Manzano to Highlight Mile Field at Kansas Relays

April 15, 2013

LAWRENCE, Kan. – A collection of 12 of the nation’s top milers have agreed to race in the prestigious Glenn Cunningham Mile at the 2013 Kansas Relays it was announced Monday by Kansas officials. Headlining the competitive field will be Olympians Leo Manzano and Nick Symmonds, former Oregon All-American A.J. Acosta and the two-time KU Relays mile champion, Peter Van Der Westhuizen. The group will look to break Jim Ryun‘s 36-year-old KU Relays mile record at 4:25 p.m. Saturday, April 20 inside Memorial Stadium.

Perhaps the best known participant in this year’s mile is the 2012 Olympic Silver medalist, Manzano. The 28-year-old is the defending U.S. Champion in the 1,500 meters and boasts a personal-best mile time of 3:50.64. Manzano has competed at the Kansas Relays before, claiming the high school boy’s 800-meter titles in both 2002 and 2003 when he ran for Marble Falls High School (Texas). His winning time of 1:51.54 in 2003 still stands today as the meet record. The University of Texas alumnus will be a prime candidate to break Ryun’s meet record in the mile, having notched several sub-3:54 miles over his illustrious career.

Joining Manzano will be the two-time Oympian, Symmonds. World-renowned for his abilities at the 800-meter distance, Symmonds has also notched some fantastic times at the mile level. In 2007 he broke the four-minute mark on an indoor track, finishing the race in 3:56.72. In 2009, Symmonds became the first American to make the men’s 800m final at the World Championships since 1997. He duplicated that performance again in 2011. He qualified for his first Olympic team in 2008 at Hayward Field in one of the most memorable races of the Trials. Symmonds was the 2012 national champion in the event after winning at the Olympic Trials and went on to earn a fifth-place finish at the London Olympics with a personal best time of 1:42.95.

Also in the mile field will be Oregon’s eight-time All-American A.J. Acosta. The 2011 graduate is a two-time NCAA Champion as a member of Oregon’s record-breaking distance medley relay team. As a sophomore in Eugene, Acosta qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters where he went on to finish eighth in his semifinal heat. He has recorded the second-fastest mile of the 2013 Kansas Relays competitors behind Manzano, as he holds a personal best of 3:53.76.

A two-time KU Relays champion, Van Der Westuizen, will return to Lawrence hoping to claim a second-consecutive title. The South African and former Nebraska Cornhusker became the fifth man in KU Relays history to break the four-minute barrier last year when he won the event in 3:56.90, just two seconds from Ryun’s meet record.

The race will have a local touch as Kansas’ Josh Munsch is slated to compete amongst the professionals. The Hays, Kan., native came close to breaking the four-minute barrier on several occasions this past indoor season, posting a personal best of 4:03.09. Since the beginning of the outdoor campaign, Munsch has moved to the top of the NCAA at the 1,500-meter distance. The junior recently notched a new personal best in the event, clocking in at 3:43.03 at the Sun Angel Classic two weeks ago. Conversion charts predict Munsch would have posted a mile time near 4:01 at that pace. He will try to become the third man in Kansas history to break the four-minute barrier in the mile.

Rounding out the field will be Jeff See, Lee Emanuel, David Adams, Chris Gowell, Cory Leslie, JT Sullivan and Ireland’s Ciaran O’Lionard.

The Kansas Relays will be held April 17-20 with the elite milers running at approximately 4:25 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Tickets to the four-day event are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors and can be purchased at the Memorial Stadium ticket window. Log on to for additional information and complete meet coverage and don’t forget to follow on twitter at KU_Relays. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.