Kansas Reaps in Success at Day One of Big 12 Indoor Championships

Feb. 23, 2007

AMES,Iowa –

Juniors Kate Sultanova and Egor Agafonov won the women’s pole vault and the men’s weight throw, respectively, at day one of the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa. After the first day of competition, the men’s team sits in a tie for third place with 18 points and the women’s team is in a tie for fourth with 23 points.

Sultanova cleared 13-09.25 feet in the pole vault to capture the league crown, tying a Big 12 record with her performance. She will move on to the NCAA Indoor National Championships in Fayetteville Ark., on Mar. 9. Freshman Britany Parker finished seventh (12-09.25) in the event and will join Sultanova in Fayetteville.

“It was some very tough competition today,” Sultanova said. “I did not clear 13-05 until my third attempt, but I kept believing in myself and was able to win.”

Agafonov successfully defended his weight-throw crown, winning the event with career-best tying toss of 76-01 feet, the longest throw in the nation this year. He currently ranks third in the nation in the event and will also be attending the NCAA Indoor National Championships, where he will look to improve on his second-place performance from last year.

“It was a very rewarding performance because I feel like all the work my coach and I do is paying off,” Agafonov said. “I really enjoy the guys I compete with and I just want to keep moving up and throwing farther.”

Sophomore Ashley Brown and junior Julius Jiles both earned NCAA provisional marks in the 60-meter hurdles. Brown finished her preliminary heat in a career-best 8.38 seconds and qualifying for Saturday’s finals, while Jiles also set a new personal best with a time of 7.85 seconds. Jiles finished one one-hundredth of a second off the men’s KU record and Brown was just two one-hundredths of a second off the women’s KU mark.

“I have never felt this good in my life,” Jiles said. “It is an exhilarating feeling to finally qualify for the NCAA Championships and know that all the hard work I have been putting in is finally paying off.”

“I ran pretty well today and am excited for tomorrow,” Brown said. “My coaches and I have really been working on my start and today it went perfect. The exciting part is that I have an NCAA mark and there is still room for improvement.”

Also scoring for the women’s team on Friday was sophomore Zlata Tarasova, who took fifth place in the women’s weight throw with a toss of 61-03.50 feet. Junior Crystal Manning placed fourth in the women’s long jump, leaping 19-06 feet. The women’s distance medley relay finished seventh.

On the men’s team, juniors Colby Wissel and Paul Hefferon finished third (14:04.16) and eighth (14:20.73), respectively, in the men’s 5000-meter run. Junior Barrett Saunders placed eighth in the men’s long jump.

In other action from day one, senior Melissa O’Rourke qualified for the women’s mile championship in a time of 4:56.33. Senior Janiece Gatson and sophomore Charity Stowers both qualified for the 600-yard run finals, running 1:23.25 and 1:22.44, respectively. Sophomore Sha’Ray Butler posted a personal best in the 400 meters, qualifying for Saturday’s final in 55.13 seconds. Also, freshman Lauren Bonds qualified for the women’s 1000-meter finals, finishing in 2:53.10 in her preliminary heat.

“I am proud of my effort today, though I know tomorrow will not be any easier,” Stowers said. “I think it will help a lot to run the finals tomorrow with Janiece because we have been training so much together.”

On the men’s side, junior Matt Baysinger and senior Clif Mitchell both qualified for the men’s 600-yard run finals. Baysinger ran a personal-best time of 1:09.35 while Mitchell finished in 1:10.59. Freshman Jack Sachse provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor National Championships with a time of 1:50.13 and will compete in Saturday’s finals.

“I was a little nervous heading into the race because I hadn’t ran the event in over a month,” Baysinger said.” I met my goals and am very excited for Clif because he’s worked very hard to reach this point and now he’s racing in a championship.”

Head coach Stanley Redwine was very excited about the day’s results.

“I am very happy for Egor and Kate, especially since Egor is now a three-time Big 12 champion and Kate has won the past two conference vault championships in which she has competed,” Redwine said. “Anytime someone earns a provisional mark is also an awesome achievement and those who did represented the University of Kansas excellently today. Tomorrow will be tough, but I believe we will continue to step up our performances and represent the University of Kansas.”

The Big 12 Indoor Championships resume Saturday with the women’s triple jump at noon. Junior Crystal Manning heads into the event ranked second in the conference and seventh in the nation. Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for all the results from the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

For results from the day, click here.