Jayhawks Journey to Albuquerque for NCAA Indoor Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas track & field team will see four athletes compete this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships to be held March 14-15. The Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M., will play host to the meet for the first time. The Kansas women have finished as the runner-up each of the last two years at the national championships. Defending NCAA pole vault champion Natalia Bartnovskaya and 2012 400-meter champion Diamond Dixon, each look to return to the winner’s circle this weekend.
- This weekend, four Jayhawks will travel to the Albuquerque, N.M., which is hosting the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time.
- Over the last three seasons, the KU women have seen their athletes earn an average of nine First Team All-American honors at the national indoor championships, with a program 11 First Team All-Americans a year ago.
- Alex Bishop will look to become the 22nd Kansas pole vaulter to attain All-America status indoors. The last Jayhawk to do so in the pole vault was Jordan Scott with his third-place finish in 2009.
- The Kansas women are coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at the NCAA indoor meet, amassing 44 points a year ago and 30 points in 2012.
- Natalia Bartnovskaya is the defending NCAA champion in the indoor pole vault. A second-consecutive win would continue a trend of indoor title repeats as she could become the fourth-straight vaulter to repeat in the last eight years.
- Diamond Dixon will look to make school history in the 400 meters this weekend. The senior will attempt to attain her fourth-consecutive First Team All-America title in the event, which would make her the first KU female to do so in a single indoor event.
- In her two indoor campaigns at Kansas, Bartnovskaya has notched seven of the top-10 all-time vaults in school history, including the school record of 4.45 meters (14’7¼”) at last year’s NCAA Championships.
- Dixon will also try to return to the winner’s circle after she won the 400 meters as a sophomore in 2012. A win would make her only the fourth collegian in NCAA Championship history to win multiple indoor 400-meter titles.
- Sophomore Sydney Conley will try to extend an impressive streak Friday, as she tries to become the third different Jayhawk long jumper to earn First Team All-America status in the last three years.
- 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
Senior Diamond Dixon and junior Michael Stigler turned in gold medal-winning performances in their respective events as the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams competed at the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Championships inside the Lied Recreation Center Feb. 28-March 1. The KU women ended the two-day meet with a third-place finish after amassing 99 points. The Jayhawk men collected 52.5 points which was good enough to earn the squad an eighth-place finish.
Dixon stormed down the final stretch of the 200 meters to out lean the UT’s Morolake Akinosun by .11 seconds to seal her first-career conference title in the event. Dixon’s time of 23.43 was a career-best and marked the 10th-fastest indoor 200 meters ever run by a KU female. Her time also moved her into qualifying position for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Stigler put up the best 600-yard performance in the Big 12 meet’s history. From the gun Stigler was never challenged in the event, racing out to a lead of nearly two strides down the homestretch and coming across the finish and the time read 1:08.59. The junior’s winning time also rewrote the 34-year-old school record previously set by Mike Ricks at the 1980 Big Eight Championships.
2013 NCAA Indoor Championship Recap
The University of Kansas women’s track & field team finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships held inside the Randal Tyson Track Center March 8-9, 2013. On the shoulders of national champions Andrea Geubelle and Natalia Bartnovskaya, the Jayhawks took the indoor runner-up finish for the second-straight season, amassing 44 points during the two-day meet.
Geubelle became the fourth women in NCAA history to win championships in both the long jump and triple jump at a NCAA indoor meet and the first since 2003. She also tied Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino as the meet’s high point scorer, notching an impressive 20 points.
With the pole vault bar up to 4.45 meters (14-7.25 ft.), she snuck over on her second attempt, not only earning a new career-best, but breaking her own school record in the process. The mark also made Bartnovskaya the eighth-highest indoor vaulter in NCAA history. With the junior and two others remaining in the competition, none could make it over the next progression, giving Bartnovskaya the win by way of her fewer fouls.
TEAM TITLE TALLIES
The KU women’s team has never claimed a team title at the NCAA Indoor meet, but is coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes and the program’s first outdoor championship in June.
The Kansas men have claimed six NCAA team titles, three have which have come at the indoor championships. The most recent men’s indoor title came at the 1970 Championships held in Detroit. KU has also been close to hoisting the team championship trophy on several occasions with the men finishing in second-place five times, all from 1956-75.
Dixon Named Midwest’s Track Athlete of the Year
Kansas senior sprinter Diamond Dixon was named the Midwest Region’s Track Athlete of the Year, as was announced by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday, March 10. Dixon earned the honor for the fourth time in her career after being recognized following the 2011 outdoor season as well as the 2012 indoor and outdoor seasons.
Dixon, who hails from Houston, Texas, ran to the Big 12 title in the 200 meters in a career-best 23.43 two weeks ago at the conference championships in Ames, Iowa. She also claimed third in the 400 meters in 52.20, the second-fastest of her career and No. 8 time in the NCAA in 2014. Earlier this year, she posted 1:10.06 in the 500 meters at the Armory Invite, making her the No. 8 collegian all-time in the event.
In Redwine’s Words
What are your expectations for the athletes this weekend?
“All the athletes competing this weekend have experience at an NCAA meet like this so hopefully the grand-scale of the meet won’t shock them. They know how to prepare and they know what it will take to make it successful meet for them, now it’s just about execution. The reality is that they’re all capable of being First Team All-Americans. Two of our women have already proven they can be national champions so I’m confident their experience will play a big part this weekend.
Do you ever recall such a competitive 400-meter field at this meet? How do you think Diamond will handle that?
“In all my years of coaching I’ve never seen a field this deep. The time it took to qualify is a time that would have scored at the national meets that last few years. It’s my hope that Diamond will embrace the high level of competition and will use it to her benefit. She’s a great competitor and I’m confident she’ll run some great races.
Natalia is the defending champion in the pole vault, what will it take for her to repeat?
“Hopefully her experience will come through. Like the 400 meters, the pole vault is a very competitive field, too. A few women have jumped higher than Natalia this year, but that was also the case a year ago and she ended up winning. It’s all about who shows up on that day and handles the pressure.”
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 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, Lindsay Vollmer, and Natalie Becker all have school records in their respective events.
At the Big 12 Championships several KU women made edits to the top-10 lists. Freshman Whitney Adams tallied the third-fastest 600 yards time in school after clocking in at 1:20.72 in a runner-up finish. Sophomore Rhavean King notched the No. 4 800-meter time in school history at 2:08.35. Senior Jessica Maroszek moved up on both the shot put and weight throw charts, climbing to the No. 4 performer in KU history on both.
Three weeks ago 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. Richardson and King also joined forces on the distance medley squad last week to run the third-fastest time in school history at 11:14.63 at the Alex Wilson Invitational.
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 at the Armory Invite in New York on Feb. 8.
Former Kansas Track Star Takes Relay Gold, 400-meter Bronze at World Championships
Former Kansas track star Kyle Clemons concluded his weekend at the World Indoor Championships by aiding in a victory for Team USA’s 4×400-meter relay on March 9. The American squad passed the baton around in a world indoor record time of 3:02.13 to collect the gold medal.
Clemons, who competed for the Jayhawks from 2010-13, was less than 24 hours removed from claiming the bronze medal in the open 400 meters. The Rowlett, Texas native ran the opening leg for the American 4×400-meter relay squad Sunday and got his team started off on the right foot. Clemons completed his leg with a 45.98 split and handed off the baton neck-and-neck with the Great Britain team. The U.S. squad preceded to pull away from the field over the next 1,200 meters and complete the fastest official indoor relay ever, clocking in at 3:02.13 to earn the gold.
Rock Chalk Park Earns IAAF CLass I Status
The Jayhawks’ new track facility, Rock Chalk Park, will be recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as the fifth Class I Certified track on United States soil, and will be one of only 105 in the entire world. Rock Chalk Park will join Oregon, Auburn and Arkansas at the collegiate level, and the surface at Icahn Stadium in New York to rank among the nation’s elite track and field facilities. A coup in having a world-class facility like Rock Chalk Park has already been seen, as Kansas was selected to host its first NCAA West Preliminary regional meet May 26-28, 2016, which will feature the top-48 student-athletes in each event west of the Mississippi River.
The track and field stadium will have 7,000 permanent seats, and the ability to bring in 3,000 temporary seats. In addition, there is approximately 90,000 square feet of locker rooms, offices, official rooms, training room and athletic training facilities located under the east stands.
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.
KU Women Earn Three-Consecutive Big 12 Weekly Honors
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.
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 now turn their attention to the outdoor campaign. Kansas is slated to open the 2014 outdoor campaign March 26-29 in Austin, Texas at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.
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