Jayhawks Trek to Baton Rouge for Battle on the Bayou
LAWRENCE, Kan. – For the first time, Kansas track & field will journey to Baton Rouge, La., to compete in the Battle of the Bayou on Saturday, April 5. Along with the host LSU, the meet will feature some of the nation’s top programs in Ohio State, Mississippi State and UCLA. The scored meet to be held in Bernie Moore Track Stadium is slated to kick off at 10 a.m. Kansas will also see a pair of Jayhawks compete at the Stanford Invitational as distance specialists Natalie Becker and Reid Buchanan journey to Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday, April 4.
- This weekend, KU will send athletes to the fourth-annual Battle on the Bayou in Baton Rouge, La. The host facility, Bernie Moore Track Stadium, has played host to the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships and 2004 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, as well as the 2012 SEC Outdoor Championships.
- Junior Michael Stigler currently holds the NCAA’s No. 1 time in the 400-meter hurdles (50.08) after his victory at the Texas Relays last weekend. That mark also makes him the top American and No. 8 performer in the world this year.
- After her win at the Texas Relays last weekend, Lindsay Vollmer has now won her last three heptathlon events versus collegians, which is the longest active streak in the nation among DI athletes.
- Vollmer’s Texas Relays heptathlon-winning point total (5,640) was also the No. 4 score in Kansas history and bested her score from last year’s Texas Relays by over 60 points. Vollmer would go on to win the NCAA title in the event three months later.
- Junior Casey Bowen became the ninth Kansas pole vaulter to join the 18-foot club after his PR clearance at the Texas Relays last weekend. Kansas has now tied Tennessee for the all-time collegiate lead with nine 18-foot vaulters.
- Senior Diamond Dixon enters her final outdoor campaign as the three-time defending Big 12 outdoor 400-meter champion. She has also twice garnered first-team All-America honors in the event.
- Junior Colleen O’Brien enters the meet a week removed from a personal best in the high jump at the Texas Relays. Her clearance of 1.81m (5’11¼”) was the best outdoor mark by a KU female since 1992.
- 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.
- The Kansas women are coming off the NCAA outdoor title last season. The 2013 group beat the field by 16 points to claim the program’s first national title.
Last Time Out
Kansas track & field saw three event victories, a pair of NCAA-leading marks and a school record fall at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays inside Mike A. Myers Stadium last weekend. NCAA heptathlon champion Lindsay Vollmer kicked her outdoor season off strong by claiming the event title. Vollmer ended her competition with a winning score of 5,640 points, the highest heptathlon score in the NCAA so far this season and the fourth-best point total in school history.
Junior Casey Bowen wrote another chapter in the storied history of the KU pole vault program as he posted a winning clearance of 5.50 meters (18’0½”), on his second attempt. The clearance also made Bowen the ninth Kansas pole vaulter to reach the highly-sought milestone.
Kansas junior Michael Stigler claimed his second-straight Texas Relays 400-meter hurdle title Friday night. Stigler’s winning time of 50.08 marked the fastest in the NCAA this season and the sixth-fastest in the world in 2014.
Colleen O’Brien was another Jayhawk to enter the winner’s circle as she was able to pick up the victory in the B-Section high jump. O’Brien got over a new personal-best mark of 1.81 meters (5’11¼”). The junior’s jump, which earned O’Brien the first outdoor win of her Jayhawk career, marked the highest outdoor clearance by a KU female since 1992.
The women’s 4×800-meter relay team took to the track and managed to combine for a time never before attained by another Kansas women’s relay team. The quartet of Diamond Dixon, Whitney Adams, Hannah Richardson and Rhavean King passed the baton around over the 3,200-meter race in 8:50.50. The time took down the previous program best of 8:51:56 from the Drake Relays in 1980.
Vollmer Picks Up Big 12 Weekly Honor after Win at Texas Relays
After an outdoor season-opening heptathlon victory at the Texas Relays last week, Kansas junior Lindsay Vollmer was named the Big 12’s Female Track & Field Athlete of the week the league office announced April 2. The honor was the second awarded to Vollmer this year after she was named the conference’s athlete of the week at the beginning of the indoor season on Jan. 22.
Vollmer turned in a come-from-behind victory in the heptathlon at the Texas Relays Thursday in Austin. The NCAA’s defending national champion in the event, Vollmer trailed by 142 points with two events remaining but was able to overtake the leader to pick up the victory with a final score of 5,640 points. Vollmer’s point total leads the NCAA, is the best by an American and ranks seventh in the world in 2014. She has also now won each of her last three heptathlon competitions versus collegians.
KU Women Slotted at No. 10 to Begin 2014 Outdoor Season
The NCAA’s defending outdoor track & field champion, the Kansas Jayhawk women, were slotted 10th in the preseason outdoor rankings by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCA) last week. The KU men will open the 2014 outdoor campaign just outside the top-25 as they find themselves at No. 26 in the rankings.
The women are inside the top-10 of the outdoor preseason rankings for the third-straight year, while the men were slotted 26th in the preseason list for the fourth-straight season.
Setting the stage for The Outdoor Campaign
The KU women start their outdoor season inside the nation’s top-10 with the help of four All-Americans returning from last season’s NCAA Championship team. Lindsay Vollmer is back for her junior year in hopes of defending her heptathlon national title from a year ago. Senior Diamond Dixon, already a 12-time All-American, is the three-time defending Big 12 champion in the outdoor 400 meters and will look to complete the four-year sweep at the conference meet in May.
Senior Jessica Maroszek tallied a league title in the discus throw last season before collecting First Team All-America honors with her fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in 2013. The Seymour, Wis., native had a strong finish to her final indoor campaign after posting scoring performances at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in both the shot put and weight throw with personal-best marks. Sprinter Tianna Valentine is back for her second season in a Jayhawk uniform. She, along with Dixon, was a part of the KU’s All-American 4×100-meter relay team that smashed the school record and took fourth at the national championships last season.
On the men’s side, Kansas returns 14 of the 16 scorers from last year’s team that took fifth at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. The headliner, junior Michael Stigler, was the NCAA runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles a year ago and is coming off an indoor season that saw him claim the Big 12 indoor title in the 600 yards.
Other key returners include pole vaulters Alex Bishop and Casey Bowen, both of whom qualified for the NCAA championships last season; senior javelin specialist Johann Swanepoel, a first-team All-American in 2012 and senior Josh Munsch, who ran to All-Big 12 honors in the 1,500 meters a year ago.
Dixon Named Midwest’s Indoor 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) 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 at the conference championships in Ames, Iowa on March 1. 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.
Kansas Outdoor Record Book Review
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, Jessica Maroszek, and Lindsay Vollmer all have school records in their respective events.
Other current KU women who have tallied top-10 performances include Anastasiya Muchkayev (shot put), Sydney Conley (long jump), Hannah Richardson (1,500 meters) and Natalie Becker (5,000 meters).
On the men’s side, junior Michael Stigler has rewritten the KU record book in the 400-meter hurdles over his first two seasons. He currently holds the three fastest 400-meter hurdle times in school history, including his record time of 49.19, run in his runner-up finish at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.
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.
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.
The Jayhawks will journey to Tempe, Ariz., for the second-straight season to take part in a pair of events, the Mesa Classic and the Sun Angel Classic, April 11-12.
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