Kansas hasn't always been a vast wasteland for hurdlers.
Cliff Cushman, an All-American in 1959 and '60, was so talented the Jayhawks named a Kansas Relays event after him.
Also, Ron Jessie excelled in the 1960s, Nolan Cromwell and Anthony Coleman in the '70s and Courtney Hawkins in the '80s.
So far, the decade of the '90s has provided Kansas' track program with pleanty of standout pole vaulters and distance runners. Hurdlers, however, have been difficult to sign.
"That's the only frustration that's persisted here. I know they are out there and we'll keep looking for them," KU coach Gary Schwartz said.
"I guess it's our one weakness. It's like not having a big man in basketball."
SCHWARTZ HAS just one true hurdler on his roster. He's junior Lynn Crawford, a transfer from Hutchinson Community College.
"Lynn is a good athlete and an outstanding individual," Schwartz said of Crawford, who placed fourth in the 55 hurdles at the Big Eight Indoor held in February at Anschutz Pavilion. "Hopefully, we'll be able to attract some more like him."
Crawford, who will represent KU in both the low and high hurdles at this weekend's Kansas Relays, hopes recruiting does pick up.
"It's really kind of frustrating. All through high school and junior college, I had sprinters to work with. Here I'm by myself," Crawford said. "Sometimes it gets me down, but I made a commitment here. This is where I wanted to go to school. I heard of the tradition in track and wanted to be part of it. I guess I'm starting to get KU pride."
Crawford has improved since he arrived last fall. Perhaps that's because as KU's only hurdler, he receives a lot of attention. Only occasionally is he joined at practice by pole vaulter Brandon Blain and decathlete Chris Walters.
"I FEEL I've learned a lot since I've been here," said Crawford, who in junior college qualified for both the national juco indoor and outdoor meets.
"Doug (Hedrick) helps me with my technique and Theo (Hamilton) with my sprinting. It was a great indoor season for me. I had good times, a lot of personal bests. My ultimate goal would be to win the Big Eight and score some points for the team."
He registered his biggest victory last weekend at Oklahoma, claiming the 110 hurdles in a time of 14.68.
In Oklahoma, Crawford competed before plenty of family and friends. He didn't disappoint those who watched him set Del City High School records in both the 55 and 110 hurdles.
"Norman is only 20 minutes away from my hometown," said Crawford. "My high school coach was there, my family, my best friend in high school. My old junior college team was there competing. It was my semi-home turf."
HE PERFORMS best in front of familiar faces, as he proved at the Big Eight Indoor.
"It was exciting, yet disappointing," he said of placing fourth in the 55 hurdles. "I hit the first hurdle hard and technically it slowed my momentum. I think I have a chance this weekend. The coaches have been working on changing my start. It's been slow and hurting me in close races. If I improve that, I could do well. I kind of like home meets."