Competitive Mile Field to Collide at Kansas Relays
April 10, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Eight of the nation’s top milers have agreed to race in the prestigious Glenn Cunningham Mile at the 2012 Kansas Relays it was announced Tuesday by KU officials. Headlining the competitive field will be Olympian Nick Symmonds, World No. 2 Will Leer and Oregon All-American A.J. Acosta. The group will look to break the elusive four-minute barrier at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday, April 21 inside Memorial Stadium.
Perhaps the best known participant in this year’s mile is 28-year-old Nick Symmonds. World-renowned for his abilities at the 800-meter distance, Symmonds has also notched some fantastic times at the mile level. In 2007 he broke the four-minute mark on an indoor track, finishing the race in 3:56.72. In 2009 Symmonds became the first American to make the men's 800m final at the World Championships since 1997. Symmonds duplicated that performance again in 2011. He qualified for his first Olympic team in 2008 at Hayward Field in one of the most memorable races of the Trials. A native of Boise, Idaho, Symmonds won seven NCAA Division III titles competing for Williamette University.
Joining Symmonds in the mile field will be Oregon’s eight-time All-American A.J. Acosta. The 2011 graduate is a two-time NCAA Champion as a member of Oregon’s record-breaking distance medley relay team. As a sophomore in Eugene, Acosta qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters where he went on to finish eighth in his semifinal heat. He has recorded the fastest mile of the 2012 Kansas Relays competitors, as he holds a personal best of 3:53.76.
Past Relays champions Will Leer, who claimed the mile title last year, and Peter van der Westuizen, who won in 2010, will look to return to the victory stand in 2012. Both have run numerous sub-four-minute miles and were among the top-six finishers in the 1,500 meters at the World Championships in 2010. Each runner is also ranked in the top-15 in the world rankings in the 1,500 meters in the early going of the 2012 outdoor season.
Rounding out the field will be Jordan McNamara, Michael Cole, Lee Emanuel and Russell Brown. Matt Scherer has signed on to be the pace runner to assist the athletes in breaking the four-minute barrier.
The Kansas Relays will be held April 18-21st with the elite milers running at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Tickets to the four-day event are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors and can be purchased at the Memorial Stadium ticket window. Log on to kansasrelays.com for additional information and complete meet coverage and don’t forget to follow on twitter at @KU_Track.