Kansas Track Kicks-Off Saturday

Dec. 8, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas men’s and women’s track and field teams will kick-off the 2004-05 indoor season Saturday, Dec. 11, when they travel to Manhattan, Kan., to compete in the K-State All-Comers meet. Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine enters his fifth season at the helm of the KU track and field program. The Jayhawks will compete at the event with Bethany College, Emporia State, Haskell University, Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and UMKC.

With the departure of Leo Bookman, one of the most celebrated track athletes in the University of Kansas history, the Jayhawks will look to a group of veterans and key newcomers to fill the shoes of the National Champion/All-American.

Head coach Stanley Redwine enters his fifth season in Lawrence and his goals are simple. “We want to place high at the Big 12 meets and move on to the NCAA Championships.”

After a season of ups and downs, the Jayhawks believe they have the nucleus to get the Jayhawks back in the national spotlight.

Replacing Bookman will not be an easy task for the Jayhawks this season, but KU returns veteran sprinters as well as a talented group of newcomers.

Junior Aaron Thompson will split duties as a sprinter and a hurdler. Thompson will return as the Jayhawks’ top hurdler. Last season, he had the top times of any returner in 110m hurdles (indoor, 14.79), 400m hurdles (indoor, 53.40) and the 60m hurdles (indoor, 8.03). Thompson also comes into the 2005 season with the third fastest times in KU history in both the 60m (6.81) and the 60m hurdles (8.03).

Joining Thompson on the track will be fellow junior Adrian Carey and freshmen Keith Rainey and Julius Jiles. Carey led the Jayhawks in the outdoor season with team-best times in both the 100m (10.72) and 200m (22.18). Carey was the winner of the 200m at the KU/KSU/MU Triangular indoor meet with a season-best time of 22.23.

Jiles, who was named the Gatorade Missouri Track Athlete of the year in 2004, broke the Missouri state high school record in the the 110m hurdles and 300m intermediate hurdles. Jiles also claimed accolades for scoring 38 points in the 2004 Missouri state meet.

Rainey will come to KU after an impressive senior year as well. He was the Kansas state high school champion in the 200m and finished second in the state meet in the 100m for Shawnee Mission North. Rainey owns the Shawnee Mission North school record in the 100m with a time of 10.5.

“With the core group led by Thompson and Carey, plus the addition of great athletes in Keith Rainey and Julius Jiles, I anticipate that we will do great in these events,” Redwine said. The group of sprinters will be led by sophomore Octavia Garrett who had an impressive first collegiate season. Garrett recorded the fourth-fastest time in KU history with a 60m time of 7.64 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. She went on to shine during the outdoor season scoring the KU top times in both the 200m (24.76) and the 400m (55.20).

Another sprinter looking to score big points for KU this season will be junior Tiffany Cherry. Cherry recorded the top time in school history in the 60m with a 7.45 mark in the semi-finals of the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

Senior Brooklyn Hann will be once again called upon to lead the Jayhawk hurdlers. Hann comes into the 2005 season with the second-best time in school history in the 100m outdoor hurdles (13.51) and the 60m indoor hurdles (8.58). Freshman Ashley Brown will be a key addition for the hurdle team. Brown was a four-time Nebraska state champion in the 100m hurdles. She also won the event at the 2004 Kansas Relays.

“Also helping the sprint team will be the additions of Tiffany Bradley and Courtney Jacobs,” Redwine commented. “Jacobs is a go-getter and a great competitor who I believe will do a great job.”

Jacobs is the Iowa state record holder in the 400m and owns Atlantic (Iowa) High School records in the 200m, 400m, 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relay.

The distance and middle distance crew for the Jayhawks will be looked upon to score big points for KU during the 2005 season.

Junior distance runner Benson Chesang will carry a lot of that weight on his shoulders after winning the 2004 Big 12 Cross Country Championship, breaking a long string of Colorado winners. Chesang won the 8k race with a time of 24:07.43. He will enter the season with the second best 3,000m time in school history with a 8:01.26 effort at the Alex Wilson Invitational in 2004.

Key additions to the distance team will also spark the squad. Freshman Colby Wissell is coming off an impressive freshman cross country campaign. Wissell finished 19th in his first Big 12 Cross Country Championships, and had a stellar high school career in which he won nine state championships at Kearney (Neb.) High School.

“We are going to be able to get some points in these events that we were not able to get last year,” Redwine said.

Junior Cameron Schwehr and transfer Matt French will also contend for top times. Schwehr had an impressive 2004 outdoor season by recording a victory in the 3,000m steeplechase at the ESU Spring Twilight Meet and grabbing the top time of the season in the 1,500m (3:46.26). French will be in his first season at KU after transferring from Western Michigan. French competed for the Jayhawk cross country team this fall, placing fifth at the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational (25:37.5, 8k). Rounding out a strong cast of distance runners will be Dan Ferguson, D.J. Hilding and newcomer Paul Hefferon.

Senior Megan Manthe was the winner of the 1,000m (indoor, 2:58.30) at the 2004 Jayhawk Invitational.

Freshman Connie Abbott is coming off a very good initial cross country season. Abbott was the Jayhawks top finisher in two events and placed 48th at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships.

Middle-distance will also return key veterans. Senior Jeremy Mims will look to be on top of the Big 12 performers list in the 800m. Mims recorded the top 800m time of 2004 with a 1:50.19 mark at the Georgia Tech Invitational. Mims won the 800m at the 2004 Kansas Relays and was also victorious in the 600 yards at the KU/KSU/MU Triangular. Joining Mims will be sophomore/junior Brandon Hodges. Hodges continued to improved during the 2004 outdoor season, placing second in the 800m at the ESU Twilight and grabbing third in the event at the Kansas Relays.

The middle-distance team will be led once again by senior Kim Clark. Clark enters the season with the second-best times in school history in both the indoor and outdoor in the 800m. “Clark, Manthe and Angela Pichardo will have very good seasons for us in the running events,” Redwine said. “They are going to be very solid for us.”

Pichardo is entering her junior season and has had success at KU in the 800m and the 1,500m.

Sophomore Barrett Saunders will return as the Jayhawks’ top long jumper, after scoring season bests (23-8 1/4 outdoor, 23-7 1/4 indoor) for KU last season. Adding to the mix will be freshman Michah Brown who was a Nebraska state runner-up in both the triple and long jump.

Also looking to provide assistance in horizontal jumps this season will be sophomores Stanley Redwine Jr. and Eric Babb and freshman Scott Linz.

“Brooklyn Hann is a team leader and has competed at the NCAA Championships,” Redwine said. “Charisse Bacchus, who was on the verge of making the NCAAs last year, but didn’t because of the wind, is ready to compete this season and will do an excellent job.”

Hann still holds the KU indoor triple jump record of 42-3 1/4 that she set in 2002. She also set the outdoor triple jump record in 2002 with a 42-11 effort at the Big 12 Championships. Last season, Hann won the triple jump at the Kansas Relays and finished third at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in the event. Freshman Cyrstal Manning is expected to contribute instantly. Manning was the 2004 USATF triple jump champion.

Junior Charisse Bacchus splits duties as a long jumper and hurdler. As a freshman, Bacchus recorded the fourth best outdoor jump in school history with a mark of 20-6 1/4. On the indoor list, she currently sits in third place all-time with a 19-11 effort last season at the 2004 Big 12 Championships.

Other Jayhawks looking to score points this season will be sophomore Shatoya Hill and junior/sophomore Khadian Kelly.

Juniors Chris Lockard and Brett Terp will be the only returners in the vertical jumps category this year for Kansas. Terp had a KU season-high outdoor jump by clearing 6-10 3/4 at the Wildcat Invitational.

Lockard posted personal season-highs of 14-11 (indoor) and 14-1 (outdoor) in the pole vault.

“The pole vault is an area that I think we are going to be very good with Ekaterina Sultanova, Erin Wessley and Libby Harmon leading the way,” Redwine said.

As a freshman in 2004, Harmon impressed by recording a KU indoor season-high in the pole vault by clearing 12-6 1/4 and capturing a victory at the Jayhawk Invitational. Wessely topped the Jayhawks during the outdoor season by clearing 12-3 1/2 at the Kansas Relays.

New to the squad this year will be freshman Ekaterina Sultanova. Sultanova was the No. 1 ranked under-19 pole vaulter in Russia before coming to Lawrence.

Senior Sondra Rauterkus will return as the Jayhawks’ top high jumper. Rauterkus made it to the NCAA Championships two seasons ago and will look to make it back this year. She will enter the season at No. 3 in the KU record books with the third best marks in both the indoor (5-10) and the outdoor (5-10 1/2) events.

The Jayhawks will also look to junior/sophomore Yvonne Calzonetti and sophomore Joanie Nelson to score points in the vertical jumps this season.

“Both the men’s and the women’s throws will be strong for us this season,” Redwine said. “Abby Emsick is looking great and I think she will do an excellent job. Another returning student-athlete who has been a great surprise is Jennifer Widerstrom. On the men’s side we definitely have experience. Cody Roberts, Jonathan Edwards, Colin Dutton, Gavin Ball and the addition of Sheldon Battle will do a great job for us this season.”

Battle is a transfer from Mesa Community College where he enjoyed great success at the junior college level. At Mesa, Battle won national championships in both the shot put and discus in 2004. He was named All-America for his efforts.

Joining Battle will be top returners Ball, Roberts and Dutton. Ball recorded the Jayhawks’ top throws of 2004 in the shot put (59-9 1/4, outdoor; 57-11 1/4, indoor) and the discus (178-3, outdoor) as a freshman. Roberts also showed his ability as a freshman a season ago, when he placed 10th in the discus at the the Big 12 Outdoor Championships with a season-best toss of 167-8.

Dutton will return as the top weight and hammer thrower for KU. Last season, Dutton posted personal bests of 178-1 (hammer) and 54-9 1/2 (weight).

The women’s team enjoyed success last season in the throwing events as well. Senior Jennifer Widerstrom broke the Kansas hammer throw record with a toss of 180-11 1/2 at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.

Sophomore Abby Emsick will be called upon to do big things for the Jayhawks this season. Emsick was named the Jayhawk newcomer of the year in 2003 after she broke the KU record in the discus with an all-time best throw of 180-10. Transfer Denita Miller will also look to do big things for the throws team. Miller, a transfer from Tennessee finished 12th in the javelin at the 2001 NCAA Outdoor championships, as a freshman.