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Stellar defense leads soccer to first Big 12 tourney title

BY CHRIS LAZZARINO

Led by senior Addisyn Merrick, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Peters, named Most Outstanding Player with two shutouts in three games, soccer on Nov. 10 won its first Big 12 tournament championship with a 1-0 victory over TCU at Swope Soccer Village. “This senior class will go to the NCAAs three times in their four years, which is pretty phenomenal,” said 21st-year coach Mark Francis. “No other group that we’ve had has ever done that.” As Kansas Alumni went to press, the Jayhawks were preparing for their NCAA opener against Iowa at Rock Chalk Park. …

Bryce Hoppel, two-time NCAA champion as a junior in his final KU season, set himself up for a strong Olympic year in 2020 by placing fourth in the World Championships in Qatar, running the men’s 800 meters with a personal-best time of 1 minute, 44.25 seconds. Senior Gleb Dudarev, competing for Belarus, placed eighth in the hammer throw. Sophomore Zach Bradford, the youngest member of Team USA, placed 22nd in the pole vault. Junior Alexandra Emilianov, competing for Moldova, placed 14th in the discus, and former KU discus thrower Mason Finley, ’14, a 2016 Olympian and World Championships bronze medalist in 2017, placed seventh in the men’s discus. …

Perry Ellis, ’20, ninth on men’s basketball’s career scoring list, joined coach Bill Self’s staff as video coordinator. Ellis last July injured his knee in a Wichita charity game while preparing to extend his professional career in Japan. Ellis will now complete internship hours to wrap up his undergraduate degree before embarking on graduate studies and a possible return to international basketball. …

Freshman Luke Kluver won all five of his matches at the mid-October Big 12 Match Play Championship in Houston, leading men’s golf to a second-place finish. … Freshman Jiayu Chen on Oct. 16 was named Big 12 Diver of the Week with a pair of opening-weekend victories. … Track and field coach Stanley Redwine has been named assistant coach for Team USA’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics team, and former Kansas Relays meet director Tim Weaver was named head manager.

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