78th Kansas Relays Gets Under Way With Weight Throw And Distance Carnival

April 21, 2005

Notes and Quotes

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Day one of the 78th Annual Kansas Relays featured numerous highlights, headlined by Nick Welihozkiy’s second consecutive victory in the collegiate men’s hammer throw and Bryan Niewald’s Kansas Relay record-setting performance in the men’s master’s mile.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Welihozkiy, of the Pac-Bay Track Club, topped his 2004 first-place toss by throwing 207’6″. Niewald, a native of Overland Park, Kan., who missed last year’s event due to injury, surpassed his own Relays record of 4:54.05 — which he set in 2003 — with a time of 4:53.75.

The KU track and field program also enjoyed success on the opening day. Junior Erik Sloan notched his first collegiate victory in the men’s unseeded 1,500 meter run with a mark of 4:00.00. Senior Paige Higgins took the women’s 3,000 meter run in 10:05.35. Junior Sheldon Battle’s distance of 194’08” was good for second place in the men’s hammer throw, while senior Jennifer Widerstrom placed fourth in the women’s version with a toss of 178’08”.

More Jayhawk top finishers included sophomore Keith Schmerer’s seventh-place performance (1:55.45) and sophomore Mark Gdowski’s eighth-place (1:55.63) mark in the men’s unseeded 800 meter run and sophomore Laura Major’s eighth-place finish in the women’s unseeded 800-meter run.

Thursday’s final races saw South Dakota State’s Naoyuki Asano (31:56.26) and Butler County Community College’s Diane Nukuri (36:15.92) collect victories in the men’s and women’s collegiate 10,000 meter run.

Other opening day notables included Susan Stine-Melgares and her husband, Pat Melgares each capturing victories in the open 5K run.

The Relays resume Friday, April 22, at 8 a.m. and will run non-stop until 8:25 p.m. Saturday’s events start at 9 a.m., with the GOLD ZONE scheduled to get underway at 2 p.m.