Jayhawks Add Three More Conference Crowns to Conclude Big 12 Championships

May 13, 2007

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Crystal Manning, Ashley Brown and Jordan Scott brought KU’s individual conference champion bounty to six Saturday, constituting a new Big 12 Conference championships record for the Jayhawks. As a team, the men placed sixth with 73 points while the women recorded their highest Big 12 finish ever, placing fifth with 78 points. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Freshman Jordan Scott is now a two-time Big 12 Conference champion, winning the pole vault with a Big 12 meet record-tying vault of 18-02.50 (5.55m). The mark represents both a “B” Olympic Trials qualifying mark and US Championship qualifying mark for the Watkinsville, Ga., native. Scott cleared the bar on his first attempt and now has the No. 1 pole vault in NCAA Division I.

“This has been quite a great freshman year,” Scott said. “The conditions were great today and once I cleared 5.25m, I just got into a groove and took care of business. I want to thank my family, teammates and coach Tom Hays for their support. I couldn’t think of a more perfect Mother’s Day gift.”

<?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Kansas vertical jumps coach Tom Hays sees Scott’s performance as yet another link in the legacy of Jayhawk vaulters.

“We have quite a great tradition of pole vaulters at Kansas and I think Jordan has the ability to carry the flame in that respect,” Hays said. “What is really encouraging to me is the other guys on the team see how Jordan does and that motivates them to do better. I expect big things out of all them in the future.”

Junior Ashley Brown won the women’s 100-meter hurdles, breaking her own school record with a winning time of 13.27 seconds. The victory was the first of Brown’s career and she is the first KU woman to win the conference 100-meter hurdles crown since Gwen Poss did so in 1981.

Brown followed that performance up with a second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.56. She set the KU record on Saturday in the preliminaries with a time of 57.54. Brown was also a member of the women’s 4×100-meter relay team, which placed fifth, and the women’s 4×400-meter relay team, which placed seventh. Over the course of the weekend, Brown earned 24 points for Kansas.

“I am very proud of my accomplishments this weekend,” Brown said. “To come back after missing last year and claim a conference title is something I have worked especially hard to do. To also break two school records is equally as thrilling. Now I just look forward to keep improving as I head to the Midwest Regionals.”

Rounding out the Kansas conference champions was junior Crystal Manning, who shattered her school record in the triple jump with a Division I leading 44-11.75 (13.71m). Manning also participated as a member of the women’s 4×100-meter relay team and the 4×400-meter relay team.

“Heading into the weekend, I wanted to consistently jump around 44 feet and I did that all day,” Manning said. “This mark represents a lot of hard work and training and I put all my trust in God because without him, nothing like this would be possible.”

Manning’s coach, Milan Donley, was not surprised by Manning’s success.

“She’s developing and maturing as a jumper and that was evident today,” Donley said. “Her speed down the runway is outstanding and she is really starting to grasp the technical aspects to the event.”

In addition to Brown, the 400-meter hurdles was especially fruitful for Kansas, as senior Janiece Gatson finished fourth in 59.28 seconds and sophomore Sha’Ray Butler took home eighth in 1:03.41. As a group, the trio earned 14 points for the Jayhawks.

Also in the hurdles events, junior Julius Jiles overcame an early slip to finish sixth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles. Jiles later followed that up with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing in a time of 51.37. In the men’s 800-meter run, junior Matt Baysinger took seventh in 1:53.25.

Freshman Lauren Bonds started her Big 12 Outdoor Championships career with a great start, finishing sixth in the 3000-meter steeplechase in 10:41.82. Senior Melissa O’Rourke also scored valuable points for the Jayhawks, taking sixth in the 1500-meter run in 4:37.25.Sophomore Victoria Howard took eighth in 100-meter dash with a time of 11.78 seconds.

In his first Big 12 Conference championships, junior Hugh Murphy took second in the javelin, throwing a season-best 219-05 (66.87m). The mark represents the fifth-best javelin mark in Kansas school history.

“Even though the conditions were less than perfect, to set a new season best at my first Big 12 Conference Championships and score the team eight points was great,” Murphy said. “I look forward to throwing a new personal best at the Midwest Regionals.”

Also performing well in the field events Sunday was sophomore Stephanie Horton, who placed fifth in the shot put with a career-best put of 50-08.25 (15.45m). That toss is the third-best in school history. Coach Andy Kokhanovsky’s throwers earned 47 points over the course of the weekend.

In the men’s 5000-meter run, juniors Colby Wissel and Paul Hefferon finished fourth and seventh, respectively. Hefferon increased his weekend point total to seven points with his time of 14:39.61, while Wissel finished in 14:37.26.

In relay events, the women’s 4×100-meter relay (45.76) finished fifth and the 4×400-meter relay took seventh (3:41.80), which is a yet another regional qualifying mark. In the men’s relay events, the men took eighth in the 4×100-meter relay (41.59).

Next up for the Jayhawks is the Midwest Regionals in Des Moines, Iowa. Kansas will enter the event with 35 regional qualifying marks. The event will take place May 25-26. Check back with kuathletics.com for all the information and results.