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Friday, March 28, 2014

NCAA-leading victories pace KU track at Texas Relays

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— Kansas University track and field juniors Lindsay Vollmer and Clint Bowen kicked off their outdoor seasons with nationally ranked victories, Thursday at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Vollmer, the 2013 NCAA Outdoor heptathlon champion, came from behind for her win. Vollmer began the second day of competition in third place and trailed first-day leader Brittney Howell, of Penn State, by as many as 142 points, with two events remaining. Vollmer’s top throw in the javelin pushed her over the top, and she held off Howell in the 800 meters to post the highest heptahlon score in the NCAA this season, 5,640 points. Her total is the fourth-best in school history.

Bowen, who red-shirted during KU’s indoor season, cleared 5.50 meters (18 feet, 0.5 inches) for his victory. The mark ranks No. 2 in the NCAA this season, and made Bowen the ninth pole vaulter in Kansas history to reach 18 feet.

The Kansas women’s 4x800-meter relay team also made school history with their fourth-place finish in 8:50.50. Diamond Dixon, Whitney Adams, Hannah Richardson and Rhavean King combined to beat the previous program best of 8:51:56, which was set in 1980.

The Jayhawks will return to the track today for the third day of the four-day meet. Competing for KU today are six relay teams and 15 individual athletes, including junior Michael Stigler, who posted the fastest qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdles on Thursday. Stigler won the event at last years’ Texas Relays.

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