NEW YORK – The Kansas women’s 4×800-meter relay took down the school record that has stood for more than 30 years en route to earning one of four KU victories on the final day of the Armory Collegiate Invitational Saturday. The 11th-ranked Jayhawk women took fourth in the final team scores after amassing 55 points during the two-day meet held inside the history Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.

“I thought we had some really good performances out of both teams this weekend,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “The women’s 4×800-meter relay competed really well and now they have a school record to show for it. Diamond (Dixon) had another great weekend and Alex (Bishop) really stepped up in the pole vault. There are definitely a lot of good things we’ll take out of this meet but we know this is a long season and there’s still a ways to go before we get to where we need to be.”

The highlight Saturday for the KU women came from a group of underclassmen in a runaway victory in the 4×800-meter relay. Freshman Whitney Adams, sophomore Kelly McKenna, freshman Lydia Saggau and sophomoreRhavean King teamed up to make school history as they smashed the 34-year-old KU record in the event.

Over the first 1,600 meters, Adams and McKenna managed to keep the Jayhawks in the race and helped keep their team within striking distance as the third leg, Saggau, began the second half of the two-mile reace. The West Des Moines, Iowa product pulled her team back into the lead as she rounded the final curve of her 800-meter leg and handed off to the anchor, King, with her team in the lead by more than three seconds.

King never looked back and even extended the Jayhawk lead to nine seconds over the final half-mile. She brought the baton across the finish in 8:51.19 to take the easy victory and smash the previous school record by over five seconds. The quartet’s time was also the fastest by a collegiate squad this year.

Alex Bishop tallied a performance in the men’s championship division pole vault that hasn’t been equaled by a KU vaulter in nearly five years. The senior out of Scottsdale, Ariz., got off to a shaky start after he needed all three attempts to clear the opening height of 5.00 meters (16’5″), but turned his day around in a hurry with first attempt clearances on each of his next three heights.

With the bar then moved up to 5.45 meters (17’10½”), Bishop saved his best attempt for last after he managed to slink over the bar on his third trip down the runway. The clearance marked a new career best for either the indoor and outdoor pole vault and was the highest indoor mark by a Jayhawk since 2009. His vault went on to earn him a tie for first in the event after he was unable to top the next bar at 5.50 meters (18’0½”).

Bishop now sits at No. 5 in the national ranks and atop the Big 12 standings with three weeks to go before the conference championship meet.

Less than 24 hours after taking down the school record in the 500 meters, the versatile Diamond Dixon returned to the track to compete in the semifinal heats of the 200 meters. Dixon again found herself near the front of the pack by tallying the third-fastest time in the semifinals after completing her lap in 24.13.

Later in the afternoon, Dixon was back for the event final and managed to notch her second career-best time of the weekend. The Houston, Texas native stormed down the closing stretch to claim third overall in 23.83 to mark her fastest indoor 200-meter race as a Jayhawk. The time made Dixon the third-fastest Jayhawk in the event in school history and also ranks her among the top-25 in the NCAA this season.

In her second-straight outing, sophomore transfer Daina Levy tallied a personal best in the weight throw. Levy, who came to KU after spending her freshman campaign at Auburn, hurled the 20-pound implement 18.54 meters (60’10”) on her fifth time into the throws ring. The mark, which eventually earned her a fifth-place finish in the event,  improved upon her previous career-best by nearly nine inches and has her ranked fourth in the Big 12’s latest yearly standings.

Junior James Wilson got things started off well Kansas Saturday morning with a career performance in the college division 3,000 meters. The Abiline, Kan., native took over the lead midway through the race and was able to hold the advantage over the next 1,000 meters. He relinquished the lead briefly after Columbia’s Tim Cousins passed him with 300 meters to go, however Wilson used a strong kick over the final 100 meters to blow away Cousins and the rest of his heat by seven seconds. Wilson clocked in with a career-best time of 8:11.09 to claim the event victory, a time which moves him into the top-five of the most recent Big 12 ranks.

Sophomore Nick Maestretti followed Wilson’s lead by tallying a personal best and win of his own. In the college division pole vault, Maestretti was nearly flawless en route to his top clearance of the day at 5.05 meters (16’6¾”). The height, which was an indoor career-best bar for the Minden, Nev., native, made hime the sixth KU vaulter to clear five meters or higher this season.

Other notable performances came from sophomore Hannah Richardson, whose personal best of 4:48.59 in the mile made her the ninth-fastest KU performer in the event where she finished ninth, and freshman Mitchell Cooper, who turned in a personal best of 16.22 meters (53’2¾”) en route to a 28th-place finish in the weight throw

The Jayhawk track & field teams will split next weekend for a pair of meets. Some KU athletes will venture to the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., while others will head north to the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa. Action from Arkansas will kick off at noon Friday, Feb. 14, with the ISU Classic starting at 11 a.m. Friday morning.


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