KU Track Makes Progress at Windy UTEP Invitational
April 15, 2012
EL PASO, Texas – Gusty winds and a sand storm were unable to blemish a solid outing by the Kansas track and field team Saturday at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas. The women’s 4x100-meter relay team managed to fight through the conditions to claim a new school record, while several Jayhawks produced new personal records.
Even with the adverse conditions, the women’s 4x100-meter relay team managed to make school history. Paris Daniels, Francine Simpson, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon took to the Kidd Field track just as blustery winds were accompanied by a cloud of dust in the first in the early afternoon. With Daniels and Simpson running the first 200-meters, the Jayhawks quickly took a big lead. Morris then took the baton around the final curve, extending the lead by nearly 10 meters before handing it off to Dixon. The sophomore then cut through the 30 mile per hour head-wind down the home stretch to cross the finish line in 44.45 seconds. The four bested the previous school record of 44.61 set in 2008 and now boast the No. 19 time in the nation.
After helping her team to the 4x100-meter relay title, Daniels then went on to turn in one of the few wind-aided times of the day in the 200 meters. The junior, who was coming off career performances a week ago at the Emporia State Relays, once again recorded a personal best, completing the half lap in a lightning 23.13 to win the race by over a second. The time moves her up to No. 6 in the NCAA and gives her the B-provisional mark for the Olympic Trials in June.
In the men’s javelin, Jesse Vaughn was the highlight of the day for the KU throwers, as the junior took the event title with the biggest throw of his career. On his fifth attempt, the Tecumseh, Kan. native launched a towering throw of 68.57 meters (225-0 ft.), topping his previous personal best by nearly 20 feet and earning the first event victory of his collegiate career. The throw is the third-best mark in the Big 12 this year and No. 11 in the NCAA’s West Region. Vaughn’s career day also moves him onto the all-time school lists in the event, as he now owns the sixth-best mark in the KU history.
Vaughn outgunned teammate Johann Swanepoel who was the runner-up in the event. Swanepoel hit a top mark of 67.58 meters, just eight inches off his best of the year.
Alena Krechyk kicked off the day for the Jayhawks as she looked to continue her undefeated season in the hammer throw. The Grodno, Belarus native only recorded two fair marks out of her six attempts on the day, however that would be all she would need to take her third hammer throw title of the outdoor season. On her first attempt, Krechyk unwound and hit a mark of 61.82 meters (202-10 ft.), a distance no other competitor would be able to match. The mark was only four feet from her season’s best throw, which ranks the senior at No. 7 in the NCAA this year.
The pole vault produced another solid result for the KU women as two Jayhawks comprised the top-three finishers. Demi Payne continued her outstanding sophomore campaign with the event victory, clearing 4.07 meters (13-04.25 ft.), her best of the outdoor season. Freshman Jaimie House finished third, hitting a top bar of 3.77 meters (12-04.50 ft.).
The women’s pole vault was the only vaulting action of the day as the men’s competition was cancelled due to the strong winds.
On the long jump runways, Francine Simpson also had a fantastic outing as the junior earned her first victory of the season in a competition with several professionals. The junior leaped to a career-best mark of 6.59 meters (21-07.50 ft.) and, while the mark was wind-aided, it ranks as the second-best mark in school history. The Big 12 champion in the indoor long jump now ranks fifth in the nation for 2012.
Jessica Maroszek again showed her dominance in the discus. The sophomore, who was an All-American in the event a year ago, won the event Saturday with a season best mark of 51.23 meters (168-01 ft.), defeating the second-place finisher by more than six feet. Maroszek’s mark assures her a spot in the NCAA top-30 as she heads into the Kansas Relays next week.
Other notable Jayhawks in action Friday were Mason Finley, who claimed second in the discus; Andrea Geubelle, finishing second in the triple jump, and Allison Mayfield, who took runner-up honors in both the high jump and javelin.
The Jayhawks will now return home to host the 85th Annual Kansas Relays on April 18-21. Tickets for the 85th Kansas Relays can be purchased at Memorial Stadium or online at kansasrelays.com. Action will kick off Wednesday, April 18th with the heptathlon and decathlon and will conclude Saturday, April 21st with the collegiate men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relay finals. Follow the action from all four days through the Kansas Relays meet central page and follow on twitter at @KU_Track.