Kansas Continues to Triumph at Finals of Big 12 Indoor Championships
Feb. 24, 2007
AMES, Iowa –
The University of Kansas track and field teams continued its outstanding performance at the Big 12 Indoor Championships Saturday, as freshman Jordan Scott captured the men’s pole vaulting crown and junior Colby Wissel, the 2006 Big 12 cross country champion, won the men’s 3000-meter run, while sophomore Ashley Brown, junior Julius Jiles and sophomore Sha’Ray Butler recorded top-three finishes in their respective events. In the final standings, the women’s team placed sixth with 52 points, while the men’s squad placed seventh with 57 points.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Scott cleared 17-05.50 to complete KU’s sweep of the pole vault events for the weekend. The mark represents yet another NCAA provisional mark for the Watkinsville, Ga., native.
“It was my last jump at that height and as I came down the runway, I visualized myself clearing the bar and it was probably the best jump I have ever taken,” Scott said. “It is exciting for both Kate Sultanova and I to win the event. Our coach, Tom Hays, has done a great job, has really been building us up for this meet and it paid off today.”
Wissel produced a tremendous kick with 300 meters to go, moving from fourth to first (8:06.72) in a race that featured some of the conference’s top distance runners. The Elm Creek, Neb., native cruised to victory down the backstretch and became the third KU men’s performer to claim an individual conference crown over the weekend.
“The race was set up perfect for me with a nice, honest pace,” Wissel said. “I just kept hanging back and with 300 meters left decided to go for it.”
Brown placed third in the women’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.39 seconds while Jiles finished second in the men’s 60-meter hurdles in a time of 7.88 seconds.
“For my first indoor season, it feels good to finish in the top three at the conference,” Brown said. “I have dealt with a lot of injuries and I am just thankful that God got me here and I was able to finish strong.”
“This is the highest I have ever placed at a Big 12 meet, so it feels great,” Jiles said. “I have a lot of work to do to get to the NCAA Indoor Nationals, but once I get there, I will be good to go.”
Senior Melissa O’Rourke passed two competitors on the final stretch of the women’s mile run to take sixth place (4:52.17). In the women’s 1000-meter run, freshman Lauren Bonds placed fifth (2:53.39).
“The two girls I passed beat me in the preliminary heat, so I wanted to make sure that did not happen again,” O’Rourke said. “The race went out very quick and I really enjoy competing against girls of that caliber.”
Kansas produced many team points in the 600-yard run. In the women’s event, sophomore Charity Stowers (1:21.42) and senior Janiece Gatson (1:23.55) finished fourth and eighth, respectively. On the men’s side, junior Matt Baysinger (1:09.53) and senior Clif Mitchell (1:10.33) finished fourth and sixth, respectively.
“Overall, it was a good race, I posted another personal best and I earned extra points for my team and you can’t be disappointed with that,” Mitchell said.
In the women’s 400 meters, sophomore Sha’Ray Butler ran a personal-best 55.11 seconds, good for third place. In the men’s 800 meters, freshman Jack Sachse placed seventh in a time of 1:52.12.
“I was not expecting to reach the finals, so to go from that to surprising the team by making the finals to getting third in the conference, I feel very blessed,” Butler said.
In the meet’s finale, the women’s 4×400-meter relay team placed fifth, enabling them to defeat Border Showdown rival Missouri by one point in the team standings, and the men’s team placed eighth.
The Kansas track and field teams return to Ames next weekend for the Iowa State Invitational, the team’s last chance to qualify for the NCAA Indoor National Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. on Mar. 9-10.