KU Track To Close Indoor Home Slate With Jayhawk Classic

By: KU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley
By: KU, posted by Kinch O'Kelley

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas track & field teams will host their final indoor meet of the season when they welcome over 40 teams for the Jayhawk Classic on Friday, Jan. 25. The first field events are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., inside Anschutz Pavilion. Two sessions of track events will be featured, with the first beginning at 10 a.m., and the second at 5:30 p.m. Watch the event live via AT&T Jayhawk All-Access beginning at 5 p.m., and get updates and results through Twitter at @KU_Track.

@KU_Track Quick Hits
· Kansas will host the Jayhawk Classic for the fourth-consecutive season. The Jayhawk men and women have won 47 events in the four-year history of the event, including 19 at the meet a year ago.
· If the season were to end today, the Kansas women would have nine Jayhawks qualify for the NCAA championships in seven events. Last season the national runner-up team had seven athletes qualify in six events.
· Andrea Geubelle once again has found her way to the top of the NCAA, both in the long jump and triple jump. The senior’s Jan. 5 triple jump mark of 13.16 meters and her Anschutz record long jump mark of 6.25 meters are both second in the nation.
· Freshman Anastasiya Muchkayev is slated to throw in her first shot put competition since the opening meet in early December. Before being sidelined by injury, Muchkayev recorded a mark of 16.18 meters, which currently ranks her 18th in the nation.
· Natalia Bartnovskaya moved to No. 2 on KU’s all-time indoor pole vault list at the Jayhawk Challenge with her clearance of 4.29 meters (14-0.75 ft.).
· Last week at the UCS Pole Vault Summit, junior Alex Bishop and sophomore Regan Gilbert vaulted to new PR heights of 5.30 meters (17-4.5 ft.). The marks would have ranked 10th on this year’s NCAA list, however, the meet was not a NCAA recognized event.
· With her win at the Jayhawk Challenge sophomore Colleen O’Brien has now claimed seven victories in the indoor high jump during her KU career and has never lost a competition inside Anschutz Pavilion.
· The 4x400m relay team of Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon is slated to make its 2013 debut this Friday. All four legs return of the team that ran the eighth-fastest relay in NCAA indoor history (3:31.36) in their Big 12 Championship performance last February.
· The 2013 KU women return nearly 90 percent of the scorers that led the 2012 team to a NCAA runner-up indoor finish and fourth-place outdoor finish.

Natalia Starting Strong
Natalia Bartnovskaya has only suited up in a KU uniform three times, but has already made school history in the pole vault. The junior college transfer has notched three victories in the event, the first coming at the Bill Easton Classic (Jan. 5), the second at the Jayhawk Challenge (Jan. 11) and the third at the UCS Pole Vault Summit (Jan. 19). Two weeks ago she shattered the five-year-old Anschutz facility record and leaped to an NCAA-leading clearance of 4.29 meters (14-0.75 ft.).

The junior out of Krasnoyarsk, Russia was a two-time NJCAA Champion in the pole vault at Vincennes University (Ind.). She is expected to be in action this weekend at the Jayhawk Classic.

Last Time Out
Strong showings from Kansas men Alex Bishop and Regan Gilbert as well as the women’s Natalia Bartnovskaya highlighted the KU pole vaulters’ day at the UCS Pole Vault Summit last Saturday, Jan. 19. Bartnovskaya claimed her third-consecutive victory in the event, while Bishop and Gilbert notched sizeable personal bests and a pair of top finishes.

Bishop, who hails from Scottsdale, Ariz., made his way through the early heights with relative ease, staying alive all the way through to a new personal-best clearance of 5.30 meters (17-4.75 ft.). Gilbert, out of Harker Heights, Texas, stuck right with his elder teammate and backed up Bishop’s 5.30 meter vault with one of his own. Gilbert’s clearance topped his former personal best by nearly seven inches.

Diamond to Open in the 400 Meters
Sprinter Diamond Dixon will make her 2013 debut in the 400 meters this Friday at the Jayhawk Classic. The junior claimed an NCAA indoor 400m title in the event last season, running a Kansas school record time of 51.78. She also holds the Anschutz Pavilion record of 53.75, run at the Jayhawk Classic last season. Two weeks ago she kicked off her 2013 campaign strong, winning the 600 yards in 1:22.69, which now ranks third in the NCAA.

Dixon was also a member of the 2012 U.S. women’s 4x400-meter relay team which ran to gold in London. Dixon ran in the semifinals and helped her team to the fastest time ever in an Olympic 4x4 semifinal (3:22.09).

Jayhawks Flying at the Top of the NCAA
The Jayhawks have used the early-season meets to climb near the top of the NCAA performance charts. Currently, KU has 14 athletes ranked in the nation’s top-20 in 10 events on the women’s side and three athletes in three events on the men’s side. The No. 20 mark is an important ranking to stay above since the top-16 performers in each event at season’s end will earn tickets to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville.

A year ago Jayhawk men and women ended the indoor and outdoor seasons ranked in the NCAA top-10 in 17 events and No. 1 in three events.

Jayhawks Invading the Record Books
Less than halfway through the 2013 indoor season several Jayhawks have already begun to move their way up in the school’s indoor record books. Four KU women have already toppled some Anschutz Facility records; Paris Daniels in the 200 meters, Alena Krechyk in the weight throw, Natalya Bartnovskaya in the pole vault and Andrea Geubelle in the long jump. Kyle Clemons also recently inserted his name into the Anschutz record books with his 1:09.77 in the 600 yards at the Jayhawk Challenge.

A total of 12 indoor and outdoor school records are currently held by Jayhawks on the active roster, all but one of them by women. As is no surprise, Diamond Dixon and Andrea Geubelle hold both the indoor and outdoor KU records in the 400 meters and triple jump, respectively. Alena Krechyk has been consistently topping her own school record in the weight and hammer throws for two seasons now. Senior Heather Bergmann sits atop the KU modern-day javelin charts after breaking the record last season. And the women’s 4x400-meter relay, which is comprised of all returners, holds the indoor and outdoor marks by quite a wide margin.

Muchkayev Makes National Headlines
Freshman thrower Anastasiya Muchkayev didn’t necessarily make U.S. headlines but was highly publicized in her home country of Israel after her performance at the Bob Timmons Challenge on Dec. 6, 2012. The native of Be’er Sheva, Israel, hit a shot put mark of 53-1 ft., to win the event in her collegiate debut. The mark was not only a personal best but broke the Israeli national record in the event.

After downing Israel’s outdoor shot put and discus records early in 2012, Muchkayev was named the Israeli Track & Field Athlete of the Year in late December.

Kansas Women ReMain Ranked No. 2 in the Nation
The first in-season poll of the 2013 season kept KU women’s track & field team ranked as the nation’s No. 2 team as released by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Jan. 22. The Jayhawks remained ranked second in the nation entering after claiming the spot in the preseason rankings released two weeks ago. This marks the highest preseason ranking for any Kansas team – men’s or women’s - since the rankings began in 2008.

The Jayhawks are the highest ranked of their conference brethren. KU joins Iowa State (No. 9), Texas (No. 13) and Baylor (No. 17) as Big 12 teams named to the preseason rankings.

Home Grown
Both the men’s and women’s teams in 2013 feature a large batch of home-grown talent as the majority of the athletes on each roster hail from the Sunflower State. Thirty KU men and 16 Jayhawk women call Kansas home, with the next-most prolific state, Missouri, boasting a combined 12 natives.

Kansas also has a handful of international athletes, all on the women’s team. Seniors Francine Simpson and Denesha Morris are both from Jamaica, while senior Alena Krechyk is a native of Belarus. Newcomers Natalia Bartnovskaya and Anastasiya Muchkayev are the newest international additions with Bartnovskaya making the trip from Krasnoyarsk, Russia and Muchkayev a native of Be’er Sheva, Israel.

Stanley’s Success
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his 12 years at the helm. During Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 73 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 117 First Team All-Americans and 11 NCAA Champions come through his program at KU.

IN COACH REDWINE’S WORDS
With the first really big meet and after having two weeks off, what are you expecting out of the athletes on Friday?
“We’re really looking for them to compete better than they have in the first two meets this month. They should be in better shape and more race-fit. We’ve got better competition coming in so we’re expecting some great performances from that standpoint as well.”

Lindsay Vollmer and Rebecca Neville will be competing in their first pentathlon of the season Friday. What are you hoping to see out of them?
“They have this opportunity and the Big 12 meet to qualify for nationals and the goal is to qualify for that meet. We’re hoping they do what it takes for them to qualify at this meet and/or do the things that help them improve for a great score at the Big 12 meet.”

Diamond Dixon will be running in the 400 meters for the first time this weekend. Do you feel she is close to 100 percent and what are you hoping to see out of her this weekend?
“Time will tell with Diamond. Her performance this weekend will tell us a lot about where she is. We’re definitely excited that she’ll be opening up in the 400 meters Friday, especially because we’ll be able to compare where she was at a year ago as opposed to right now.”

Now through the first month of the season, are you pleased with how the athletes are progressing?
“Practice has been going well for both teams. I’ve talked to all the event coaches and they’ve been pleased. Everyone has been doing what’s been expected of them. Now is the time for everyone to step up and start competing well. We’ll be going up against really good competition over the next three weeks. After that I expect us to be as good as we’re going to get and that stretch when we need to see improvement starts this weekend.”


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