Scott Russell, Prep Stars Shatter Records on Third Day of Kansas Relays

April 22, 2011

Ex Jayhawk, Current Kansas Student-Athlete Dominate Javelin At Kansas Relays


Former Kansas thrower Scott Russell added an eighth Kansas Relays javelin crown to his collection with a record-setting heave Friday afternoon in the third leg of the 84th Kansas Relays.

Russell, a Jayhawk from 1998-2000, recorded a monster toss of 260-2 feet (79.31 meters) in his first attempt that was good enough to win on its own, but bested his own Kansas Relays record of 267-6 feet (81.53 meters) with his second throw that measured in at 268-11 feet (81.96 meters). This is now the fourth time that Russell, who competed unattached, has held the Relays record.

Kansas’ Johann Swanepeol finished second in the event with a throw of 241-06 (73.60 meters).

The day started off in similar fashion, as Lee’s Summit West bested its own record in the girl’s four-mile relay. The team finished with a time of 21:17.74, shaving 20 seconds off of the 2010 mark that already belonged to a team from Lee’s Summit West, who has traditionally dominated the event, winning in six of the eight years the event has been ran in the Kansas Relays. This was also the third-straight title in the four-mile relay for the Titans.

Several prep athletes shined throughout the day with two hurdlers turning in big performances. Kansas City standout Le’Tristan Pledger, who already owns two Kansas Relays long jump titles, won the qualifier of the 100-meter hurdles with a near-record time of 13.91. Pledger, the Kansas state champion in the event who placed third at the 2010 Junior World Championships, ran the second-fastest time for a high school girl ever at the Kansas Relays, and just narrowly missed matching Tiffany Pembroke’s meet record of 13.73 set last year.

The winner of the girl’s 300-meter hurdles qualifier, Alexa Harmon of nearby Free State High School, was just a second off of the Kansas Relays record with a time of 44.01. Her winning time was the fastest in the state of Kansas this year.

Casey Bowen of Gardner-Edgerton capped off the day for the junior athletes with a win in the pole vault. Bowen’s vault of 16-04.75 feet (5.00 meters) was nearly two feet more than the second-place finisher’s vault and was the seventh-highest vault ever recorded by a high school jumper in the state of Kansas.

Perhaps no prep star shined brighter than Adonis Saunders, who heard loud cheers from the Memorial Stadium crowd when it was announced that the two-sport athlete from Olathe North had signed with Kansas to play football. Saunders, the 2010 Kansas Relays 100-meter dash champ, promptly won the qualifier of the event.

While the top prep names weren’t new, one particular name from Friday was: Daniel Sorenson. The junior from McPherson College became the first-ever Bulldog to win a Kansas Relays title when he won the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase. The junior posted a time of 9:09.01, which was nine seconds better than the second-place finisher.

In the distance relay events, the home teams dominated, as Kansas claimed both distance medley titles. The women won for the second-straight year and continued their domination of the event with their sixth victory since 1992. The KU men also won for the first time since 2002.

KU also had the best showing in the triple jump. Competing unattached, former Jayhawk Crystal Manning captured her third victory in the event in the last four years, while current Jayhawk Andrea Guebelle finished behind Manning.

Several Big 12 athletes are set to clash in Saturday’s final events, as the conference’s top sprinters all qualified Friday. Those events are slated to start a 9:50 Saturday morning, beginning with the women’s 200-meter dash.

Saturday’s headlining act is the Invitational events. Several of the world’s top track stars and Kansas Relays holders such as Veronica Campbell-Brown, Lauryn Williams, Bershawn ‘Batman’ Jackson, Terrence Trammell, Antwon Hicks and April Steiner will converge at Hershberger Track for nine Invitational events.

Also on tap for Saturday is the Paralympic 100-meter dash. Sponsored by the U.S. Army, the event will feature world record-holding military veterans. One such veteran, Kortney Clemons, is a current KU volunteer assistant coach. Clemons is a former medic and above-the-knee amputee, who held the world record in the T43 Class until recently when Blake Leper, who will also be racing in the event, bested Clemons’ mark. The Invitational Paralympic 100-meter dash will be ran at 2:15 p.m.

Saturday’s events will also be livestreamed on

Complete results can be seen here.

2011 Kansas Relays

April 22, 2011

Lawrence Kan. — Memorial Stadium

Day Two Quotes

Women’s Triple Jump, Crystal Manning, Unattached

On her performance today:

“I think technically my rhythm was a little off but I think I did really well considering it was my first meet in this event this year. I was really excited to be here so that helped me out a lot.”

On if the weather affected her in her performance today:

“No, not really. Maybe a little bit but I’ve jumped in much worse weather than this, like hail and snow.”

On what she feels she can take away from today’s win and for the rest of the season:

“Everyone wants to PR their first meet but that’s not realistic. I just have some technical things I need to work on and I’ll be ready to really compete.”

On how it feels to be back in Lawrence and bring another triple jump title home at the Kansas Relays:

“It feels amazing. I’m just really glad I could be here and put together a good performance for all the fans.”

Steeplechase, Daniel Sorenson, McPherson

On his thoughts after setting a personal record in the race:

“My previous best was 9:15 three years ago so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m happy I’m finally in shape again.”

On what led to his great performance:

“My training, because I’ve been working mostly with just mileage. I’ve been averaging about 80 to 90 miles a week and I have a good coach.”

On what his mindset was going into the race:

“Basically I wanted to see how they felt the first couple of laps. Hopefully, they went out in 73’s and if they are going 73’s I just wanted to try and take it. I ended up with a 9:09 so I’m happy.”

On his thoughts about the rest of the field:

“The past couple of weeks I haven’t had any competition. I’ve won by over a minute and they said they were putting me with some good people. I just let them lead and take over when I can.”

Men’s Shot Put, Mason Finley, Kansas

On winning the event again:

“It’s nice. It’s always great to win the (Kansas) Relays for sure. It’s the first time I’ve thrown outdoor this year, so that’s not a bad mark to open up with.”

On how the crowd affects his throws:

“It really gets you pumped. I don’t know why, but it does. It definitely gets the adrenaline flowing a little more.”

On how this win feels compared to last year’s win:

“I definitely feel more prepared since last year was my first year doing it. This year, I know what’s going on and I know how everything is run. That’s pretty much the only difference.”

Women’s Four Mile Relay, Amanda Miller, Kansas

On how she felt on her individual time:

“As a team, we weren’t running for time, we were just running to be competitive. To be honest, I’m not even sure what my time was, or even the overall time. It was good to get out there and have some distance girls run a relay.”

On how it feels to be competing at a home meet:

“It feels really good, especially since we are coming down the home stretch of the season and of our workouts. It is just really fun to come and perform in front of your home fans and running on your home track.”

Women’s Four Mile Relay, Tessa Turcotte, Kansas

On how she felt about the team’s performance:

“It went well for us – for us, we wanted to just go out there and compete, and try to do our best.”

On what it means to run at the Kansas Relays:

“It’s really nice, especially since you have the home field advantage. We have a lot more friends, family and overall fans here cheering us on. It is really fun to have your friends from school come watch you compete. It’s also additionally fun since it is the track you compete on, so that is always a plus.”

On how she felt about the competition in her field:

“Wichita State came out and ran a good race, so that was nice to compete against them. It helps us get out here and prepare for the Big 12 Championships and for the NCAA Championships.”

Women’s Four Mile Relay, Rachel York, Wichita State

On her feelings after winning the race:

“We all feel really good about the race itself, there were four really good schools out there, and I felt like the four of us each ran a really good leg. We were coming into the race trying to break the meet record, but we came up a few seconds short of that. Overall, I think we all felt good about the race itself.”

On how she felt about her individual leg:

“As a team, we had a pretty hard week of training; I felt like I could have had a better time. My leg could have been better – if it weren’t for that, I feel like my personal time could have been better.”

On what it’s like running in the Kansas Relays:

“It is definitely great to get out here with a bunch of local schools and local competition. We missed a few years of coming here, but it is really good to be back, it’s always fun to run at this meet.”

Women’s Four Mile Relay, Tonya Nero, Wichita State

On what it is like running at the Kansas Relays:

“It is really fun to come out here and try to do our best.”

On how she felt about the overall team performance:

“I think we did really well, the most important thing for us is that we did our best. Even though we didn’t get the specific time that we wanted, it is really nice to know that we did our best.”

On how she felt about her individual performance:

“I feel really good about my leg. Again, it is nice to run at the (Kansas) Relays, so I’m happy with my overall performance.”

Men’s Four Mile Relay, Jason McCullough, Hays Track Club

On how he felt about his individual leg of the race:

“For me, I was just trying to run a persistent race – I ran the 10,000 meters last night, so I was trying to maintain the lead that we had before I got the baton. I was just trying to maintain our lead so our next runner could further our time.”

On how he felt on the whole team’s performance:

“I thought we all ran a faster than we did in our last race. It was a good performance for us; we’re all coaches for Fort Hays State, so we don’t do this full time, we are just trying to get a good overall time.”

On how he felt about the competition he was facing:

“It was really good competition; we were facing some of the best competition in the area. Obviously, we’re glad to come out and win the race.”

On what it is like to run at the Kansas Relays:

“It’s great for us; it is the biggest venue we will compete at. It is something that every track athlete looks forward to.”

Men’s Four Mile Relay, Matt Goets, Hays Track Club

On how he felt he personally did in the race:

“I felt good about my individual performance. I felt like I ran a poor race in the steeplechase last night, and I was frustrated about that, so I wanted to come out here and be happy with how I performed.”

On how he felt about the team’s performance:

“We’re all coaches, so we just come out here basically for the thrill of it all. We aren’t here to prove anything; we’re just out here because we missed the pre-race nervousness, and everything that accompanies track.”

On what it is like running at the Kansas Relays:

“Growing up in Kansas and as a Jayhawk fan, it’s always fun to get to run here. This year it feels like there is more excitement and that there is more to it than in previous years. As a runner, it is always fun to run with this energy in the environment.”

Men’s Pole Vault, Jordan Scott, Kansas

On his win:

“I was ready to keep jumping. I was hoping that I tied with someone so that I could have a jump off. I wanted to make some more bars. I came out with the win on misses. I will definitely take it.”

On if fellow pole vaulter Jacob Pauli is a role model for him:

“He’s been a big role model for me because I have always jumped with him ever since I have been on the Elite level. I’ve always looked up to him because he’s helped me out. He’s a good guy.”

On Jacob Pauli saying that Scott could make the Olympics:

“That’s definitely one of my goals and I know that it’s possible, but for it to actually happen will take a lot more hard work. It’s possible. I sure hope so. There are a lot of good guys out there coming up.”

On the Jayhawk in his hair:

“My girlfriend painted it. She’s also a (pole) vaulter on the team, Julia Cummings. She has been dyeing my hair for this whole season. I took a break from dyeing it the last few meets because I’ve been working on things and I didn’t want to draw attention to myself when I’m not going to jump that high. For the Kansas Relays I had to bring it back to get the crowd into it.”

On getting ready for the NCAA Championships next month:

“I’m really excited. I’m trying not to think about it right now because I want to jump as high I can in these next few meets so I can get the confidence. Last year I jumped pretty high during the season and went into Nationals knowing that I had jumped as high, if not higher, than everyone else that was there. I want that this year too. A lot of it is mental.”

On if he gained some confidence today with his victory:

“I got a lot of confidence today. I was a little upset at myself; I kind of just gave up on that last jump. It felt so good that I thought I had enough height. I just kind of sailed over it instead of pushing to get that extra inch. I kind nicked the bar and I deserved that.”

On not making his final mark:

“I didn’t think I gave up. I must have because I had it. I hate those.”

On his future plans in track and field:

“I really don’t know what to expect after nationals. My goal has always been to go pro (professional in) vaulting. I am going to have to consistently jump a lot higher to do that. It’s not a reality right now, but it’s a goal of mine. I don’t know what after Nationals will entail. I have to find a summer job just in case I guess. I am going to grad school in the fall. That’s the only sure thing right now.”

On this being his last home meet as a Jayhawk:

“I didn’t think about it until another guy mentioned it. It’s my last home meet ever. I’m glad I won it. It’s a good note to go out on.”

On if he will still compete in the Kansas Relays:

“I will be back. I can’t imagine not coming back. I’ll be here and it will still be like a home meet for me, but I won’t be in the KU uniform. I hope to continue jumping pretty high here.”

Triple Jump, Chris Phipps, Nebraska

On his performance:

“At first, I didn’t think I was going to do too well. But, really, I’m just thankful for my gifts and thankful that I have the opportunity to come out here and compete today and give it my all.”

On the conditions of the day:

“The sunshine helped. It came out at the perfect time today. It came out right as we were about to begin, it’s like it came out for the main event. It was nice.”

On what it means to win at the Kansas Relays:

“It feels pretty good. I just try to take it one day a time with the competition. I love competing against and jumping with these guys. They’re like my friends; it’s really cool. They’re all friends to me and it’s just very cool to be here and get a win.”

On his goals going forward:

“I just want to increase my distance. I want to keep getting stronger and keep improving and just jump farther.”

Women’s High Jump, Epley Bollock, Unattached

On her strategy for the high jump today:

“This is only my second meet for the outdoor season. I’m on a different schedule now that I’m not in college anymore, so I’m still trying to get used to training longer and not competing as often. My strategy today was to try and clear six feet since I’ve had so much time off, but I didn’t quite get there today.”

On how this meet will help her for the rest of the season:

“There’s a really good crowd here. When you hear your name on the loudspeaker, it always makes you a bit more nervous. That will definitely help me feel like I’m in the spotlight because at the big meets, you’re definitely in the spotlight.”

Women’s 3000-Meter Steeplechase, Meagan Hudson, Missouri Baptist

On her 11:15.33 performance:

“I am very pleased with the win. That is what I came out here to do. I am not as satisfied with my time, but I will take it.”

On how she felt after the race:

“Finals week was last week and I have not been sleeping. I have only been getting three hours of sleep and I was hungry going into the race, so that is why I felt like I was going to pass out at the end.”

On this being her fifth-straight year in competing at the Kansas Relays:

“I have been here every single year and this is my second win in a row. The year before that, I was the runner-up. I might be back next year unattached, but I wanted to end my college career on a win.”

On what it means to win her second-straight steeplechase at the Kansas Relays:

“Since this will be the last time I will be wearing a Missouri Baptist uniform, I just wanted to win it one more time here at KU.”

Women’s Javelin, Ali Pistora, Kansas State

On her three throws in the finals:

“In the finals I didn’t even know what throw I was on. I was in my own little world, but I think I really progressed and got back on track and threw well and the Kansas weather always helps out.”

On if the weather was a factor in the finals:

“I would say a little bit because a lot of the girls had really good throws. There were a lot of personal records set today and the weather might have carried them a little farther today.”

On if she was pleased with her performance in the finals:

“Yes, I set a new personal record today and I’m very happy with that and hopefully I can keep it going.”