Track and Field Ready for Big 12 Championships

May 10, 2006


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The University of Kansas men’s and women’s track and field teams will compete in the Big 12 Championships this weekend in Waco, Texas. Hosted by Baylor University, the three-day meet begins Friday, May 12, with the women’s hammer and ends Sunday night with the men’s mile relay. Both teams will be looking to improve upon their fourth (men) and sixth (women) place finishes from a year ago, and senior Sheldon Battle will attempt to defend his discus and hammer championships. Following the conference meet, the qualifying Jayhawks will travel to Austin, Texas, for the Midwest Regional Championships on May 26-27.

26 Jayhawks Named Academic All-Big 12…
The Big 12 Conference has named 232 student-athletes to the 2006 Academic All-Big 12 Track and Field teams, including 26 members of the Kansas squad. Among those honored, there were two Jayhawks — Mark Gdowski and Dena Seibel — with perfect a perfect 4.0 GPA. In addition to Seibel, the women’s team had nine other members named to the first team, including Connie Abbott, Tiffany Cherry, Abby Emsick, Janiece Gatson, Christine Lathrop, Laura Major, Lindsay McCracken, Melissa Moody and Denita Young. Ashley Brown represented KU on the second team. The men’s first team was represented by Eric Babb, Jonathan Edwards, Gdowski, Brandon Hodges, Chris Jones, Joshy Madathil, Cody Roberts, Cameron Schwehr, Erik Sloan, Aaron Thompson and Colby Wissel. Matt French, Paul Hefferon, Tim Kane and Adrian Ludwig were named to the second team.

Jayhawks Place Three on Big 12 10th Anniversary Team…
Kansas greats Charlie Gruber, Amy Linnen and Scott Russell were named to the Big 12’s 10th Anniversary Track and Field Team, the league office announced. In order to be eligible for consideration, candidates must have been a top finisher at the Indoor and/or Outdoor Big 12 Track and Field Championships. Candidates were voted on by the league’s coaches. Gruber, a 2004 Olympian, was a five-time All-American as well as a five-time Big 12 champion. Russell was a nine-time Big 12 champion, six-time All-American and two-time national champion. Linnen, a pole vaulter, competed for one year as a member of the Kansas track and field team where she was a two-time All-American as well as the 2005 Big 12 Indoor champion.

Men’s Team Ranked…
The University of Kansas men’s track and field team is ranked at No. 20 in the country with a projected 14 points in the new national poll. The Jayhawks are currently tied with Kansas State and South Carolina for the ranking. 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. 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 as well as Abby Emsick and Denita Young. Battle is ranked second in the shot put and 12th in the discus while Agafonov is third in the hammer. Emsick moved to ninth in the discus and Young is 10th in the javelin. 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.

Ward Haylett Invitational Leftovers…
Participating in the Ward Haylett Invitational as the final tune-up before the Big 12 Championships, the men’s and women’s track and field teams saw several strong performances and three new NCAA regional qualifiers from the Jayhawks.

Competing in the in 800-meter run, senior Angela Pichardo finished second in a time of 2:09.77. Her result gave her a second place finish and beat the regional mark of 2:09.80. In the men’s 800-meter race, sophomore Matt Baysinger regionally qualified as well with his time of 1:49.83. Also qualifying for the Midwest Regional Championships was junior Janiece Gatson. Her time of 1:00.74 in the 400-meter hurdles was good for second place in addition to the regional mark.