|90th Kansas Relays
||April 19-22, 2017
||Rock Chalk Park
RELAYS HQ | TICKETS | SCHEDULE | NOTES
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams return to host one of the most historic meets in the U.S., the Kansas Relays, this weekend. The 90th installment of the meet will begin on Wednesday, April 19 and continue through Saturday, April 22. Some of the nation’s top high school and collegiate athletes will be in action at Kansas’ home facility, Rock Chalk Park.
- This weekend, Kansas track & field will see over 90 of its athletes compete inside its home facility for the 90th edition of the Kansas Relays. The Jayhawks feature 49 student-athletes who hail from the state of Kansas and eight Lawrence natives who will be in action in front of family and friends this weekend.
- The Kansas Relays has seen several of the best performances in program history. Six current school records have been set at the Jayhawks’ historic home meet, most recently Mitch Cooper’s 205-3 ft. throw in the discus at last year’s KU Relays.
- The Kansas men find themselves ranked 12th in the latest national standings, which ties for the highest the program his climbed in the top-25 since the current format began in 2008.
- After their first two weeks of the outdoor season, 10 Jayhawks find themselves ranked among the top-25 of the NCAA rankings in their respective events.
- If the season were to end today, 21 Jayhawks (14 men, seven women) and three relay teams would qualify to the NCAA West Preliminary meet by way of their top-48 ranking in the Region. The West Preliminary will be hosted in Austin, Texas, May 25-27.
- Freshman Gleb Dudarev enters the meet as the nation’s No. 1-ranked hammer thrower. In his first collegiate outing in the event two weeks ago, he posted the top-five throws in school history, including a school record toss of 72.69 meters (238-6 ft.).
- Junior Nicolai Ceban is slated to compete in the Downtown Shot Put Friday evening alongside some of the top throwers in the world, including 2016 Olympic champion, Ryan Crouser. Ceban, a two-time First Team All-American in the event will hit the ring in downtown Lawrence at 6 p.m., Friday.
- KU features a pair of vaulters that find themselves ranked inside the top-five of the NCAA vault ranks. Hussain Al Hizam and Jake Albright cleared career-best bars of 5.60 meters (18-4½) in successive weekends to start the outdoor campaign. Only five other Jayhawk vaulters in program history have posted better outdoor marks.
- Senior Hannah Richardson is slated to compete in the 1,500 meters Saturday night inside Rock Chalk Park. Two seasons ago, Richardson was an honorable mention All-American in the event and is coming off an indoor campaign that saw her earn First Team honors as a member of the Jayhawks distance medley relay team.
JAYHAWKS TO WATCH
WHITNEY ADAMS – The 5-0 ft., 800-meter specialist will never be the biggest runner in the race, but there’s a good chance she’ll be the fastest. Adams owns the school record in the 800 meters along with five of the nine-fastest times in school history. Adams is also scheduled compete in the invitational 800 meters at 7:43 p.m., Saturday, as well as the 4×400-meter relay at 8:44 p.m.
MITCH COOPER – The Australian has inserted his name among the already impressive history of Kansas throwers, breaking the school record in the discus at this event a year ago. Cooper ranks among the top-15 discus throwers in the NCAA as he vies to earn a spot on the Australian World Championship team this summer. Cooper will be in the men’s invitational discus on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
STRYMAR LIVINGSTON – After transferring to Kansas in 2015 following an incredibly successful two years at Iowa Western Community College, Livingston has carried that success into his time in Lawrence. He will look to claim his third-straight Kansas Relays 800-meter title when he toes the starting line this weekend. He currently ranks among the top-15 in the NCAA West Region rankings after a stellar season-opening run of 1:48.68 at the Texas Relays. He’ll look to shave that season-best down at 7:47 p.m., Saturday.
JAKE ALBRIGHT – The senior will compete in his final Kansas Relays Saturday and looks to go out on a high note with another big mark in the pole vault. Albright already ranks among the top-five in the NCAA this year after a PR clearance of 5.60 meters (18-4½) at the Texas Relays to open his outdoor season. He’ll look to move further up the all-time Kansas charts when he hits the runway for the quadrangular pole vault at 6:30 p.m., Saturday.
HUSSAIN AL HIZAM – Over the last two months perhaps no pole vaulter has made a bigger leap than Al Hizam, who vaulted himself into the KU record books last week with a career-best clearance of 5.60 meters (18-4½) at the Sun Angel Classic. The performance, which broke his own Saudi Arabian national record, has him ranked third in the NCAA. Watch for another big vault when he competes in the quadrangular event Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
GLEB DUDAREV – Dudarev is putting together one of the best freshman seasons by a Jayhawk in recent years. After a Big 12 title and first team All-America honors in the weight throw during the indoor campaign, Dudarev opened his first collegiate outdoor season with a bang. At the Sun Angel Classic he broke the 10-year-old school hammer throw record and added four more of the best throws in school history. Dudarev’s season-opening mark of 72.69 meters (238-6 ft.) is the best by a collegian in 2017. What will his second outing hold this week at Rock Chalk Park?
WELCOME BACK TO ROCK CHALK PARK
For the fourth year, the Kansas track & field team will compete in its state-of-the-art home facility this week when it plays host to the Kansas Relays at Rock Chalk Park. The facility, which completed construction in the spring of 2014, 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 is already set to host its first Big 12 Championship May 12-14 and will host the USATF Junior Olympics in late July.
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.
In addition to the track, there is approximately 90,000 square feet of locker rooms, offices, official rooms, training room and athletic training facilities located under the east stands.
DUDAREV CLAIMS BIG 12 ATHLETE OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR THIRD TIME
Kansas freshman thrower Gleb Dudarev was named the Big 12’s male athlete of the week after his NCAA-leading performance in the hammer throw at the Sun Angel Classic on April 7. It was the third Big 12 weekly honor earned by Dudarev this year after he claimed the award twice during the indoor season.
In the first collegiate hammer throw competition of his career, the freshman posted the NCAA’s top mark of 2017 as well as the school record and claimed victory in the event at the Sun Angel Classic last weekend. On his second attempt, Dudarev got the hammer out to a distance of 72.69 meters (238-6), a mark that puts him atop the NCAA DI list by more than three feet. Over the final four rounds, he notched three more throws over 235 feet, but could not surpass his mark from his second attempt and went on to claim the event victory by more than 23 feet over the rest of the field. Dudarev’s performance also moved him to No. 25 on the 2017 world chart.
KANSAS MEN RISE TO NO. 12 IN NCAA RANKINGS
Top-five performances from freshman Gleb Dudarev and sophomore Hussain Al Hizam helped the Kansas men’s track & field squad jump four spots to 12th in the latest top-25 rankings released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday. The ranking matches the program’s all-time highest standing in the outdoor top-25 since the current format began in 2008.
The Jayhawk men’s team currently features nine athletes and a relay squad that rank inside the NCAA’s top-25 in their respective events. That number includes four Jayhawks who have marks that put them inside the top-five in their events, all done with performances over the last two weekends.
Dudarev, competing for the first time in the 2017 outdoor season, posted an NCAA-leading and school record mark en route to a win in the hammer throw at the Sun Angel Classic Friday. In his first collegiate competition he posted a winning throw of 72.69 meters (238-6 ft.), a mark that leads the DI ranks by more than three feet.
Sophomore Hussain Al Hizam cleared a personal-best bar of 5.60 meters (18-4½) in the pole vault in Tempe to move to No. 4 on the collegiate list. He’s joined there by senior teammate Jake Albright, who got over the same height the week prior at the Texas Relays.
Junior Nicolai Ceban has the nation’s fifth-best mark in the discus so far this season. He won the event in his season-opening outing at the Emporia State Relays, posting a career-best toss of 60.01 meters (196-10).
KANSAS TO HOST NCAA TRACK, CROSS COUNTRY REGIONALS IN 2020
The University of Kansas’ state-of-the-art track facility at Rock Chalk Park has once again picked up a major event as it will play host to the 2020 NCAA West Preliminary meet the NCAA announced Tuesday. Kansas is also slated to host the 2020 NCAA Cross Country Midwest Regional, which is to be held at the Jayhawks’ Rim Rock Farm Course.
Rock Chalk Park, which opened in April of 2014, will see Kansas host its second West Preliminary May 28-30, 2020. The regional meet is the considered the first round of the NCAA Championships and is one of two preliminary meets that will be held two weeks prior to the National Championships. The West Region includes every DI track & field program west of the Mississippi River and has produced 13 of the last 16 men’s and women’s national team champions.
At the West Preliminary, the top-48 athletes in each event compete in a bracket-style qualifying format and look to advance through each round. The top-24 athletes in each event and the top-16 relay teams advance to the National Championship meet, which will be held in Eugene, Oregon, in 2020.
Later that year, Kansas will also host its second NCAA Midwest Cross Country Regional at its 42-year-home, Rim Rock Farm. The meet, which is scheduled to be held on Nov. 13, 2020, will feature 30 men’s and women’s cross country teams from across the Midwest vying for spots at the NCAA Championships. The top-two finishing teams, as well as two top individual finishers, will qualify for the national meet to be hosted in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Rim Rock Farm hosted the Midwest Regional in 2015, the NCAA DI and DII Championships in 1998 as well as the Big 12 Championships in 2004 and 2014.
REDWINE, HAYS EARN REGIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR HONORS
Kansas track & field head coach Stanley Redwine, along with associate head coach Tom Hays, took home Midwest Regional awards for the indoor track season it was announced March 6 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Redwine was named the region’s men’s head coach of the year, while Hays claimed the Midwest’s men’s assistant coach of the year award.
Redwine saw his Kansas program rise to No. 6 in the USTFCCCA weekly rankings, the highest ranking in KU history. The Jayhawks feature six athletes and one relay team who qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships to be held this week in College Station, Texas. The figure marks the most qualifiers of any team in the Midwest region. The regional award is the third for Redwine but his first time being honored for the men’s team. He was named the Midwest’s Head Coach of the Year for the Kansas women’s team following both the 2012 and 2013 outdoor seasons.
Hays saw five of his vaulters finished the season ranked among the top-20 in the national rankings, all clearing 5.45 meters (17-10½) or better, with three of those Jayhawks earning NCAA Championship qualifying spots. It marked just the seventh time in the 52-year history of the indoor championships that more than two vaulters from a single school qualified for the NCAA meet. The Regional honor is the first for Hays since the current Regional Award format began in 2006.
This year’s Kansas track & field roster includes several athletes who come from some impressive track & field family backgrounds:
- Senior long jump specialist Sydney Conley is the daughter of Mike Conley, who won a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Olympics while also breaking the world record in the event. Conley still holds the indoor American record in the triple jump (58-3¾). Sydney Conley is also the niece of KU track & field head coach Stanley Redwine.
- Sophomore pole vaulter Paulo Benavides’ father, Paul, held the Mexican national pole vault record for 12 years.
- Senior pole vaulter Nick Maestretti’s father, Lane, was two-time competitor in the decathlon at the Olympic Trials and at one time held the American record in the decathlon pole vault.
- Junior Dorie Dalzell is the daughter of Greg Dalzell, who ran track at KU from 1981-86 and was a member of the Big Eight championship team. Dalzell’s grandfather, Art, also ran track and cross country at KU in 1953 where he was a member of the national championship cross country team.
- Freshman Denzel Harper’s father, Derek, was a member of the Michigan track team and still holds the school’s indoor long jump record at 7.89 meters (25-10¾).
- Freshman Ethan Donley’s mother, Julie, competed in the 800 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona.
The Jayhawks will return to their home track next week when they host the Rock Chalk Classic on Friday, April 29. The first events from Rock Chalk Park are slated to kick off at 11 a.m., and will conclude at 8 p.m.
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