79th Annual Kansas Relays to Host 36 Olympians, 110 Major Champions During GOLDZONE II

April 12, 2006


Kansas Relays Meet Director Tim Weaver revealed a list of 110 athletes set to compete at GOLDZONE II, part of the 2006 Kansas Relays. The list includes seven Olympic champions, three Olympic silver medalists, one Olympic bronze winner, 24 additional Olympians, eight world champions, six additional world championship medal winners, eight U.S. champions, 19 NCAA champions and 34 other major championship winners.

“The fields of GOLDZONE II are even more impressive than those we enjoyed last spring,” said Weaver. “There are only so many household names in track and field. The fact that many of them will be in Memorial Stadium on April 22 speaks to the strength of the Kansas Relays and the reputation that the local fans are getting around the world. Athletes want to go where the crowds are.”

GOLDZONE II will run from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. This new, fast-paced, three-hour format for the most popular events at the Kansas Relays drew 24,619 fans in 2005, the second highest attendance in the meet’s history. Weaver stated that he felt the all-time attendance mark of 30,000, set in 1972 when KU’s Jim Ryun raced the mile, was a realistic goal for next Saturday.

Athletes will represent 641 schools from 17 states. At least 24 nations will have competitors at the Kansas Relays, including France, Great Britain, Russia, Kenya, Jamaica, Congo, Trinidad, Canada, Haiti, St. Kitts, Cameroon, Tunisia, Norway, Uganda, Virgin Islands, Finland, Dominican Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden, Czech Republic and Latvia.

“Starting with the high school finals, through the college races, up to the main event that has the two Olympic champions going head-to-head like a pair of heavyweights, this will be the fastest three hours in track and field this area has ever seen,” added Weaver. “Not many people can travel to an Olympic Games or world championship meet, so we’re importing the action to Kansas for an April afternoon. I expect the size of the crowd to be every bit as impressive as the performances on the track.”

The list of champions set to appear at the 2006 Kansas Relays includes:

Maurice Greene Olympic Champion
Justin Gatlin Olympic Champion
Shawn Crawford Olympic Champion
Nick Hysong Olympic Champion
Crystal Cox Olympic Champion
Brian Lewis Olympic Champion
Otis Harris Olympic Champion
Allyson Felix Olympic Silver
Austra Skujyte Olympic Silver
Michelle Burgher Olympic Silver
Torri Edwards Olympic Bronze
Christian Cantwell World Champion
Mitch Potter World Champion
Leonard Scott World Champion
Bershawn Jackson World Champion
Adam Steele World Champion
Ladji Doucoure World Champion & Olympian
Leonard Byrd World Champion
James Davis World Champion
Rachelle Smith World Championships Silver
Sheryl Morgan World Championships Silver
Mary Danner World Championships Silver
Kia Davis World Championships Silver
Dominique Arnold World Championships Bronze
Gary Kikaya World Champ Bronze / Olympian
Jenny Adams World Championships Finalist
Charlie Gruber Olympian
Muna Lee Olympian
Derrick Peterson Olympian
Pierre Browne Olympian
Natasha Danvers Olympian
Chris Lloyd Olympian
Aimé Issa Nthepe Olympian
Angela Williams Olympian
Claude Toukene Olympian
Dana Ellis Olympian
Dwight Thomas Olympian
Natasha Danvers Olympian
Dace Ruskule Olympian
Ian Weakly Olympian
Diane Nukuri Olympian
Damion Barry Olympian
Laverne Jones Olympian
Nadine Faustin Olympian
Egle Uljas Olympian
Priscilla Lopes Olympian
Dace Ruskule Olympian
Dmitrjis Milkevics Olympian
Kip Janvrin Olympian
Pat Manson U.S. Champion
Kiamesha Otey U.S. Champion
Joel Brown U.S. Champion
Kevin Hicks U.S. Champion
Lela Nelson U.S. Champion
Kenneth Ferguson U.S. Champion
Mardy Scales U.S. Champion
Amy Mortimer U.S. Champion
Gatis Spunde National Champion
Scott Sellers National Champion
Issar Yazhbin National Champion
Thomaida Polydorou National Champion
Frances Keating National Champion
Pinar Saka National Champion
Stelios Kapsalis National Champion
Alex Sawyer National Champion
Natalja Zarcenko National Champion
Amy Linnen NCAA Champion
Jacob Pauli NCAA Champion
Nichole Denby NCAA Champion
Arturs Abolins NCAA Champion
Dan Taylor NCAA Champion
Russ Buller NCAA Champion
Christian Smith NCAA Champion
Arturs Abolins NCAA Champion
Scott Russell NCAA Champion
Decosma Wright NCAA D2 Champion
Matt Campbell NCAA D2 Champion
Wilbert Walker NCAA D2 Champion
Davita Prendergast NCAA D2 Champion
Venessa Lee NCAA D2 Champion
Clint Prange NCAA D2 Champion
Kristin Anderson NCAA D2 Champion
Jennifer Drum Gree NCAA D2 Champion
Kerry-ann Robinson NCAA D2 Champion
Trinity Davis NCAA D2 Champion
Dexter Faulk NJCAA Champion
Sheldon Battle NJCAA Champion
Rashaud Johnston NJCAA Champion
Frankie Gatson NJCAA Champion
Rodney Martin NJCAA Champion
Tracy Robinson NJCAA Champion
Darryl Elston NJCAA Champion
Tim Allen NJCAA Champion
Tavarus Roberts NJCAA Champion
Simone Facey NJCAA Champion
Keisha Brown NJCAA Champion
Celethia Byrd NJCAA Champion
Tracy Ann Rowe NJCAA Champion
Shameka Speed NJCAA Champion
Bobby Reyes NJCAA Champion
Daniel Maina NJCAA Champion
Kyle Dennis NJCAA Champion
Courtney Gougler NJCAA Champion
Lamar Garrett NJCAA Champion
Kaaron Conwright World University Games Champion
Ivory Williams World Junior Champion
Ashley Owens World Junior Champion
Mark Jelks World Championship Team
Rae Edwards World Championship Team
John Hetzendorf World Championship Team

The 79th Kansas Relays will run from April 20 – 22; the GOLDZONE II is Saturday, April 22 from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. For more information on the Kansas Relays, a complete GOLDZONE II schedule, and ticket information, visit http://kuathletics.collegesports.com /sports/c-relay/.

Kansas Relays Press Conference Quotes — April 12, 2006

Meet Director Tim Weaver
Opening statement:

“Today the big announcement is 110 significant champions will be here as part of GOLDZONE II. That is highlighted by seven Olympic Champions and 36 total Olympians. I feel like more of a voice-over guy in a late night commercial for steak knives than I do a meet director. `How much would you pay to come see Maurice Greene in Memorial Stadium? Wait, don’t answer yet. We’ll also throw in Justin Gatlin, Allison Felix, seven Olympic Champions and 110 total champions.’ The reaction from the public and ticket sales has exceeded our expectations, and our expectations were pretty excessive. There has never been a collection of talent like this for a track meet in this part of the country. The folks who are going to be there Saturday afternoon are going to see something very special. Based on the public interest we’ve received, I would like to go public with a goal that has been a private goal of mine since April 23 of last year, and that is to break the all-time attendance record at the Kansas Relays. In 1972 Jim Ryun did his kickoff for his Olympic season here and 30,000 people showed up. Our goal is to break that mark on Saturday, April 22, at the GOLDZONE II. With the kind of athletes that we have out there and the public interest, I think that goal is attainable. We want people to come out and not only witness history but be a part of history.”

On this year’s competitors:
“The team list and nation list is complete. We have teams competing from 17 states, and at least 24 countries are represented. We are going to have an international affair in Memorial Stadium. The casual fan may not always know names, but they understand flags and nationality. Some of the best international athletes around will be here in Memorial Stadium. This is much more than a track meet, it is entertainment. ”

Head Coach Stanley Redwine
On fan support for the Kansas Relays:

“We are definitely excited about what this can be. We are waiting to see the difference between what can be and what will be. We are going to do everything that we can to put on a great show for the fans that come out to support the track meet.”

On the hype surrounding the Kansas Relays:
“I think it (the hype) adds to everything, especially because this is our only home meet. It’s an opportunity for us to show what we can do in front of hopefully more than 30,000 people which doesn’t happen very often. Anytime you are at home, you want to protect home and look good in it. We are definitely excited, and I’m sure the athletes are excited.”

Senior Charisse Bacchus
On starting her outdoor season:

“I just opened up at the Texas Relays where I jumped all right. I’m very happy with where I am because I opened up a lot bigger than I did last year. I’m pushing for bigger jumps than the previous year.”

On her performance at last year’s Kansas Relays:
“I competed in the high jump and in the 4×100-meter relay. I jumped well and cleared 5-6. I did okay in the relay. I think that the competition this year is going to be really stiff. I’m going to have to pull out all the stops.”

Senior Sheldon Battle
On the atmosphere at the Kansas Relays:
“You want people out there supporting you. People around the community might not know you, but they know you as a Jayhawk and they give you support no matter who you are. The overall atmosphere of the meet gives you a little extra adrenaline and excitement and helps you have a good performance.”

On what events he will compete in:
“Right now I’m signed up in the shot put, discus and the hammer throw. I’m not sure if I’ll do all three, but I’m sure that I will do the shot put and the discus. This year as a senior I’ve been trying to focus on two events so I don’t spread myself thin doing three events. It (competing in three events) is a good thing to do to help the team, but now I’m trying to do the best I can in two events.”