Drake Relays, Cardinal Invitational Up Next for Kansas Track and Field

April 27, 2006


Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

The University of Kansas men’s and women’s track and field teams will split up this weekend as one group heads to the Drake Relays and another travels to the Cardinal Invitational. A collection of distance runners will be in Stanford, Calif., while the rest of the team will compete in Des Moines, Iowa. The Jayhawks are coming off a solid weekend at the 79th Kansas Relays that saw wins from the women’s 4×100-meter relay team and Sheldon Battle in the discus as well as several additional runner-up finishes. Next for the Jayhawks after this weekend will be the Ward Haylett Invitational in Manhattan, Kan., on May 6.

From the 79th Kansas Relays…
No school records were broken at the annual spring event like in past weeks, but the Jayhawks did turn in several strong performances. Senior Sheldon Battle (63-10 1/2) finished as the highest collegiate thrower in the invitational shot put, losing only to Nike representatives Christian Cantwell and Dan Taylor. Additionally, the Jayhawks swept the top-two spots in the discus with Battle finishing first (179-2) and junior Cody Roberts coming in second (171-8).

The team’s Russian hammer throwers proved to be up to the challenge in their first Relays. Sophomore Egor Agafonov finished second (222-2) to three-time defending champ Nick Welihozkiy in an exciting hammer competition while freshman Zlata Tarasova also took the runner-up position (194-1), losing only to Big 12 rival Laci Heller of K-State.

The women’s 4×100-meter relay team of Crystal Manning, Tiffany Cherry, Victoria Howard and Charisse Bacchus ran a blazing 45.59 in their preliminary heat on Friday. In addition to getting a regionally-qualifying performance, the team turned around the next day and won the competition with a time of 45.73.

Sophomore Colby Wissel ran to a third-place result in the invitational mile, turning in a time of 4:05.19. Wissel beat teammates Cameron Schwehr, Joshy Madathil and Paul Hefferon down the stretch to get the regionally-qualifying mark.

The men’s and women’s distance medley relay competitions had a distinctive KU flavor, as both races were won by Jayhawks. The women’s team of Melissa O’Rourke, Cortney Jacobs, Angela Pichardo and Dena Seibel finished its race in a time of 12:04.96 while a squad comprised of former and current members of the KU track team (Charlie Gruber, Brandon Hodges, Jeremy Mims and Benson Chesang) won the men’s race in a time of 10:00.83.

Men’s Team Ranked…
The University of Kansas men’s track and field team is ranked at No. 21 in the country with a projected 13 points in the new Trackwire.com national poll. The Trackwire 25 projects a hypothetical score for the NCAA meet, factoring in injury reports and other variables supported by information gathered from coaches and NCAA-qualifying competitions across the country. Kansas’ projection this week was 19 points for the NCAA Indoor Championships. This projection is generated by scoring the Dandy Dozen, a power ranking of the top 12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA event.

Jayhawks in the Dandy Dozen…
This week’s edition of the Trackwire Dandy Dozen showcases mainstays Sheldon Battle and Egor Agafonov and newcomer Zlata Tarasova. Battle is ranked second in the shot put and eighth in the discus while Agafonov dropped to fifth in the hammer. Tarasova, who recently broke KU’s record in the hammer, debuts in the rankings at 12th. The Dandy Dozen is a power ranking of the top 12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA event. The list is used in compiling Trackwire’s weekly top 25 team rankings.