RCW: A Look Back 4.30

As Kansas track & field prepares for the 2018 Kansas Relays, let’s take A Look Back at an early trailblazer for the women’s track team, sprinter Sheila Calmese.

A star on the 1976-79 women’s track teams, Calmese was a 10-time conference champion. She won both the indoor 60-yard and 300-yard dashes in back-to-back seasons in 1977 and 1978, and duplicated the feat at the outdoor distances of 100-meters and 200-meters in the same years. Calmese also led the 4×100 and sprint medley relays to conference crowns in 1978.

The expansion of the women’s event card at the Kansas Relays from just two events (100-yard dash and 880-yard dash) in 1974 to 12 in 1975 allowed Calmese and her teammates to test their speed and skill on a much larger stage than had previously been possible. Calmese won the 100-meter dash at the 1978 Kansas Relays, just the third time the race had been run. Over her career, she also set seven school records and went on to become a 300-yard dash national champion at the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Indoor Championships in 1978, running the event in 35.26 seconds. She has been inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame.

Conference Titles:
1977 Indoor Big 8: 60 yd (07.1), 300 yd (36.2)
1977 Outdoor Big 8: 100m (11.5), 200m (24.30)
1978 Indoor Big 8: 60 yd (06.89), 300 yd (35.37)
1978 Outdoor Big 8: 100m (11.86), 200m (24.17), 4×100 (46.99), Sprint Medley (1:43.44)

School records:
60yd dash (indoor): 6.86, 1978 AIAW National Championships
220yd dash (indoor): 25.2, 1979 AAU National Championships
300yd dash (indoor): 34.94, 1979 AIAW National Championships
Mile Relay (indoor): 3:56.26, 1979 Big 8 Championships
100m dash (outdoor): 11.2, 1978 Arkansas Relays
200m dash (outdoor): 23.3, 1978 Arkansas Relays
440yd relay (outdoor): 45.33, 1979 Memphis State Invitational
KS Relays, won 1978 100m dash in :12.0

National Titles:
300yd dash (indoor): 35.26, 1978