LINCOLN, NEB. Kansas University's men's and women's track teams both finished ninth at last year's Big 12 Indoor championships.
Kansas isn't talking championship this weekend in Lincoln, but the Jayhawks are hoping to climb the points ladder.
The two-day meet will begin today at Nebraska's track facility in the Devaney Center.
Heading the list of Jayhawks expected to score is senior thrower Scott Russell, who broke the NCAA record in the weight throw at the Iowa State Classic. Russell's throw of 81-11*4 surpassed the old mark by nearly three feet. Russell has won the Big 12 weight throw twice and owns the meet record.
Other men who will be vying for points are sophomore sprinter Leo Bookman, junior pole vaulter Vadim Gvozdetskiy, senior middle distance runner Brian Blachly and junior triple jumper Benaud Shirley.
Bookman broke the school record in both the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes this season. Gvozdetskiy has the fifth-best vault in the league and has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships. His best vault of 17-5 at the Jayhawk Invitational ranks him among the top 15 in the nation.
Blachly, who was part of KU's All-American distance medley relay team a year ago, is solid in a variety of middle distance events including the 800 and 1,000.
A year ago, Shirley placed ninth at the Big 12 Indoor with a leap of 48-11. Shirley ranks third in the conference this year with a best jump of 50-41*2.
Three KU women and the distance medley relay team have provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor.
Senior Katy Eisenmenger has been one of the top middle distance runners in the Big 12. The Fairmont, Minn., native leads the league in both the 1,000 and the mile.
Sophomore Laura Lavoie is also provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor with a 2:09.37 clocking in the 800. And Brooklyn Hann has provisionally qualified in the triple jump. A freshman, Hann leaped a school-record 41-6 at the Iowa State Classic.
Lavoie and Eisenmenger form half of two relay teams, which also lead the conference.
The team of Lavoie, Stacy Keller, Arrah Nielsen and Eisenmenger ran a provisional qualifying time of 11:32.90 in the distance medley relay at the Iowa State Classic. The 3,200 meter relay team of Eisenmenger, Megan Manthe, Nielsen and Lavoie ran a 9:20.91 at the KU/KSU/MU Triangular.
Other Jayhawks looking to score at the Big 12 Indoor include freshman Kim Clark, junior Shameika McField, senior Jennie Wonder and junior Monique Peters.
McField owns the school record in the 60 at 7.55.