Defending Relays pole vault champ Jacob Pauli will compete against Olympic gold medalist Nick Hysong and ex-Jayhawk Pat Manson at 2 p.m. today.
"There are four 19-footers in the field," Pauli gushed, referring to himself, Hysong, Manson and Russ Buller. "I wouldn't be surprised if somebody jumped 19-4, which is a world-championship winning mark. It's going to be a beautiful day, perfect conditions for jumping."
Pauli likes to play to the crowd.
"My biggest nightmare is watching a pole vault competition and somebody jumps really high and they walk off the field and nobody notices. I like to flex my muscles," the former Northern Iowa competitor said.
Ex-Jayhawk Manson, who lives in Colorado, arrived Friday in Lawrence. As usual, he was greeted at the airport by Olympic vaulter Scott Huffman, Manson's former teammate and close friend who makes his home in Lawrence. Manson has cleared 18 feet for 21 consecutive seasons, only vaulter in history to do so.
Batman's here: Bershawn Jackson, who will headline today's 400 hurdles race at 4:05 p.m. in GOLDZONE2, goes by the nickname of "Batman."
He hummed the Batman theme song before speaking at a news conference Friday at Memorial Stadium.
"I got the nickname running summer track in high school," the Miami native said. "I was a 40 runner and snuck in the 80 hurdles. I had big ears and people said I was flying past 'em. They nicknamed me Batman. It stuck from high school to college."
He was asked what's a better nickname, his "Batman" or "Cheetah Man," the nickname of Olympian Shawn Crawford, who will run in the invitational 400 relay today.
'"Batman. Batman is legendary,'" Jackson said.
100 field dandy: The women's 100, set for 2:50 p.m., boasts former K.C. Central standout Muna Lee, as well as Allyson Felix, Rachelle Smith and others.
"I don't know if I'm a hometown favorite, but it is fun to compete here in front of my family and friends," Lee said.
Lee trains with Felix.
"I'm just excited," she said. "It's our first race and we are anxious to see where we are at. It's still early, but we are excited to be here. I will be focusing mainly on technical things. It won't be until alter when you can evaluate (performance)."
"Training with Allyson has been fun so I think I'm pretty ready," Lee noted.
Friday's crowd: The crowd was listed at 11,700 by KU officials. Meet director Tim Weaver is hoping for 30,000 for today's Gold Zone, set to run from 2 to 5 p.m.