Jayhawks Ready For NCAA Indoor Championships
March 9, 2006
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
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Members of the University of Kansas men’s and women’s track and field teams will be in Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 10 and 11. Among those accepted to the meet were four Jayhawks in addition to the men’s distance medley relay team. Egor Agafonov, Charisse Bacchus, Sheldon Battle, Aaron Thompson and the relay team of Joshy Madathil, Matt Baysinger, Brandon Hodges and Benson Chesang will be among the 568 men’s and women’s participants vying for national titles. The men’s team will enter the competition ranked No. 11 in the most recent Trackwire.com poll.
Sophomore Egor Agafonov burst onto the national scene this season in the weight throw after coming to Kansas from Togliatti, Russia. Currently ranked No. 1 in the country in the weight throw by Trackwire.com, Agafonov handily won all three meets in which he was entered, including the Big 12 Championships. His toss of 73 feet, 3/4 inches, at the ISU Classic on Feb. 11 was good for second on KU’s all-time performance list, behind only KU great Scott Russell.
Senior Charisse Bacchus will be competing in the long jump at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships for the second year in a row. Her leap of 21-0 3/4 at the Alex Wilson Invitational on March 3 was an automatically qualifying mark in addition to a Kansas and meet record. It was also good for sixth on the national performance list this season. A native of Cascade, POS, Trinidad, Bacchus had a 10th-place result at last year’s NCAA Indoor Championships in the long jump.
Senior Sheldon Battle will be representing Kansas in both the shot put and the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the only thrower in the country set to compete in both events. The Jamestown, N.Y., native is ranked No. 2 in the shot and No. 9 in the weight throw by Trackwire.com. He is second in the shot and 11th in the weight throw on this season’s national performance list. Battle, who placed seventh and ninth at the 2005 Indoor National Championships in the shot put and weight throw, respectively, was this year’s Big 12 champion in the shot put and runner-up in the weight throw.
Senior Aaron Thompson qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter hurdles by running a time of 7.84 seconds at the Cyclone National Track and Field Qualifier on March 4. That time broke a school record in the event and put him in 17th on the national performance list. The Lenexa, Kan., native finished eighth in the 60-meter hurdles at this year’s Big 12 Indoor Championships.
Competing in a strong field at the Alex Wilson Invitational on March 3, the men’s distance medley relay team of Madathil, Baysinger, Hodges and Chesang ran a time of 9:34.91. The performance was good for a new school record in the event and put it in eighth place on the national performance list.
From the Last Chance Meets…
Three school records fell over the weekend at the Last Chance qualifying meets. Senior Charisse Bacchus booked her ticket to the NCAA Championships with her automatically qualifying leap of 21-0 3/4 in the long jump. The mark, which broke her old record of 20-9, was also a facility best.
The men’s distance medley relay team consisting of Joshy Madathil, Matt Baysinger, Brandon Hodges and Benson Chesang broke the previous school record of 9:35.83. The performance was good for eighth on the national performance list, qualifying the team for the NCAA Championships.
Senior Aaron Thompson ran a 7.84 in his preliminary heat of the 60-meter hurdles, breaking Anson Jackson’s previous record of 7.86 and placing him at 17th on the national performance list.
Cameron Schwehr’s time of 4:04.40 in the mile at the Cyclone National Qualifier gave him a provisionally qualifying performance in that event. It also put him in fifth place on KU’s all-time performance list. The final qualifying performances from the weekend were Colby Wissel’s and Paul Hefferon’s provisionally qualifying times of 8:04.41 and 8:01.51, respectively, in the 3000-meter run.
Big 12 Championship Leftovers…
The 2006 Big 12 Championship featured five Olympians, 16 NCAA champions, 58 NCAA All-Americans, and 25 defending champions in 38 events.
Two KU tracksters broke their own school records in competition at the conference championship. Senior Tiffany Cherry set her new school standard in the 60-meter dash, running a 7.41 in her qualifying heat. The time, which was an NCAA provisionally qualifying performance, broke her previous record of 7.45. Freshman Zlata Tarasova was the other Kansas athlete to break a record, hers in the weight throw. Tarasova’s throw of 61-11 at Big 12s bested her old record of 61-0 that she had set at this season’s ISU Classic (2-10-06). Her toss of 61-0 broke the old record held by Lisa Brien (54-11 1/4).
Several Jayhawks had provisionally or automatically qualifying times/marks at the conference championship. They include: Josh Kirk (Pentathlon/Prov/5,373), Sheldon Battle (Shot Put/Auto/65-3 1/4 & Weight Throw/Auto/69-10 1/4), Egor Agafonov (Weight Throw/Auto/ 72-7 3/4), Charisse Bacchus (Long Jump/Prov/20-5 1/4), and Tiffany Cherry (60m/Prov/7.41).
All four of Agafonov’s throws in the weight throw finals exceeded 70 feet in length. In his final attempt, the Togliatti, Russia, native unleashed a mammoth hurl of 77 feet, but the throw was ruled a foul for stepping out of the ring.
The Kansas men’s team sixth place finish was an improvement on its eighth place result at last year’s championship. The women’s team dropped two spots from last year — from seventh to ninth.
Kansas Men Nationally Ranked…
The University of Kansas men’s track and field team remained at No. 11 in the country in the new Trackwire.com national poll. It is tied with Virginia Tech for that position. The Trackwire 25 projects a hypothetical score for the NCAA meet, factoring in injury reports and other variables supported by information gathered from coaches and NCAA-qualifying competitions across the country. Kansas’ projection this week was 19 points for the NCAA Indoor Championships. This projection is generated by scoring the Dandy Dozen, a power ranking of the top 12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA event.
ISU Classic Qualifiers…
Senior Charisse Bacchus’ leap of 20-5 3/4 in the long jump and Aaron Thompson’s time of 7.90 in the 60-meter hurdles at the ISU Classic provisionally qualified them for the NCAA Indoor Championships. At the same meet, sophomore Colby Wissel also provisionally qualified in the 3000-meter run (8:04.19), joining teammate Benson Chesang as KU’s representatives in that event.
Jayhawks in the Dandy Dozen…
This week’s edition of the Trackwire Dandy Dozen showcases mainstays Sheldon Battle and Egor Agafonov as well as Charisse Bacchus and the men’s DMR team, who are new to the list this week. Battle remained second in the shot put and dropped one spot to eighth in the weight throw. Agafonov remained at No. 1 in the weight throw. The men’s distance medley relay team debuted at No. 8 in the country while Bacchus made her first appearance in the rankings at No. 6 in the long jump. The Dandy Dozen is a power ranking of the top 12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA event. The list is used in compiling Trackwire’s weekly top 25 team rankings.