Jayhawks Head to Manhattan for Final Big 12 Tune Up
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will journey to the Little Apple this weekend as they take part in the Ward Haylett Invitational in Manhattan, Kansas. The one-day meet, which is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, will be the Jayhawks last chance to prepare for the Big 12 Championship meet in two weeks. Over 80 Crimson & Blue-clad athletes are scheduled to compete at the RV Christian Track Complex in hopes of upping their status prior to the start of the postseason meets later this month.
- This weekend, KU will see 81 of its athletes compete inside Kansas State’s home facility at RV Christian Track Complex in Manhattan, Kansas. The Jayhawks feature 43 student-athletes who hail from the state of Kansas, including one from Manhattan, junior distance specialist Reid Buchanan, who is expected to compete this weekend.
- The Kansas women checked in at No. 17 in the latest NCAA rankings released Tuesday. That marks the 33rd-consecutive week the Kansas women find themselves in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA’s outdoor national rankings.
- Junior Michael Stigler is undefeated in his five 400-meter hurdle races this season. He has also won nine of his last 13 races versus collegians dating back to last season.
- Stigler’s 400-meter hurdle win last weekend at the Drake Relays completed the Texas-Kansas-Drake Triple Crown, marking the 16th time a Jayhawk has won an event at the Texas Relays, Kansas Relays and Drake Relays in the same year.
- The Kansas men have seen five of their pole vaulters clear 17 feet or higher already this outdoor season. The schools with the next-most 17 footers in 2014 are Virginia Tech, Air Force and Stephen F. Austin each with three apiece.
- The Kansas women boast four discus throwers who currently rank among the top-50 of the NCAA rankings, the most of any school in the nation.
- Junior Casey Bowen became the ninth Kansas pole vaulter to join the 18-foot club after his PR clearance at the Texas Relays. Kansas has now tied Tennessee for the all-time collegiate lead with nine 18-foot vaulters.
- With her season-best mark of 55.90 meters (183’5″) last weekend, senior Jessica Maroszek now owns seven of the top 10 discus throws in school history.
- 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 junior Michael Stigler added another 400-meter hurdle victory to his list of 2014 accolades as he claimed the event title at the Drake Relays last weekend. He tallied his third event title of the season as he ran through the finish in 49.47. The time made Stigler the owner of the top two times in the NCAA this season and kept him undefeated this year. Stigler also notched a prestigious accolade that has been a rare feat in recent years as he completed the Texas-Kansas-Drake Triple Crown in the 400-meter hurdles with his wins at the Texas Relays, Kansas Relays and the Drake Relays, all in the same season.
The women’s 4×200-meter relay team etched their names into the school record books as they too competed at the Drake Relays. The team of Diamond Dixon, Alisha Keys, Tianna Valentine and Sydney Conley broke the two-year-old record en route to a runner-up finish in the event. The group passed the baton around in 1:34.66, which bested the previous record from 2012 by .09 seconds.
Senior Jessica Maroszek turned in one of the top-10 throws in the NCAA ranks this year as she competed in the discus at the Triton Invitational. Maroszek’s toss of 55.90m (183’5″) was the third-best both of her career and in school history and moved her atop the conference standings less than three weeks before the league meet. Maroszek was the second collegiate finisher and took 10th overall in the field packed with professionals.
Stigler Repeats as Big 12’s Athlete of the Week
For the second-consecutive week Kansas junior Michael Stigler was tabbed the Big 12’s Male Athlete of the Week the conference office announced April 30. Stigler remained unbeaten in the 400-meter hurdles this season after winning the event and posting the third-fastest time of his career at the Drake Relays last weekend. The award marked the second of Stigler’s career and was the second time a Jayhawk was honored in consecutive weeks.
Stigler extended his unbeaten streak to five in the 400-meter hurdles this season as he claimed the event title in Des Moines last Saturday. Stigler clocked in at 49.47, his second-fastest mark of the year and the No. 11 time in the world. Stigler now owns the top two times in Division I in 2014 and has won nine of his last 13 400m-hurdle races versus collegians, dating back to last year.
The win last Saturday also marked a successful Texas-Kansas-Drake Triple Crown for the junior, as he won the event at the Texas Relays, Kansas Relays and Drake Relays all in the same year, a feat which has only been done two other times in the event and not since 1985.
Let’s Discuss the Discus
The Jayhawk discus throwers have been among the best and deepest event groups in the nation this year. On the women’s side, Kansas finds four currently ranked inside the top-50 of the NCAA rankings, the most of any school in the nation. The group is headlined by senior Jessica Maroszek, who just last week turned in a season-best mark of 55.90 meters (183’5″) to move up to 10th in the NCAA and first in the Big 12. Maroszek, who is a two-time First Team All-American and the reigning Big 12 Champion in the event, holds eight of the top-10 discus marks in school history which includes the school record of 56.83 meters (186’5″).
On the men’s side, freshman Mitchell Cooper is already making a name for himself early in his KU career. Last weekend at the Triton Invitational, the Australia native posted a personal-best mark of 56.99 meters (187’0″), the No. 31-ranked mark in the nation and the fourth-best toss by a freshman in 2014. Cooper also leads the nation among U20 Collegians in the event.
Even with four weeks still to go before the NCAA preliminary meets begin, it’s never too early to see how the qualifying picture is beginning to come together. If the season were to end today, the women would see 13 of its athletes and both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays qualify in 16 of the 21 NCAA events and travel to Fayetteville for the West Region Preliminary meet. A year ago, the team, which went on to win the NCAA Outdoor Championship, saw 16 women earn spots at the prelim meet in 14 events.
On the men’s side, 14 Jayhawks and both relays hold marks in 14 events that would earn them a spot in Fayetteville.
Junior Jayhawks Atop U20 Ranks
The future of KU track & field continues to look bright as several Jayhawks have worked their way to the top of the collegiate Under-20 rankings for 2014. This year especially it is important to be near the top of that list as the World Junior Championships will be held later this summer, right here on American soil, in Eugene, Oregon. Freshman pole vaulter Nick Meyer currently boasts five of the top 10 vaults by a junior in the U.S., with his top mark of 5.28 meters (17’3¾”) ranking second among collegians under 20. Freshman Caleb Cowling touts the fifth- and 10th-best long jump marks among U20 collegians this year, and freshman Mitchell Cooper is tops among juniors in the discus after turning in a personal best discus mark of 56.99 meters (187’0″) last weekend.
On the women’s side, freshman Zainab Sanni is the lone Jayhawk to be represented near the top of the Junior collegian standings. Her 100-meter dash clocking of 11.66 puts her eighth on the most recent U20 chart.
Triple Crown Trivia
With his win at the Drake Relays last weekend, junior Michael Stigler completed a feat that has been rarely done by a Jayhawk over the past 40 years. Stigler won the 400-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays, Kansas Relays and, most recently, the Drake Relays all this year, which completed the Texas-Kansas-Drake Triple Crown in the event. It marked just the third time a man has earned the Triple Crown in the 400-meter hurdles and was the first time since 1985.
Stigler’s feat marked the 16th time a Jayhawk has pulled off the Triple Crown and the first in a track event since Jim Ryun did so in the mile in 1966. Since 1971, just three other Kansas men have won the same event at the three historic meets in the same year, the most recent being Egor Agofonov in the hammer throw in 2007. Stigler is in good company as six of the 10 Jayhawks to have notched at least one triple crown during their Kansas careers went on to compete in the Olympics.
|KANSAS’ TEXAS-KANSAS-DRAKE TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS|
|Merwin Graham||Long Jump||1925|
|Bill Neider||Shot Put||1955, 1956|
|Al Oerter||Discus||1956, 1957, 1958|
|Ernie Shelby||Long Jump||1958, 1959|
|Bill Alley||Javelin||1959, 1960|
|Karl Salb||Shot Put||1971|
|Warren Wilhoite||Long Jump||1983|
|Egor Agafonov||Hammer Throw||2007|
|Michael Stigler||400-Meter Hurdles||2014|
Welcome to the 18-Foot Club
With his personal-best clearance of 5.50 meters (18’0½”) at the Texas Relays on March 27, junior Casey Bowen joined an elite club as a member of one of the nation’s most prolific pole vaulting traditions. The Gardner, Kansas native became the ninth Jayhawk to join the 18-foot club, joining former American record holders Scott Huffman and Jeff Buckingham, NCAA Champion Jordan Scott, All-Americans John Bazzoni, Pat Manson as well as Chris Bohanan, Cam Miller and Cedric Fullard.
Kansas’ nine 18-foot vaulters ties the Jayhawks with Tennessee, who has also seen nine clear 18-feet or higher. With one of the richest vaulting traditions in the nation, Kansas has seen its men’s pole vaulters claim All-America honors 31 times since 1969 and claim three NCAA Championships, with Scott most recently winning the outdoor national title in 2010.
With the conference championships just two weeks away, the Kansas athletes have situated themselves in prime positions in the Big 12 rankings of their respective events. The women’s team, which claimed the program’s first conference titles at both the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Championships last year, currently has eight Jayhawks boasting marks ranking in the top-five of the league’s yearly performance list. That list includes senior Jessica Maroszek, who last week hit the league’s top discus mark, junior Lindsay Vollmer, who still leads the conference ranks in the heptathlon and sophomore Sydney Conley, who holds the Big 12’s top long jump mark. The KU women will look to defend their outdoor conference championship at the Big 12 meet to be held in Lubbock, Texas, May 16-18.
The Jayhawk men also have several team members who have climbed their way near the top of the early-season conference standings. Kansas has 11 athletes among the top-five in their respective events. Junior Michael Stigler has posted the conference’s fastest 400-meter hurdle time at 49.35.
Kansas’ Outdoor Record Book Review
Six school records are currently held by active Jayhawks, each of which have been broken within the last two years. The women’s squad saw seven of its records broken a year ago but have had two broken this year, while the men’s team has one current Jayhawk in possession of a school record. Below is a list of KU’s current school record holders:
|Diamond Dixon||400 Meters||50.88||2012 U.S. Olympic Trials|
|Natalie Becker||5,000 Meters||16:20.80||2014 Stanford Invitational|
|Michael Stigler||400m Hurdles||49.19||2013 NCAA Championships|
|Dixon, Keys, Valentine, Conley||4×200-Meter Relay||1:34.66||Drake Relays|
|Jessica Maroszek||Discus||56.83m (186-5 ft.)||2013 Big 12 Championships|
|Lindsay Vollmer||Heptathlon||6,086 pts.||2013 NCAA Championships|
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.
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.
Kansas will head to Lubbock, Texas for the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, set to be held May 16-18. Combined event competition will kick off the event 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 16 inside the Fuller Track Complex and will conclude with the 4×400-meter relays at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. Log on to KUAthletics.com and visit the meet central page for updates and complete rundowns of the Jayhawks’ performances. Be sure to follow the meet live by following on Twitter and Instagram at @KUTrack.
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