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Archive for Thursday, April 11, 2002

Greene to highlight 75th Kansas Relays

April 11, 2002

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Olympic gold medalist Maurice Greene will run his specialty -- the 100-meter dash -- at the 75th Kansas Relays, set for next Wednesday through Saturday at Kansas University's Memorial Stadium.

Greene, who won the gold medal in the 100 at the 2000 Olympic Games, is expected to run the 4x100 relay at 7:15 p.m. a week from Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

There's a good chance Greene, a Kansas City native, will be joined on the relay by Ato Boldon, the former UCLA runner who owns four Olympic medals and Jon Drummond, who joined Greene on the gold-medal winning team at the 2000 Games.

Other sprint sensations competing at the Relays include Boldon, who won the silver in the 100 and bronze in the 200 at the 2000 Games; Eric Thomas, second at the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 400 hurdles; Terrence Trammell, 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the 100 hurdles; Ken Brokenburr, member of the gold medal winning 400 relay team at the 2000 Games; Calvin Davis, bronze medalist in 400 hurdles at 1996 Olympics; and Larry Wade, 1998 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor hurdles champion.

The pole vault, long a fan favorite, will be a feature event at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20.

Former KU vaulter Pat Manson, who tied for third at the 2000 Olympic Trials and has a personal best vault of 19-2 1/4, will be joined by 1996 Olympian Scott Huffman, of Lawrence, who has retired from international competition, but will compete at the 2002 Relays as he did a year ago. He has a personal-best leap of 19-7.

The vault favorite has to be Lawrence Johnson, a four-time NCAA champion from the University of Tennessee, who placed second at the 2000 Games. His personal best is 19-7 1/2.

"Having those guys back is great, KU people who have been so successful," Relays meet director Tim Weaver said of Kansas grads Manson and Huffman. "Scott's athletic achievement is probably only outshined by his personality so he's fun to have compete at a meet. To watch the 'Huffman Roll' (his unique style of vaulting) is great.

"The vault is something everyone can relate to," Weaver added. "If somebody is jumping 18 1/2 to 19-feet you don't need to be a track fan to ooh and aah at something like that. We get the big pit right in the middle which is great for the fans and competitors alike."

Also, KU javelin throwers Scott Russell and Andrea Bulat and distance runner Charlie Gruber will compete at the Relays. In all, 67 college teams and 172 high school squads from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado and Iowa will participate.

Big 12 schools Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will send athletes.

"With over half of the conference teams sending athletes to our meet, plus a dozen more NCAA Division I programs, our college section will be one of the best," Weaver said. "Add to this some of the outstanding junior college, NAIA, and NCAA Divisions II and III competitors, and we have the making of a great track and field meet."

The competition also will be fierce among the high school athletes.

"The high school division of the Kansas Relays has always been strong due to the tradition of the event and our facility," Weaver said. "But the meet has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. The competition has become so fierce that this year we will award medals to the top six finishers in each event (instead of top three). To be one of the six best at the Kansas Relays is quite an achievement and is something worth recognizing.

"Since state meets divide schools into classes, and there are few opportunities for teams from these other states to see the best of the Kansas teams, the Kansas Relays give everyone a barometer to see just how good their best athletes really are," he added.

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