Senior Michael Stigler will look to defend his KU Relays 400-meter hurdle title later this week at Rock Chalk Park.
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will return to host one of the most historic meets in the U.S., the Kansas Relays, this weekend. The 88th installment of the meet will begin on Wednesday, April 15 and continue through Saturday, April 18. Some of the nation’s top high school and collegiate athletes will be in action at Kansas’ year-old home facility, Rock Chalk Park. Fans will be admitted for free for the Wednesday and Thursday sessions and will be able to buy a tickets ranging from $5-$15 for the Friday and Saturday sessions. Saturday afternoon’s scored collegiate quadrangular will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel as well as ESPN3 beginning at 1 pm (CT).
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 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 finishes 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.
Jayhawks Invading Regional Rankings
After the first three weekends of the outdoor season, both Kansas teams have made their presences felt on the West Regional rankings. The Jayhawk women currently feature 16 athletes who find themselves among the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings and would qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary meet next month. Twelve KU men have tallied performances that have also moved them into NCAA Preliminary qualifying position. Senior Michael Stigler remains atop the collegiate rankings after his career performance in the 400-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays three weeks ago.
Other Jayhawks in the top-10 in the West Region include seniors Nick Giancana (high jump) and Colleen O’Brien (high jump), juniors Daina Levy (hammer throw) and Hannah Richardson (1,500m), sophomores Mitch Cooper (discus) and Nick Meyer and freshman Cole Ceban (discus).
Welcome to Rock Chalk Park
For the second year, the Kansas track & field team will compete in its year-old home facility this week when it plays host to the Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park. The facility, which completed construction 12 months ago, has already been touted as one of the nation’s top track & field facilities as it has attained the prestigious IAAF Class I status. The $39 million facility houses the Kansas track, soccer and softball teams. The track portion of the facility has just over 6,100 permanent seats with the ability to bring in an additional 4,000 temporary seats for larger events. Rock Chalk Park has already won a bid for one of NCAA track & field’s top events as it will host the 2016 NCAA West Preliminary meet.
The track surface may be considered the crown jewel of the entire complex. The surface at Rock Chalk Park, installed by Beynon Sports Surfaces, underwent in-situ testing for the Class I certification process. With the IAAF’s approval, the track is capable of hosting meets of an international level and is one of only five facilities in the U.S. with Class I status.
In addition to the track, there is approximately 90,000 square feet of locker rooms, offices, official rooms, training room and athletic training facilities located under the east stands.
Last Time Out
Another 1,500-meter win from junior Hannah Richardson as well as a pair of NCAA top-25 performances from senior Michael Stigler and junior Sydney Conley highlighted a strong Saturday for Kansas track & field as the Jayhawks competed on the at the John McDonnell Invitational April 10-11. The meet served as Kansas’ final tune-up prior to the Kansas Relays, set to run at Rock Chalk Park next week.
Richardson claimed her second 1,500-meter crown in as many weeks as she blazed to victory on the shoulders of her fastest-career time in the event. The junior ran in stride with the front of the pack for the first 1,000 meters before kicking it into high gear. With 500 meters remaining, she flew by the leaders and used an impressive kick over her final lap of the track to win the race by more than four seconds. Richardson’s dominant performance produced a personal-record time of 4:18.43 and shot her into the top-10 of the national rankings.
Richardson also managed to rewrite the school record book as her time ranks sixth on the KU chart and is the best mark by a Jayhawk in nearly five years. Only two other Kansas runners have turned in faster marks than Richardson’s career run in Arkansas.
The Jayhawks’ 400-meter hurdle specialist, Michael Stigler, also picked up the second win of his senior campaign, however it was in the shorter, 110-meter hurdle race. Stigler wasn’t challenged in the event as he outpaced the field by over .7 seconds after he clocked in at 13.78. The time was just .01 seconds from tying his own career-best in the event and moved the three-time All-American among the top-10 in the latest 2015 national standings.
A host of Jayhawks will compete in front of family and friends this week as KU’s Sunflower State natives will be in action in Lawrence. The Jayhawks’ current roster boasts 44 athletes who call Kansas home, 16 of which are newcomers who will compete in the KU singlet in front of their home crowd for the first time. Four Jayhawks who hail from the Lawrence area will be in action this weekend: Trevor Hillis, Austin Hoag, Teri Huslig and Logan Sloan.
After a month of the 2015 outdoor season, the Kansas Jayhawks have already displayed their superiority by way of the Big 12 rankings. The women’s team, which has finished inside the top-four of the Big 12 Conference standings each of the last three years, currently has 11 Jayhawks boasting marks ranking in the top-five of the league’s yearly performance list. That list includes juniors Hannah Richardson and Sydney Conley, who both lead the conference ranks in the 1,500 meters and long jump, respectively.
The Jayhawk men also have several team members who have climbed their way near the top of the early-season conference standings. Kansas has nine athletes among the top-five in their respective events. Senior Michael Stigler has posted the conference’s fastest 400-meter hurdle time at 48.44.
Stigler Recognized for his Record Run
Following his world-leading time at the Texas Relays, Kansas senior Michael Stigler was named the Athlete of the Week by the Big 12 Conference, U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) and U.S.A Track & Field last week.
On March 27, 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.
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 48.44, run in his outdoor debut this season at the Texas Relays.
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 Kansas Track & Field teams will split for a pair of meets next weekend. Some Jayhawks will journey to Des Moines, Iowa as Kansas will send a handful of relay squads to compete at the Drake Relays, April 24-25. The Kansas throwing contingent will jet to the west coast to take part in the Triton Invitational in La Jolla, Calif., also April 24-25. Keep track of all the Jayhawk performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com for complete updates and results and follow through Twitter at @KUTrack.
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