Saturday, August 11, 2007

Track standouts abound


From the moment Stanley Redwine first recruited Crystal Manning, the talented triple jumper from Terrell, Texas, the Kansas University track coach knew he was pursuing a special athlete.

"We felt that way when she was is in high school," he said.

The senior fulfilled that potential, compiling a laundry list of accolades last season. The 2007 Big 12 Outdoor triple jump champion broke the KU record with a a 44-11.75 leap and tied the KU indoor record with a 43-02.25. Manning also placed fourth at the Big 12 championships in the long jump, notching the seventh best distance in school history.

"She definitely will be a standout," Redwine said.

In what Redwine deemed one of his strongest years guiding the Jayhawks' track team, Manning was one of four women's All-Americans in 2007. That number represents a KU record.

All-American Ashley Brown, who set a school record with a time of 57.15 during the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA championships, and All-American Kate Sultanova, a native of Russia, cleared 13-03.50 in the pole vault for fifth place.

The Jayhawks, however, have lost one of their women's All-Americans to graduation. Abby Emsick capped her career by reaching fourth place at the NCAA championships with a throw of 178-06 feet. Even without Emsick, the Jayhawk women, who finished 35th at the NCAA championship, likely will field a strong squad again.

"It's tough to replace," Redwine said. "But that's why we recruit the way we recruit."

The men's side also features marquee talent, including four athletes who notched All-American status last year.

A 6-foot-3 Russian hammer thrower, Egor Agafonov, is one of the more imposing. Redwine praised Agafonov's competitive nature.

"When he gets in the ring, he's just a different person," Redwine said. "He wants to win."

Fueled by that fiery personality, Agafonov completed a spectacular season. At the outdoor NCAA championships, he placed fourth with a toss of 229-02 feet. During 2007 he also won the NCAA Indoor, Big 12 Indoor, Big 12 Outdoor and NCAA Midwest Regionals.

Other All-Americans still on the roster include Julius Jiles and Barrett Saunders. A Kansas City, Mo., native, Jiles finished in eighth place in the 110 hurdles at the NCAA championships. Saunders, a senior long jumper, won the Big 12 Outdoor with a leap of 25-08 and the Midwest Regional with a 25-09.25 leap.


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