LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas men’s and women’s track and field squads will hit the road for the first time this season as they make their way to New York for the 2011 New Balance Collegiate Invitational Feb. 4-5. The meet will take place at The Armory Track and Field Center in New York City.
A total of 23 Jayhawk men and 24 Jayhawk women will represent Kansas at the meet. For the KU men, sophomore thrower Mason Finley will return to action for the first time since recording the world’s top mark in the shot put this season at the KU-MU Dual on Jan. 14. Finley, who turned in a personal best mark of 20.71 (67-11.50 ft) will compete in the event for just the second time this season. He currently leads the and the Big 12.
Also competing for the KU men will be senior Nick Canton (high jump), senior Nick Caprario (3,000m), senior Cooper Merrill (pole vault) and sophomore Kyle Clemons (400m, 4×400-meter relay).
Canton enters the meet with the sixth-best mark in the high jump in the Big 12 this season with his height of 2.10m (6-10.75 ft). Caprario will run the 3,000 meters for KU. His season’s best time of 8:22.63 currently ranks 10th in the Big 12.
Merrill will look to continue improving his mark in the pole vault. His top mark of the season of 5.10m (16-08.75 ft) stands as the third best mark in the Big 12 and ranks 30th in the . Clemons will be competing in the 400 meters over the weekend. He currently ranks 17th in the Big 12 in the event. He will also join forces with senior Keron Toussaint and freshmen Dominique Manley and Pieter Marx on the KU 4×400-meter relay team.
Five Jayhawk women will compete in the pole vault in New York led by senior Jaci Perryman, who currently ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 36th in the with her top vault of 3.95m (12-11.50 ft). Also competing in the pole vault for KU will be seniors Abby Jones and Tara Turnbill, junior Julia Cummings and freshman Demi Payne. Payne sits right behind Perryman in the Big 12 rankings in sixth with her mark of 3.90m (12-09.50 ft).
Sophomore Francine Simpson will be pulling double duty for Kansas as she will compete on both the track and the field. Simpson, who currently ranks fifth in the Big 12 and 23rd in the in the long jump, will look to improve on her season’s best mark of 6.04m (19-09.50 ft). The Chapelton, Jamaica, native will also hit the track in the 200 meters. She currently sits at 20th in the in the event with her time of 24.93.
Leading the KU women on the track will be sophomore Denesha Morris and freshman Diamond Dixon. Morris will compete in the 60m, 200m and 4×400-relay for the Jayhawks. She will look to capture her fourth 60-meter title of the season and improve on her top time of 7.47. Her time in the 60 meters currently ranks 10th in the Big 12. Morris has the 17th best time in the conference in the 200 meters with her season’s best time of 24.50.
Dixon enters the meet ranked eighth in the Big 12 standings and 26th in the with her time of 54.64 in the 400 meters. She recorded her personal best time at last weekend’s Jayhawk Classic, giving her the second fastest time in KU history in the event.
A pair of KU women will compete in the 3,000 meters in senior Amanda Miller and junior Rebeka Stowe. Both runners rank in the top 20 in the Big 12 in the event entering the meet. Additionally, KU sophomore Rebecca Neville will compete in the 60-meter hurdles. She currently ranks 14th in the Big 12 with her time of 8.80.
The meet will begin Friday at 9:50 a.m. () with the collegiate men’s 3,000 meters and will conclude Saturday evening with the running of the 4×400-meter relays. Jayhawk track and field results for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational can be found at www.kuathletics.com.