Vertical Jumpers Lead Jayhawks on Day One of Tyson Invitational
Feb. 10, 2012
Fayetteville, Ark. - KU track and field had a great day-one showing at the 2012 Tyson Invitational Friday at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas. Sophomore Nick Giancana and Senior Allison Mayfield each earned high jump victories, sophomore Demi Payne and junior Sarah Hedberg vaulted to personal bests and top-five finishes in the women's pole vault and redshirt freshman James Wilson led KU on the track, running to a win in the men's 5,000 meters.
The men's and women's high jumpers got the Jayhawks off to a great start Friday afternoon at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track. Mayfield, competing as the lone Jayhawk in the women's college division high jump, cruised through the competition, not recording a single foul on her first three heights. She would sail over 1.73 meters (5-09.75ft.), a season best and the height that would eventually give her the event victory over Virginia's Pearl Bickersteth. The win is the first of Mayfield's collegiate career and now ranks her at No. 10 in the Big 12 this season.
Moments after Mayfield's victory, Giancanca duplicated the feat by collecting a high jump win of his own. After he and teammate, Nick Canton moved their way through the first two heights with ease, Giancana cleared a personal best 2.11 meters (6-11.00ft.) on his third attempt to take home the event crown. The win is his first this season and ranks him fourth among Big 12 high jumpers in 2012. Canton would end his day as the runner-up, notching a season-best height of 2.06 meters (6-09.00ft.).
Redshirt freshman James Wilson picked up the first victory of his young career. The Abilene, Kan., native ran alongside teammates Josh Baden and Eric Dyson in the collegiate division of the men's 5,000 meters. Baden led for much of the race, keeping a strong, steady pace through the first 3,200 meters. Wilson would overtake his Jayhawk teammate with ten laps remaining and would not relinquish the lead, pulling away from the field and finishing the race in 14:37.74. His time bested his previous personal record by over 30 seconds and moves him into the top 10 in the conference standings this season. Baden also collected an indoor personal best in the event, finishing second with a time of 14:44.91.
For the sixth time in as many meets this season, sophomore Demi Payne topped her career-high clearance in the pole vault. The sophomore, who was competing against several of the nation's top vaulters in the championship division, started strong, only needing four attempts to advance through the first three heights of the night. The New Braunfels, Texas native once again improved on her career best when she topped the 4.22 meter (13-10.00ft.) bar on her second attempt. She would flirt with tying the school record, coming close in three vaults to clear 4.30 meters (14-01.25 ft.). However, it wasn't meant to be, ending her night with a third-place finish and another move up in the NCAA rankings, now boasting the ninth-best mark in the country.
In the college division of the women's pole vault, junior Sarah Hedberg also had a career day, taking fourth overall in the event. Hedberg, who hails from Phoenix, Ariz., vaulted with ease over the first three heights on her first attempt at each, and would go on to clear her new personal best bar of 3.85 meters (12-07.50 ft.). Hedberg would end up finishing fourth overall and is now in the top six of the conference rankings with just two weeks until the Big 12 Indoor Championships.
On the track, Diamond Dixon took part in her first 400-meter race in nearly two weeks. The sophomore, who currently holds the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA this year at 53.05, made the two laps around the banked Randal Tyson Track in 53.17, winning her heat and finishing third in a race that saw over 70 runners and several national title contenders compete. Junior Taylor Washington also ran in the event, running a season-best 56.01 and finishing 35th overall.
The Jayhawks had a freshman duo running in the men's 400 meters. Fresh off a great performance in the 500 meters in New York last week, Kenneth McCuin continued his hot streak, running to a season best time of 48.69, winning his heat and placing 32nd overall. His time now puts him at 15th in the conference. Michael Hester also ran, running in 49.50 and placing 52nd.
Another freshman found success on the track Friday, as Springdale, Ark., native Gabe Gonzalez ran to a season-best time in the mile run. Gonzalez crossed the finish line in 4:10.67, finishing third in his heat and 10th overall. His time is the fastest on the team this season.
SEATTLE - The Jayhawks had only one competing on day one of the Husky Classic held on the campus of the University of Washington. Junior Tessa Turcotte represented the KU in the three section final of the women's 5,000 meters. The Albuqurque, N.M., native would end the race with a 34th-place finish and a time of 17:37.43, which is the fastest by a Jayhawk this season.
The Jayhawks will be back in action Saturday when they continue competition in both the Tyson Invitational and the Husky Classic. Nation-leading triple jumper Andrea Geubelle will be in action at the event held in Seattle, along with Big 12-leading long jumper Francine Simpson. Athletes to watch on Saturday at the Tyson Invitational will be sophomore Alex Bishop in the pole vault, and both the men's and women's 4x400-meter relay teams. Action is set to start in Fayetteville at 10 a.m., with the men's collegiate pole vault and the women's 60-meter hurdles will get things started at 11 a.m. (CT) from Seattle. Log on to kuathletics.com and click on the meet central page for live updates and results from both meets.