First-Ever Downtown Shot Put Highlights 84th Kansas Relays Opening Day

April 20, 2011

| Downtown Shot Put Videos Adam Nelson | Reese Hoffa


History was made on the first day of the 84th Kansas Relays when the Kansas Relays became the first U.S. track and field meet to ever hold an event in the middle of a downtown city street.

Eight of the world’s top throwers took the Invitational men’s shot put competition to the streets of downtown Lawrence Wednesday night. While street events may be common in Europe, Wednesday’s shot put was the first of its kind on this side of the pond.

Hundreds of people lined the intersection of Eighth and New Hampshire as Dylan Armstrong, the world’s No. 7-ranked thrower, won the inaugural event. Armstrong, out of Kamloops, British Columbia, paced the field right from the start. His first throw of 68-5.75 (20.87 meters) was good enough to keep him in the lead through the first two rounds, before he bettered his first mark with his winning toss of 70-07.25 (21.52 meters) in the third round.

Reese Hoffa, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the world, finished behind Armstrong with a mark of 69-03.50 (21.12 meters). The group’s veteran, Adam Nelson, used a fiery, pre-throw routine and the cheers of the crowd to propel himself to a third-place finish with a throw of 68-05.25 (20.86 meters).

The two also became instant fan favorites. After the completion of the competition, fans clamored for autographs and pictures with Nelson and Rubik’s Cube puzzle lessons from Hoffa, after he was revealed to be a “speed cuber” with the ability to solve the puzzle in under a minute.

The 2011 Relays opened up with the decathlon and heptathlon events, Wednesday morning at Hershberger Track at Memorial Stadium.

A Big 12-theme took shape as athletes from Kansas, Iowa State and Nebraska emerged as the leaders in day one.

Jamal Currica of Iowa State got off to a blazing start in the decathlon, pulling out to a commanding lead and finishing with a time of 10.90. The time earned him 883 points, giving him a 133-point lead going into the long jump. Despite only recording the fourth-best mark in the long jump, Currica finished first in the shot put and second in the high jump to extend his lead. After five events, Currica led with a total of 3,582 points.

Nebraska’s Teran Walford was solid in Wednesday’s decathlon as well, recording a personal best in the shot put and finishing first in the long jump. Walford will resume action Thursday in second place with 3,460 points.

Kansas’ Nick Canton earned the most points in a single event Wednesday in the high jump. Canton cleared a new personal-best mark of 6-10.25 ft (2.09 meters). for 887 points, and finished the day in third place.

In the Candace Mason Heptathlon, Kansas’ Rebecca Neville also set a new personal record in the high jump, clearing 5-05.75 ft (1.67 meters). for the top mark in the second event of the day. Neville topped the field in three of the four events to end the day totaling 3,125 points.

Iowa State’s Jordon Andreassen finished trailing Neville by 97 points (3,028), with Nebraska’s Jordan Steins not far behind with 3,011 points.

The combined events will continue Thursday morning at Memorial Stadium, starting with the decathlon 110-meter hurdles at 8:30 a.m., and the heptathlon long jump at 9 a.m. The Kansas Relays will return to downtown Lawrence tomorrow night for the Invitational men’s long jump.

Today’s complete results can be found here.

2011 Kansas Relays

April 20, 2011

Lawrence, Kan. — Memorial Stadium

Day One Quotes

Dylan Armstrong, shot-put winner

On his performance:

“It was awesome competing here today, but I know that I still have a lot of work to do. This year is a big year with the World Championships coming up. The crowd was great and I know that the shot putters really enjoyed and appreciate it.”

On winning:

“You always have to be confident when coming into an event. This is one of the strongest events in the world right know in track and field. This is a great group of guys who are all friends and support and push each other hard.”

On coming back:

“I would definitely come back to compete next year. How could you not want to compete here? It has been a great success this year and we had a lot of support here as well.”

On the confidence he has after winning:

“You just have to build along the way. Every competition can be different and this is a real strong event. You have to stay healthy, work hard, and continue to push.”

On being friends with other shot putting competitors:

“Although we are big guys, we are also some of the friendliest guys as well. We all have been buddies for a long time.”

On the setup of the competition being in downtown Lawrence:

“They did a fabulous job here and it is really nice to see. There was no adjustment that needed to be made.”

Reese Hoffa, Runner up

On the set up of the competition in downtown Lawrence:

“I love these kind of meets and it allows the fans to get into it. I hope they enjoyed themselves and had a great time.”

On Kansas Relay’s repeating the downtown setup:

“I really enjoyed myself and I hope they do it next year. It is a great event and it allows us to interact with our fans.”

On completing the Rubik cube after competition:

“I didn’t do it as fast as I usually do it, but I am use to my own cube. People like me to do it from time to time so I usually have a cube with me. That cube was right out of the box and a bit hard to maneuver.”

On the event helping with fan support:

“The fans are incredible. I hope they come out in more droves. I hope they bring out seating next time to get them really involved in the competition.”

On shot putting more than 69 feet?

“I am happy that I finally got to my 83rd competition throwing over 69 feet. I am two away from being number two all-time in competition.”

Adam Nelson, Third-place finisher

On his performance:

“I was really decent in my throws tonight. I didn’t have any problems in the ring, which is technically really good.”

On the event helping with competition in larger events:

“I feel like every event is a stepping stone to a larger event later on in the year. This is a great event to come out and compete in. I don’t know if anyone knows this, but this is like the NBA all-star game with the type of quality athletes we had here tonight. You usually do not see so many specialized athletes in one location. This is a really awesome event and this was fun to get at it and put on a great show.

On competing downtown:

“I was excited to see that we were competing downtown. We love having opportunities to compete in the United States. It really is nice to have a two-hour flight, watch television in a language that you understand and eat a regular meal.”

On the atmosphere matching up compared to fans oversees:

“It is really unique to see a crowd this large at one event. I think that Lawrence and KU did an amazing job. I really enjoyed the event and everyone has been really hospitable. To run an event like this and not have any issue the first time you do it shows the professionalism of the group.”

Heptathlon Leader Rebecca Neville, Kansas

On how she feels after the first day:

“We’re doing awesome right now. Besides the 100 hurdles it was a slow time for me, but it was 40 degrees outside. To run 14.35 in 40 degree weather that’s okay. High jump was awesome today. I had two good attempts at 5’7” and then my third attempt I had a time foul so I didn’t get to try my third attempt. Overall I feel pretty good. I know I’m over from where I was at during the Texas Relays, so I’m glad about that and hopefully that will put me back up into the top 24 in the nation because right now after the Texas Relays I was 25th.”

On what she needs to do to prepare for tomorrow:

“Well I’ll do a cool-down and go back to Anschutz and take an ice bath. Then I’ll well tonight and get plenty of rest. Tomorrow I’ll come in and hit it hard with a strong event in the long jump.”

On whether she was expecting to be leading after the first day:

“Well yes. You go into every competition like that. You want to do your best every single time. The girls that I’m beating right now from Nebraska beat me at the Indoor Big 12 Championships even though that wasn’t a good pentathlon for me, but it’s just showing me how much better I’m getting as we move on in the season.”

On what her game plan is for going into tomorrow:

“It’s time to set a personal record in everything. I don’t care if it hurts in the 800. I have to part my heart on the line because it’s the last event. I start out in my strong event, which is the javelin.”

On how her performance can set the tone for the whole team:

“To show them that we are moving up. Kansas track and field is moving up in the nation rankings and we’re all working together. That will help us get closer and closer to that national team title and a Big 12 title.”

Decathlon Leader Jamal Currica, Iowa State

On tightening up after the last event of the day:

“I thought I got out well and I kept a good pace, but I kind of tightened up at the end there. I just had to fight and try and keep the lead, but I thought it was an okay race.”

On how he feels after his first day performance:

“Long jump was rough because I fouled my two attempts. So, on my third attempt I just wanted to get a safe one in there and I didn’t jump as far as I wanted to. High jump was a little rough. I was a little inconsistent on my approach because I started on the turf. I didn’t do as well as I wanted too in all five events, but I’m happy with the lead and I have the Big 12 Championships in three weeks so I just want to come out tomorrow and put everything together.”

On what he needs to do tonight to prepare:

“I just need to calm down. I need to get myself mentally prepared, stretch, ice, eat well and come out tomorrow and hopefully do much better than I did today.”

On what event he is looking forward to tomorrow:

“I would say the javelin and discus. I think those two areas I really need to improve on and I’ve been doing well in hurdles all year. Mainly I’m doing well in everything, but mainly the throws I want to do well in.”

On whether he is worried about his leg tightening up again tomorrow:

“No, it’s the 400 and it happens sometimes in the last 50 meters. If I just stretch and cool down I should be fine.”