Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

Several track and field stars departed

August 16, 2008


On the heels of easily the best year in program history, the 2008-09 Kansas University women's track and field team will have to overcome a lot of hurdles to reach the same bar as the 2007-08 season.

Individual records were broken meet after meet as the women's team finished the best it ever had in both the indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championships and NCAA Championships.

During the indoor season, the Jayhawks finished a program-best third at the Big 12 Championship - a mere two points behind Nebraska for second. At the NCAA Championship, KU set a standard with a 10th-place finish.

When it came to the spring, Kansas placed fourth at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship and finished in a tie for 15th at the NCAA Outdoor. Again, both finishes were the best by the women's program at either event.

But now, the team will be without seniors Crystal Manning - who won the Big 12 Indoor crown in the long jump and triple jump - and Kate Sultanova, who was a four-time Big 12 champion in the pole vault.

"We lost some pretty good people, and we're going to have some people that are coming in, and we hope that they can start to pick up, or step up, where the others left off," coach Stanley Redwine said.

So it will be senior sprinters Nickesha Anderson, Charity Stowers and Sha'Ray Butler and senior throwers Zlata Tarasova and Stephanie Horton who lead this year's team.

The three senior sprinters were part of the 1,600-meter relay team - along with Manning - that finished 10th at the NCAA Indoor.

Anderson will look to be the sprinter to fill in the spark generated by Manning.

The native of Hanover, Jamaica, received All-American honors in the indoor season for finishing second in the 200-meter dash. Anderson, who represented Jamaica in the Olympics as part of the 400-meter relay team, also was named a two-time All-American during the outdoor season by finishing third in the 200 meters and fourth in the 100 meters at the NCAA.

With Sultanova gone, sophomore Julia Cummings looks to carry on KU's dominance in the pole vault.

A pole vaulter will be at the forefront of the men's track and field team this year.

Heading into his junior year, Jordan Scott already has three Big 12 titles in the pole vault - along with a second-place finish at the 2008 Big 12 Outdoor.

"He's a great guy, and I do believe he will do well again this year," Redwine said.

The KU men's team graduated four top-five finishers at the Big 12 Outdoor, including Igor Agafonov, who won three consecutive conference championships in the hammer throw.


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