Combined Events Kick Off on Day One of 87th Kansas Relays
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Rock Chalk Park is officially open as the 87th edition of the Kansas Relays got underway Wednesday, April 16 at the new home of Kansas Track & Field. Nebraska’s Guy Fenske earned the overnight lead in the decathlon after posting a score of 3,666 points following the first five events, while Truman’s Rebecca Nelson is the leader in the heptathlon with her total of 3,042 points.
The decathlon athletes battled the elements in the first day of their event. To begin the day, the participants used the wind to their advantage in the 100-meter dash as five of the seven athletes notched new personal records. Leading the pack was sophomore Austin Wallace of Oklahoma Christian, who hit a new personal record (PR) of 10.88. In second place was Husker freshman Fenske who ran 11.06 to kick off his first-career decathlon.
The men then moved onto the long jump runway where Fenske excelled, jumping 6.83 meters (22-5) on his first attempt, which ended up being the longest of the group. Rodgerick Woods claimed second with a jump of 6.68 meters (21-11). After the first two events, Fenske took the lead in the competition with 1,621 points, followed by Woods with 1,532 points.
Fenske continued his momentum gained in the long jump by picking up another personal best in the shot put, where he threw 12.86 meters (42-2.25) on his first throw, which remained the longest of the event and extended his lead further to 216 points with 2,280 after three events. Wallace overtook Woods for second place as he pulled in 589 points with an 11.72 meter (38-5.5) throw.
At the high jump, the wind, which had been a benefit in the earlier events, began to take its toll on the competitors. Fenske and Bart Mestelle were able to rise above the gusty conditions and clear 1.92 meters (6-3.5) which gave both contestants 731 points and pushed Fenske even further from his competition.
The day concluded with the 400-meter dash where Wallace grabbed another first-place win, clocking in at a time of 52.99. Wallace was followed by Woods who finish second, running 53.37.
After five events, Fenske built a 383-point lead with a total of 3,666 points and was followed by Wallace with 3,373 points. Woods trails both in third place with 3,239 points. The athletes will return to action tomorrow, Friday, April 17, at 9 a.m., with the start of the 110-meter hurdles.
The women’s heptathlon was the second event kicked off at the 2014 Kansas Relays at the brand-new Rock Chalk Park. The 100m hurdles began the morning and with a strong wind gust, six participants were able to set personal records led by Truman’s Nelson finishing with a time of 14.48, which was good for 912 points.
The second event of the day was the high jump where Nelson continued her impressive performance. She finished with the highest jump of 1.62 meters (5-3.75) to add 759 points to her compiled score of 1,671 points. Mercedes Smith of Kansas, Cassandra Schwab and Holly Pattie-Belleli of Missouri State would all set personal bests in the high jump to remain in contention in the overall standings.
Next up was the shot put where Oklahoma Christian’s Rozlyn Hamilton finished first with a throw of 11.71 meters (38-5). In second was Nelson, whose top throw hit a mark of 11.19 meters (36-8.50).
In the final event of the day, the 200 meters, KU’s Smith flew past the competition, posting a personal best of 24.97 to beat the rest of the field by over a second. Smith ended the day in third place after amassing 2,778 points. Nelson, who held the lead from the competition’s first event, completed her day one leading the overall heptathlon standings with 3,042 points. In second, just 262 points behind, sits Pattie-Belleli with 2,780 points.
Heptathlon action will continue from Rock Chalk Park Thursday morning at 9 a.m., as the women will compete in three more events beginning with the long jump.
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