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Friday, April 11, 2003

Greene won’t run at Relays

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Sprinter Maurice Greene, who starred at the Kansas Relays two years ago and signed autographs for fans in the rain at last year's waterlogged track carnival, won't be back for next week's event at Memorial Stadium.

The Olympic gold medalist from Kansas City, Kan., will be in the Los Angeles area competing at the Mt. SAC Relays.

"USA Track and Field has designated that an official 4x100 (meters) relay camp site," Kansas Relays meet director Tim Weaver said Thursday.

"There are three to four meets where they get all the guys together who could run a 4x1 in one place. They do it so the athletes don't see each other the first time at the World Championships. Obviously, we wanted to have that here. I'm lobbying to get that here next year."

Greene's absence means for the first time in several years, the sprints won't be the marquee events at the Relays.

The headline event, in fact, may now be the Glenn Cunningham Mile at 4:45 p.m. a week from Saturday.

In 2001, Alan Webb ran a 3:53.43 in the mile, breaking the national high school record of 3:55.3 set by Jim Ryun 36 years earlier. Webb, who left the University of Michigan after one year to turn pro, won the 1,500 at the 2002 Big Ten Outdoor and notched fourth at his only NCAA meet.

"He is one of the true household names in track and field," Weaver said. "Jim Ryun will be here for the Relays and Alan is looking forward to visiting with him. It's going to be an exciting race. Charlie Gruber (former KU standout) is not going to sit back. He's going to push it from the gun."

Ryun set the record while a senior at Wichita East High. Later, he was a standout at Kansas University.

NCAA Indoor 200-meter champion Leo Bookman of KU will run the 100 with Nike's Leonard Byrd headlining the 200.

"Leo is drawing some great runners to the Relays. Everybody wants to beat the big dog. Leo is a very big dog," Weaver said of Bookman, who will complete spring football drills Saturday and head to the track for workouts Sunday.

Former KU javelin thrower Scott Russell, the Canadian record holder in the event, will be on hand.

Lawrence's own Olympian, pole vaulter Scott Huffman, has been retired the past couple years and is not expected to compete. Yet ...

"Scott asked me if I could unlock Anschutz for him over the weekend (to work out). It's kind of like the first robin of spring," Weaver said of Huffman.

The Relays will open with the heptathlon and decathlon next Wednesday and Thursday.

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