Kansas Track and Field Wraps Up Final Weekend of Competition Before Indoor Nationals
March 3, 2012
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – It was another successful day for the Kansas men’s and women’s track teams Saturday afternoon at the Alex Wilson Invitational, highlighted by the men’s 4×400-meter relay team of freshmen Michael Stigler, Mike Hester, Kenneth McCuin and junior Kyle Clemons, who ran to a season-best time of 3:10.57, the third-fastest in school history and one of the top 50 times in the nation this season.
With the NCAA Indoor Championships in Boise, Idaho less than a week away, the KU athletes hit the track for one last chance to attempt to collect times that would earn them spots at the national meet.
Zach Zarda kicked off the day for the Jayhawks, running in the men’s 3,000 meters. The senior has notched the fastest team 3,000-meter time this season, having recorded personal bests in each of his last two competitions. Zarda stuck with the lead pack for much of the race Saturday morning, but would eventually claim seventh-place with a time of 8:14.00.
Fellow senior Rebeka Stowe also made her way onto the Loftus Sports Center track, looking for the NCAA automatic bid in the women’s mile. Stowe put forth a valiant effort, coming within .6 seconds of a new personal best and moving even further up in the national standings. However, the Olathe, Kan. native would end her indoor season with a ninth-place finish on a time of 4:43.70.
In the men’s mile, sophomore Josh Munsch looked to continue his strong indoor campaign, already proving himself as the men’s team’s top indoor miler of 2012. Munsch was thrown into a tough field of several athletes who would go on to break the 4-minute barrier in the race. Munsch held his own though, crossing the finish line in 4:07.74, finishing 18th overall.
Junior Kyle Clemons appeared to return to his normal self Saturday afternoon in the men’s 400 meters. Clemons, who was an All-American in the outdoor event last season, ran a season-best time of 47.11 to finish 10th overall. The performance is sure to give Clemons confidence as he heads into the outdoor portion of the season.
Before Clemons could look too far ahead, though, he would join up with a group of freshmen; Stigler, Hester and McCuin, in the men’s 4×400-meter relay to close out the event. The quartet had improved their time on each occasion they have taken to the track, including a fourth-place finish at last week’s Big 12 Conference Championships. With Hester and McCuin running the final two legs of the event for the first time this year, the Jayhawks finished with the third-fastest time in school history (3:10.57), also a season best. The four will surely be a tough group to contend with once the outdoor season kicks off.
Next up for the Jayhawks will be the NCAA Indoor Championships held in Boise, Idaho March 10-11. Kansas has six female athletes that have already assured themselves spots in four events at nationals, with Andrea Geubelle and Francine Simpson likely additions in the women’s long jump. Coverage from Boise will begin at 3 p.m. (CT) Friday as Alena Krechyk competes for a championship in the women’s weight throw and ends with the nation-leading KU women’s 4×400-meter relay team competing at 9:40 p.m. (CT) Saturday night. Stay logged onto kuathletics.com and the meet central page throughout the weekend for live updates and results of the Jayhawks’ performances and don’t forget to follow on twitter at KU_Track.