kiptanui, Kenadi Krueger (unattached) and Aaliyah Moore — ended up accounting for four of the five participants in the women’s invitational 1,500 meters. Latema, a senior from Kenya, came out on top with a time of 4:26.71, moving into first ahead of Kiptanui in the final portion of the race.

Similarly, in the day’s final field event, men’s pole vault, members of the highly touted KU squad accounted for six of the seven participants. Junior Clayton Simms led the way at 5.27, followed by senior Andrew Saloga and sophomore Ashton Barkdull, who cleared 5.12 at Nos. 2 and 3. They were separated by tiebreakers from non-KU unattached participant Trevor Stephenson and fellow Jayhawk Anthony Meacham, a sophomore.

Even though high jumper Devin Loudermilk had said he wasn’t going to be fresh for Saturday’s meet in the midst of his training for championship season, he took first place with the same 2.16-meter mark he accomplished at his last competition earlier in April. That meant a step forward for the Howard native after he finished in second at the 2023 Kansas Relays.

It was also a successful day for multiple KU relay teams, as the women’s 4×400 (3:51.58) and women’s invitational 4×400 squads (3:42.96) each claimed first place in their respective events.

Recently graduated former Jayhawk Patrick Larrison, competing unattached, won the men’s shot put with a throw of 19.19 meters on his fourth attempt.

Other results of note

KU’s Chandler Gibbens, running a shorter distance than his usual in the invitational 1,500, set a personal record in the event at 3:44.84, but it wasn’t quite enough to dethrone world champion and former Jayhawk Bryce Hoppel (3:44.32), who took first place.

Behind Gibbens, the event also featured four additional current KU runners led by Tanner Talley (third place, 3:46.21) and Tanner Newkirk (fourth, 3:47.33).

Nikiwe Mongwe of MidAmerica Nazarene, with a time of 53.30, narrowly beat out former Jayhawk and current assistant coach Honour Finley (53.51) and current KU junior Deshana Skeete (55.05) for the women’s 400 title.

In a similar result, unattached Yared Kidane (affiliated with Wichita State) took first in the invitational men’s 800 (1:48.75) ahead of KU-associated unattached TJ Robinson (1:49.16) and a trio of current Jayhawks led by third-place Grant Lockwood (1:49.23).

KU’s Michael Joseph ran unattached in the 200 and finished second with a time of 21.09.

Sofia Sluchaninova (50.72) and Tori Thomas (48.50) ended up third and fifth, respectively, in the women’s discus.

An unattached KU men’s team in the 4×400 invitational relay came in third at 3:14.27, separated by less than a second from first-place Northern Colorado.


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