Jayhawks Primed For Strong Weekend at NCAA West Preliminary
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Austin, Texas May 28-30 for the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas. The event is the first of two meets as part of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that begin this week and conclude in Eugene, Oregon June 10-13.
Kansas athletes will compete in a ‘bracket”-style qualifying format which will narrow the regional field of 48 in each event, down to 12 competitors for the NCAA Championships in Eugene. There is no preliminary round for combined events. The top-24 decathlon/heptathlon scores will move straight on to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Only the top-24 schools in both relay events will compete at the West Preliminary.
- This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Texas’ Mike A. Myers Stadium, which is hosting the NCAA West Preliminary for the fourth time. Mike A. Myers Stadium has played host to five NCAA Outdoor Championships, with the most recent coming in 2004.
- The Kansas track & field squads will be the host of next year’s NCAA West Preliminary, to be held at Rock Chalk Park, May 26-28.
- The Kansas women checked in at No. 25 in the latest NCAA rankings released this week. That marks the 49th time in the last 54 rankings, dating back to 2010, that the Kansas women find themselves in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA’s outdoor national rankings.
- The Kansas men feature four pole vaulters who have cleared 17 feet or better this year, the most of any school in the region.
- The Jayhawk women have seven entries in the jumping events (high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump), the fourth most of any school in the region.
- Senior Michael Stigler is still the NCAA 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 failed to claim first in only one 400-meter hurdle race this season and has won 18 of 23 400-meter hurdle races dating back to the start of the 2014 outdoor season.
- 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.
How We Stack Up in the West
Individually, both the KU men and women have several members who are among the nation’s best in their respective events. Each team ranks among the nation’s top-25 when it comes to total entries into the event. The Jayhawk women have 22 entries into this year’s preliminary meet, which are the 12th most out of the 211 teams participating. Among those headed to Austin, three KU women boast marks that sit them inside the top-10 nationally.
Junior Sydney Conley holds the No. 4 long jump mark in the NCAA this season, while senior Colleen O’Brien and junior Daina Levy each hold top-10 mark marks in the nation after O’Brien posted a high jump of 1.85 meters (6’0¾”) at the Kansas Relays and Levy turned in a career-best throw of 65.81 meters (215’11”), also at the Kansas Relays.
On the men’s side, Kansas’ 18 entries are the 22nd-most in the region. Four individuals are sitting comfortably in the NCAA’s top-25 of their events, including senior Michael Stigler, whose top 400-meter hurdle clocking of 48.44 has now had him at No. 1 in the NCAA standings for eight-straight weeks.
Kansas to Host 2016 NCAA West Preliminary
The KU track & field squads will be taking diligent notes this weekend as the Jayhawks have already been selected to host next year’s West Prelim event in Lawrence. The meet will take place May 26-28 at Kansas’ state-of-the-art track facility at Rock Chalk Park, which concluded construction in the spring of 2014.
The facility 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.
Stigler Seeing Nothing But Gold
Junior Michael Stigler has continued to add to his already legendary Kansas resume this season. The Canyon, Texas product has collected a litany of accolades during his final outdoor season that have him among top-collegiate athletes this year. Here are some of his accomplishments thus far:
- Won his fourth-straight Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles.
- Named to each of the last three ‘The Bowerman’ Watch Lists.
- Has held NCAA’s No. 1 400-meter hurdle mark (48.44) for eight-straight weeks.
- Is undefeated in five of his si 400-meter hurdle races this season.
- Hold two of the five fastest 400-meter hurdle times in the world this year.
- Has won 18 of his last 23 400-meter hurdle races versus collegians.
- Currently holds nine of the 10-fastest 400-meter hurdle times in school history.
Last Time Out
A pair of Jayhawks went home with some hardware as the track & field squads competed at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa May 15-17. Senior Michael Stigler claimed his fourth-consecutive conference 400-meter hurdle title on a blustery Sunday, while junior Sydney Conley tallied her first league championship in the long jump. In addition to Stigler and Conley, the Kansas men and women turned in several standout performances to give each squad top-five finishes in the team standings. The Jayhawk women notched their fourth-straight top-four finish with the help of their 101 points, while the KU men were fifth for the second time in three years after amassing 85.25 points.
Stigler’s performance was no doubt the highlight of the meet for the Jayhawk men, who tallied seven individual top-five finishes during the course of their final afternoon in Ames. After posting the fastest qualifying time in the preliminary heat Saturday, Stigler was well within striking distance of a fourth Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles. At the gun, the senior got out to a blazing start, making up the stagger before the field hit the second hurdle. He extended his lead through a powerful wind on the second curve and headed into the straightaway leading the field by nearly 10 meters. Stigler sprinted down the home straightaway and through the finish in 49.67 to win the event by more than more than two seconds faster than the next finisher.
Conley, who entered Saturday’s event as the conference’s top-ranked long jumper in 2015, validated that title by posting three of the competition’s six furthest marks. The Fayetteville, Arkansas product took the lead on her second attempt and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the day. Her best mark came on her third trip down the runway, when she hit 6.48 meters (21’3¼”).
The victory gave Conley her first conference title and was the third time a Jayhawk won the Big 12 long jump championship since 2012. Kansas has now earned seven conference titles in the horizontal jumps since 2005.
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 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.
Those Jayhawks who are able to advance through the first rounds at the West Prelim will punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The meet, held at historic Hayward Field for the third-straight year, is slated for June 10-13. For updates and a complete recap on KU’s performances log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.
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