Jayhawks Primed for Strong Weekend at NCAA West Prelim
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas May 28-31 for the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary held at John McDonnell Stadium on the campus of the University of Arkansas. 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 11-14.
- This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field, which is hosting the NCAA West Preliminary for the first time. The Razorbacks hosted the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2009 and have hosted 11 of the last 15 NCAA Indoor Championships.
- Sophomore Sydney Conley will return to her native Fayetteville this weekend as the owner of the West Region’s top long jump mark (6.50m/21’4″).
- The Kansas women checked in at No. 13 in the latest NCAA rankings released Tuesday. That marks the 37th-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 seven 400-meter hurdle races this season. He has also won 11 of his last 15 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.
- With her school-record mark of 60.18 meters (197’5″) at the Big 12 Championships, senior Jessica Maroszek now owns nine of the top-10 discus throws in school history.
- The Kansas women boast four discus throwers, each of whom are ranked among the top-40 nationally, who are entered in the preliminary rounds this weekend, 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.
- The Kansas men have nation-leading five pole vaulters entered into this weekend’s prelim, each of who have cleared 17 feet or better this year.
- 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
Event titles from senior Jessica Maroszek and juniors Lindsay Vollmer, Michael Stigler and Casey Bowen led the Kansas men’s and women’s teams at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships May 16-18 in Lubbock, Texas. The Jayhawk women ended the competition at fourth place in the team standings after amassing 100.5 points, while the Jayhawk men tallied a seventh-place finish with their 67-point total.
In the 400-meter hurdles, Stigler again silenced any doubters as he was able to hold off the Baylor freshman by .07 seconds, clocking in at 49.91 to claim his third-straight league title. Maroszek picked up her second-straight Big 12 discus title. She launched the implement to a new career-best of 60.18 meters (197’5″) on her final attempt, which topped her previous best by over seven feet. The two-time All-American’s mark broke her own school record as well as the Big 12 meet record that had stood for eight years.
Vollmer added another prestigious accolade to her already outstanding collegiate résumé as she picked up her second-consecutive Big 12 title in the heptathlon. Vollmer finished with a total score of 5,786 points, the second-highest score of her career and the No. 3-ranked mark in the NCAA this season. Her win also marked the fourth time an athlete has repeated as the Big 12 champion in the event.
The men’s pole vault was again a standout event for the KU men as junior Casey Bowen nabbed his first conference title in the event. The Gardner, Kansas native cleared five heights on just five trips down the runway, with his last clearance at a height of 5.49 meters (18’0″). Bowen’s win marked the fourth time in eight years a Jayhawk was victorious in the pole vault at the outdoor championships and was the 37th time a KU male claimed the outdoor conference title in the pole vault.
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-15 when it comes to total entries into the event. The Jayhawk women have 23 entries into this year’s preliminary meet, which are the ninth most out of the 255 teams participating and are six more than last year’s NCAA title-winning team sent to the West Regional. Among those headed to Fayetteville, three KU women boast marks that sit them inside the top-five nationally.
Senior Jessica Maroszek‘s school record toss of 60.18 meters (197’5″) in the discus 10 days ago at the Big 12 Championships is the No. 2 mark in the NCAA this season, while junior Lindsay Vollmer and sophomore Sydney Conley each hold No. 3-ranked marks in the nation after Vollmer posted a heptathlon score of 5,786 and Conley’s hit a top long jump measurement of 6.50 meters (21’4″).
On the men’s side, Kansas’ 18 entries are the 15th-most in the region and are five more than the Jayhawks saw a year ago. Two individuals and both 4x100m and 4x400m relays are sitting comfortably in the top-25 of their events, including junior Michael Stigler, whose top 400-meter hurdle clocking of 49.35 has now had him at No. 1 in the NCAA standings for six-straight weeks.
Conference Repeats and Three-peats
Several Jayhawks joined rare company at the Big 12 Championships two weeks ago in Lubbock as they added to their collection of conference trophies. Junior Michael Stigler picked up a third-straight conference title at this year’s outdoor conference meet and joined a vast cast of consecutive-outdoor title winners. Stigler became the 12th Jayhawk to have won at least three-straight outdoor league titles. He also became the first Jayhawk and the second Big 12 athlete to three-peat as conference champion in the 400-meter hurdles.
Two KU women successfully defended their individual outdoor conference crowns. Jessica Maroszek (discus) and Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon) became the 10th and 11th members of KU’s back-to-back club. Maroszek became the second Jayhawk to earn back-to-back league titles in the discus and the fifth woman in Big 12 history. Vollmer saw herself become the fourth Big 12 athlete to repeat as heptathlon champion and the second Jayhawk to do so.
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 the indoor and outdoor seasons that have him among top-collegiate athletes this year. Here are some of his accomplishments thus far:
- Won his third-straight Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles.
- Recieving votes on the latest ‘The Bowerman’ Watch List.
- Has held NCAA’s No. 1 400-meter hurdle mark (49.35) for six-straight weeks.
- Is undefeated in all seven of his 400-meter hurdle races this season.
- Season’s best 110-meter hurdle time (13.77) is among top-25 in the NCAA and made him No. 6 performer in KU history.
- Has won 11 of his last 15 400-meter hurdle races versus collegians.
- Currently holds seven of the 10-fastest 400-meter hurdle times in school history.
- Won 600 yards at Big 12 Indoor Championships with school record 1:08.39.
USA Championship Predictions
Even with a month still to go before the U.S. Championship meet begins in Sacramento, it’s never too early to see how the qualifying picture is beginning to come together. Currently, two KU student-athletes have already punched their tickets to the American Championship meet after already earning marks that meet the A-standard, which includes Michael Stigler (400mH) and Jessica Maroszek (discus).
Several young Jayhawks also have the opportunity to extend their year as they’ve reached qualifying standards for the USA Junior Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon, July 5-6. Caleb Cowling (long jump), Nick Meyer (pole vault), Whitney Adams (800 meters) have each hit the qualifying standards to the junior meet and will have the opportunity to compete for a spot at the World Junior Championships, which will also be held in Eugene, July 22-27.
Freshman Mitchell Cooper, who hails from Queensland, Australia, has already been selected to represent his country at the World Junior Championships in the discus. Cooper’s top discus toss of the year (56.99m/187’0″) is the best by a U20 collegian this year and ranks him No. 2 among Australian juniors. Cooper will begin his trek for a world title in the discus qualifying rounds on July 25 inside Hayward Field.
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|
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 May 14. 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.
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||2014 Drake Relays|
|Jessica Maroszek||Discus||60.18m (197-5 ft.)||2014 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.
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 second-straight year, is slated for June 11-14. For updates and a complete recap on KU’s performances log on to KUAthletics.com and follow on twitter at @KUTrack.
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