Jayhawks Journey to Big Apple for Armory Collegiate Invite
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track& field squads will hit the road this weekend when they make their way to New York City for the 2014 Armory Collegiate Invitational Feb. 7-8. The meet will take place at The Armory Track and Field Center in downtown Manhattan and will feature 10 teams ranked in the top-25 of either or the men’s and women’s national polls, including the No. 11-ranked KU women.
- Kansas will travel to New York for the Armory Collegiate for the fifth-straight season. More than 100 universities and colleges spanning both the nation and the globe will compete at the meet that is now in its 13th year.
- If the season were to end today, the KU women would have five individuals and a relay team qualify for the NCAA Championships in March.
- Combined-event specialist Lindsay Vollmer is slated to compete in her first pentathlon of the season Friday. Vollmer is the reigning Big 12 champion and school record-holder in the event.
- The KU men’s pole vaulters currently see four Jayhawks ranked among the top-40 in the nation after senior Alex Bishop, sophomore Jake Albright and freshman Nick Meyer all cleared 5.21 meters (17’1″) at the Bill Easton Classic three weeks ago. Greg Lupton is not far behind after he got over 5.20 meters (17’0¾”) at the Jayhawk Classic on Jan. 24.
- Diamond Dixon is scheduled to run her first-career 500-meter race this weekend. Dixon is gunning for Shayla Wilson’s school record of 1:13.50 set in 2012. Hampton’s Francena McCorory holds the collegiate record in the event of 1:09.16, which she set in 2007.
- Three Kansas women currently sit among the top-10 of the NCAA rankings in their respective events. Senior Natalia Bartnovskaya has the No. 2 pole vault mark in the nation of 4.32 meters (14’2″), senior Diamond Dixon holds the NCAA’s seventh-fastest 400-meter time of 53.27 and sophomore Sydney Conley‘s 6.25 meter (20’6″) long jump is 10th in the nation.
- The KU men and women’s teams have a combined 21 athletes currently ranked among the top-10 in the Big 12 in 17 events as well as both men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays and distance medley relays.
- Now in his 14th year as Kansas’ head coach, Stanley Redwine is seeing an average of just over 10 athletes per season earn First Team All-America distinctions.
- The Kansas men return over 80 percent of the points from a year ago that helped lead the squad to sixth- and fifth-place performances at the indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championships, respectively. The outdoor finish was the best result by a KU men’s team since 2005.
Last Time Out
The Kansas track & field teams were victorious in 14 events at KU’s final home meet of the indoor campaign, the Jayhawk Classic (1/24). Diamond Dixon tallied an NCAA-leading time, while the women’s 4×400-meter relay team moved into the top-15 of the national rankings Friday night inside Anschutz Pavilion.
Dixon continued to add accolades to her already impressive senior season résumé as she competed in her first 400-meter race of the year. Dixon was unable to hold off a late charge down the home stretch by Cox and was forced to settle for the runner-up finish in 53.97, which was only .01 seconds behind Cox and just .22 seconds off her own facility record. Dixon’s time may have not been good enough for the win, but it did put her in the NCAA lead for a short time after her time is converted to the NCAA standard of 53.26.
In her first outing in a Jayhawk uniform, Auburn transfer Daina Levy made a big impression as she took the top-collegiate finish in the weight throw. Levy hurled the 25-pound implement 18.32 meters (60’1¼”), making her just the third woman in school history to surpass the 60-foot mark. Levy was the top collegian and her mark is the fourth-best among Big 12 weight throwers thus far in 2014.
For the second-consecutive week, sophomore Sydney Conley upped her personal best in the long jump. The Fayetteville, Ark., native surpassed the 20’3″ mark on three of her six attempts with her top leap coming on her fifth trip down the runway, a mark of 6.25 meters (20’6¼”). Conley’s jump moved her up to No. 10 in the latest NCAA ranks and is the best among Big 12 long jumpers this season.
Big City Success
When the Jayhawks jet to the Northeast this weekend for the Armory Collegiate Invitational, they will be going to a site where they have seen substantial success in recent years. The Big Apple has seen some of the best Jayhawk indoor performances in the school’s histoy, several of which have come in recent years. For the women’s team, there have been 10 performances inside the Armory in New York City that currently rank among the top-10 performances in school history, which includes two school records, which were posted at the meet last year. Andrea Geubelle’s 6.69 meter (21’11½”) leap in the long jump and Alena Krechyk’s 21.76 meter (71’4¾”) throw in the weight throw in 2013 still stand as school records.
On the men’s side, perhaps one of the program’s most famous performances came in the Big Apple 46 years ago inside Madison Square Garden. Junior Jim Ryun ran to an indoor personal best mile time of 3:57.5 at the 1968 Madison Square Garden Invitational. The mark still stands as the school record in the event by more than a second.
Bartnovskaya Tallies KU’s Third-Straight Big 12 Weekly Honor
For the third-consecutive week the Kansas women’s track & field team saw one of its athletes earn Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors after senior pole vaulter Natalia Bartnovskaya was selected by the league office Wednesday afternoon. The announcement marks the first time Bartnovskaya has garnered the award and is also the first time the Kansas women have seen their athletes earn the honor in three-straight weeks.
Bartnovskaya leaped to the top of the national ranks last Friday night as she claimed a win in the pole vault at the Varsity Apartment Invitational in Wichita. The NCAA’s defending indoor champion in the event, Bartnovskaya catapulted her name back to the top of the national charts with her performance inside the Haskett Center on Friday. The Krasnoyarsk, Russia native cleared a top bar of 4.32 meters (14’2″) to win the event by nearly a foot over the rest of the field. The mark is the second-highest in the NCAA thus far in the indoor season and No. 1 in the Big 12. It also puts Bartnovskaya among the top-30 vaulters in the world this year.
Bartnovskaya’s performance also made some edits to the school’s all-time performance charts. Her vault was the third-highest indoor vault in school history. She now holds six of the top-10 indoor pole vault marks in Kansas history after only a year-and-a-half as a Jayhawk.
KU Women Start February at No. 11 in National Ranks
The Jayhawk women saw themselves slip one spot to No. 11 in the USTFCCCA top-25 list that was released earlier this week. The women began the year ranked 10th overall in the national preseason poll. The drop out of the top-10 marked the first time in 29-consecutive indoor and outdoor lists that the women’s team was not among the top-10 schools in the national rankings.
Kansas has had recent success when it comes to the USTFCCCA computer rankings. Since the middle of the 2012 season to the end of last year, the KU women found themselves ranked in the top-five of the national rankings for 23-consecutive weeks. Counting this week’s ranking, the KU women have seen themselves inside the top-10 of the indoor or outdoor NCAA ranks in 32 of the last 33 weeks.
Three Jayhawks Listed on February Watch Lists for ‘The Bowerman’
Kansas track & field’s national champion heptathlete, Lindsay Vollmer, is one of 10 athletes named to the February edition of The Bowerman Watch List as was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) this week. Pole vaulter Natalia Bartnovskaya and hurdler Michael Stigler also found their names on the prestigious list, as they were placed on the “Also Receiving Votes List.” 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 junior, Vollmer, remains on the Watch List after being picked on the preseason Bowerman Watch. Vollmer became the first female in Kansas track & field history to win an individual outdoor national championship after she claimed the NCAA heptathlon title last June in Eugene, Ore.
Active Jayhawks Taking Over the Top-Ten
Over the last three seasons, the KU athletes have made their presence felt on the school’s all-time top-10 performances chart, especially on the women’s side, many of which are still active this season. The Jayhawk women have at least one current athlete who has posted at least one top-10 all-time performance in 10 events. Active athletes Diamond Dixon, Natalia Bartnovskaya and Lindsay Vollmer all have school records in their respective events, but each have also tallied five or more of the school’s top-10 all-time performances as well.
National Championship Leftovers
In June, the Kansas women made history when they brought home the program’s first national title at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. Buoyed by Andrea Geubelle’s runner-up finish in the long jump and triple jump as well as Lindsay Vollmer‘s national championship in the heptathlon, the Jayhawks amassed 60 points and topped the rest of the field by 16 points. KU athletes also brought home 17 First Team All-America honors, a program high.
Vollmer’s national title came by way of personal bests in six of the seven heptathlon events which saw her post school-record score of 6,068 points.
With his first national championship trophy in tow, Stanley Redwine was named the Women’s Head Coach of the Year and joined assistant Wayne Pate, who was named Women’s Assistant of the Year, after his athletes accounted for 26 of the team’s 60 points at the NCAA Championships.
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his 13 years at the helm. Over Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 92 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 145 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 last year’s women’s team to the program’s first National Championship at the NCAA outdoor meet in June.
Kansas will head to its final tune-up before the Big 12 Championships at the end of this month when they head south for the Tyson Invitational to be held in Fayetteville, Ark., Feb. 14-15.
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