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Kansas’ Andy Morris Leads Decathlon

April 25, 2002

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Kansas senior Andy Morris thinks he learns something every time he competes against Kip Janvrin in the decathlon.

That’s why his performance Wednesday was so pleasing to Morris, who was leading Janvrin and everyone else at the halfway point in the Drake Relays decathlon.

Morris compiled 3,957 points in the first five events on a cool, windy day. Janvrin, the reigning U.S. champion and a 12-time winner at Drake, had 3,868. Deandre Free of Missouri-Kansas City was third at 3,814.

``It’s always exciting to compete against Kip because he’s such a good guy,″ Morris said. ``He’s always willing to cheer for and help out us younger guys. I’ve competed against him three or four times, and every time I learned something new about the decathlon.″

Camee Williams of Illinois led the heptathlon through four events with 3,250 points. Defending champion Barbara Szlendakova of Iowa State was second at 3,213.

Morris spent most of the winter recovering from tears in his Achilles tendon and hamstring problems. The 2000 Big 12 champion in the decathlon, he’s just now getting back into shape.

``My goal was just to get through this decathlon,″ Morris said. ``I didn’t necessarily care what place I was in, how many points I had. It’s just sweet to be right back on top of my game where I left off.″

Morris tied Peter Wagner of Central College for first in the high jump and won the 400. The 36-year-old Janvrin won the 100, Free the long jump and Alex Sprague the shot put.

``My hat’s off to Andy Morris,″ Janvrin said. ``He hit some really good events today and competed very well. He’s got some good events tomorrow, so I think I’m going to have my hands full.″

Still, Janvrin is so strong in the second-day events that barring injury, he’ll probably win going away and add to his world record total for decathlon victories, now at 33.

The decathlon finishes with the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500. Janvrin hopes he doesn’t have to push it in the 1,500.

``I’ve done enough of those 1,500s. I’ve had enough that mattered where I had to run it to win or to make a team,″ Janvrin said. ``For me at Drake, it’s nice to be in the lead going into the 1,500 so I can just run with the back and enjoy it and just pick it up at the end if I feel good.

``I really hope to be leading after the javelin.″

Williams started and finished well in the heptathlon, enabling her to overcome a poor performance in the high jump.

She won the first and last events, the 100 hurdles and the 200, but was upset that she cleared only 5 feet, 3 3/4 inches in the high jump.

``That’s just a slap in the face,″ said Williams, who has high jumped 5-8 1/2. ``I can’t pinpoint one thing I was doing wrong. It just all fell apart on me. ``

Szlendakova won the shot put with the second-best throw of her career, 36 feet, 11 inches, and Central Michigan’s Maria Derezinski won the high jump. Derezinski was in third place with 3,117 points.

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