Kansas track coach Gary Schwartz couldn't help but be impressed with Michael Cox.
Cox, a KU senior, ran a 4:00.93 in the men's mile at the Kansas Relays on Saturday. It was the fourth-fastest time outdoors in KU history.
"I think it was really great," Schwartz said.
Cox had hoped to run the first mile under four minutes at the Relays since Jim Ryun in 1972, and he missed it by less than a second.
"One of the toughest things in sport is performance on demand," Schwartz said. "Breaking four minutes in the mile is one of the toughest things to do."
Cox's performance was just one of the highlights at the Relays. Former KU pole vaulters Pat Manson and Scott Huffman dueled, and both vaulted 18 feet, 6 1/2 inches. Manson finshed first by virtue of fewer misses.
"Anytime you get Scott and Pat together, you're going to have a good show," Schwartz said.
The two missed on their attempts at 19-0 1/4.
"My technique is not where I want it to be," Huffman said, " but at this time of year, 18-6 1/2 is a good jump."
"Before a meet, I like to write down my goals," Manson said. "It seems to have more meaning if your write them down. I wrote 18-6 1/2 to 18-8. I was hoping I could do that today."
And both he and Huffman attained that goal.
"It was nice," Huffman said, "that the two guys who were publicized as the main vaulters turned out to be one-two."
KU athletes also fared well. In addition to Cox's victory in the mile, Nick Johannsen won the men's high jump, Dawn Steele-Slavens the women's 400-meter hurdles and Amy Baker the women's javelin.
Cox and Steele-Slavens were named the outstanding performers, and KU won the men's and women's team championships based on relays performances.
"Our relays, both on the men's and women's sides, have done very well," Schwartz said. "We've had some really fine field-event performances."
And not to be overlooked, Schwartz noted, "I think the meet went very smoothly."
KU officials did not estimate the crowd on Saturday afternoon, but an unofficial estimate pegged it at around 4,000.