Jayhawks Set to Host Bill Easton Classic Saturday
Jan. 5, 2012
|Bill Easton Classic|
|Date||Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012|
|Start Time||1:00 p.m.|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track and field will host its first meet of the 2012 calendar year on Saturday, Jan. 7 in the newly renovated Anschutz Pavilion. The Bill Easton Classic will feature 13 different schools from across the Midwest, as well as several track clubs and individual competitors. The meet will begin at 1 p.m., with the field events, followed by track events starting at 3 p.m.
“This meet is really about trying to see where the athletes’ conditioning is,” explained 12th-year head coach Stanley Redwine. “Most of them had a chance to work out over the break so we’re hoping to have them compete well this weekend.”
This Saturday marks the Jayhawks’ first competition since their “preseason” meet on Dec. 2, 2011 the Bob Timmons Challenge, when 14 Jayhawks took home 16 individual victories. Junior Francine Simpson had a solid outing, collecting first-place finishes in both the 60-meter dash and the long jump. The middle distance and distance runners were the highlight on the men’s side, with Jayhawks earning victories in the 800 meters, the mile and the 3,000 meters.
“Some of the distance runners will be added in this week as well as some freshmen, so we’ll have more of the team competing this weekend,” continued Redwine. “We’re really looking forward to seeing how they do.”
Making their return to the track will be several veterans of the Crimson and Blue. Senior All-American Rebeka Stowe, who is coming off an all-conference season with the cross country team, will make her season debut in the 3,000 meters at 3 p.m. Joining Stowe in her season opener is fellow senior Cori Christensen. The Medicine Lodge, Kan., native was a member of the All-American distance medley relay team in 2010 and will hope to start sending the 2012 campaign in that direction Saturday.
With the season in full swing, the athletes have begun focusing on attempting to hit the NCAA qualifying automatic marks, which, if attained, would give them a trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships in early March.
Some who will be looking to hit those marks on Saturday are junior Kyle Clemons and sophomore Shawn Smith, who both currently rank in the top-20 in the NCAA for the 200-meter times they ran in December. Both will be in action this weekend in the 200 meters, as well as the 60-meter dash.
Senior Donny Wasinger had a solid season-opening race at the Bob Timmons Challenge last month, taking the 3,000-meter title with a time of 8:37.13. The Winona, Minn., native will look to improve upon his time when he competes in the 3,000 meters at 3:20 p.m.
For the women, joining Simpson, who is currently ranked second in the nation in the long jump, are junior Denesha Morris and freshman Alisha Keys, both of whom have 200 meter times that are among the top 10 in the U.S. Watch for these women, as well as returning All-Americans Diamond Dixon, Jessica Maroszek, Andrea Geubelle, Taylor Washington and Shayla Wilson as they to try to punch their tickets to the National Championships later this season.
“We’re doing everything we can to prepare them for that and if it happens, it happens,” said Redwine on training the athletes to hit the all-important qualifying marks. “More importantly, we want them to compete to their potential. As they get in better shape and as they get more race-fit, those opportunities will come.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will have at least one athlete in 16 of the 17 events on Saturday afternoon. The field events kick off at 1 p.m., with the men’s long jump while the track events begin at 3 p.m., with the women’s 3,000 meters. The night will conclude with the always exciting women’s and men’s 4×400-meter relays at 6:10 p.m.
“We definitely have to correct some of the mistakes we made in the last meet,” concluded Redwine. “There’s no substitution for competition so we need to continue to be competition-minded and making sure that we’re correcting errors in these event. Our athletes need to be focused on those aspects as they go into their competitions this weekend.”
The Jayhawks will travel to Columbia, Mo., to compete in the next addition of the Border Showdown in the Kansas vs. Missouri Dual on Friday, Jan. 13. Kansas won the event last year and will try to duplicate those results this season. Action is set to begin with the women’s weight throw at 1 p.m. Follow the day’s events as the Jayhawks try to top the Tigers through “Meet Central” at kuathletics.com.
Bill Easton Classic Streaming Live
Want to watch your favorite Jayhawks compete this weekend? Now you’ll be able to as the majority of the Bill Easton Classic will be streamed live through UStream. Fans will have the option of watching three different events simultaneously, as KU Media Relation’s Kyle West provides expert commentary throughout the broadcast. Streaming will begin at 3 p.m., and will continue uninterrupted until 6 p.m. Fans can access the video feed through the Meet Central page at kuathletics.com
Kansas Track is Now on Twitter!
Follow the official twitter page of KU track and field at KU_Track. Stay connected through live meet results, updates and team news from the 2011-12 season. Use hash tag #kutrack.