KU Relay Team Punches Ticket to NCAA Championships
March 2, 2013
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Kansas women’s 4x400-meter relay team ran the second-fastest time in school history Saturday at the Alex Wilson Last Chance to earn a spot at next week’s NCAA Indoor Championships. The relay team’s qualification now brings the women’s team total up to 11 athletes who will compete in 10 events at the national meet next week in Fayetteville, Ark.
Needing to post the fastest time of the season, the women’s 4x400-meter relay team of seniors Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and junior Diamond Dixon turned in the performance of the year. The All-American squad was forced to run one of the NCAA’s top-12 times of the year to qualify for the NCAA Championships, meaning they would need to cut three-seconds off their previous season-best to extend their indoor season.
The team went on to pass the baton around in 3:33.71 to finish second overall and move their names into the top-10 of the NCAA rankings. The quartet not only shaved five seconds off their previous best, but turned in the second-fastest time in school history to claim their spot at next week’s national championships as they now sit at No. 7 on this season’s national performance list.
The men’s 4x400-meter relay team also entered Saturday on the outside looking in for an NCAA-qualifying spot. A week earlier, the team of Michael Stigler, Michael Hester, Kyle Clemons and Kenneth McCuin ran to a runner-up finish and the second-fastest time in school history at the Big 12 Indoor Championships at 3:08.06. Saturday, the quartet needed to shave just half a second off that time to claim a spot at nationals.
It wasn’t meant to be for the group however, as the anchor, McCuin, crossed the finish in 3:10.22, a full two seconds slower than the team’s runner-up time a week ago. The Jayhawks went on to finish 12th overall.
Freshman Hannah Richardson closed out her first indoor season for the KU women on a high note, recording a new personal best in the 800 meters. The Kirkwood, Mo., native completed the half-mile in 2:10.63 to finish 22nd overall. Richardson’s race was a new personal best and the sixth-fastest in school history.
Natalie Becker also turned in a career performance in what was her last race of the indoor season. The junior out of St. Louis took part in the mile race a week after claiming fifth-place in a personal-best outing in the event at the Big 12 meet. Becker managed to shave .09 seconds of her previous best, clocking in at 4:40.23 to finish 12th.
In the men’s 800 meters, a pair of Jayhawks notched career-best runs as juniors Brendan Soucie and Nick Seckfort took part in the event. Soucie placed 31st after he competed the four lap race in 1:51.52, the fastest indoor 800-meter race by a Jayhawk in nearly eight years. Seckfort crossed the finish in 1:53.95 to finish 45th.
The KU women will now look to claim their first national championship in program history as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the NCAA Indoor Championships to be held March 8-9 inside the Randal Tyson Center. Follow the team’s performance by logging on to KUAthletics.com and get live results and updates by following on Twitter at @KU_Track.
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