Bob Timmons Challenge to kick off 2016-17 KU Track campaign
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas track & field teams will kick off the 2016-17 indoor season by hosting the Bob Timmons Challenge at Anschutz Pavilion on Friday, Dec 2. The meet marks the eighth-straight season the Jayhawks will begin their season at the home meet. The first field events are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., with running events to get underway at 3 p.m. Admission is free to the public.
SETTING THE STAGE
Thirty-seven male and 35 female student-athletes are scheduled to compete for the Jayhawks this weekend, while they look for a great beginning at the start a highly-anticipated season.
Other teams expected to compete are Oral Roberts, UMKC, Missouri State, Benedictine, Baker, Oklahoma Baptist and St. Mary (Kan.).
The Bob Timmons Challenge will begin at 1 p.m., with the men’s weight throw, while the women’s 3,000 meters will kick off events on the track at 3 p.m. Log on to KUAthletics.com and click on the Bob Timmons Challenge Meet Central page for complete coverage of the day’s events.
HEADLINERS IN ACTION FRIDAY
Some notable Jayhawks scheduled to lace up the spikes this weekend are seniors Jake Albright and Strymar Livingston on the men’s side and seniors Whitney Adams and Sydney Conley for the women.
Albright is the Big 12’s reigning outdoor pole vault champion and was a Second Team All-American in the event two seasons ago. He will kick off his first pole vault competition of the new season following the women’s event at approximately 5 p.m.
Livingston is coming off a stellar 2016 season that saw him break the school’s 600-yard record, earn a runner-up finish in the outdoor 800 meters at the Big 12 Championship, and lead the Jayhawk 4×400-meter relay team to a league title in the event. He is scheduled to start his senior campaign by running in both the 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay events. The quarter-mile race is set for 5:17 p.m., while the mile relay will close out the night at 7:07 p.m.
Conley returns to action after injury sidelined her for the majority of 2016. The Fayetteville, Arkansas native will look to build upon a strong 2015 junior season that featured a league title in the outdoor long jump as well as a fifth-place finish in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning her First Team All-America accolades for the second time. The sprints will be her area of focus Friday as Conley will hit the starting blocks for the 60-meter dash at 3:54 p.m.
Adams established herself as one of the top long sprinters in the Big 12 last year after all-conference outings in the indoor 800 meters and the 4×400-meter relay as well as a school record breaking performance in the outdoor 800 meters. Her day will begin with the 200 meters at 5:52 p.m., and she will close out the meet as a part of the women’s 4×400-meter relay squad at 6:49 p.m.
Fans will also notice a myriad of fresh faces competing in the Crimson and Blue Friday. Thirty-one newcomers are expected to suit up for the Jayhawks in 2016-17, many of whom have already seen huge successes on the track and in the field. Of the 22 KU freshmen that are expected to compete on the Anschutz track for the first time Friday, six athletes won a combined 23 high school state championships in their prep careers.
Among the top incoming freshmen who will be in action this week will be Bellevue, Nebraska product Chloe Akin-Otiko. She became the second female in Nebraska history to win four all-class gold medals at the state meet, winning the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and anchoring the 4×100-meter relay team. She is a 13-time state champion in those four events as well as the long jump. KU frosh Jedah Caldwell is also scheduled to hit the starting blocks Friday. A two-time state title winner in the 100 meters and 200 meters, Caldwell also won the AAU Junior Olympic 200-meter title in 2015, clocking in at 23.90 for the gold.
Joining Akin-Otiko and Caldwell as other top newcomers to compete Friday are Bryce Hoppel, who is Texas’ 6A reigning 800-meter champion; Denzel Harper, Georgia’s three-time state long jump title holder, and Lawrence product Ethan Donley, a two-time Kansas 6A state champion in the 800 meters.
SUCCESS AT THE BOB TIMMONS
In its seven 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 83 individual competitions at the Bob Timmons Challenge, including 18 at the meet a year ago. KU’s Zainab Sanni was the highlight in the season opener last year, winning the 60 meters and the 200 meters and helping the Jayhawks’ 4×400-meter relay squad to victory as well.
The Jayhawks will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, when they host the Bill Easton Classic in Anschutz Pavilion. KU will then journey to Wichita on Jan. 12 for the Kansas State-Kansas-Wichita State Triangular.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.