Archive for Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Redwine expects bright future

First-year coach sees debut as building block for Jayhawks’ future

May 22, 2001


Those who view the bottom line team placings at the Big 12 championships likely view Kansas University's 2000-01 men's and women's track seasons as a failure.

The Jayhawk men and women each placed 11th of 12 teams at last weekend's Big 12 Outdoor meet at Texas A&M;, after each placed ninth at the league Indoor last winter in Lincoln, Neb.

KU's men's cross country team placed sixth and the women 11th at the Big 12s last fall in Boulder, Colo.

"If we determine our season based on place those that are doing that it may be they do not see it as a successful year," first-year KU coach Stanley Redwine said Monday. "For those that understand what it takes in order to (build) a program the stress it takes on athletes to adjust to new coaches they'll understand there were a lot of achievements made. We are definitely excited about the future of Kansas track, both men and women."

He cited some bright spots at the league Outdoor a first-place showing by junior Andrea Bulat in the javelin, plus a fourth-place school-record effort in the 1,600 relay by senior Eniola Ajayi, plus returnees Stacy Keller, Shameika McField and Shanetta March. Also, he noted three Jayhawks Jennie Wonder, Kerry Fink and Abby Nielsen reached the finals of the 400 hurdles. Fink and Nielsen are freshmen; Wonder is a senior.

"They say the Big 12 is a tough sprint conference. If that's the case, we had three in the finals. That's something that's not been done here," Redwine said. "The reality was we took 17 men to the conference meet and 10 came back with medals. We took 23 women and 12 came back with medals. Our goal is to make our places higher in the future."

Barring injury, that figures to happen perhaps as soon as next year.

Redwine red-shirted several elite athletes this season in an attempt to gear for the future.

Scott Russell, Charlie Gruber, Andy Morris, Mark Menefee and Jabari Wamble, who helped KU to an eighth-place finish at the 2001 NCAA Indoor championships, all red-shirted, as did women's sprinter Sherre Khan-Blackmon.

"We would have scored more points (had they not red-shirted)," Redwine said. "We have to do what we think is best for our athletes. I think it's best for our athletes to continue to understand the coaches and to mature that way. Hopefully we'll score well at our conference meet next year and that will result in us scoring better at the national meets.

"Those athletes understand their roles. We are talking about great leaders, individuals with great work ethic. They will show our younger athletes ones in our first recruiting class what it takes to develop into competitive University of Kansas track athletes."

Redwine will announce members of what is believed to be a strong men's and women's recruiting class sometime this week.

Senior cross country runner/track steeplechaser Andy Tate, who will represent KU along with Bulat at the NCAA Outdoor, says KU will be a power in men's cross country next season.

"I am predicting cross country it's safe to say they'll be going back to nationals," Tate said. "The return to the national championship meet is not certain, but a great possibility. Our Outdoor team next year I don't see too many teams in the nation stronger.

"You are talking about getting a Scott Russell and Charlie Gruber back along with coach's recruits. There will be a great mix of leadership and a ton of talent. I don't want to talk about a national championship, but we're loaded."

Redwine likes to hear that talk.

He says KU will be a winner again in track and cross country.

"Sure," former Tulsa coach Redwine said. "Kansas is a great place to be. We believe Kansas track is on the rise. What it comes down to is the desire of the athletes and desire of our staff to get the athletes motivated. That is not going to be a problem. We have a very competitive staff and, as a result, competitive athletes.

"Our athletes respected us as an incoming staff and as a result a high percentage of them got better. There's chemistry between our coaches and athletes and it makes me say it's been a great year. I like our chances. I'll take our chances better than anyone else's because our athletes have respect and desire to be the best."

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