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, Ark., and at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa. Both will be two-day meets for KU, each taking place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-15.
- 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.
- If the season were to end today, the Jayhawks would have five individuals (four women, one man) qualify for the NCAA Championships next month.
- Senior Natalia Bartnovskaya will return to the site of her 2013 NCAA indoor pole vault championship for the first time since earning the crown last March. Bartnovskaya’s two best-career vaults have come on the Tyson Center runway, including her school record and NCAA title performance last March.
- The KU men’s pole vaulters currently see four Jayhawks ranked among the top-50 in the nation. Senior Alex Bishop moved up to sixth after his personal record performance last week in New York. Sophomore Jake Albright and freshman Nick Meyer are tied at 43rd after their (17’1″) clearance at the Bill Easton Classic last month. 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 in her second 400-meter race of the season in Arkansas, on a track which she has seen some success. Three of her top-10 fastest career 400 times have come inside the Randal Tyson Track Center, with her second-fastest coming last season at the NCAA Championships.
- Two Kansas vaulters currently sit among the top-10 of the NCAA rankings in their event. Senior Natalia Bartnovskaya has the No. 6 pole vault mark in the nation of 4.32 meters (14’2″), while senior Alex Bishop also holds the NCAA’s sixth-best vault on the men’s side of 5.45 meters (17’10½”).
- The KU women have at least one Jayhawk ranked among the top five in the conference standings in 11 of the 19 league championship events, while the KU men find four athletes ranked among the top-five in four events.
- 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.
Last Time Out
The Kansas women’s 4×800-meter relay took down the school record that stood for more than 30 years en route to earning one of five KU victories at the Armory Collegiate Invitational last week. The 11th-ranked Jayhawk women took fourth in the final team standings after amassing 55 points during the two-day meet held inside the history Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.
The highlight for the KU women came from a group of underclassmen in a runaway victory in the 4×800-meter relay. Freshman Whitney Adams, sophomore Kelly McKenna, freshman Lydia Saggau and sophomore Rhavean King brought the baton across the finish in 8:51.19 to take the easy victory and smash the previous school record by over five seconds. The quartet’s time was also the fastest by a collegiate squad this year.
Senior sprinter Diamond Dixon posted one of the fastest 500-meter times ever by a collegian as she claimed an easy victory in the event. She crossed the finish in 1:10.06, two seconds ahead of the runner-up finisher. Her mark improved on Shayla Wilson’s two-year-old school record by over three seconds and was also the fastest run by an American in 2014. It put her just .01 seconds from being one of the all-time 10-fastest Americans in the event. Only seven collegians have run faster than Dixon’s Armory Invite time, which now ranks ninth on the NCAA’s all-time list and is the second-fastest ever run at the 13-year-old meet.
Alex Bishop tallied a performance in the men’s championship division pole vault that hasn’t been equaled by a KU vaulter in nearly five years. With the bar moved up to 5.45 meters (17’10½”), Bishop saved his best attempt for last after he managed to slink over the bar on his third trip down the runway. The clearance marked a new career best for either the indoor and outdoor pole vault and was the highest indoor mark by a Jayhawk since 2009. His vault went on to earn him a tie for first in the event after he was unable to top the next bar at 5.50 meters (18’0½”). Bishop now sits at No. 5 in the national rankings and atop the Big 12 standings with two weeks to go before the conference championship meet.
The Jayhawks will be competing in venues where they hold fond memories from a year ago. 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 last season. 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 last March. 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 year, 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 an 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-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 one or more 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. Each have also tallied five or more of the school’s top-10 all-time performances as well.
Last week Hannah Richardson became the No. 9 all-time performer in the mile after posting a personal record time of 4:48.59 in New York. She also joined forces with the distance medley squad to run the eighth-fastest time in school history, clocking in at 11:28.81 at the Armory.
On the men’s side, the 4×800-meter relay team of Dominique Manley, Kellum Schneider, Brendan Soucie and Dalen Fink completed the fourth-fastest time in school history after passing the baton around in 7:38.87.
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.
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 on Feb. 5. The announcement marked the first time Bartnovskaya 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 on Jan. 31 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 Jan. 31. 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.
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) Feb. 5. 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.
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.
The Jayhawks will have a week off before they head north to Ames, Iowa for the Big 12 Indoor Championships to be held in the Lied Recreation Center for the second-straight season. The league meet is scheduled to kick off off Friday, February 28 and conclude Saturday, March 1.
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