KU men take fourth

? Led by the performance of junior thrower Sheldon Battle, who had two firsts and a second, Kansas University’s men’s track team finished fourth at the Big 12 track and field championships, which concluded Sunday at Kansas State’s track.

The fourth-place finish tied for KU’s best finish at Outdoor in the nine-year history of the conference.

The Jayhawk women, who were sparked by freshman Ekaterina Sultanova’s victory in the pole vault Sunday, also tied for the best finish in school history, notching sixth of 12 teams.

“I am excited for the team because the athletes really worked hard and put last year behind them,” KU coach Stanley Redwine said. KU placed last on the men’s side and 10th on the women’s side a year ago.

“I thank our coaches because they stepped it up. The team stepped it up. At the same time, we have to improve on this and get ready for regionals in two weeks. We’re always hungry and striving to do more.”

There’s not much more Battle, a junior from Jamestown, N.Y., could have done over the weekend. Sunday, he won the discus in 188-10 after placing second in the shot Saturday and winning the hammer Friday.

“Sheldon was absolutely fantastic,” Redwine said of the winner of the meet’s high-point-scorer award. “He’s been a great competitor all season. Here he stepped it up a notch.”

KU cleaned up in the discus. Gavin Ball placed fourth in a personal-best 178-2, and Cody Roberts was eighth in 171-10.

KU’s other individual winner Sunday was freshman Sultanova, who won the pole vault in a meet-record-tying mark of 13-5 1/4. KU senior Amy Linnen placed third in 13-1 1/2.

“Today I really wanted to score the 10 points for the team. I was able to do that,” said Sultanova, a native of Krasnodar, Russia, who edged Kansas State’s Breanna Eveland in a jump-off.

“Kate did a great job winning the pole vault. She beat a very good field. She was ready to compete, and it showed,” Redwine said.

Of NCAA Indoor champion Linnen’s effort, the coach noted, “She did a good job. Third in the Big 12 is not a horrible thing. It didn’t happen today. At the same time, she learned something.

Senior Brooklyn Hann placed third in the triple jump (42-11 3/4) and seventh in the 100 hurdles (13.9).

Junior Benson Chesang, who placed third in the 10,000 Friday, was second in the 5,000 Sunday in 13:59.74. Freshmen Colby Wissel and Paul Hefferon placed fifth and sixth in the 5,000 in 14:19.27 and 14:20.37.

“Benson did an outstanding job in the 5,000 and 10,000,” Redwine said.

Senior Jeremy Mims notched third in the 800 in a time of 1:46.6, third-best mark in school history. Kim Clark notched seventh in the women’s 800 in 2:07.72.

Freshman Julius Jiles was third in the 400 hurdles (51.08) and seventh in the 110 hurdles (14.61). Sophomore Janiece Gatson was sixth in the women’s 400 hurdles in a season-best 1:01.21.

The women’s 400 relay team of Octavia Garrett, Tiffany Bradley, Tiffany Cherry and Charisse Bacchus placed seventh in a season-best 45.86. Sophomore Abby Emsick placed sixth in the discus in a season-best 170-6.

Junior Cameron Schwehr placed fifth in the 1,500-meter in a season-best 3:57.43. The 1,600 relay team of Kara Euler, Kim Clark, Hann and Octavia Garrett placed sixth in 3:41.66.

Texas Tech won the men’s competition with 149.5 points, followed by Nebraska (136), Texas (100.5), KU (85), K-State (71), Texas A&M (52.5), Colorado and Iowa State (48), Missouri (44.5), Oklahoma (41), Baylor (37) and Oklahoma State (5).

Nebraska won the women’s competition with 126.67 points, followed by UT (117), TT (95), BU (86), KSU (79), KU (69), MU and OSU (55), CU (50), A&M (36), ISU (29) and OU (21.33).