2007 Kansas Relays Stacked with Imposing Field

April 4, 2007


The 2007 Kansas Relays, the 80th anniversary of the event, will provide spectators with another impressive field of professional track and field athletes for the Gold Zone competition on Saturday, April 21. Among those scheduled to compete at Memorial Stadium are two-time Kansas Relays champion 400-meter hurdles champion Bershawn Jackson; Nick Hysong, the 2000 Olympic champion in the men’s pole vault and Joanna Hayes, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.

In all, the Kansas Relays will bring eight former Olympians, 11 former collegiate All-Americans and two American record holders to the Gold Zone events. Jackson headlines the men’s 400-meter hurdles, as he was the 2005 world champion. Jackson holds a personal-best time of 47.30 seconds in the event. He looks to face stiff competition from Ian Weakley of Jamaica, who competed at the 2000 Olympics and holds a personal-best time of 48.55 seconds.

The men’s invitational pole vault competition represents a highly competitive field of former All-Americans, NCAA champions and Olympic champions. At the Sydney Olympics, Hysong became the first American since Bob Seagren in 1968 to win Olympic gold. The field also boasts American record holder Jeff Hartwig, who cleared 19-9.25 in 2000, 2006 NCAA outdoor champion Russ Butler and former Northern Iowa All-American Jacob Pauli, who won the 2005 and 2006 Kansas Relays crowns.

Joanna Hayes, a former UCLA track and field standout, highlights the women’s invitational 100-meter hurdles event. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, Hayes became the second American 100m hurdles gold medalist in history, doing it in an Olympic record and personal-best time of 12.37 seconds. She will compete against former Texas All-American and 2006 Kansas Relays champion Nichole Denby. Also in the field is Haiti’s Nadine Faustin-Parker, the country’s record holder in five events and a personal-best time of 12.74 seconds in this race.

In the men’s invitational 100-meter dash, the field consists of three members of the Kansas City Nike Team: Mark Jelks, Rae Edwards and Ivory Williams. The men’s invitational 400-meter dash features three of Trinidad’s runners from its world champion 4×400-meter relay team: Renny Quow, Damion Berry and Ato Modibo. They face the 2007 US indoor champion, Greg Nixon, who won the event in 46.76 seconds.

The men’s invitational 110-meter hurdles event features two-time Haitian Olympian Dudley Dorival and American record holder Dominique Arnold, who set the record of 12.90 seconds in July 2006. Arnold also was the 2006 USA outdoor champion and a former NCAA champion in the event. Former KU national champion and Kansas Relays’ record holder Scott Russell will compete in the invitational javelin, facing competition from former NCAA champion Trevor Snider.

In the women’s invitational events, the 100-meter dash features two former NCAA All-Americans, Lakadron Ivey of Baylor and USC’s Alexis Witherspoon. Also running in the event will be England’s Montel Douglas. The women’s invitational 400-meter dash boasts 2004 Olympian Laverne Jones, England’s Donna Fraser, who placed fourth at the Athens games in the event, and Anastasia Kapachinskaya, a two-time world champion in the 200-meter dash.

The women’s 800-meter run features a trio of Canadians: Aimee Teteris, Rebecca Johnstone and Julian Howard. Teteris is a former Rice University All-American in the event. Also competing in the event is England’s Maralyn Okoro.

Three-time US champion and 2004 Olympian Grace Upshaw headlines a competitive field that also features former Baylor All-American April Holliness and 2006 Kansas Relays champion Lela Nelson in the women’s invitational long jump,. The women’s invitational 400-meter hurdles features 2004 Jamaican Olympian Allison Beckford and England’s Emma Duck, who has the sixth-fastest 400-meter hurdle time in Great Britain’s history.

In addition to all the excitement on the track, the 2007 Kansas Relays will also feature The LAZR 105.9 Family Fun Zone, held on the 21st of April from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm. This will include appearances by Big Jay and Baby Jay, inflatable games, face painting and many other family activities.

Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for more exciting information on the 2007 Kansas Relays.