Jayhawks to Split for Pair of Meets this Weekend
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time this indoor season, the Kansas Jayhawk track & field teams will separate for two different meets in their final tune-up before the Big 12 Championships in two weeks. Athletes will compete at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa. Both will be two-day meets for KU, each taking place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 13-14.
- The Jayhawks will be competing in some familiar venues this weekend when they travel to Fayetteville or Ames for their respective meets. KU has competed at least once inside the Tyson Center, the Lied Center, or both, in each season dating back to 1997.
- Senior Michael Stigler will look to keep his blazing start to 2015 going this weekend in Fayetteville. The All-American hurdler became the No. 8 performer in the indoor 400 meters with a PR of 47.43 last week, and is entered in the event again at the Tyson Invitational.
- Junior Anastasyia Muchkayev is scheduled to compete in her fifth shot put competition of the year and first in the Tyson Center since she claimed Second Team All-American honors at the NCAA meet two years ago. Muchkayev boasts five of the top-10 indoor marks in school history.
- The KU men’s pole vaulters currently see four Jayhawks ranked among the top-50 in the nation after juniors Casey Bowen, Jake Albright and Nick Maestretti and sophomore Nick Meyer have all cleared 17 feet or higher this season. Kansas has the most vaulters of any school in the nation currently ranked inside the top-45 (4).
- Senior Josh Munsch is slated to compete in his third mile run of the season this weekend. Munsch is the No. 7 all-time Jayhawk performer in the indoor event, boasting a career-best mark of 4:03.09 at the 2013 Big 12 Championships. He will try to become the fourth Jayhawk to break the four-minute barrier in the indoor mile.
The Jayhawks will be competing in venues where they hold fond memories of. The Lied Recreation Center (Ames, Iowa) was the site of the Kansas women’s first conference title when they claimed the Big 12 indoor title in 2013. The Tyson Invitational will be held inside the Randal Tyson Center (Fayetteville, Ark.) where the women finished as the national runner-up at the NCAA Championships in March 2013. The track in Fayetteville has seen tons of Jayhawk success since it was built in 2000. KU has seen numerous school records fall on the track that is considered one of the fastest in the world.
Last season in Ames, Michael Stigler broke the school’s 600-yard record as he snared the indoor conference title in the event with a winning time of 1:08.39. Two seasons ago, two KU records fell at the NCAA Championships in Arkansas. Natalia Bartnovskaya rewrote the KU pole vault books en route to her national title after she cleared 4.45 meters (14’7¼”). Andrea Geubelle smashed her own school record in the triple jump, also on the way to her national championship. She hit a mark of 14.18 meters (46’6¼”), which was just over two inches from the American record.
Active Jayhawks Taking Over the Top-10
Over the last three seasons, the KU athletes have made their presence felt on the school’s all-time top-10 performer chart, many of which are still active this season. The Jayhawks have at least one current athlete on both the men’s and women’s side who has become one of the school’s top-10 all-time performers in 21 events.
Last week Michael Stigler became the No. 8 all-time performer in the 400 meters after posting a personal record time of 47.43 in Nebraska. He is also the fifth-fastest Jayhawk in the 60-meter hurdles. Stigler was joined by senior Casey Bowen who also cracked onto a top-10 list. His clearance of 5.46 meters (17’11”) made him the No. 7 vaulter on KU’s all-time pole vault chart.
On the women’s side, Zainab Sanni’s career-best 23.99 has slid her up to the sixth-fastest KU female in the indoor 200 meters ever.
Last Time Out
A pair of individual victories as well as wins in both the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays capped off a successful weekend for Kansas track & field at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational. Junior Casey Bowen vaulted back to the top of the NCAA after a personal-best performance in the pole vault and was among 20 Jayhawks to post career bests inside the Devaney Center Friday and Saturday.
One of the most dominating performances of the day belonged to junior Jacob Morgan, who blew away the competition in the invitational section of the 3,000 meters to claim his first win as a Jayhawk. The Topeka, Kansas product opened a 30-meter lead less than a minute into the race and never looked back, extending his lead to more than 60 meters midway through the race. Morgan came across the finish in a new personal-best time of 8:12.56. His mark was more than five seconds faster than the second-place finisher and moved him into the top-10 of the Big 12 rankings.
The Kansas pole vaulters had another strong outing as four Jayhawks placed among the top-nine finishers. Bowen headed up the group with the best indoor outing of his career. The junior out of Gardner, Kansas cleared his first two bars without tallying a foul, then needed all three tries, but in the end succeeded in getting over a new indoor best of 5.46 meters (17’11”). Bowen’s performance was enough to earn him a tie for second but was the top finish by a collegian in the event. The clearance also moved Bowen up to seventh on KU’s all-time indoor pole vaulter charts and pushed him to No. 9 on the latest NCAA charts.
Seeing action in his first 400 meters of the season, Michael Stigler headed up a solid evening for the Jayhawk men in the heats of the quarter-mile race. Four of the five KU runners entered in the event posted career-bests, including Stigler who shaved off .2 seconds off his previous best to win his heat with ease. The Canyon, Texas native finished his two laps in 47.43, a time that was only topped by three runners in the final heat, each of whom posted times that rank inside the nation’s top-35.
Stigler’s clocking made him the eighth-fastest Jayhawk all-time in the indoor 400 meters and the third-fastest Jayhawk in the last 18 years.
Stigler Listed on February Watch List for ‘The Bowerman’
All-American hurdler Michael Stigler was one of 16 athletes named to the February edition Bowerman Watch List as was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Feb. 4. 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 third 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Jayhawks will have a week off before they head back to Ames, Iowa for the Big 12 Indoor Championships to be held in the Lied Recreation Center for the third-straight season. The league meet is scheduled to kick off Friday, February 27 and conclude Saturday, February 28. Get live updates and results from the Jayhawks’ performances by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack
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