Kansas Relays: what to watch for

The Kansas Relays, which date back to 1923, brings some of the best track and field athletes from Kansas and around the world to Lawrence this weekend. Memorial Stadium and the Douglas County Fairgrounds will host the storied event that offers a number of storylines. While the baseball, softball and soccer teams play on the road this weekend, this is your best chance to check out what the track and field teams have to offer. It is the biggest regular season meet of the year for the Jayhawks. Here are a few things to watch for.

Wednesday:

Men’s Shot Put at the Fairgrounds

The event has taken place downtown at 8th and Massachusetts Street the last two years, but because of inclement weather in the forecast, it has been moved to the Douglas County Fairgrounds. It’s one of the most unique events in the world. The shot put will feature returning champion Reese Hoffa, who picked up a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, as well as Christian Cantwell, who won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The event has gone over so well the past two years that ESPN3 will air it live both online and on mobile devices. The event is Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, located at 2110 Harper St. in Lawrence.

Thursday:

Women’s Long Jump at the Fairgrounds

Similar to the men’s shot put event, the event previously located on Mass Street will also be moved to the Douglas County Fairgrounds because of potential rain and strong winds. Janay DeLoach, last year’s winner, will return in 2013 as well as a slew of other top athletes. The event will also feature live music and an appearance by everyone’s favorite mascot. Admission is free to both Wednesday and Thursday night events at the Fairgrounds. The event is Thursday at 6 p.m.

Friday:

Long Distance races highlight Friday session

If you enjoy long distance races, Memorial Stadium is the place to be on Friday. The evening session will feature the 3,000 meter men’s and women’s steeplechase, followed by the 4-mile relay. There will be a number of preliminary races on Friday. The finals of the men’s and women’s 4×1600 meter relay will highlight the top college teams in the nation. The steeplechase is set to start at 5:25 p.m. Friday, followed by the 4-mile relay at 6:00 p.m. Both events will take place at Memorial Stadium.

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN Sophomore middle distance runner Dalen Fink passes the baton to his teammate sophomore distance runner Brendan Soucie to compete in the third leg of the Men's Distance Medley Friday afternoon at  the 85 Kansas Relays at Memorial Stadium. Kansas won with a time of 10:18.21.

Ashleigh Lee/KANSAN
Sophomore middle distance runner Dalen Fink passes the baton to his teammate sophomore distance runner Brendan Soucie to compete in the third leg of the Men’s Distance Medley Friday afternoon at the 85 Kansas Relays at Memorial Stadium. Kansas won with a time of 10:18.21.

Saturday:

The fastest relay on the track

If you like a quick race that will finish in under a minute, the 4×100 meter race is for you. The finals of this race will feature some of the fastest times in the nation on both the men’s and women’s side. Don’t be surprised to see the Kansas men’s team — Shawn Smith, Michael Hester, DeMario Johnson and Kyle Clemons — run in the finals. The team ran in 41.17 seconds last weekend in Arkansas. The Kansas women’s team is just as impressive, featuring Andrea Geubelle, Sydney Conley, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon. Its winning time of 44.92 last weekend in Arkansas puts the team in a great position to run in the finals this weekend. The 4×100 relays are set for Saturday at 12:25 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Diamond runs with the best

The Kansas Relays features high school, collegiate and professional athletes all in one meet. The elite division features a number of athletes that have competed in the Olympics. Diamond Dixon, the University’s own Olympian, will run in the elite division of the open 400 Meter Dash Invitational, rather than the collegiate division. The junior, who helped the USA win the gold medal at the London Olympics, will run against some of the best competition in the world this weekend. The 400 Meter Dash Invitational is a must-see event on Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

Mile runners look to break record

The Glen Cunningham Mile is Saturday afternoon and will feature some of the fastest athletes in the world, including Olympians Leo Manzano and Nick Symmonds. Manzano, who won the silver medal at the London Olympics, and the rest of the crew will attempt to break Jim Ryun’s 36-year-old Relays record which stands at 3 minutes and 54.7 seconds. Kansas junior Josh Munsch will also compete in this elite race as well. The Jayhawk ran his personal best 1500m time of 3:43.03 earlier this year. He will look to become the third man in Kansas history to break the 4-minute mile barrier. The Glen Cunningham Mile takes place at 4:25 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Women try to stay on top

The Kansas women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, for the fourth straight week. The women will be running, jumping, throwing and vaulting in a number of events worthy of checking out. After capturing a Big 12 indoor conference championship, they look to have even more success in the outdoor season. Their weekend will culminate on the track Saturday evening in the 4×400 relay. The team of Morris, Dixon, Taylor Washington and Paris Daniels ran its best time of the year earlier this month when they crossed the line in 3:32.26, which was the third fastest time in the nation to date. The 4×400 will be the finale of the Kansas Relays and is set for Saturday evening at 5:00 at Memorial Stadium.

  • Updated Apr. 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm
  • Edited by Tara Bryant