Jayhawk Track and Field Ready to Make 2014-15 Debut at Bob Timmons Challenge Saturday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas track & field teams will kick off the 2014-15 indoor season by hosting the Bob Timmons Challenge at Anschutz Pavilion on Saturday, Dec 6. The meet marks the sixth-straight season the Jayhawks will begin their season at the home meet. The first events are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m., with admission free to the public.
“The athletes that will be competing have been training all fall so they’re really excited, and probably a little nervous, to get out there,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “This will be a good chance for the coaches to see them in a competitive environment, especially for the newcomers.”
HEADLINERS IN ACTION SATURDAY
Some notable Jayhawks scheduled to lace up the spikes this weekend are seniors Casey Bowen and Michael Stigler on the men’s side and senior Lindsay Vollmer and junior Sydney Conley for the women.
Bowen is the Big 12’s reining pole vault champion and twice cleared the 18-foot barrier a year ago, making him the ninth Kansas vaulter in history to top the highly-sought milestone. He will kick off his first pole vault competition of the new season following the women’s event at approximately 1 p.m.
Stigler enters his fourth and final year in Lawrence having already put together a Hall of Fame-worthy career in his first three seasons. The Canyon, Texas native is the Big 12’s three-time defending 400-meter hurdle champion as well as the defending 600-yard title holder. Stigler will get some distance work this weekend as he is slated to run in his first 800-meter race, set to go off at 1:25 p.m. The three-time First Team All-American is also expected to run a leg of the 4×400-meter relay to close out the day at 3:30 p.m.
Vollmer will once again be a busy woman as she is scheduled to compete in three events at the Bob Timmons Challenge. The combined event specialist was the 2013 NCAA heptathlon champion and is the two-time defending Big 12 champion in the event. Her day Saturday will begin with the 60-meter hurdles at 11 a.m., followed by the high jump at approximately 1 p.m. She will end the day with in the throws ring for the shot put at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Conley is coming off a breakout season that saw her twice earn First Team All-America honors in the long jump. The junior was fourth at the NCAA Indoor Championships last March before taking seventh in the event at the NCAA Outdoor meet in June. She will take to the runway in her signature event at approximately noon. The Fayetteville, Arkansas native has a pair of sprinting events on tap as she will hit the starting blocks for the 60 and 200-meter dashes at 11:30 a.m., and 2:05 p.m., respectively.
Fans will also notice a myriad of fresh faces competing in the Crimson and Blue Saturday. Thirty-six newcomers are expected to suit up for the Jayhawks in 2014-15, many of whom have already seen huge successes on the track and in the field. Of the 24 KU freshmen that are expected to compete on the Anschutz track for the first time Saturday, eight athletes won a combined 13 high school state championships in their high school careers.
“We just expect the freshman to come out and compete their best,” said Redwine. “We see how they are every day in practice but when you throw them into a meet, it’s a completely different story. So it is a great opportunity for them to see how they should handle the competitive atmosphere.”
Among the top incoming freshmen who will be in action this week will be Olathe, Kansas native Jasmine Thomas, who claimed three-straight 100-meter state titles during her days at Olathe East High School. She will kick off her collegiate career as a member of the Kansas women’s 4×400-meter relay at 3:15 p.m. Pole vaulter Alexi Romero also has the KU coaches excited after a standout career at Nevada’s Wooster High School. Romero was a two-time state champion in the event and is the state meet record holder. Her day in the pole vault pit will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Joining Thomas and Romero as other top newcomers to compete Saturday are Lawrence Free State’s Trevor Hillis, who is the state of Kansas’ reigning pole vault champion; Anthonio Humphrey out of Oklahoma City, who won back-to-back Oklahoma state titles in the 800 meters and Seattle product, Olivia Vincent, who claimed the 2013 Junior Olympic heptathlon title as well as a state championship in the event this past spring. Those three will join a stellar freshman class that will look to start their collegiate careers off on the right foot on Saturday.
SUCCESS AT THE BOB TIMMONS
In its five years as KU track & field’s season-opening meet, the Bob Timmons Challenge has proven to be one of the more successful meets in terms of individual victories. Since 2009, Jayhawks have won a combined 49 individual competitions at the Bob Timmons Challenge, including seven at the meet a year ago. KU’s Diamond Dixon and Michael Stigler were the highlight in the season-opener last year, each winning their events in grand fashion and helping the 4×400-meter relays to victories as well.
“Different athletes are at different stages in their training right now so this meet will go a long way in providing us with a litmus test of where the young ones are and what they need to do to get better moving forward,” said Redwine.
SETTING THE STAGE
Thirty-two male and 27 female student-athletes will be competing for the Jayhawks this weekend, while they look for a great beginning at the start a highly-anticipated season.
“We’ve really emphasized to the student-athletes this year that they’re going to feel pressure throughout the year and it all comes down to how they deal with that pressure,” concluded Redwine. “A meet like this is a great way to expose them to that and see how they handle it.”
Other teams expected to compete are Oral Roberts, UMKC, Benedictine, Cloud County CC, Prairie View and Sterling.
The Bob Timmons Challenge will begin at 10:30 a.m., with the women’s 3,000 meters as well as the men’s weight throw, men’s and women’s triple jump, women’s pole vault and men’s high jump. Log on to KUAthletics.com and click on the Bob Timmons Challenge Meet Central page for complete coverage of the day’s events.
The Jayhawks will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2015, when they host the Bill Easton Classic in Anschutz Pavilion. KU will then travel to Manhattan, Kansas on Jan. 17 for the Kansas State-Kansas-Wichita State Triangular.
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