(Kansas City, Mo.) - Thursday at 4 p.m., the UMKC track and field program will begin its 2012-13 campaign at the Bob Timmons Challenge in Lawrence, Kan., hosted by the Kansas Jayhawks.
For the women, 20 members from last season's squad return, as seniors Stephany Johnson, Jylian Jaloma, and Kimoya Harriott along with juniors Veronica Rollins, Chelsea Richardson, Michelle Momo, and Viola Kleiser will provide guidance to the underclassmen throughout the season.
Men: (Throws) After a stellar season in 2012, Ramon Nelson and Kris Leverette will look to do the same in 2012-13.
At The Summit League Indoor Championships in the weight throws event, Nelson brought home the silver medal (58-00.25 - 17.68m), while Leverette came away with the bronze medal (57-04.25 - 17.48m). Nelson also set a new personal mark best mark of 58-10.25 (17.94m) in the weight throws event to place first at the UCM Classic for the second best performance in team history.
Adding experience to the group is senior Max Carroll who thrived in the javelin event last season, setting a new school record (58.23m) at the Tulsa Duels. As for newcomers Blake Hocking and Noah Linton, they will provide depth and versatility.
(Jumps) Top returning jumpers for the Blue & Gold are seniors Dontay Taylor and D.C. Okonta.
In the indoor portion of 2012, Okonta's season was highlighted with a silver medal (47-03.50 - 14.41m) in the triple jump at The Summit League Championships. The Liberty, Mo., native also recorded two of the top five performances in the triple jump in team history with marks of 49-05.00 - 15.06m (second) and 48-10.00 - 14.88m (fifth). Due to injury, however, he was unable to compete during the outdoor season.
After competing sparingly in 2010-11, Taylor made a name for himself in 2011-12 by clocking the fastest time (6.94) for a Kangaroo in any 60-meter dash event during the indoor season in what was the fifth best performance in team history. Later, he recorded the best performance (23-04.00 - 7.11m) in the long jump for a Kangaroo during the indoor season at the Jayhawk Classic to place fourth.
Taylor's outdoor season accolades included All-Summit League honors (Long Jump), qualifying for the NCAA Midwest Regional (Long Jump), and winning the long jump (7.44m) at the ESU Midweek Open.
(Sprints/Hurdles) Entering the season, this group will feature plenty of new faces in freshmen Chris Taylor, Terrone Garner, Brady Adams, and Nelson Atkins along with a transfer from Kansas, sophomore Daniel Prioleau.
In what was their first season in a Kangaroo uniform after transferring from previous programs, Butler and Barnett made an immediate impact with their performances at The Summit League Indoor Championships. In the 200 meters, Butler clocked a 22.44 to win the bronze medal, while he and Barnett were part of the 4x400-meter relay squad that placed third (3:22.36). As for Barnett, he recorded two of the top best performances (36.32) in a 300 meters event during indoor season.
Kenney, meanwhile, took part in numerous track events last season and will look to build on his freshman campaign.
(Distance) This crop of student-athletes is led by senior Cosmas Ayabei. Throughout his time as a Kangaroo, Ayabei has set multiple school records and top performances in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. In 2011-12, he earned All-Summit League honors in both seasons to lead to the Kansas City distance runners.
Along with Ayabei, senior Daniel Mann will look to finish his final season on a good note, while juniors Luke Abouhalkah, Alloch Burton, and Dirk Hudson will look to build upon their two seasons as members of the Kansas City track and field program.
Women: (Throws) This season, seniors Susan Brueggemann and Kimoya Harriott return for the Kangaroos to lead the women throwers.
Brueggemann's 2011-12 campaign was highlighted by recording the second best performance (43-03.25 - 13.19m) in the shot put in team history to place fifth at the Holiday Preview during the indoor season. Later in year, she recorded the second (13.12m), third (12.98m), and fifth (12.87m) furthest throws in the shot put in UMKC outdoor history.
As for Harriott, her best indoor performance came at The Summit League Championships placing first in Flight 1 in the shot put with the furthest mark (42-10.25 - 13.06m) by a Kangaroo during the season. In outdoor competition, the Jamaica native broke the UMKC school record (48.43m) in the javelin, while recording the second (46.32m), third (45.38m), and fifth (43.79m) furthest marks in school history on her way to earning a NCAA Midwest Regional qualifying bid.
(Jumps) This group of student-athletes is led by senior Stephany Johnson. In her first season in a Blue & Gold uniform after spending time at Central Missouri, Johnson recorded four of the top five best indoor performances in team history in the triple jump with a top mark of 40-6.75 (11.74m) earning the silver medal at The Summit League Championships.
Meanwhile, junior Jazmine Cooper's season included numerous top finishes and team all-time performances during outdoor season by recording the third (19-00.50m) and fifth (18-10.37m) furthest marks in UMKC history in the long jump. As for the other juniors, Michelle Momo and Chelsea Richardson, they will look to build off their solid sophomore campaigns this season.
Sophomores Briana Carter and Lynette Cottingham saw plenty action as freshmen last season. A native of Warrensburg, Mo., Carter earned All-Summit League honors with the fifth furthest triple jump mark (11.78m) in team outdoor history, while also recording the second furthest mark (12.11m) in the same event in team history at the Arkansas Twilight to place second.
Cottingham career best performances came during the indoor season with marks of 17-00.00 (5.18m) in the long jump and 37-06.75 (11.45m) in the triple jump.
(Sprints/Hurdles) Heading into the season, this group is the deepest amongst the women with 14 designated athletes scheduled to see time.
Top returnees include senior Shanelle Williams, juniors Viola Kleiser and Veronica Rollins, along with Johnson, Momo, Richardson, Carter, and Cooper.
Last season as part of a 4x400-meter relay squad during indoor season, Kleiser, Rollins, and Carter crossed the finish line at 3:48.23 to set a new school record and earn the bronze medal at The Summit League Championships, while Kleiser also set a school record in the 200 meters during the indoor season with a time of 25.17.
Williams', stellar outdoor season accolades, meanwhile, included All-Summit League honors (400 meters & 4x100-meter relay) and recording the second (14.15), third (14.20), and fifth (14.47) fastest times in UMKC history in the 100 Meter Hurdles.
Also returning from that All-Summit League 4x100-meter relay squad are Cooper, Momo, and Richardson.
As for freshmen Amani Borders, Sydia Darker, Chantel Bethune, Jamesha Howard, and Patricia Miller, they will look to make an immediate impact, while senior Autumn Scott will contribute on the track as well.
(Distance) Despite losing record setter Aubrey Frederking to graduation, the Kangaroo distance runners return a solid crop of athletes, led by seniors Jylian Jaloma and Sara Meiners, junior Angel Gannon, and sophomore Courtney Frerichs.
During the indoor season last year, Jaloma's season was highlighted by setting two school records. In the 3,000 meters at The Summit League Championships, the Atchison, Kan. native placed her name in the UMKC record books by crossing the finish line at 10:01.81 to take home the bronze medal, while placing herself atop of UMKC's record list in the 5,000 meters (17:18.29).
After not competing in the indoor season in 2011-12, Meiners' outdoor season included a school record breaking performance (35:52.69) in the 10,000 meters, while Angel Gannon recorded the second (2:16.80) and third (2:17.38) best indoor performances in an 800 meters event. She was also part of a distance medley group that set a school record (12:06.63). During the outdoor season, she recorded the second (2:15.62) and fourth (2:16.07) fastest 800 meter times in UMKC history.
Frerichs' freshman campaign, meanwhile, will be a tough act to follow. During the indoor season, the Nixa, Mo. native notched the second fastest time (10:02.06) in team history in the 3,000 meters event, along with the fourth (17:33.79) fastest time in team history in a 5,000 meters event.
In the outdoor portion, she owned the 3,000-meter steeplechase by setting a school record (10:34.48) at the MU Relays to finish first, along with the second (10:42.23) and third (10:55.29) fastest times in team history.
Her successful freshman season continued when she earned a spot on Team USA to compete at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, after finishing second (10:35.23) in the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase at the US Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Looking to build off a solid sophomore campaign as well is Siara Stahl, who was also part of that school indoor record setting distance medley group. The Smithville, Mo. native also recorded the fifth best indoor performance (5:06.66) in a mile event in UMKC history.
A Look Back
At the Bob Timmons Classic last season, the Blue & Gold had five individual champions and 13 athletes finish in the top three throughout the competition.
Redell Frazier took second (1:11.61) in the 600-yard dash, while D.C. Okonta won the triple jump with a mark of 48-10 (14.88m). In the weight throw events, swept the college section on men's and women's side as Ramon Nelson (55-11.75 - 17.06m) and Denise Banda (54-01.25 - 16.49m) took first. Dahlia Dyson, meanwhile, placed second in the weight throw (51-06.50 - 15.71m) and shot put (41-06.50 - 12.66m) events.
Men and Women Picked to Finish Fourth in The Summit League's Indoor Preseason Poll
On Nov. 29, The Summit League announced its 2012-13 Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll, with Kansas City tabbed to finish fourth on both the men's (12 points) and women's side (29 points).
In the men's poll, North Dakota State tallied 24 points and four first-places votes as the league favorite. Only one point separated South Dakota and South Dakota State in second and third. The Coyotes finished second with 20 points and one first-place vote, while the Jackrabbits came in third with 19 points and the final first-place tally. Behind the Kangaroos to round out the men's poll were Western Illinois (nine points) and Oakland (six points).
Meanwhile, the Bison finished atop the women's poll as well with 49 points and seven first-place votes, while the Coyotes took second with 43 points and the final first-place vote. The Jackrabbits collected 37 points in third, followed by the Kangaroos and Western Illinois with 21 points in fifth. Rounding out the women's side were Oakland (19 points), league newcomer Omaha (16 points) and Fort Wayne (10 points).
Shameika McField was named the head coach for the UMKC track and field/cross country programs on March 4, 2008. Before her appointment, McField served as the interim head coach for the Kangaroos from January to March 2008. McField joined the athletics department in September 2007 as an academic advisor.
Associate head coach Benaud Shirley joined the UMKC track and field program as an assistant coach in April 2008. Shirley, who had served as a volunteer assistant coach at Kansas from 2003-08, works with the jumpers for the Kangaroos.
Assistant coach James Butler joined the UMKC staff in July of 2011, and coaches the distance/cross country runners. He came to Kansas City after three years at the University of New Mexico.
Finally, assistant coach Andy Nordland joined the UMKC track and field program in September 2009 as an assistant coach and is entering his fourth season as the throws coach for the 'Roos. Nordland joined the program after spending four years at William Jewell College.
Kangaroos in the Classroom
Last season, 20 current student-athletes earned Summit League Winter/Spring Academic All-League Team honors.
On the men's side, Cosmas Ayabei (Distinguished Scholar), Alloch Burton (Distinguished Scholar), Dirk Hudson, Kris Leverette, Daniel Mann (Distinguished Scholar), Alex Nail (Distinguished Scholar), Ramon Nelson, and Dontay Taylor garnered the recognition, while Susan Brueggemann (Distinguished Scholar), Meg Doss, Courtney Frerichs (Distinguished Scholar), Angel Gannon (Distinguished Scholar), Jylian Jaloma, Stephany Johnson, Viola Kleiser (Distinguished Scholar), Sara Meiners (Distinguished Scholar), Michelle Momo, Autumn Scott, Taylor Spencer, and Shanelle Williams earned the honors on the women's side.
Next Up for the Kangaroos...
They will return to Lawrence, Kan. to take part in the Jayhawk Challenge on Friday, Jan. 11, while some will compete in the Holiday Inn Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 12 in Lincoln, Neb.