KU Track and Field Returns Home to Host 85th Annual Kansas Relays
April 17, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Fresh off a successful performance at the UTEP Invitational, the Kansas track and field team will be back in Lawrence this week as the Jayhawks compete in the 85th edition of Kansas Relays, April 18-21.
The Kansas Relays is one of the premier events held in the U.S. every year, bringing together a collection of talented high school, collegiate and professional athletes for four days of track and field competition at the Hershberger Track and McCook-Olympic Field inside historic Memorial Stadium.
“It is great to have the Relays here and it definitely helps to be at home because everybody competes better when they are at home,” explained Kansas track and field head coach Stanley Redwine. “The mystic of Allen Fieldhouse is comparable to having a home meet here for our athletes.”
The Jayhawks will have close to 90 student-athletes competing in the Relays this year, nearly a dozen of which are ranked in the top-25 nationally. KU also has 32 individual athletes and four relay teams that are currently among the top 10 on the Big 12 outdoor performance list.
The Kansas men, ranked 26th in the latest USTFCCCA national poll, boast a number of decorated athletes in both track and field events. A member of the All-American Honorable Mention Team, Donny Wasinger, as well as talented sophomore Josh Munsch, will both be competing in their first-ever event against professionals. The duo will take part in the men’s invitational Mile on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Also starring in the running events for the men is Michael Stigler, who will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles. The freshman is currently ranked in the top-20 nationally in the event.
Headlining the Jayhawk men’s field events will be junior Mason Finley, who will look to defend his crown at the Relays as discus champion. The 6-8 thrower is currently ranked in the top-five nationally and has earned All-America status in the event the past two years. Competing alongside Finley in the field events will be sophomore Alex Bishop and freshman Greg Lupton, who both rank in the top-30 in the nation in the pole vault. The duo will get to test their mettle Friday at 1:30 p.m.
On the women’s side, the 11th ranked Jayhawks are led by sophomore Diamond Dixon who will be competing in her first-ever invitational event when she takes to historic Hershberger Track in the 400 meters. Dixon is the 2012 national champion in the event and an All-American following her indoor season. She is also the school record holder in the 400 meters and the reigning Big 12 Champion.
Another Jayhawk from the women’s team to keep a close eye on is senior Rebeka Stowe, competing in her final Kansas Relays. The Olathe, Kan., native will lead the two-time KU Relays-defending champion women’s distance medley relay team and she will also compete in the 1,500 meters. Another talented KU women’s team will on be display at Memorial Stadium as the All-American 4×400-meter relay team will run as a group for the first time this outdoor season. The quartet placed third at NCAA Indoor Championships in March and hold the school record in the event, as well.
The Kansas women are also led by a number of talented athletes in the field, including long jumper Francine Simpson. The junior is coming off her personal best jump of 21-07.50 feet at the UTEP invite a week ago, which was also the second-best jump in school history. Simpson is an All-American in the event and the reigning Big 12 Indoor champion. Joining her will be junior Andrea Guebelle, a national champion in the triple jump during the indoor season.
Also in the field will be thrower Heather Bergman. An All-American and top-five in the nation in the javelin, the junior will hit the runway at 2 p.m. Friday. Pole vaulter Demi Payne, who is ranked in the top 20, nationally will compete Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Making her first Kansas Relays appearance as a collegiate will be former KU volleyball standout Allison Mayfield, who joined the track and field team following her final season on the volleyball court for coach Ray Bechard. The Overland Park, Kan., native will compete in the high jump and javelin Friday at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.
The 85th edition of the Kansas Relays begins Wednesday, April 18 and continues through Saturday, April 21. Admission into the meet will be granted to those who purchase a 2012 Kansas Relays button. The buttons are $10 for adults and $5 for students, youth and seniors. The buttons are valid for all four days of the event. Children under five are admitted for free, as are KU students with a valid KU ID. A Kansas Relays family plan is also available and includes two adult and two student/youth buttons for $20.
Updates on all the meet action can be found at the KU Relays Meet Central Page; including live results, the interactive meet blog and a live web stream all day Friday and Saturday. For a complete meet schedule, news and information, as well as quotes and recaps of each day’s events, visit the KU Relays web site at www.kansasrelays.com.