Record Number of Jayhawks Bound for NCAA Championships

June 3, 2007


The University of Kansas track and field team will send 14 student-athletes to the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif. The total represents the most KU student-athletes at the event during the tenure of head coach Stanley Redwine.

The women’s squad will be sending six members to the Championships, four of which automatically qualified at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Junior Ashley Brown and senior Janiece Gatson will represent the Jayhawks in the 400-meter hurdles. Brown enters the event ranked No. 15 with her school-record time of 57.54 seconds. Gatson earned her first individual invitation to the Championships after racing past several competitors to take fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Also competing for the women will be senior Abby Emsick in the discus, entering the event ranked sixth in the field with a season-best throw of 179-08. The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native is the school record holder in the event and finished third at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Another school record holder, junior Crystal Manning, will compete in the triple jump for Kansas. She smashed her own school record in the event at the 2007 Big 12 Championships, winning with a leap of 44-11.75 (13.71m). The mark represents the second-best leap in the nation.

Earning at-large bids on the women’s side were junior pole vaulter Kate Sultanova and sophomore Victoria Howard, who competes in the 200-meter dash. Sultanova will be making her second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after finishing seventh and earning All American Honors in 2005. She enters the pole vault ranked seventh in Division I. Howard, who set a new school record in the indoor 200-meters, enters the Championships ranked No. 22 in the event with a season-best time of 23.45.

On the men’s team, Egor Agafonov, Barrett Saunders and Jordan Scott headline the contingent for the Jayhawks. All three were Big 12 Conference and NCAA Midwest Regional champions in their respective events. Agafonov, a junior, will compete in the hammer throw as the third-ranked competitor with a season-best toss of 230-01 (70.14m). He is one of only three student-athletes in Division I to have cleared 70 meters in the event.

Saunders is ranked third among the men’s long jump entrants with a season-best leap of 25-10, which he set in winning the Texas Relays. He will be joined in the event by senior Eric Babb, who finished fourth at the Big 12 Championships and third at the NCAA Midwest Regional. He enters the competition ranked No. 17 with a career-best jump of 25-02.75.

Scott, the 2007 Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor pole vault champion, heads into the competition ranked second in the nation after he cleared 18-02.50 to win the Big 12 Championships. He also won the NCAA Midwest Regional and became the first student-athlete in school history to be named Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Freshman Performer of the Year.

In addition, junior Julius Jiles will be making a return trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 110-meter hurdles, after competing in the event in 2005. He enters the competition as the No. 19 competitor in the field after running a career-best time of 13.82 seconds to place fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Senior Cody Roberts will also be returning to the NCAA Championships for a second time, competing in the discus after placing third at the NCAA Midwest Regional. He owns a season-best throw of 188-2.75 and is ranked No. 20 among the field of competitors.

Junior Hugh Murphy will be making his first trip to the Championships in the javelin throw after placing fifth at the Regionals. He currently owns a season-best throw of 219-05, which is the fifth-best throw in school history.

Rounding out the field for the Jayhawks will be decathlete Josh Kirk. A junior, Kirk scored 7,152 points at the Kansas Relays to qualify for his second-straight NCAA Championships.

The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Sacramento State University. The competition starts on Wednesday, June 6 with the decathlon, the preliminary heats of the men’s javelin, men’s hammer throw and both the women’s and men’s pole vault.

– KU –