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The Seven Best Events To Watch At The Kansas Relays

The Seven Best Events To Watch At The Kansas Relays
Photo: James Shultz/MileSplit Kansas
The Kansas Relays begin tonight LIVE on FloTrack with the unseeded distance events and continue all the way through Saturday night at KU's Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence. Here are the top six events to watch, listed in chronological order. All times listed are in Central.

High School 3200s

: Cailie Logue, Molly Born, Emily Venters, Matthew York
When: Friday, 12:55 PM (girls) and 1:10 PM (boys)
Why: Logue, Born, and Venters have combined for 12 Kansas track state titles since 2014 and are the three best distance runners in the state of Kansas. Logue, an Iowa State commit, is one of the most talented distance runners in the country. She was third at NXN two years ago and looked like she was on track to make it back to Portland for a podium finish before collapsing in the last 100 meters at regionals. (Skip to 7:40 into this video.) Logue hasn't lost since then, and this is the best field she's faced this track season.

Born has run 9:32 for 3K and was 23rd at NXN in December, but she's raced just once in 2017, according to her MileSplit profile. Venters was second behind Born at the Kansas state meet and NXN regionals in cross country but doesn't have nearly the track credentials. Venters' best mark on the track is probably her 10:26 3200m PR, but she could take down this field on Friday afternoon.

The boys race is headlined by Matthew Young, an Oklahoman who has run 14:45 and 9:11 on the track. Both meet records are in danger. The girls mark is 10:25 (set by Emily Sisson!) and the boys is 9:02.

High School Girls 1600m

: Born, Venters, Joy Ripslinger
When: Saturday, 2:17 PM
Why: Born and Venters will be doubling back against Arkansas commit Joy Ripslinger. Born's 4:49 1600m PR makes her the favorite, but Ripslinger is no slouch as a miler (4:33 1500m PR)--her 2:09 800m speed could set her up well for a late kick. The winners of the high school 1600s automatically qualify for the adidas Dream Miles in Boston in June.

Open 4x100s

Who: Pittsburg State, Lincoln (Mo.)
When: Saturday, 1:11 PM (women) and 1:15 PM (men)
Why: Some of the best sprint programs in Division II and the NJCAA will have the opportunity to test their stuff against top Division I sprinters here. The Pitt State women have the No. 4 time in DII right now, and the Lincoln (MO) men have the DII-leading time plus three of the top seven marks overall. NJCAA schools Cloud County, Iowa Western, Garden City, and Neosho County all are among the top sprint and relay community colleges in the nation and will be looking to improve their marks with the NJCAA Division I Championships just a month away.

Open 400m Hurdles

: Michael Stigler
When: Saturday, 3:16 PM
Why: Stigler opened up his hurdling season with a 50.20 at the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona.

But there is good reason to believe that the 2015 NCAA champ can go much faster. That was Stigler's first race over hurdles and only third race, period, since early June 2016. He's on the comeback trail, and Kansas is his home track. He ran 48.44 in a Kansas uniform in 2015. If he can inch back toward his 2015 form, Stigler has the ability to be one of the best 400 hurdlers on the planet.

The Team Battle

Who: Kansas, California, Minnesota, Southern Illinois, UMKC
When: Saturday, 6:35-8:49 PM
Why: After a weekend of open competition, five powerful teams from around the country will face off in a dual meet on Saturday night. Friend of FloTrack Jesse Squire has five of these teams in the dual-meet rankings national top 20. On the women's side, he has Minnesota at No. 6 and Kansas at No. 19; on the men's side, it should be a good battle between Kansas (No. 6), Cal (No. 13), and Minnesota (No. 20).

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