Jayhawk track team looks to build off successful season

Kansas track and field will compete in its first meet of the season today with the Bob Timmons Challenge.

Coach Stanley Redwine and his athletes begin the process of building on the success they achieved last year.

For the women’s team, nearly 90 percent of scorers from the team that finished runner-up at last year’s indoor national championship return this season.

In his 13th season at Kansas, Redwine is now seeing an average of 10 athletes per season earn First-Team All-American awards.

Senior Andrea Geubelle, an NCAA champion last season, enters the season with the best triple jump mark of any American in 2012. The women’s 4×400 meter team was one of the fastest ever, and all four runners of the relay are returning.

Sophomore Michael Stigler broke a 37-year-old Kansas school record in the men’s 400 meter hurdle race last season, and he also won a Big 12 title in the event while being named conference Freshman Track Athlete of the Year.

Of course, Diamond Dixon’s Olympic gold medal at the summer Olympics is the accomplishment that most people know of, but last season was a success for more than just a few individuals. It was a good season for the program as a whole.

If everything goes as Redwine has planned, then Kansas track and field will continue this success and may one day be the same kind of powerhouse program as Kansas men’s basketball.

“It’s not just a one-and-done thing,” Redwine said over the phone earlier this week. “You have to do it continuously, and that’s the goal is to continue to do it every meet and every year.”

There is a lot of work left to do, which is something that Redwine seems to embrace. As many of the athletes he coaches will say, he has pushed them to work hard and has not shied away from working hard himself.

“We still have a lot to work for,” Redwine said. “So we’re nowhere near an accomplished program.”

Last season the Jayhawks managed to win individual national championships and even compete for team championships, but even more is expected from this season. There is no reason why Kansas can’t win a Big 12 championship or even a national championship. On the women’s team the talent is obviously there.

Redwine said that the coaching staff has put last season behind them. Their focus is on the success they will work toward this season. There are 12 true freshmen competing in today’s meet.

“This is their first time putting on a Kansas uniform,” Redwine said. “We have to see how these athletes are competing.”

Some of those who are returning have accomplished a lot in the past year. The newcomers will compete alongside them today. The freshmen may add something to the team this season, but the talent that returns is already capable of winning championships. The question is, can these freshmen continue that success?

The process of building consistent success for Kansas track and field continues today at 3 p.m. in Anschutz Pavilion.

  • Updated Dec. 5, 2012 at 7:13 pm
  • Edited by Stéphane Roque