Kansas Track Gears Up for Big 12 Outdoor Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Ames, Iowa May 15-17 for the 2015 Big 12 Outdoor Championships held at the Cyclone Sports Complex on the campus of Iowa State University. The 22nd-ranked KU women will look to claim their fourth top-four finish in as many years, while the KU men will attempt to improve upon their seventh-place finish at the league meet last year.
- This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Iowa State’s Cyclone Sports Complex, which is hosting the Big 12 Outdoor Championships for the first time.
- The Kansas women checked in at No. 22 in the latest NCAA rankings released this week. That marks the 47th time in the last 52 rankings, dating back to 2010, that the Kansas women find themselves in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA’s outdoor national rankings.
- Kansas women hold Big 12 Outdoor Championship records in four events, each of which have come within the last three years. Alena Krechyk holds the hammer throw record (2012), Francine Simpson holds the long jump mark (2013), the Jayhawks own the 4×400-meter relay record (2012) and Jessica Maroszek rewrote the discus record at the conference meet last year.
- Senior Michael Stigler is still the NCAA and world leader in the 400-meter hurdles after smashing his own school record in the event at the Texas Relays on March 27. His time of 48.44 is the fastest time by a collegian in four years.
- Stigler has not lost a 400-meter hurdle race this season and has won 12 of 15 400-meter hurdle races dating back to the start of the 2014 outdoor season.
- With a finish in the top four this weekend, the Kansas women will finish among the league’s top-four teams for the fourth-straight year, the program’s longest streak since the Big 12 was formed in 1996.
- In his first 14 years at the helm of Kansas track & field, head coach Stanley Redwine has seen an average of 3.7 Jayhawks claim an individual conference title every year. Since 2012 he has stepped it up, with Kansas athletes claiming 24 Big 12 outdoor titles for an average of eight per year.
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 in 2013, and have notched runner-up finishes three times since 1974, including their second-place finish at the 2012 Big 12 Championships.
Stigler Looking for Unprecedented ‘Four-Peat’
Senior Michael Stigler has a chance to add to his already legendary career résumé this weekend when he takes the track in Ames. With a win in the 400-meter hurdles, Stigler will claim his fourth-consecutive conference title in the event, a feat that has only been accomplished three other times in Big 12 Conference history, but never before in the 400-meter hurdles. A victory would also make him the first Jayhawk in program history to earn four-straight league titles in a conference championship event.
Stigler currently holds four of the fastest 400-meter hurdle times in the Big 12 this year, including his world-leading 48.44, which has been the top time on the globe for over six weeks.
Jayhawks Invading Regional Rankings
With just over two weeks remaining before the NCAA Championships kick off at the West Preliminary, both Kansas teams have made their presences felt on the West Regional rankings. The Jayhawk women currently feature 15 athletes who find themselves among the all-important top-48 of the regional rankings and would qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary meet beginning May 28. 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 on March 27.
Other Jayhawks in the top-10 in the West Region include seniors Colleen O’Brien (high jump) and Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon), juniors Sydney Conley (long jump) and Daina Levy (hammer throw), sophomore Mitch Cooper and freshman Cole Ceban (discus).
Last Time Out
In his final collegiate performance at Rock Chalk Park, senior Michael Stigler assured it would be a memorable one as he contributed to two of Kansas’ 16 event titles May 2 at the Rock Chalk Classic. Stigler posted another one of the world’s top times in the 400-meter hurdles and anchored the men’s 4×400-meter relay to victory in the Jayhawks’ final home meet of the year. Stigler leaned across the finish in 48.86 for the second-fastest 400-meter hurdle time of his career. Stigler’s clocking ranks fifth on the world charts this year, with his 48.44 posted at the Texas Relays in March still making him the world-leader.
Freshman Cole Ceban and sophomore Mitch Cooper both turned in outstanding outings in the discus throw. The Jayhawk duo took the top-two collegiate finishes with marks that rank them each among the top-10 discus throwers in school history. Ceban managed to edge his elder teammate by less than an inch when he launched the disc to a mark of 58.06 meters (190’6″). Cooper came close but could not surpass the freshman with his toss of 58.05 meters (190’5″). Both throws moved the Jayhawks to eighth and ninth, respectively, among Kansas’ all-time discus throwers and into the top-25 of this season’s NCAA ranks.
Sydney Conley tallied another impressive day in front of the hometown crowd as she collected wins in both the long jump and 100-meter dash. She entered the day still ranked as one of the top-five of the long jump and again proved she belonged in that company when she tallied another one of the farthest leaps in the NCAA this year. She soared to a mark of 6.57 meters (21’6½”) to win the event easily, topping the rest of the field by over a foot. In the 100 meters, Conley reached a number few Jayhawks have been able to attain as she sprinted to the win in a time of 11.28. The time would have ranked as one of the fastest times in Kansas history had it not been for the strong tail wind. The junior’s performance still ranks as one of the top-five in any condition in school history.
With the Big 12 Championships looming this weekend, the Kansas Jayhawks will look to back up the superiority they have already displayed 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 nine 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 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.
Redwine Selected to Team USA Pan Am Coaching Staff
USA Track & Field named Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine to the coaching staff that will lead Team USA at the Pan American Games this summer. Redwine will serve on the men’s team’s staff as the distance coach. The track & field portion of the Pan American Games will take place July 20-26, in Toronto, Canada at CIBC Pan/Parapan Am Athletics Stadium at York University.
Redwine, who is in his 15th season as the head coach of track & field and cross country at Kansas, will see his second stint on Team USA’s coaching staff after he served as the head men’s coach for the American squad at the 2007 Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro. That year the USA men claimed 13 medals, three of which were gold. Redwine was also the head man for the Americans at the NACAC U-23 Championships in 2010. In addition to this year’s Pan Am Games, Redwine has previously been tabbed by USA Track & Field to serve as an assistant no staffs at the 2009 IAAF World Championships and the 2003 Pan Am Games.
The third-largest international multi-sport Games, the 2015 Pan American Games will welcome over 7,000 athletes from across the Americas and the Caribbean. American participants will be chosen from the top finishers at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Team USA earned 10 medals at the 2011 Pan American Games, with eight of the 10 medals coming from the field events.
League-Leading 13 KU Men Named to Academic All-Big 12 Lists
A total of 26 Kansas student-athletes were named to the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s & Women’s Track & Field Teams, the league office announced earlier this week. The Jayhawk men led the league with 13 honorees while the Kansas women also added 13 to the Academic All-Big 12 lists and joined 130 female student-athletes, including 109 first-team members and 21 second-team honorees. On the men’s side, 81 earned honors, with 59 first team and 22 second-team selections.
Nine Jayhawk men were placed on the first team, led by senior Josh Munsch, who was named to the first team for the fourth time. On the women’s side, 11 KU student-athletes earned a spot on the first team. Sophomore Hannah Dimmick was one of eight women to claim spots on the Big 12 academic list with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
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 six of the nine best scores in school history.
Other current KU women who have tallied top-10 performances include Anastasiya Muchkayev (shot put, discus), Colleen O’Brien (high jump), 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 several times during his three-plus seasons in Lawrence. 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.
With the final regular-season meet in the books, the Kansas men and women will look toward the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Championships. The West Region Preliminary meet will be held in Austin, Texas May 28-30 inside Mike A. Myers Stadium and will provide KU athletes with opportunities to advance to the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Oregon two weeks later. The Jayhawks will wait to see which competitors will journey to Austin when the qualifier lists are released Monday, May 18. 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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