Kansas Eager to Display Prowess at Big 12 Championships

May 9, 2007


The University of Kansas track and field teams are set to compete at the Big 12 Championships Friday through Sunday at Ed Weir Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. The Jayhawks enter the meet with four KU student-athletes ranked first in the conference and 12 others ranked in the top 5 in their respective events.

The meet begins Friday with the decathlon and heptathlon events. Junior Josh Kirk, who enters the weekend as the fourth-ranked decathlete in the conference, owns an NCAA provisional mark in the event of 7,152 points, which he earned at the Kansas Relays. Freshman Chelsea Helm will compete in the heptathlon. Also competing Friday will be the men’s and women’s discus events. Seniors Abby Emsick and Cody Roberts rank fourth and second, respectively, in the events. Emsick is also the school record holder in the women’s discus. Friday wraps up with the men’s and women’s 10,000-meter run.

On Saturday, the meet resumes with several field events that should produce ample points for the Jayhawks. The men’s hammer throw kicks off at noon and junior Egor Agafonov, the reining Big 12 champion in the event and school record holder, enters the competition with a commanding lead over the rest of the field. The women’s hammer will also take place Saturday, where sophomore Zlata Tarasova, also the school record holder, looks to lead the conference wire-to-wire and claim her first Big 12 crown.

Also on Saturday, junior Barrett Saunders and senior Eric Babb will compete in the men’s long jump. The pair rank first and third in the conference and second and 12th in the nation, respectively. The women’s pole vault featuring junior Kate Sultanova, the 2007 Big 12 Indoor pole vault champion, is also scheduled for Saturday. The Jayhawks currently have four women vaulters ranked within the top-eight in the conference. Finally, junior Crystal Manning will take aim at the women’s long jump Saturday. She currently sits at sixth in the conference with a season-best jump of 19-10.25.

Saturday’s track events will feature a plethora of preliminary heats in events ranging from the women’s 100-meter hurdles to the men’s 1500-meter run. In those seven events, the Jayhawks feature 10 KU student-athletes with regional qualifying marks and whom rank within the top-10 in their respective events.

The 2007 Big 12 Outdoor Championships conclude Sunday with the finals of those track events. Juniors Ashley Brown and Julius Jiles will look to continue their dominating performances in the hurdles events, while sophomore Victoria Howard will strive to score in both the 100 and 200-meter dash, events in which she owns regional qualifying marks. The 3000-meter steeplechase will feature a pair of Jayhawks, junior Patrick McGowan and freshman Lauren Bonds. As usual, the meet will conclude with the running of the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays.

In the field events Sunday, junior Hugh Murphy, who already owns the fifth-longest javelin throw in the school history, will look to capture the league crown as he enters the weekend ranked second in the conference. Freshman Jordan Scott, the 2007 Big 12 Indoor Freshman of the Year after winning the Big 12 Indoor pole vault, will compete in the outdoor pole vault. He and fellow rookie Kirk Cooper own NCAA regional marks in the event. Manning, who set school records in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump this year, enters the weekend at second in the conference and will also be looking for her first conference title.

– KU –