Big smiles and cardboard qualifier cutouts highlighted the NCAA Prelims in College Station, Texas for Kansas track and field, signifying that five Jayhawks will make the journey to Eugene, Oregon in nine days to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Kansas started on the right foot Wednesday with senior thrower Gleb Dudarev to open competition with none other than a 1st place hammer throw launch of 71.53-meters in the west region. The Belarus native has now qualified in four-career NCAA Outdoor Championships, according to KU Athletics.
Later in the day, sophomore Zach Bradford and senior Hussain Al-Hizam both punched their tickets in the men’s pole vault with 2nd and 8th place finishes, respectively. Bradford enters Eugene with the best mark in the country 5.81m (19-0.75 ft.), while Al-Hizam is not far behind with the fourth-best mark at 5.70m (18-8.25 ft.).
History was made at the NCAA Prelims Thursday, as the competition concluded on day two.
Kansas sophomore Samantha Van Hoecke qualified for her first trip to the outdoor championships after clearing a personal-best 4.27-meters in the women’s pole vault. The sophomore became KU’s first NCAA Outdoor Championships pole vault qualifier since Andrea Willis in 2018, according to KU Athletics.
Van Hoecke now ranks as the No. 6 performer in the event, at Kansas.
The competition resumed Saturday after inclement weather postponed a considerable amount of events Friday.
KU made one final stride on day three in women’s discus. After failing to qualify in the women’s shot put two days prior, junior Alexandra Emiliano made up for it in the discus. She placed fourth with a throw of 59.16-meters.
Aside from the qualifiers, freshman AJ Green III tracked a personal best in the men’s 800-meters with a time of 1:49:10, enough to send him to the quarterfinals. On Saturday, Green finished in 19th place. In addition, senior Cody Johnson qualified for the quarterfinals in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, finishing in 16th place Saturday.
Finally, both the KU men’s and women’s 4x400 meter relay teams took 16th place with times of 3:07.65 and 3:37.73 respectively.
Select members of Kansas track and field are now off to Eugene for the NCAA Outdoor Championships June 9-12, at Hayward Field.