KU Track Ready for Nation’s Best at NCAA Championships

By: kuathletics.com
By: kuathletics.com

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams will be traveling Eugene, Oregon this week for the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The Jayhawks will have a total of six entries at this week’s meet, which will compete against the nation’s best at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon, June 11-14.

@KUTrack STARTERS

· This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Oregon’s Hayward Field, a venue Kansas will be competing at for the fifth time in as many years.

· The Kansas women checked in at No. 14 in the latest NCAA rankings released June 3. That marks the 38th-consecutive week the Kansas women find themselves in the top-25 of the USTFCCCA’s outdoor national rankings.

· Junior Lindsay Vollmer enters this year’s NCAA Championship heptathlon as the defending champion. A win this week would make her the third woman since 2008 to successfully defend her title.

· Junior Michael Stigler was won eight of his nine 400-meter hurdle races this season. He has also won 12 of his last 17 races versus collegians dating back to last season.

· A top-eight finish by sophomore Sydney Conley in the long jump this week would mark the fifth time in seven years a KU female has garnered First Team All-America honors in the event.

· 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.

· The women’s 4x100-meter relay team is looking to become the fourth Jayhawk relay team in the last four years to attain First Team All-America status.

· 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.

· 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

Kansas track & field had a strong outing at the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary as the Jayhawks pushed six entries (four individuals and two relays) through to the NCAA Championships. Jessica Maroszek, Sydney Conley and Michael Stigler as well as the women’s 4x100-meter relay and men’s 4x400-meter relay earned the Jayhawks’ spots to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the NCAA West Prelim at John McDonnell Field.

A pair of Jayhawks turned in impressive performances to secure their spots at the NCAA Championships in two weeks. One of those athletes was Jessica Maroszek, who made quick work of the rest of the 48-woman field in the discus. The senior, who won her second-straight Big 12 title in the event three weeks ago, only needed three fair attempts to extend her season by two weeks. Her fourth attempt of 54.99 meters (180’5”) was her best of the night and marked the fourth-time she has eclipsed the 180-foot mark this year.

Michael Stigler again proved he was among the top 400-meter hurdlers in the nation as he earned a spot to his third-straight National meet. The Canyon, Texas native clocked in with a time of 49.72 to claim the third-overall qualifying spot out of the West Region.

After already claiming a spot in the NCAA long jump final earlier in the week, sophomore Sydney Conley joined forces with senior Diamond Dixon, junior Alisha Keys and sophomore Tianna Valentine in the quarterfinals of the 4x100-meter relay. The foursome passed the baton around in 44.75, which earned them a fourth-place finish in their quarterfinal heat.

In the meet’s final event, the KU men were faced with their final chance to punch a ticket to Eugene as they lined up for the 4x400-meter relay. Sophomore Drew Matthews, senior DeMario Johnson and sophomore Jaime Wilson joined Stigler and got the baton around in a season-best 3:07.16, good enough for fourth in the heat and the 12th and final qualifying spot out of the West Region.

KU WOMEN AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Last year’s NCAA Championships were historic for KU as the Jayhawk women picked up the program’s first team title. The 2013 Championship added to a successful track record at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the KU women. The program has tallied eight top-25 finishes at the national meet in its 40-year history, including four in the last six years.

The KU women have seen 55 of its athletes achieve All-America status at the NCAA meet, including 27 first-team AAs in the last two seasons. In addition to Vollmer’s heptathlon title last year, the Jayhawks have had several close to individual outdoor titles, boasting six who have notched runner-up finishes in their respective events at the National Championships.

KU MEN AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Not many collegiate programs have seen more success at the national championships than Kansas has over its 113 years in existence. The Jayhawk men have captured three NCAA Outdoor titles (1959, 1960 and 1970) and have finished in the top 10 in the team standings on 18 occasions, including a seventh-place finish in 2010.

Kansas men have walked away with individual NCAA outdoor titles 35 times with the most recent being Jordan Scott in the 2010 pole vault. A total of 139 outdoor All-Americans have donned the Crimson and Blue, with 26 of those coming under head coach Stanley Redwine.

At Home at Hayward Field

Eugene, Oregon may be nearly 2,000 miles from Lawrence but the members of KU’s track & field team are very familiar with historic Hayward Field. A Kansas contingent has made the trip to Oregon for at least one meet each of the last five years. The venue, known by many as “Track Town USA”, has played host to two NCAA Championship meets, an NCAA West Preliminary meet and the U.S. Olympic Trials, all within the last four years.

Several current Jayhawks have fond memories of Hayward Field. The 2013 KU women’s squad picked up their historic national championship at the NCAA meet a year ago. Junior Lindsay Vollmer won an individual title in the heptathlon, also at the national championships in 2013 and senior Diamond Dixon ran her fastest-career 400 meters en route to a fifth-place finish at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012, earning her a spot on the Olympic Team.

Stigler Name Midwest Region’s Track athlete of the YEar

Kansas junior Michael Stigler was named the Midwest Region’s Male Track Athlete of the Year, as was announced by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Monday morning. Stigler’s award, which was the first USTFCCCA honor of his career, marked the fifth-straight year at least one Jayhawk has garnered the regional honor.

Stigler, a junior from Canyon, Texas, won eight of nine 400-meter hurdles races in which he competed in 2014. Included among those wins was his third-straight Big 12 title, as well as Texas, Kansas and Drake Relays titles. His season-best 49.35 was among four other of his marks that ranked in the top-nine times on the Division I descending order list. In addition to the 400-meter hurdles, he will also compete in the 4×400 relay at the NCAA Championships.

He will look to attain first team All-America honors in the 400-meter hurdles for the third-straight season later this week at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Stigler will hit the starting blocks for the event semifinal Wednesday, June 11 at 8:15 p.m. (CT).

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 GOING FOR 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:

· USTFCCCA Midwest Region Male Track Athlete of the Year.

· Has posted four of the nine fastest 400-meter hurdle times in NCAA DI this year.

· Won his third-straight Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles.

· Recieving votes on the latest ‘The Bowerman’ Watch List.

· Held NCAA’s No. 1 400-meter hurdle mark (49.35) for seven-straight weeks.

· Won eight of nine 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 12 of his last 17 400-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

With two weeks to go before the U.S. Championship meet begins in Sacramento, it’s time to see how the qualifying picture is coming together. Currently, two KU student-athletes have already punched their tickets to the American Championship meet after 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.

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.

Triple Crown TRivia

With his win at the Drake Relays April 29, 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

Athlete
Event
Year(s)

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

Jim Ryun
Mile
1966

Karl Salb
Shot Put
1971

Warren Wilhoite
Long Jump
1983

Scott Russell
Javelin
2000

Egor Agafonov
Hammer Throw
2007

Michael Stigler
400-Meter Hurdles
2014

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, Oregon. 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.

Up NExt

With the NCAA season complete a few select Jayhawks will turn their attention to the USA Championship meet to be held in Sacramento, California, June 26-29. Two KU track athletes have already achieved the standards needed to compete in the event. Keep track of all the KU performances as the Jayhawks go against the nation’s best from Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter at @KUTrack.


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