Bookman to Defend Kansas Relays Crown
April 14, 2005
LAWRENCE, Kan. – On Thursday, Meet Director Tim Weaver announced today that Leo Bookman, a former University of Kansas All-American and three-time 200-meter National Champion, is joining the stellar field for the Kansas Relays GOLD ZONE. Bookman finished his collegiate eligibility last spring and is now competing for Nike. He competed in the 200 meters at the 2004 US Olympic Trials in Sacramento. Although Bookman failed to qualify for the Athens Olympics, his quick rise to becoming one of the top sprinters in the U.S. makes him a force to be reckoned with in this upcoming track season.
“Leo has more NCAA sprint titles than anyone in the country in recent years,” Weaver said. “This will be the first chance that Lawrence fans will have to see Leo in person going up against a truly international field. There will be some great athletes and Olympians in his races, but I’ve learned that when the spotlight is brightest to never bet against Leo Bookman.”
While competing for the Jayhawks, Bookman claimed the 200-meter National Championship three times. He was the Indoor and Outdoor National Champion in 2003, and defended his Indoor title in 2004. He won the Big XII Conference Championship twice in 2002 (Indoor and Outdoor) and was the Indoor Champion again in 2004. He holds the school record in the 60-meter dash (6.69), and has the 200 meter indoor record (20.53.) Bookman has four All-American honors and was ranked as one of the top-ten 200-meter runners in the United States by Track and Field News in 2003. Last year at the Kansas Relays, Leo claimed the 100-meter dash title in 10.04. This year Bookman will be competing in the 100-meter dash again with hopes to capitalize on last year’s exciting victory.
“I want to win again, of course, and hopefully run near or under 10 seconds. The better competition brings out the best in everyone,” said Bookman. “All these big names coming in this year will fill up the stands and bring so much more excitement for the meet. My main focus for this season is qualifying for the World Championships and running some fast times at meets leading up to get some cash bonuses as well. The Kansas Relays is an important part of that goal.”
Bookman is still training in Lawrence under Kansas track and field coach Stanley Redwine and is also a volunteer assistant coach for the Jayhawks. Redwine sees big things happening for Leo in the future and hopes that the 2005 Kansas Relays will be a big part the early season as Bookman prepares for this year’s World Championships. Last weekend Bookman competed at the Texas Relays where his 4x100m relay team placed fourth.”We are definitely excited for Leo’s return and hope that he can duplicate what he did last year,” Redwine said, “The competition will be better, and I know that he’s excited to run again at the relays and for a good showing.”
Early in his college career, Bookman played football for KU along with running track. He decided to give up the gridiron in 2003 to concentrate fully on running, which turned out to be beneficial after he defeated Olympic gold medallist Maurice Greene in the prelims of the 200-meter dash at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships. Bookman could potentially face off against Greene and his HSI team this year at the Kansas Relays in the 4×100 meter relay. This match-up should be one to get excited for as one of KU’s own competes against a local Olympianin front of both of their home fans.
The 78th Kansas Relays will run from April 21-23; the GOLD ZONE is Saturday, April 23, from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. For more information about the Kansas Relays, a complete GOLD ZONE schedule, and ticket information, please visit http://kuathletics.collegesports.com/sports/c-relay/.