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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Texas claims mythical Big 12 all-sports crown

Jayhawks climb to ninth overall, bolstered by sixth-place finish from women; men place eighth

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In unofficial Big 12 Conference all-sports tabulations, Kansas University remained a second-division school in 2004-05.

However, the Jayhawks climbed two rungs in the overall ratings compiled by the Journal-World, and the KU women squeaked into the first division by half a point.

Using a formula that awards 12 points for a first-place finish in regular-season standings, 11 for a second-place finish, 10 for third and so on, the KU women were sixth and the men eighth in the race for the mythical conference all-sports championship.

Curiously, though, when the men's and women's points are added, Kansas finished ninth overall. Still, that was a notable improvement over 2003-04 when the Jayhawks were 11th overall and ahead of only Iowa State.

During the recently completed school year, Texas dominated, as usual. The Longhorns' men's teams compiled 89.5 points and easily outdistanced runner-up Oklahoma (73.5). Oklahoma State was third with 70 points, followed by Missouri at 65 and Texas Tech and Texas A&M; at 61 1â2 each.

Nebraska topped the men's second division with 60 1â2. Kansas was eighth with 50 points, followed by Iowa State (44), Baylor (43 1â2), Colorado (40 1â2) and Kansas State (34 1â2).

In the women's standings, Texas shared the top spot with Nebraska. Both schools compiled 98 1â2 points. Missouri was third with 81 1â2 while Texas A&M; and Baylor tied for fourth at 78 1â2.

Kansas came in sixth with 61 points, barely edging Texas Tech, which had 60 1â2. Oklahoma was eighth with 52 points, followed by Oklahoma State (49), Colorado (47 1â2 ), Kansas State (46) and Iowa State (44 1â2 ).

Adding the men's and women's point totals gives a clear-cut advantage to Texas with 188. Nebraska was a distant second with 159. Missouri was third at 146.5, followed by Texas A&M; (140) and Oklahoma (125 1â2 ). Baylor and Texas Tech shared sixth place with 122 points apiece.

Oklahoma State was eighth at 119, followed by Kansas (111), Iowa State (88 1/2), Colorado (88) and Kansas State (80 1â2 ).

K-State struggled, in part, because it fields teams in only 14 of the league's 21 championships (11 women, 10 men) and, in the J-W compilations, no points are awarded if a school passes on a sport.

KSU does not have women's teams in soccer, gymnastics, softball and swimming, or men's teams in swimming, tennis and wrestling. Kansas participates in same men's sports as KSU, but the Jayhawks offer women's teams in soccer, softball and swimming while K-State doesn't.

Kansas and Kansas State also have women's rowing on varsity status, but the Big 12 does not sponsor a championship in that sport - or in equestrian, another KSU varsity sport.

After failing to capture a single conference championship in 2003-04, Kansas shared a pair of titles in 2004-05 - men's basketball with Oklahoma and soccer with Texas A&M.;

KU's most noticeable improvement came in outdoor track where the Jayhawks finished fourth in the league meet after winding up 12th and last the previous year. That noteworthy comeback earned KU's Stanley Redwine league men's outdoor coach of the year honors.

Soccer coach Mark Francis also earned conference coach of the year honors after guiding KU to its first women's league title since basketball in 1997.

On another front, the commercially generated Border Showdown between Kansas and Missouri went to the Tigers. In head-to-head competition between the two ancient rivals, MU came out ahead, 22 1â2 to 17 1â2.

Incidentally, Missouri's strong third-place finish in the overall all-sports standings was accomplished without the Tigers winning a single league championship. Mizzou's highest placings were a second in women's cross country and thirds in volleyball, men's swimming and men's golf.

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