Sprinters Headline Final Leg of 84th Kansas Relays
April 23, 2011
Day Four Quotes
Paralympic 100 Meters Provides Special Moment On Kansas Relays Final Day
Kansas Relays Videos: KU Football Commit Adonis Saunders
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
A stunning run by double-leg-amputee Blake Leeper and a lightning-fast performance by Kansas sprinter Diamond Dixon led to the two earning the awards of Most Outstanding Male and Most Outstanding Female Performer on the final day of the 84
th Kansas Relays, Saturday at Hershberger Track at Memorial Stadium.
Leeper was the overwhelming favorite for the award Saturday, after he became the first-ever Kansas Relays Invitational Paralympic 100-meter dash winner. Leeper, who beat out heavy favorite Kortney Clemmons — a Kansas volunteer assistant coach — wowed the crowd by running the 100-meter dash in 11.32 on two prosthetic legs. The sprinter from Churchill, Tenn., drew a standing ovation from memorial stadium and praise from several other Relays athletes with the time that would have topped his own world record had he been competing in a sanctioned T43 division race.
Dixon, a freshman All-American out of El Paso, Texas, won the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.63 — more than a second better than second-place finisher Kendra Bradley, also of Kansas. Dixon was impressive throughout the week as she established a new personal best in the 400 in Friday’s qualifying round and was the top qualifier in the 100-meter dash. She finished off the meet by helping her teammates to a win in the 1,600-meter relay. Dixon ran the third leg of a race in which the Jayhawks blew past their competition winning in 3:38.55 and coming two seconds shy of meeting the meet record.
The afternoon’s windy conditions didn’t deter some of the world’s top athletes from turning in outstanding performances in the Kansas Relays’ Invitational events.
Nike’s Kellie Wells started off the elite events by running the 100-meter hurdles in a nation-leading time of 12.75. Antwon Hicks then took his third Kansas Relays 110-meter hurdle title with a time of 13.35, which is currently the fourth-best mark in the U.S.
The sprinters continued with Olympic silver-medalist Lauryn Williams running the second-fastest 100-meter dash in the U.S. this year with a time of 11.10 in the Invitational women’s 100-meter dash. The defending 100-meter dash champion and Kansas Relays record-holder, Ivory Williams, ran the world’s third-fastest time for 2011 with a mark of 10.05. Another Kansas Relays record-holder, Veronica Campbell-Brown, also successfully defended her Invitational 200-meter dash title, running the race in 22.95.
In the men’s Invitational 200-meter dash, a relatively unknown newcomer, recent Washington grad Jordan Boase defeated Brandan Christian and the favored Darvis Patton with a time of 20.72 for his first-ever Kansas Relays win.
Both the men’s and women’s Invitational 400-meter hurdle fields featured tough matchups, but Sheena Tosta won the women’s event and fan favorite Bershawn `Batman’ Jackson won his sixth Kansas Relays title, defeating Relays newcomer Johnny Dutch.
For the second day in a row, Adonis Saunders and Le’Tristan Pledger dominated the Relays’ prep scene.
KU football signee Saunders helped Olathe North to a 400-meter relay title and won the boy’s adidas Dream 100-meter dash, proving himself as the fastest boy at the Kansas Relays and earning a trip to New York to compete in the adidas Golden Stripes race.
Pledger, out of Kansas City’s Washington High, won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.98, which ranks among the top 15 times in the world this year.
The home team of Kansas dominated the college events turning in six winning performances. Kansas played into the week’s Big 12 theme as Nebraska and Kansas State took four titles each.
One K-State athlete, Ryann Krais, had two notable performances in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles. Krais won both events, claiming the 100-meter hurdles first with a time of 13.63 and then absolutely dominated in her 400-meter hurdle win. Krais won with a personal-best time of 57.04 and was almost exactly two seconds ahead of the runner-up.
Kansas Relays was truly historic. Records were broken and the event became the first U.S. meet to put on street events when the Invitational men’s shot put and long jump were contested in downtown Lawrence. Over 5,000 athletes represented schools and cities from coast to coast.