KU Track & Field Gears Up for Big 12 Outdoor Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Lubbock, Texas May 16-18 for the 2014 Big 12 Outdoor Championships held at the Fuller Track Complex on the campus of Texas Tech University. The 16th-ranked KU women will look to defend their conference title from a season ago while the KU men will attempt to improve upon their fifth-place finish at the league meet last year.
- This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Texas Tech’s Fuller Track Complex, which is hosting the Big 12 Outdoor Championships for the second time after first hosting in 2009.
- The Kansas women checked in at No. 16 in the latest NCAA rankings released Tuesday. That marks the 35th-consecutive week the Kansas women find themselves in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA’s outdoor national rankings.
- With a win in the 400 meters this weekend, senior Diamond Dixon could become just the second female in Big 12 history and first in Kansas history to win four-straight conference titles in a single event.
- The Kansas men have won 33 conference titles in the programs’ history, including 26 league championships in a 30-year span from 1952-82.
- 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 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 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 56.01 meters (184’1″) at the Ward Haylett Invitational, senior Jessica Maroszek now owns eight 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
In their final tune up before the Big 12 Conference meet, the Kansas track & field men’s and women’s teams tallied some impressive performances as they competed at the Ward Haylett Invitational on May 3. Jayhawks claimed victories in 17 events and added 21 career bests in the meet that featured in-state rivals Kansas State and Wichita State.
One of the most notable performances came from senior Diamond Dixon, who picked up wins in two events and added a meet record in the process. She started the day in her signature event, the 400 meters. The Houston, Texas native completed her quarter-mile lap in 52.45, which earned Dixon her first win of the season in the event, and shaved almost two seconds off her previous season-best. The senior returned an hour later in the 200 meters and again impressed as she picked up her second victory of the day with a blazing 23.44, outpacing sophomore teammate Tianna Valentine by .34 seconds.
The Jayhawk women also saw one of the best 800-meter outings by two of their athletes as a pair of underclassmen turned in two of the top-five times in school history. Freshman Whitney Adams clocked in at 2:07.84 to earn her first individual win as a Jayhawk, topping her teammate, Hannah Richardson, who came across less than a second later at 2:08.62. Adams’ time made her the third-fastest 800-meter performer in school history, while Richardson posted the fifth-best 800-meter time by a Jayhawk.
In the field, it was a banner day for the throwers as Kansas saw a Jayhawk winner in each of the events in which it had someone competing. In the women’s discus throw, senior Jessica Maroszek tallied a season-best for the second-straight week as she picked up the event win with another big throw. On her third attempt of the day, she hit a mark of 56.01 meters (183’9″), a toss which was eventually good enough to beat the field by over eight feet.
With the conference championships upon them, 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 10 Jayhawks boasting marks ranking in the top-five of the league’s yearly performance list. That list includes senior Jessica Maroszek, who hit the league’s top discus mark three weeks ago, 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 Jayhawk men also have several team members who have climbed their way near the top of the conference standings. Kansas has 10 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.
Conference Repeats, Three-peats and Four-peats
Several Jayhawks will look to join rare company this weekend in Lubbock as they try to add to their collection of conference trophies. Five KU women enter the meet looking to defend their individual outdoor conference crowns. Diamond Dixon (400m), Jessica Maroszek (discus) and Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon) will each try to become the 10th member of KU’s back-to-back club. Nine KU women have won consecutive-outdoor conference titles, including four a year ago; Dixon (’11-’13, 400m), Candace Mason (’98-’99, heptathlon), Denise Buchanan (’85-’86, discus), Andrea Geubelle (’12-’13, triple jump)Halycon McKnight (’80-’83, long jump), Francine Simpson (’12-’13, long jump), Paris Daniels (’12-’13, 200m) and Sheila Calmese (’77-’78, 100m and 200m). Last year, Dixon became the second Jayhawk to earn a three-peat in a conference event after she won the 400 meters, joining McKnight. The Houston, Texas native would be the first Jayhawk, male or female, to win a league title in a single event in four-straight years if she were to win the 400 meters this weekend.
A win for Dixon would also be one for the conference record books as only one other female in the league’s history has pulled off a four-peat. Iowa State’s Lisa Koll picked up four 10,000-meter titles at the league championships from 2007-10.
Junior Michael Stigler has the opportunity to pick up a third-straight conference title at this year’s outdoor conference meet and will try to join a vast list of consecutive-outdoor title winners. Eleven Jayhawks have won at least three-straight outdoor league titles in a row. Stigler will look to become the first Jayhawk and the second Big 12 athlete to three-peat as conference champion in the 400-meter hurdles.
Team Title Tallies
The Kansas men have a successful history at their conference’s outdoor meet. The Jayhawks boast 33 team championships dating back to 1910 with the most recent coming in 1982. The run included 26 conference crowns spanning from 1952-82. The KU men’s highest finish in the Big 12 Conference was a pair of fourth-place finishes in 2002 and 2005.
On the women’s side, the Jayhawks won their first team championship at the outdoor league meet last season, and have notched runner-up finishes three times since 1974, including their second-place finish at the 2012 Big 12 Championships.
At Home in the Lone Star State
A host of Jayhawks will compete in front of family and friends this week as KU’s Texas natives will be in action in Lubbock. The Jayhawks’ current roster boasts 10 athletes who call the Lone Star State home, five of whom will compete in the KU singlet inside the Fuller Track Complex this weekend, including sophomore Michael Stigler, whose home of Canyon is just an hour north of Lubbock.
Texas is KU’s home away from home of sorts with the Jayhawks being frequent visitors, especially over the last three seasons. Since the 2012 indoor campaign, Kansas has competed in seven meets inside the state of Texas.
With just two weeks to go before the NCAA preliminary meets begin, it’s time to see how the qualifying picture is coming together. If the season were to end today, the women would see 15 athletes and both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays qualify in 14 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, 16 Jayhawks and both relays hold marks in 15 events that would earn them a spot in Fayetteville.
League-Leading 15 KU Men Named to Academic All-Big 12 Teams
A total of 24 Kansas student-athletes were named to the 2014 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Teams, the league office announced Wednesday. The Jayhawk men led the league with 15 honorees along with their nine first-team selections. The Kansas women added nine to the Academic All-Big 12 lists and joined 112 female student-athletes, including 96 first team members and 16 second team honorees. On the men’s side, 77 earned honors, with 53 first team and 24 second team selections.
Triple Crown TRivia
With his win at the Drake Relays three weeks ago, 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.
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|
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
Last 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.
With the final regular-season meet in the books, the Kansas men and women look toward the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships. The West Region Preliminary meet will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas May 28-31 inside John McDonnell Stadium and will provide KU athletes with opportunities to advance to the NCAA National Championship meet two weeks later. The Jayhawks will wait to see which competitors will journey to Fayetteville when the qualifier lists are released Monday, May 19. Log on to KUAthletics.com for complete coverage of the Jayhawks’ journey through the rounds of the NCAA Championships and follow on Twitter at @KUTrack.
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