Kansas Men, Women Each Place Sixth at Big 12 Indoor Championships

Big 12 Indoor Championships
Ames, Iowa

Junior Anastasiya Muchkayev earned a runner-up finish in the shot put Saturday at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.
Day Two Coverage
Finals Results (PDF) Kansas Results (PDF)
Meet Central

Ames, Iowa – Senior Kenneth McCuin ran to victory in the 600 yards and claimed his first Big 12 title as the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams concluded the Big 12 Indoor Championships Saturday inside the Lied Recreation Center Saturday. Both squads finished sixth in their respective team races with the men scoring 80.5 points and the women amassing 71 points during the two-day competition.
“I was really pleased with some of our individual performances this weekend,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “With that being said, I thought both teams are better than where we finished in the standings. We have a strong core of athletes that have really competed well so far this season and we need to bring the rest of our team up to that level. We have a lot of strengths on both teams but there are also a lot of weakness that we need to work on as we move forward this year.”
A year after finishing second to teammate Michael Stigler in the 600 yards last season, McCuin returned to the Lied Center track in search of a title of his own. On Friday, McCuin took an important first step in that endeavor as he qualified for the final by way of a 1:09.88 clocking, the fastest among those who advanced to Saturday’s final. None of the other seven finalist could upend the senior in the final as McCuin sprinted to a relatively easy win, outpacing Texas’ Byron Robinson by .37 seconds. The win was the first individual Big 12 title for the senior, who posted the fastest 600-yard time of his Jayhawk career at 1:09.21. The Baltimore product now holds two of the fastest 600-yard races in KU history, both of which came inside the Lied Center.
In one of the final events of the evening, James Wilson added one of the performances of the meet for the KU men as he competed in a highly-talented field in the 3,000 meters. The senior out of Abilene, Kansas ran with the leaders for nearly the entire race, even taking over the top spot with less than 1,200 meters to go. Wilson was still in the lead at the start of the final lap but was overtaken by two runners in the final 200 meters. He still managed to tally a third-place finish after he shaved almost seven seconds off his previous career-best. Wilson clocked in at 8:04.98, which makes him the seventh-fastest Jayhawk ever in the indoor 3,000 meters.
Senior Josh Munsch again proved himself as one of the conference’s top milers when he posted a scoring performance in the event for the third time in as many tries at the Big 12 Indoor meet. The Hays, Kansas product clocked in with a time of 4:11.09 in what turned out to be a relatively slow, tactical race. His time was good enough to earn him a fifth-place finish and an additional four points to the men’s team’s scoring effort.
The Jayhawk women’s largest point output of the day came in the 600 yards. Sophomore Whitney Adams, the reigning Big 12 runner-up in the event turned in the fastest time of her young Kansas career. She finished her 2.5 laps in 1:20.64 to finish third in the event that saw the meet and facility records fall. Adams was followed closely by fellow sophomore Adriana Newell, who clocked in 1:22.78 to finish sixth-overall. The KU duo combined for nine points, the most in a single event for the Jayhawk women on the day.
In the women’s shot put, Anastasiya Muchkayev tallied her first runner-up finish at a Big 12 Conference meet. The junior quickly moved to the top of the leaderboard after she hit 15.81 meters (51’10½”) with her first attempt. She remained in second for the remainder of the competition and further secured her grasp of the silver medal when she unleashed a toss of 16.10 meters (52’10”) in the fifth round. Muchkayev’s performance marked the best shot put finish by a Jayhawk at the league’s indoor meet since Stephanie Horton also took second at the 2008 championships.
The Kansas men also got big points out of the shot put with the help of two career bests. Freshman Cole Ceban unwound for a throw of 17.89 meters (58’8½”) on his final attempt of the afternoon to clinch a fifth-place finish. Junior Paul Golen bettered his previous best by two feet in his eighth-place performance. He posted a mark of 16.47 meters (54’½”) on his first toss of the day.  
It was a solid outing on the track for sophomore Zainab Sanni, who turned in individual scoring performances in two events. She began the day alongside teammate Sydney Conley in the finals of the 60-meter dash. The junior, Conley, just out-leaned her teammate by .01 seconds, finishing sixth in 7.47, while Sanni posted 7.48 for seventh.
Two hours later Sanni returned to the starting blocks, this time in the 200-meter final. She again garnered two points for her team after she finished seventh by way of her final time of 24.15.
Michael Stigler was also a busy Jayhawk Saturday as he competed in three different track events in a four-hour span. His first event of the afternoon was the 60-meter hurdle finals, the event in which, just a day earlier, he had posted the best time of his career in qualifying with a mark of 7.90. In the final, the senior got over the five hurdles and through the finish in 8.01, good enough to give him a fourth-place finish and five points to his team’s total.
Stigler then went up against a formidable field in the 400 meters. He got through his quarter-mile in 47.06, the second-fastest time ever for the All-American hurdles, which was good enough to place him fifth overall.
Stigler closed out the day by joining forced with teammates Drew Matthews, Tre Daniels and McCuin in the 4×400-meter relay. The foursome passed the baton around in a season-best 3:10.29 to finish fifth overall. With its time, the KU quartet now holds two of the seven-fastest 4×400-meter relay times in school history.
After the final scores were tabulated the Kansas men managed a sixth-place finish with 80.5 points. The total was just 0.5 points behind fifth-place Iowa State and 8.5 points behind fourth-place Oklahoma. The Jayhawk women also posted a sixth-place finish after collecting 71 points. The women’s team race proved to be a tight one as the teams that finished between the fourth through seventh places were separated by a mere nine points.
The Jayhawks will find out Tuesday which athletes qualify for 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships set to take place March 13-14. The meet will be held inside the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Kansas women earned team runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2013 and claimed a total of five individual national championships at two of the last three NCAA Indoor Championship meets. Kansas will then break for a week before kicking off the outdoor campaign at the Texas Relays March 25-28 in Austin, Texas.
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