Kansas University has at least one potential NCAA champion on its women's track and field roster.
She's Abby Emsick, a 5-foot-6, 150--pound discus thrower from Council Bluffs, Iowa, who as a freshman threw for a school record at 180 feet, 10 inches while placing second at the NCAA regional meet and already has qualified for the 2004 Olympic Trials.
"She is one of the best in the nation," KU coach Stanley Redwine said.
Emsick not only took the Big 12 by storm as a freshman, but also the country.
"She has a competitive desire, a competitive edge. She has the mindset to win and compete and great athletic ability that combined with her work ethic can take her a long way," KU throws coach Doug Reynolds said of Emsick, who threw a then-personal-best 173-8 to place second at Big 12 Outdoor, before improving her mark at regionals.
All in all, it was quite a freshman year for Emsick, who did not place, but did gain valuable experience, at the NCAA meet.
"I have high expectations of myself," said Emsick, who shattered the school discus mark of 176-4 set by Marlea Woodman in 1998.
"As a freshman I wanted to break the school record and I wanted to make the NCAAs. I actually expected to throw 180 in the first couple of meets, but it didn't happen. I was trying for it and when you try for it, it doesn't really come. You have to work for it gradually. I'm not going to stop at 180."
Several athletes return who advanced to the 2003 NCAAs, but didn't qualify for finals. They are:
- Kim Clark, a junior Academic All-America selection from Elkhorn, Neb., won the 600 at the 2003 Big 12 Indoor, then placed fifth in the 800 at Big 12 Outdoor and eighth at NCAA regionals. She also ran the final leg of KU's NCAA-qualifying 1,600-relay team (with Robbie Harriford, Stacy Keller, Shameika McField) that notched third at league while setting a school record in the process.
- Brooklyn Hann, a junior from Sacramento, Calif., who was the Big 12 outdoor triple jump champion in 2002, placed 11th in the event last season. Hann, who placed 10th in the triple at NCAA Outdoor Regionals, won the 100 hurdles at the 2003 Kansas Relays.
- Megan Manthe, a junior Academic All-American from Anoka, Minn., placed ninth in the 1,500 at NCAA Outdoor Regionals after placing sixth at Big 12 meet. She notched fourth in the mile at the 2003 Big 12 Indoor.
- Jamie Waters, a senior from Jerseyville, Ill., who placed 14th in the hammer at regionals, was 12th at the Big 12 Outdoor. Waters also placed eighth in the shot at the 2003 Big 12 Indoor.
- Laura Lavoie, a senior from Springfield, Mo., notched fourth in the 1,500 at the NCAA regional after placing third at Big 12. She has the second best outdoor time in school history and placed sixth in the mile at Big 12 Indoor.
- Sondra Rauterkus, a junior from Harlan, Iowa, placed third in the high jump at the NCAA regional after notching eighth at the Big 12s.
- Stacy Keller, a senior from Halstead, not only ran on the school-record 1,600 team, but also placed seventh in the 400 at the 2003 league indoor.
- Monique Peters, a senior from Trinidad, placed fifth in the long jump at the league outdoor. She is the 2002 Big 12 Indoor champ in that event. During the summer, she won the Trinidad National Championship in 19-93/4.
Several other potential point scorers return, including:
- Charlisse Bacchus, a sophomore from Trinidad, placed third in the long jump at Big 12 Outdoor. She holds the third-best indoor 60 hurdles time in KU history.
- Yvonne Calzonetti, a soph from Garden City, is coming off a third-place finish in the pole vault at Big 12 Outdoor and sixth-place at the indoor.
- Paige Higgins, a senior from Littleton, Colo., placed fourth in the 10,000 and 11th in the 5,000 at the Big 12 Outdoor. She earned eighth in the 5,000 at the 2003 Indoor.
- Jennifer Widerstrom, a junior from Lisle, Ill., placed 12th at the Drake Relays hammer in 166-7.
- Jenna Bimbi, a sophomore from Pueblo, Colo., earned eighth in the 800 at league outdoor.
- Angela Pichardo, a sophomore from Hollywood, Fla., placed 41st at the league cross country meet and 42nd at regional.
- Lauren Brownrigg, a junior from Tualatin, Ore., placed 72nd at the regional CC meet.
Sprinters Tiffany Cherry (soph, Vernon, Texas), Duchess Williams (senior, Miami, Fla.) were among others who showed promise.
KU is bringing in standout sprinters in Octavia Garrett and Kara Euler. Redwine also signed Shatoya Hill, a native of Lubbock, Texas.
Also on board are Courtney Edmonds, middle distance, McLouth; Janiece Gatson, sprinter, Grandview, Mo.; Libby Harmon, jumper, Overland Park; Laura Major, middle distance/distance, Tulsa; Jami McKenney, jumper, Fort Scott; Joanie Nelson, jumper, New Cambria and Sara Reeves, jumper, Evergreen, Colo.