| Fireworks signaled the end of another exciting edition of the Kansas Relays.
RESULTS | NOTES | GALLERY
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of multiple-event winners and some of the nation’s top times sent the 90th Kansas Relays out with a bang as the meet came to a close Saturday night inside Rock Chalk Park. Just over 4,000 fans witnessed some of the best performances in the country so far this year at both the high school and collegiate levels, as well as the exciting quadrangular team competition that once again ended with fireworks on and off the track.
For the second time in the three-year history of the quadrangular competition, the Kansas men regained the team trophy after its one-year stay with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Jayhawks claimed victories in 11 of the 19 competitions Saturday afternoon to win the event with a final score of 231 points, 74 points clear of runner-up Southern Illinois.
On the women’s side it was the Minnesota Golden Gophers who hoisted the team trophy at meet’s end after outpacing the field with a final score of 195.5 points. The Gophers posted 1-2 finishes in five events to help push them ahead of the Kansas women by a margin of 14 points.
The men’s quadrangular events were highlighted once again by Jayhawk Mitch Cooper, who defended his KU Relays discus title by way of a 61.77 meters (202-8) mark. That toss has Cooper at No. 2 in the NCAA DI discus ranks this year.
It was a hometown favorite that turned in perhaps the most-impressive mark as former Kansas All-American Michael Stigler raced to his fourth KU Relays title in the 400-meter hurdles. The Canyon, Texas product continued his unbeaten streak at Rock Chalk Park, racing to an easy win with his season’s best time of 49.38. The performance, which made him the first male in KU Relays history to claim four golds in the 400-meter hurdles, moved him into the top-10 of the latest world rankings and No. 2 among Americans.
Among the high school ranks, it was Summit Christian Academy’s Carlie Queen who soared above the competition with one of the top girls’ high jump marks in the U.S. this year. The senior leaped to her first KU Relays win by way of her clearance of 1.78 meters (5-10). Queen’s winning jump was the highest clearance at the Kansas Relays since 1987 when Chris Hall also jumped 5-10. It was also just two inches shy of the KU Relays record held by Kym Carter, set in 1982. The performance has her ranked fifth in the United States among high schoolers and puts Queen atop the standings in the state of Missouri.
As has become tradition at the Kansas Relays, some stellar boys’ and girls’ mile races were contested as part of the adidas Dream Mile event. Ople’s Kyler True ran to a dominant win in the boys’ race with a winning time of 4:13.85, defeating the field by over five seconds. Davenport Assumption’s Joy Ripslinger completed the girls’ race in 4:55.69, adding to her trophy collection after anchoring her team’s Sprint Medley Relay to victory. Both True and Ripslinger automatically qualify for the adidas Dream Mile to be contested this summer in New York City between the top high school milers from around the U.S.
With the 90th Kansas Relays now in the books, it’s time to start looking to the 91st year of the historic meet, as the 2018 Kansas Relays are set for April 18-21, 2018.
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