Simpson's Long Jump Title Highlights Day One at Big 12 Indoor Championships
Feb. 24, 2012
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior Francine Simpson was crowned conference champion in the long jump at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships Friday. Simpson brings home Kansas’ first indoor conference title in nearly two years and highlighted one of the most successful days for the KU women’s team at a conference meet. The women’s squad currently leads the overall team scoring with 52 points through the six events from day one, while the men are sixth with 19.5 points
Simpson, who hails from Chapleton, Jamaica, earned her first-career conference championship and KU’s first in the indoor long jump since 2008. The junior only needed two fair attempts to bring home the gold, hitting a distance of 6.28 meters (20-07.75 ft.) on her third trip down the runway. The mark would be good enough to earn her the victory over fellow teammate, Andrea Geubelle, who was the runner-up with a mark of 6.18 meters (20-03.50 ft.). The two Jayhawks claimed 18 points toward the team total, the most of any group on the day.
Alena Krechyk had another career outing in the weight throw. The senior out of Grodno, Belarus, broke her own school record three times through the six-throw competition, improving on each of her four fair throws. On her final attempt, Krechyk unleashed a huge throw of 21.01 meters (68-11.25ft.), which would earn her a runner-up finish to Texas Tech’s Kelly Closse, who broke the Big 12 meet record in the event. Krechyk gathered eight points toward the team total with her school-record throw and now ranks fifth in the nation. Not only did her efforts move her up the national performance lists and school records books, but it gives her an automatic trip to the NCAA Indoor Championships held in Boise, Idaho in two weeks.
The women’s pole vaulters had an outstanding day in the pits. Sophomore Demi Payne, the second-ranked vaulter in the conference, went down to the wire with Texas A&M’s Laura Asimakis for the Big 12 title. Payne cruised through the early heights and came close to earning her seventh new personal best in as many meets this season, however she was unable to clear 5.25 meters, while Asimakis, on her final jump of the day, made it over to seal the victory. Payne’s runner-up finish with a top height of 4.15 meters (13-07.25 ft.), along with sixth-place finishes from teammates Sarah Hedberg and Jaimie House helped collect 12 points to the women’s team total.
In the men’s pole vault, the Jayhawks also had a strong contingent on medal stand at the end of the day. Sophomore Alex Bishop was the Jayhawks’ highest finisher, earning a top clearance of 5.15 meters (16-10.75 ft.) on his second attempt at that height. That mark would be good enough to earn him a third-place finish, as well as six points to the men’s team total. Bishop was joined by freshman Greg Lupton (fourth) and Regan Gilbert (tied for seventh) to help add to the team scoring. The trio amassed 11.5 points to the men’s overall score, the most for any KU men’s group on the day.
The Jayhawks had two athletes competing in the women’s pentathlon; junior Rebecca Neville and freshman Lindsay Vollmer. Both earned new personal records in three of the five events throughout the day, with the highlight coming when Vollmer and Neville finishing first and second in the long jump, respectively. Vollmer ended with a total score of 3,905 points to place her in fourth and Neville finished sixth with a score of 3,813. Both point totals were personal records for the duo. The pair earned a combined eight points toward the women’s team total.
Rounding out the day’s scoring for both teams were the finals of the men’s and women’s distance medley relays. The women’s team of Cori Christensen, Taylor Washington, Maddy Rich and Rebeka Stowe ran to the third-fastest time in school history at 11:24.39. They would finish in third and give the women’s team six additional points to close out the opening day with a commanding first place lead.
For the men, Reid Buchanan, Kyle Clemons, Dalen Fink and Josh Munsch passed the distance medley baton around in 9:48.92, the fastest time for the KU quartet this season. The four would finish fifth in the race and earn 4 points to their team’s total.
It was semifinal day for the individual track events, as many of the KU men and women worked to post low times so they could move on to their respective event finals to be held Saturday. Diamond Dixon again rewrote the school record books, smashing her own school record in the 400 meters with a time of 52.81 in the semifinals of the event. The sophomore’s school-record time is the fourth-fastest in the nation this year, and was the No. 1 time in the semifinals as she heads into the event final tomorrow at 4:25 p.m.
Other Jayhawks to move on to the event finals Saturday were Paris Daniels in both the 400 meters and 200 meters; senior Rebeka Stowe and sophomore Josh Munsch in the women’s and men’s mile runs; freshman Kenneth McCuin, who ran the second-fastest 600 yard time in the semifinals; Seniors Cori Christensen and Donny Wasinger in the women’s and men’s 1,000 yards; and sophomore Brendan Soucie, who will run in the 800-meter finals.
The Big 12 Indoor Championships conclude Saturday from the Gilliam Indoor Track. The first events begin at 3 p.m., with the finals of the 60m hurdles on the track and high jump and men’s and women’s shot put events in the field. Log on to kuathletics.com and go to the meet central page for complete coverage of the final day of the conference championships, and be sure to follow on twitter at @KU_Track.