News and Notes

Kansas signs linebacker; notes on all sports and individual stand out performances this week - from track and field to swimming.

Jayhawks Sign Linebacker

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The University of Kansas football team received another commitment for the upcoming season as California prep linebacker Joe Mortensen signed a letter of intent to play for the Jayhawks in 2004 coach Mark Mangino announced Monday.

Mortensen, a senior at Clayton Valley High School in Concord, Calif., collected a school-record 171 tackles this past season for the Eagles. He also recorded 13 sacks, two interceptions and forced four fumbles en route to first-team all-state honors in 2003. For the last three seasons, Mortensen was named first team all-league as both a linebacker and a tight end.

Mortensen, a 6-foot-2, 235-pounder, was the top linebacking prospect at Nike's football camp at Stanford last year. He's also a school-record holding weightlifter in the bench press, power clean and squat.

Baseball

Kansas baseball travelled to Palo Alto, Calif., to take on the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal over the weekend. After a four-error game on Friday, losing 7-1, the Jayhawks rebounded by playing solid on Saturday, but fell 6-3. Sunday was a different story as KU took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth and eventually lost 10-6 on a walk-off grand slam. Kansas will try to snap its six-game skid when it opens its home schedule by hosting Creighton at Hoglund Ballpark on Sunday. The Jayhawks will welcome the Oakland Grizzlies to town later next week with a four-game series to begin on Feb. 25.

Men's Golf

The men's golf team opens its 2004 spring season Feb. 16-17 at the 2004 UCF/Rio Pinar Intercollegiate played at the par-72, 6,978-yard Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando, Fla. Leading the Jayhawks into the season is junior Andrew Price, whose fall season average (71.20) places him atop the all-time season stroke average list at KU.

Softball

Softball went 5-0 at the Fastpitch Express College Classic in San Antonio last weekend and took home the tournament crown. After play was cancelled on Friday due to inclement weather, the 'Hawks defeated Colorado State 4-2, North Texas 8-1 and Bethune Cookman 1-0 on Saturday. KU went on to beat Kentucky 6-5 and host UT-San Antonio 7-3 in the championship game Sunday.

Freshman pitcher Kassie Humphreys (4-2)picked up three wins, striking out 16 in 19 innings of work. Senior Kara Pierce (3-2) was credited with two wins, also struck out 16 and posted a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings. Senior Mel Wallach led the KU offense with seven hits for a .438 batting average. Redshirt Sophomore Serena Settlemier hit two home runs for a 1.000 slugging percentage on the weekend.

Swimming Kansas swimming and diving celebrated Senior Day with a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks, 181-119, at the Robinson Natatorium on Feb. 7. KU's nine wins are the most since the 1995-96 season. The Jayhawks will next compete at the Big 12 Championships, Feb. 25-28, in Austin, Texas.

Tennis The No. 75 Kansas tennis team fell to 0-3 after last week's trip to Utah. The Jayhawks played No. 20 BYU on Friday afternoon and fell to the Cougars, 7-0. Saturday's match was much closer, seeing KU win the doubles point, but ultimately losing on the final singles match, 4-3 to No. 75 Utah. Sophomore Christine Skoda and freshman Brittany Brown went 1-1 in doubles and 1-1 in singles as well.

Track and Field

The Kansas track and field team concluded the weekend by splitting up and travelling to a pair of competitions. Select members of the team traveled to Fayetteville, Ark. to participate in the Tyson Invitational, while the rest of the team competed at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa.

KU senior Leo Bookman finished second in the 200 meter dash at the Tyson Invitational in a time of 20.82. The 'Hawks competed well in Day Two of the ISU Classic as three KU athletes set provisional qualifying marks. Freshman Benson Chesang finished fifth in the 3,000 meter run (8:06.56). Junior Jeremy Mims finished second in the 800 meter run (1:49.15) and senior Laura Lavoie finished fifth in the 1 mile run (4:47.24).

Women's Basketball

Kansas moved to 9-13 overall and 2-9 in the Big 12 after losses to Kansas State (81-51) and at Oklahoma (83-59). Against K-State, the Jayhawks were led by sophomore Erica Hallman who nailed three three-pointers on her way to 14 points. Against Oklahoma, KU was paced by sophomore Tamara Ransburg with a season-high 19 points. Ransburg swatted three shots in the contest and her 107 career blocked shots ranks fifth all-time at Kansas. For the season, Kansas is led by sophomore Crystal Kemp with 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Aquanita Burras is the only other Jayhawk in double-figures with 10.5 points per game.

On Sunday, interim head coach Lynette Woodard was named as one of 16 finalists for induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

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