Jayhawks Celebrate Successful Indoor Season

March 16, 2007


Highlighted by a national championship, numerous new school records and several thrilling performances at the Big 12 Indoor Conference Championships, the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas track and field teams produced a highly successful season that has created a promising wave of momentum as the teams commence on the 2007 outdoor season. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

The men’s season saw several outstanding performances and the crowning of another national champion to add to the program’s illustrious history. Junior Egor Agafonov captured his second consecutive Big 12 title in the weight throw with a throw of 76-01 feet. However, he saved his best for the end of the season with a national championship throw of 77-05.25 feet at the 2007 NCAA Indoor National Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. That toss not only gave Agafonov first place, but also set a new personal record and currently ranks as the second best mark all-time in Kansas history, trailing only Scott Russell. His ten points helped the Jayhawks to tie for 16th place in the nation.

Junior Colby Wissel led the Kansas distance team with a first place finish in the 3000m at the Big 12 Championships in a time of 8:06.72. The next week he set a new KU record in the event (7:53.06) while automatically qualifying for the NCAA Indoor National Championships. Wissel finished seventh at the event in a time of 7:58.52 and became the first KU runner ever to receive All-American honors in the 3000m. Wissel also displayed marked improvement in the 5000m, improving his time by nearly 33 seconds, running a time of 13:54.00 at the Husky Classic. He now ranks second all-time in KU history in the 5K.

Freshman Jordan Scott provided one of the biggest boosts to this year’s men’s squad, taking home the Big 12 pole vault title on his third attempt with a career-best mark of 17-05.50 feet. Based upon his outstanding performance, Scott was named the Big 12 Male Indoor Track and Field Freshman of the Year.

Junior Julius Jiles continues to improve every year as he is now second on KU’s 60-meter hurdles all-time list with a career-best sprint of 7.85. That time placed him second at the Big 12 Championships. Fellow Junior Matt Baysinger moved into the top five in two events this season. His time of 1:09.35 in the 600-yd run at the Big 12 Championships was good for fourth on KU’s all-time list and his 800m time of 1:50.58 put him fifth in the Kansas record books.

Behind the strong performances of Agafonov, Wissel, Scott and Jiles, the team placed seventh at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa with 57 points. Heading into the 3000m, Kansas found itself tied with Colorado. Yet, Wissel’s victory in the event and the team’s eighth-place finish in the 4x400m relay helped the Jayhawks pull away from the Buffaloes.

Highlighting the women’s 2007 indoor season was the setting of five new Kansas records throughout the season. The Jayhawks placed sixth at the Big 12 Championships.

After missing the entire 2006 season, junior Kate Sultanova returned triumphantly, winning the Big 12 title in the pole vault by tying a Big 12 meet record of 13-05.25 feet. Like Agafonov in the weight throw, Sultanova saved her best for the NCAA Indoor National Championships. Her vault of 14-01.25 gave her third place and tied the Kansas record set by 2005 national champion Amy Linnen. Sultanova’s six points at nationals gave the Jayhawks a tie for 34th place in the country.

Four other Kansas records went by the wayside in 2007. Sophomore Victoria Howard set a new mark in the 200m at the Tyson Invitational with a time of 24.03 seconds. In her first season competing indoors, sophomore Ashley Brown set a new 60-meter hurdles record of 8.32 seconds and registered a third-place finish at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

At the prestigious Tyson Invitational, two Jayhawks also etched their name among KU’s all-time greats. Zlata Tarasova finished fourth in the weight throw with a toss of 62-01.25 feet, edging the record she set at last year’s Big 12 Championship by two inches. Junior Crystal Manning tied the Kansas record in the triple jump set by Brooklyn Hann with a leap of 43-02.25 feet. Manning went on to place fourth in the long jump with a career-best leap of 19-06 feet while Tarasova took fifth in the weight throw.

At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Kansas produced several exceptional performances and a dramatic finish that enabled it to surpass Border Showdown rival Missouri in the meet’s final event.

In addition to Sultanova’s victory in the pole vault, sophomores Sha’Ray Butler and Charity Stowers and freshman Lauren Bonds recorded top-five finishes in their respective events. Butler placed third in the 400m in a career-best 55.01 seconds while Stowers took fourth in the 600-yard run and moved into second place on KU’s all-time list in the event with a personal-best time of 1:21.42. Bonds produced a tremendous kick in the final 200 meters of the 1000m to take fifth and now ranks fifth all-time in the event.

However, the team saved its best performance for last. Heading into the event’s finale, the 4×400-meter relay, the team trailed Missouri by just three points. Needing to outscore the Tigers by four points, the quartet of senior Janiece Gatson, Stowers, Brown and Manning took home fifth place in the event while Missouri finished 12th, enabling Kansas to finish with a one-point victory in the meet and secure valuable Border Showdown season points. Overall, Kansas finished sixth in the conference with 57 points.

Written by Media Relations Student Assistant Steven Schoon