Jayhawks Enjoy Successful Opener at Bob Timmons Challenge

Bob Timmons Challenge
Anschutz Pavilion // Lawrence, Kan.

Junior Casey Bowen won the pole vault title at the Bob Timmons Challenge for the second-straight season.
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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas track & field opened its 2014-15 indoor season Saturday with the Bob Timmons Challenge inside Anschutz Pavilion. Seventeen event titles were won by Jayhawks on the day, including a pair by junior All-American Sydney Conley.
“For the most part I was pleased our athletes’ performances today,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “We have a lot of young athletes that were competing for the first time and I thought they handled whatever nerves or jitters they may have had pretty well. I was impressed with the level some of our more veteran athletes are already at so early in the year which really has me excited to see what they will be able do this season.”
Coming off a breakout 2014 campaign that saw her attain First Team All-America honors twice, Conley appeared to pick up where she left off by claiming wins in two events. Her day started in the 60-meter dash, where she held off sophomore teammate Zainab Sanni by .02 seconds and earn the victory in 7.54. The time was only.03 seconds off Conley’s career best in the event and moved her up among the top times in the NCAA after the first week of the young 2014-15 campaign.
Later in the day Conley laced up for her signature event, the long jump. She soared to a mark of 5.84 meters (19’2″), a distance the earned her the eventual win, her first inside her home facility of Anschutz Pavilion.
On the men’s side junior Casey Bowen was the highlight after he took the pole vault title with a mark that is one of the best in the NCAA so far this year. Competing alongside seven of his KU teammates, the Gardner, Kansas product needed to clear only three bars on the day to pick up his second-straight victory at the Bob Timmons Challenge. Bowen slid over the 5.31 meter (17’5″) bar on his second attempt, a feat no other competitor could match. The reigning Big 12 Outdoor Champion was one of five Jayhawks to finish inside the top-five in the event and his winning mark as him atop the national standings for the 2014-15 indoor campaign. Sophomore teammate Nick Meyer was the runner-up in the event, while junior Jake Albright secured a third-place finish, both vaulting over a top height of 5.21 meters (17’1″).
Senior All-American Lindsay Vollmer looked in midseason form has the combined event specialist sprinted to a win in the 60-meter hurdles. The 2013 NCAA heptathlon champion and two-time reigning Big 12 heptathlon title holder separated herself from the competition with relative ease, hurdling the six barriers and leaning across the finish in 8.43 to win the race by nearly half a second. The time was the fastest of Vollmer’s KU career and is a top-10 mark in the NCAA so far in the young season.
Already with one victory in hand, Vollmer made her way to the high jump pit in hopes of picking up her second of the day. Sophomore teammate Grace Pickell had other intentions in mind as the Prairie Village, Kansas native turned in a career-best performance to earn her first career victory. Pickell rattled off three-straight clearances before her first miss of the afternoon came at 1.70 meters (5’7″), however, she easily navigated the bar on her next try to extend her day. Pickell then curled around a new personal-best height of 1.75 meters (5’8¾”) on her following attempt, a jump that would eventually give her the first win of her young KU career. Vollmer also managed to post a top mark of 1.75 meters but with Pickell only missing once on her first four bars, the tie-breaker went to the sophomore.
It was a good day in the throws ring for the Jayhawk throwers as KU picked up three victories. Mitch Cooper got the day started off right in the weight throw. The sophomore out of Queensland, Australia unwound for a throw of 16.04 meters (52’7½”) on his final attempt to take the top spot. The mark was less a mere six inches from trying his personal breast in the event. Junior Daina Levy followed Cooper’s lead in the women’s weight throw. She posted a personal-record mark of 18.89 meters (61’11¾”) on her third attempt to win the event by more than eight feet.
Junior Anastasiya Muchkayev picked up a victory of her own in the event the followed, the women’s shot put. Muchkayev posted a mark of 15.79 meters (51’9¾”) on her third attempt of the afternoon to secure her victory. Her winning mark topped the second-place collegian by nearly seven feet.
One freshman who got her collegiate career started on the right foot was Reno, Nevada native Alexis Romero. In the pole vault she posted two first-attempt clearances on her first two heights of the day. After needing three tries to get over 3.50 meters (11’5¾”), Romero snuck over 3.80 meters (12’5½”) on her second trip to secure the eventual winning height. 
All-American hurdler Michael Stigler took the track in an unusual capacity Saturday afternoon, that of a middle distance runner. Competing in the first 800-meter race of his career, Stigler stuck to his winning ways as he outkicked the competitors over the last 200 meters to claim the easy win in 1:58.90. The time was nearly two seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
The afternoon finished off on a high note for the KU men as the Jayhawk quartet of Drew Matthews, Teddy Oteba, Stigler and Kenneth McCuin won the 4×400-meter relay in thrilling fashion. The race came down to the anchor legs as Oral Roberts’ Sonwabiso Shahosana and McCuin were neck-and-neck heading into the final 100 meters. The KU senior turned it to another gear as the two headed down the final straightaway to the finish where he edged out the Golden Eagle runner to give his team the win by just over a second. The foursome passed the baton around in 3:16.56 to earn Kansas’ seventeenth and final win of the meet.
Other Jayhawks to claim wins in the season-opening meet Saturday were redshirt freshman Adel Yoonis in the 3,000 meters (8:56.36), senior Teddy Oteba in the men’s 600 yards (1:13.78), sophomore Adriana Newell in the women’s 600 yards (1:25.27) and senior Sarah Kelly in the mile (5:05.85).
The Jayhawks will now have a month off to prepare for their next meet, the Bill Easton Classic, which will again take place inside the friendly confines of Anschutz Pavilion. Kansas will play host to the event to be held on Jan. 9 starting at 1 p.m.
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