Jayhawks Head North for Husker Invitational

Senior Lindsay Vollmer is slated to compete in her first pentathlon of 2015 this weekend in Lincoln.
Husker Invitational
Date February 6-7, 2015
Location Lincoln, Neb.
Venue Bob Devaney Center
Meet Notes Kansas
Meet Schedule Schedule
Heat Sheets Entry Lists
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Meet Notes (PDF)

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track and field teams will look to continue their strong start to the 2015 campaign when the Jayhawks travel north to the home of former Big 12 Conference foe Nebraska this weekend for the 40th Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska. The meet, scheduled for Feb. 6-7, will see over 600 athletes from 27 collegiate teams compete inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Kansas women will see 27 athletes compete in Lincoln, while the Jayhawk men are expected have 26 of their athletes in action.
Back at the Devaney Center
The Kansas track & field teams had become quite familiar with Nebraska’s home indoor track, The Devaney Center, when the Huskers were members of the Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences. The facility hosted the final Big Eight Indoor Championships in 1996 and the first-ever Big 12 meet in 1997. Nebraska played host to the Big 12 Indoor Championships nine times in 15 years, including six-straight championships from 2001 to 2006 and in 2011.
One of four hydraulic-banked tracks in the nation and one of eight in the world, NU’s 200-meter track has the largest radius (67 feet) of any indoor-banked track in the world. The Jayhawks competed at dozens of meets in the famed facility over the years and will compete there for the second-straight season after the Jayhawks ended a three-year drought when they visited Lincoln for the Holiday Inn Invitational last season.
Vollmer to Take on First Pentathlon of 2015
All-American Lindsay Vollmer is expected to compete in the first pentathlon competition of her senior campaign this weekend at the Husker Invitational. The Hamilton, Missouri native is the school record holder in the event and holds five of the 10 best pentathlon scores in school history.
Vollmer claimed the 2013 Big 12 title in the event and went on to win the NCAA Championship in the heptathlon later that season. Her career-best pentathlon was posted en route to that Big 12 Championship with a score of 4,123 points.
Last Time Out
The University of Kansas track & field teams were victorious in 14 events at KU’s final home meet of the indoor campaign, the Jayhawk Classic, Jan. 30 inside Anschutz Pavilion. It was another banner day for the KU men’s distance squad, namely in the 3,000 meters. Four Jayhawks were through the finish before another school’s runner could cross. The Kansas contingent was led by James Wilson, who took over the lead shortly after the gun and never relinquished it. The Abilene, Kansas native soared through the finish with a final time of 8:11.53, less than half a second off of his career best.
Kansas saw another successful day in the women’s sprints as Sydney Conley continued her 60-meter dash unbeaten streak inside the Anschutz Pavilion. Conley shaved .04 seconds off her qualifying time from earlier in the day and tallied a new personal best as she leaned across the finish in 7.46. Conley’s time, which helped her to her third-straight 60-meter dash win inside Anschutz Pavilion, was fast enough to outpace teammate Zainab Sanni, who took the runner-up finish in 7.51.
Junior Daina Levy continued her solid start to the 2015 campaign by picking up her second win of the year in the weight throw. The Mississauga, Ontario native found herself in a duel with Kansas alumna Jessica Maroszek as each traded the event lead on two separate occasions. Levy jumped to the top of the leaderboard when it mattered most though, unwinding for a toss of 18.34 meters (60’2″) on her last attempt of the day. Her mark surpassed the former All-American’s best toss by eight inches and earned Levy her third win as a Jayhawk.
Grace Pickell also tallied her second victory of 2015, helped out by a best clearance in the high jump. The sophomore got over three heights without recording a miss to start the competition before needing two leaps to up her new career high to 1.76 meters (5’9¼”). No other competitor could match Pickell, handing the Prairie Village, Kansas native her second collegiate high jump win and up her standing in the Big 12 to sixth this year.
Jayhawks Add Two at Semester
The Jayhawks saw two additions to the squad over the winter break as the team added freshman internationals Nicolai Ceban and Sharon Lokedi to the 2015 roster. Ceban, who hails from Camenca, Moldova, has already put together an impressive resume as he is the Moldovan junior record holder in both the shot put and discus. He competed at the 2014 World Junior Championships, finishing 11th in the discus. The women’s distance group will also get a boost with the addition of the Kenya native, Lokedi. Both Ceban and Lokedi are expected to be in action at the Jayhawk Classic this Friday.
Quick Overview
Within its 2015 men’s and women’s rosters, Kansas returns three First Team All-Americans, including 2013 NCAA Heptathlon champion and three-time Big 12 champion Lindsay Vollmer. Also returning on the women’s side is junior Sydney Conley, who garnered First Team All-America honors twice in the long jump a year ago. The KU women return over 70 percent of the scorers that led the squad to third and fourth-place finishes at last year’s Big 12 indoor and outdoor meets.
On the men’s side, senior hurdler Michael Stigler is back to put the finishing touches on an already stellar career, which has seen him claim the last three Big 12 400-meter hurdle titles and attain First Team All-America status on three occasions. Junior pole vaulter Casey Bowen returns after winning his first Big 12 title in the event last outdoor season and leads perhaps the deepest pole vault group in the nation. The KU men’s roster is full of new faces as over half of the team is made up of newcomers, which includes 20 true freshmen.
Stigler on Early Watch for ‘The Bowerman’
All-American hurdler Michael Stigler was one of 16 athletes named to the preseason Bowerman Watch List as was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Jan. 6. The Bowerman Award, considered the ‘Heisman of Track & Field,’ is given to the nation’s top male and female track & field athletes and will be awarded later this year.
The senior makes his second career-appearance among those considered for The Bowerman after also earning votes during last season’s award race. Though Stigler was not one of those 10 athletes to be listed on the official watch list, he was selected to the “Also Receiving Mention” list. The Canyon, Texas native is a three-time First Team All-American in the 400-meter hurdles and was the NCAA runner-up at the Outdoor National Championships each of the last two seasons. He is also the three-time defending Big 12 champion in the event. His school record time of 49.19 broken in June of 2013 at the NCAA meet ranked him among the top-10 Americans that year and has posted a sub-50 second mark six times since then. Stigler also claimed the Big 12’s 600 yard title during the indoor campaign a year ago.
Stanley’s Succes
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his first 14 years at the helm. Over Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 98 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 149 First Team All-Americans and 14 NCAA Champions come through his program at KU.
Redwine’s teams have also collected a combined seven top-10 NCAA team finishes, including coaching the 2013 women’s team to the program’s first National Championship at the NCAA outdoor meet.
At Home in Anschutz
The 29-year indoor home facility for the Kansas track & field team, Anschutz Pavilion, has hosted dozens of collegiate and high school meets since 1984. In August of 2011, the facility got a major facelift when a new six-lane track (eight lanes on the sprint straightaway) was installed, which replaced the original track installed in 1984.
Home Grown
Both the men’s and women’s teams in 2015 will feature a large batch of home-grown talent as the majority of the athletes on each roster hail from the Sunflower State. Twenty-seven KU men and 17 Jayhawk women call Kansas home, with the next-most prolific state, Texas, boasting a combined eight natives, all on the men’s side.
Kansas also has a handful of international athletes. On the men’s side, junior sprinter Jaime Wilson hails from Old Harbour, Jamaica,  redshirt freshman Alexandre Lavigne (Quebec, Canada), sophomore Mitch Cooper (Queensland, Australia) and sophomore Daniel Koech (Eldoret, Kenya) and welcome in their fifth and sixth fellow internationals in freshmen Jaun del Azar (Virginia Water, England) and Nicolai Ceban (Camenca, Moldova). For the women, juniors Anastasiya Muchkayev (Be’er Sheva, Israel) and Daina Levy (Ontario, Canada) have continued the KU tradition of bringing in some of the top international talent in the NCAA. Distance specialists Sarah Kelly (Cupar, Scotland) and Sharon Lokedi (Kenya) are the latest international additions.
Up Next
For the first time of the 2015 season, the Jayhawks will split for a pair of meets Feb. 13-14. One Kansas contingent will journey to Fayetteville, Arkansas to compete in the Tyson Invitational while the other Jayhawk squad will travel north to Ames, Iowa where it will take part in the ISU Classic. Get live updates and results from the Jayhawks’ performances by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.
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