LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Kansas track & field teams will begin the 2012-13 campaign when they host the Bob Timmons Challenge inside Anschutz Pavilion. The meet is set to kick off at 4 p.m. with the women’s 3,000 meters, and will conclude at 7:30 p.m. with the running of the men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays. Admission is free to the public.
@KU_Track quick hits
· The Jayhawks kick off the season at the Bob Timmons Challenge and in their home indoor facility for the fourth-straight year dating back to 2009.
· The 2013 KU women return nearly 90 percent of the scorers which led the 2012 team to a NCAA runner-up indoor finish and fourth-place outdoor finish.
· Now in his 13th year as Kansas’ head coach, Stanley Redwine is seeing an average of 10 athletes per season earn First Team All-America distinctions.
· Andrea Geubelle enters her senior year coming off an outstanding junior campaign, claiming bronze at the U.S. Olympic Trials and notching the best American any-condition triple jump mark of 2012 (14.17m).
· Senior Alena Krechyk broke her own school record in the weight throw on three separate occasions in 2012, including her PR of 21.10m, which she hit en route to a Big 12 runner-up finish.
· Sophomore Michael Stigler, who was the Big 12’s Freshman Track Athlete of the Year in 2012, returns one year removed from breaking KU’s 37 year-old 400-meter hurdle record and claiming a Big 12 title.
· Multi-event specialist Lindsay Vollmer was impressive during her debut season in Lawrence, moving to No. 2 on the all-time pentathlon and heptathlon lists; watch for the sophomore to break some records in 2013.
· Each member of the women’s 4x400m relay team of Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon is back after running the eighth-fastest relay in NCAA indoor history (3:31.36) in their Big 12 Championship performance last February.
· Heading into his final season in Lawrence, sprinter Kyle Clemons finds himself in rare company as he is one of only two Jayhawks to ever post a sub-45.5 second 400 meters. His PR of 45.44 is just .06 behind the 32-year-old school record, held by Deon Hogan.
Bob Timmons Challenge to Air for Free on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access
KU track fans from around the world will have the opportunity to tune in Thursday and take in the Bob Timmons Challenge via AT&T Jayhawk All-Access at no charge. Fans can watch and listen to KU Athletics’ Kyle West and Kevin McCarty, who will keep fans updated on all the day’s action with the meet begin broadcast in its entirety. Just log on to KUAthletics.com starting at 4 p.m. Thursday and click the Jayhawk All-Access link on the right side of the page.
Within its 2013 men’s and women’s rosters, Kansas returns nine First Team All-Americans from a season ago, including NCAA Indoor National Champions Diamond Dixon and Andrea Geubelle. Also returning on the women’s side is senior long jumper Francine Simpson, who tallied All-America honors in the indoor and outdoor long jump as well as the indoor and outdoor Big 12 titles in the event.
On the men’s side sophomore hurdler Michael Stigler is back after an outstanding freshman season, which saw him claim the conference championship in the 400-meter hurdles as well as advance to the final of the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June.
The season opener will mark the Kansas debuts of 12 true freshmen. For the men, Adebayo Braimah, Nick Maestretti, Drew Matthews, Teddy Oteba, Javier Segura, Richard Smith and Nick Ucherek will suit up in the Crimson and Blue for the first time.
The women’s team will feature Natalia Bartnovskaya, Sydney Conley, Rhavean King, Anastasiya Muchkayev and Tianna Valentine all competing in their first meet for the Jayhawks.
Success at the Bob Timmons
In its first three 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 32 individual competitions at the Bob Timmons Challenge, including 14 at the meet a year ago.
Junior sprinter Diamond Dixon had quite the 2012 season. In addition to bringing home an NCAA Indoor title in the 400 meters, four conference championships and four First Team All-America honors, the Houston, Texas, native became the first KU track & field athlete to bring home an Olympic gold medal since Jayhawk great Al Oerter in 1968.
Dixon was a member of the 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.
Incoming freshman sprinter and long jumper Sydney Conley comes from quite the track & field family tree. Her father, Mike Conley, Sr., won the ‘92 gold medal in the triple jump and still holds the indoor American record in the event. Her brother, Mike Conley, Jr., the starting point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, was an all-conference player at Ohio State. Conley is also the niece of Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine.
The Fayetteville, Ark., native will make her collegiate debut Thursday in the 60 meters and in the 4x400-meter relay.
Jayhawks Invading the Record Books
At the start of the 2013 season, a total of 11 indoor and outdoor school records are currently held by Jayhawks on the current roster, all of them 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.
For as many Jayhawks as hold school records, there are even more that are not too far off. Senior Paris Daniels is less than a second from breaking Nickesha Anderson’s indoor 200-meter time, junior pole vaulter Demi Payne’s top clearance is only three inches from Amy Linnen’s 2005 indoor record and senior long jumper Francine Simpson only needs to improve upon her indoor PR by an inch to etch her name in the school record books.
The women’s team will be chalk full of veteran leadership this season as the 2013 roster features 34 upperclassmen, including 13 seniors out of its 45-woman roster.
On the flip side, the men’s team is still in the middle of a youth resurgence as 31 Jayhawks are either sophomores or younger on the men’s 55-person roster.
Both the men’s and women’s teams in 2013 will 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.
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.
Redwine’s teams have also collected a combined five top-10 NCAA team finishes, including last year’s indoor runner-up finish for the KU women.
At Home in Anschutz
The 28-year indoor home facility for the Kansas track & field team, Anschutz Pavilion, has hosted dozens of collegiate and high school meets since 1984. In August of 2011, the facility got a major facelift when a new six-lane track (eight lanes on the sprint straightaway) was installed, which replaced the original track installed in 1984.
Other improvements included new, reconfigured jump pits and a new pole vault box and runway, all of which greatly improve spectator viewing. A new Daktronics results board, which contains an active area of nearly 18 feet high and 16 feet wide, was also added.
In Redwine’s Words
With such an anticipated season in store, how have coaches kept the athletes focused on the task at hand?
“We have to take it one meet at a time. We have to take advantage of this meet. We can’t look so far down the road and think that you’re automatically going to be there. If we don’t take care of things early, then we won’t be at the big meets. It’s very important to do things right at the beginning of the year in order to be prepared at the end.”
You’ve told the athletes that there are no unimportant meets, what effect will this meet have on them as they move forward through the season?
“I believe that each meet is a learning experience. The more experienced you are, the more experienced you’ll be at the big meets. It is important that they take advantage of every opportunity they are given and every opportunity to compete well. The way NCAA qualifying is now, there aren’t that many opportunities to qualify so we have to stay sharp and take advantage of every opportunity that we can.”
What are you looking for the athletes to get out of this first meet?
“All of the coaches are thinking that each of their event groups are looking pretty good, but you get that when you’re just practicing against one another. Now we’ll get to see how they compete against different people and we hope that all of them are looking good; but we’ll see that for sure when we put them up against better competition.”
With several newcomers competing Thursday, what are you expecting out of them?
“They’re going to be nervous. When you put on the Kansas singlet for the first time it’s a special moment and a very emotional moment. With all the emotions they’ll have going on it will be good to see how they compete under those circumstances.”