Kansas University's Kim Clark might love running the distance medley relay because it's unique in outdoor track.
Or maybe Clark just likes the race because she is really good at it.
"We kind of just relaxed out there today," said the nonchalant sophomore, who improved to 2-for-2 in the event in Lawrence when her team won in 11:56.23 Friday at the Kansas Relays at Memorial Stadium.
"It was good to win it, even though we didn't run that great of a time," said Clark, about the event that is only run at big outdoor meets like the Kansas Relays or Texas Relays, but is included as a scoring event during the indoor track season. "But we didn't feel much pressure."
No pressure? Even though Clark and her teammates only run a handful of distance medleys each season?
"I don't feel any pressure," Clark insisted. "If anything, at least we know the crowd will be cheering us on here, where they aren't at the Texas Relays."
Good point. Clark and her Jayhawk teammates -- Laura Lavoie, Angela Pichardo and Megan Manthe -- gave the crowd of several thousand quite a bit to cheer about.
Lavoie, a junior and the only upperclassman of the four, ran the first 1,200 meters and gave the Jayhawks a jump on their competition.
Clark continued the clip by leading her 400-meter portion.
From there, Florida freshman Pichardo performed flawless on the third leg of the race, running 800 meters.
"Our splits weren't quite as good as normal," Pichardo said. "But like coach said, our splits don't really matter as long as we won."
And sophomore Manthe made sure of that, finishing with 1,600 meters.
"It's a great event," Kansas coach Stanley Redwine said. "It combines sprinters and distance runners and it's just good to see us do well in it, especially with it coming at home."
The Jayhawk men nearly pulled out the day's biggest victory in their distance-medley relay. While holding a slight lead after the 800-to-1,600-leg handoff, KU's Joshy Madathil couldn't hold off Andy Downin, who ran for an All-Star squad that included Alan Webb, Calvin Davis and Adam Perkins.
Webb is the pro 1,500-meter runner that broke Jim Ryun's national high school record in 2001, Perkins gave up his high school eligibility this season as a senior and Davis ran for Redwine at Arkansas and is a volunteer assistant coach for KU.
"I wasn't trying to run an amazingly fast time," said Webb, who will run in today's premiere race -- the Men's Invitational Mile at 4:45 p.m., with a field that includes Perkins and former KU standout Charlie Gruber. "I was trying to get a good setup for tomorrow. I have never run that relay before."
Webb's comments didn't discourage Madathil as much as his late-race performance.
"I'm kind of disappointed with my finish," said Madathil, a freshman from Liberal whose relay ended up taking third behind the All-Star team and Cloud County.
Kansas finished with a time of 10:05.53, while the All-Star squad finished in 10:00.01 and Cloud County at 10:00.99.
"But there's always next week and next year," Madathil said.
While Redwine said the All-Star squad had a huge advantage with their premier runners, he was proud of his runners: Cameron Schwehr, Jeremy Mims and Brandon Hodges.
"Those guys are very good," Redwine said of the All-Star runners. "You just have to understand that and give credit where it's due. But our guys didn't go out there thinking they (All-Stars) were better. They went out there and competed. And that's what I'm really proud about."
While the men nearly missed out on the sweep, all eight runners say they will be back for more.
"We're a really young team and we have a whole another year together," Clark said. "All we're going to do is get faster. So who knows?"
KU's Jeremy Hull took second in the pole vault, clearing 16-8. The men's 400-relay team qualified for today's finals. The women's 1,600 relay team qualified for the finals. Jayhawk Sondra Rauterkus took second in the high jump, leaping 5-8.
Nebraska's men's shuttle hurdle relay team set a new meet record with a time of 57.69 seconds, breaking the Cornhuskers' previous mark of 59.10.
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Recent KU graduate Scott Russell finished Friday right where he left off -- with a win. The former All-American, who won the javelin Friday with a throw of 251 feet, said it was great to be home.
"This is the third meet I've won this season," Russell said. "But performance-wise, this is the best yet. Coming home and throwing in front of friends and local people feels great. It definitely pumped me up."