Jayhawks Journey to Waco for Baylor Invitational
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Track & Field will look to continue its strong start to the 2015 outdoor campaign when it journeys Waco, Texas to take part in the Baylor Invitational on Friday, April 3. The meet, which will be the inaugural event at Baylor’s new facility, Clyde Hart Stadium, will feature the Jayhawks and Bears as well as Big 12 foes Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma along with Minnesota, SMU, North Texas, Texas State and UT-Arlington. Kansas is set to have more than 60 athletes in action for the second weekend of the outdoor season.
- This weekend, KU will send over athletes to the Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas. Kansas has a total of eight on its roster who hail from the Lone Star State, all of which are on the men’s squad.
- Kansas is competing a meet in Waco for the first time since the Jayhawk women claimed the program’s first outdoor conference title in 2013. The men finished fifth at the same meet, the team’s best league finish since 2005.
- Senior Michael Stigler moved to No. 31 on the all-time American 400-meter hurdle chart last weekend with his 48.44 at the Texas Relays last weekend. His time was also a mere .03 seconds from moving him onto the all-time collegiate top-10 list.
- The Kansas women entered the 2014 outdoor season ranked No. 25 by the USTFCCCA, marking the fourth-straight season the Jayhawks have found themselves ranked inside the top-25 to start the outdoor campaign.
- The Kansas women return over 70 percent of the scorers from a year ago that helped lead the squad to third- and fourth-place performances at the indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championships, respectively. The women’s team has finished inside the top-four each of 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.
Stiglers Recognized for His Record Run
Following his world-leading time at the Texas Relays Friday, Kansas senior Michael Stigler was named the National Athlete of the Week by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and also claimed Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors from the league office.
Last Friday, Stigler picked up his third-consecutive Texas Relays 400-meter hurdle title in grand fashion as the hurdler posted a school record and world-leading time in the event. His time of 48.44 smashed his own school record by more than half a second. The clocking marked the fastest 400-meter hurdle time run by a collegian during the NCAA season in nearly four years and was the eighth-fastest 400-meter hurdle time ever run in the month of March.
Stigler’s performance broke his own school record of 49.19 set at the NCAA Championships in 2013, as well as the Mike A. Myers stadium and the Texas Relays meet records. The performance was also fractions of a second from moving the three-time All-American among the NCAA’s all-time fastest 400-meter hurdlers. His mark was a mere .03 seconds from making him the No. 10 performer in collegiate history. Stigler’s time easily moved him to the top of the world rankings for 2015, bettering the previous leader by well over a second. Comparing to recent seasons, the time would have made him the fourth-fastest in the world in 2014 and would have ranked No. 10 in the world in 2013.
Jayhawks Making Early Impact on Regional Rankings
After the first weekend of the outdoor seasons, both Kansas teams have made their presences felt on the West Regional rankings. The Jayhawk men currently feature 10 athletes who find themselves among the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings. Nine KU women tallied performances that moved them into NCAA Preliminary qualifying possession. Two Jayhawks, senior Michael Stigler and junior Sydney Conley are atop the collegiate rankings after their career performances at the Texas Relays last weekend.
Other Jayhawks in the top-10 in the West Region include seniors Nick Giancana (high jump) and Colleen O’Brien (high jump), sophomores Mitch Cooper (discus) and Nick Meyer and freshman Cole Ceban (discus).
Last Time Out
Kansas opened its 2015 outdoor season with a bang as the Jayhawks competed at the Texas Relays and the ESU Spring Open. Senior Michael Stigler picked up his third-consecutive Texas Relays 400-meter hurdle title in grand fashion as the hurdler posted a school record and world-leading time at the Texas Relays. Stigler’s time of 48.44 smashed his own school record by more than half a second and made him just the second athlete in meet history to garner 400-meter hurdle titles in three-straight years. Junior Sydney Conley soared to a mark of 6.50 meters (21’4″) to take the top collegiate spot. The jump not only shot her to the top of the leaderboard, but inserted Conley’s name atop the 2015 NCAA outdoor rankings.
While several individuals highlighted the KU’s weekend in Austin, the Kansas women saw a strong outing from one of its relay squads in two-straight nights. Just over 24 hours after the 4×800-meter relay team turned in the sixth-fastest time in school history, the distance medley team of Lydia Saggau, Whitney Adams, Rhavean King and Hannah Richardson finished third in the 4,000-meter race in 11:21.69 to turn in the second-fastest outdoor distance medley time in program history.
Five Jayhawks picked up individual victories as a large Kansas contingent took part in the Emporia State Spring Open Saturday inside Fran Welch Stadium. Junior Anastasiya Muchkayev was the top collegiate finisher in two events while freshman Cole Ceban earned his first win as a Jayhawk with a solid outing in the shot put.
KU Women Slotted at No. 25 to Start Outdoor Season
The Kansas Jayhawk women’s track & field team was slotted 25th in the preseason outdoor rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) Tuesday. The announcement marked the fifth-straight season the KU women were slotted in the NCAA’s preseason top-25 rankings.
KU returns 16 scorers from last year’s squad the finished 4th at the Big 12 championships as well as three Jayhawks who competed at the NCAA meet last June.
2015 NCAA Indoor Championship Recap
Junior Casey Bowen earned a seventh-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships held in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Bowen’s finished earned him first team All-America honors for the first time in his career and marked the 23rd time a Jayhawk pole vaulter has taken home All-America honors from the indoor national championships, the most of any team in nation.
The Gardner, Kansas native cleared a top height of 5.40 meters (17’8½”), to cement his place in a tie for seventh. The top-eight finish still gave Bowen an All-America distinction for the first time in his career. His finish is also the first scoring effort by a Kansas male at the NCAA Indoor Championships since Mason Finley finished second in the shot put at the 2011 meet.
Senior Lindsay Vollmer earned a 14th-place finish in the pentathlon a day later. The finish came after Vollmer was forced to pull out of the final event, the 800 meters, due to an apparent leg injury suffered earlier in the day. The finish still earned Vollmer second team All-American honors in the event for the second time in her career.
The highlight of Vollmer’s day came in the pentathlon’s first event, the 60-meter hurdles. She leaned through the finish in 8.29 to break Ashley Brown’s eight-year-old Kansas record in the event by .03 seconds.
Setting the Stage for the Outdoor Campaign
The KU women start their outdoor season inside the nation’s top-25 with the help of 16 All-Big 12 performers returning from last season’s team. Lindsay Vollmer is back for her senior year in hopes of reclaiming her NCAA heptathlon title from 2013. Junior Sydney Conley earned First Team All-America honors in the long jump a year ago and is primed to claim her first Big 12 title in the event after she was just a centimeter shy of her first championship last season.
The Kansas throwing squad will again be one of the Jayhawks’ strongest assets. Junior Anastasiya Muchkayev ranked among the nation’s top-30 in both the shot put and discus last season and is coming off a solid indoor season which saw her claim a runner-up finish in the shot put at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. Junior Daina Levy enters the 2015 season as one of the conference’s top returners in the hammer throw after she climbed as high as 12th in the national rankings last year.
On the men’s side, Michael Stigler returns for his final season in the Crimson and Blue with high hopes. The Canyon, Texas native will look to become the first Big 12 athlete to claim four-straight conference 400-hurdle titles. Stigler will also have an NCAA title in his sights have finishing as the national runner-up in both 2012 and 2013.
Sophomore thrower Mitch Cooper is also hoping for a breakout season. The Australian is coming off a freshman season that saw him finish sixth in the discus at the IAAF World Junior Championships in July. The Jayhawks are also expecting a big output from freshman Cole Ceban, who joined the squad in January after a highly successful junior career on the international stage.
Outdoor Record Book Review
Over the last four 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 14 events. Lindsay Vollmer is the only active school-record holder in an individual event as she holds the KU mark in the heptathlon including five of the eight best scores in school history.
Other current KU women who have tallied top-10 performances include Anastasiya Muchkayev (shot put, discus), Sydney Conley (long lump), Hannah Richardson (1,500 meters) and Daina Levy (hammer throw).
On the men’s side, junior Michael Stigler has rewritten the KU record book in the 400-meter hurdles over his first three seasons. He currently holds nine of the 10 fastest 400-meter hurdle times in school history, including his record time of 49.19, run in his runner-up finish at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
2015 Kansas Relays to Feature Scored Quadrangular
For the first time in its 88-year history, the Kansas Relays will feature a collegiate quadrangular as four teams are set to take part in the scored competition at this year’s meet. Kansas will go head-to-head with in-state rival Kansas State as well as Colorado State and Purdue during the two-day competition that will span 40 men’s and women’s track & field events. The 88th Annual Kansas Relays will take place April 15-18 and will be held for the second year at Rock Chalk Park.
The format of the quadrangular will be similar to other scored collegiate meets such as the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA Championships. Individuals will earn points based on their finish in their respective events. Only the top-two finishers from each team will be scored in each individual event, and be allowed only one team in the relays.
The majority of the quadrangular event finals will take place the afternoon of Saturday, April 18, beginning at 12 p.m., with field events and 1 p.m., with track events. Four quadrangular events will take place prior to April 18. The men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon will conclude on Thursday, April 16, while the men’s and women’s hammer throws will be held on Friday, April 17. Following the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relays on Saturday the men’s and women’s team champions will be crowned.
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.
The Jayhawk track & field squads will get their final tune-up before the 88th Kansas Relays when they trek to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the John McDonnell Invitational, April 10-11.
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