Following the conclusion of Saturday night’s events at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, it was confirmed that Kansas would be sending a total of 17 athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships meet in Eugene, Oregon, in two weeks.
The 17 entries are composed of nine from the 10th-ranked men’s team, and eight from the women’s team.
Following a successful three days of competition, the Jayhawk relay teams displayed to the rest of the nation that they’re here to stay, with all three relay squads advancing onto the championships meet.
With the aim to finish in the top 12 to advance to Oregon, the women’s 4x100-meter relay team composed of freshman Jedah Caldwell, sophomore Nicole Montgomery, and seniors Sydney Conley and Tianna Valentine produced a season-best time of 44.50 seconds to finish ninth overall.
The time, which beat the squad's previous season best by 0.2 seconds, was the seventh-fastest time in Kansas history, as well as the fastest time by a Kansas team since 2013.
In the last two events of the evening, both the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relay squads also booked their plane tickets to Oregon.
Montgomery was once again out on the track, this time for the women’s 4x400-meter squad, racing alongside freshman Mariah Kuykendoll and seniors Whitney Adams and Adriana Newell to claim a ninth-overall finish.
Coming from behind in the final two laps, the Jayhawks grabbed third place from San Diego State in the third heat to claim an automatic qualifying spot. Had the Jayhawks finished behind San Diego State, they still would have qualified as a non-automatic qualifier at 10th overall.
Soon after the women’s team cleared off the track, the men’s team took to the starting blocks to compete for the final championships meet spots available.
Finishing in a time of 3:05.74, the Jayhawk squad of sophomore Ivan Henry, juniors Jaron Hartley and Tre Daniels, and senior Strymar Livingston earned a non-automatic qualifying spot, finishing 11th-overall after a fifth-place finish in heat three.
Despite sitting in sixth place after two legs, Livingston refused to see his career as a Jayhawk come to a close two weeks early, as the Brooklyn, New York, product vaulted his squad up to third-place with a 400-meter time of 45.33 seconds.
"It was fun to see all three of our relays advance,” coach Stanley Redwine said in a Kansas Athletics news release.
Redwine said he was also pleased to see another three athletes extend their season by two weeks earlier in the day.
In the day's first event, junior Nicolai Ceban and senior Mitch Cooper claimed top-12 finishes in the men’s discus throw.
Entering the competition as Big 12 champion, Cooper threw his discus 58.94 meters (193-foot-4) on his second of three attempts to secure a third-place finish.
Cooper, who plans to return to his native Australia following the conclusion of his senior year at Kansas, will be returning to the championships meet for the third-straight year.
Despite fouling on his final throw, Ceban will also be heading to Oregon after a 10th-place finish. Ceban threw his 4.4-pound discus 55.70 meters (182-foot-9) on his second attempt to qualify for his second event in as many days, following his second-place finish in the men’s shot put on Friday.
The Kansas men will also see an NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships triple-jumper compete for the first time in 19 years, as junior Barden Adams finished in fifth place with a jump of 16.38 meters (53-foot-9).
Although Adams fouled on his first and third jump, only one legal jump is required to advance, and Adams made sure he got the job done.
"We just need to go into that meet with the attitude that we need to get something done and make sure we compete to the best of our ability,” Redwine said. “If we can do that I think we can look forward to the teams doing well at [the championships]."
The Jayhawks will now have a 10-day rest period before qualifying athletes head to Oregon to compete for national gold at Hayward Field from June 7-10.