Jayhawks Close Out West Prelims, Set Stage for National Championships
May 26, 2012Watch on YouTube
AUSTIN, Texas - Kansas had a strong finish at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships--West Preliminary as a total of six athletes added their names to the list of Jayhawks advancing to the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships with three more qualifying for the second time Saturday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus. In all, KU will see 17 of its athletes compete in 17 events at the National Championships in two weeks.
"The goal coming in was to do what we had to do to advance," said head coach Stanley Redwine following the meet. "We had several athletes that did an outstanding job and some that were very close (to qualifying). "Moving forward we have to look at some things from this week and evaluate in order to perform well at the NCAA meet. At this point it's just about fine-tuning the athletes and hoping they are ready to compete."
Andrea Geubelle made perhaps the biggest splash of the day as she qualified in her second event of the NCAA Championships, the triple jump. Geubelle, who along with teammate Francine Simpson earned a trip to nationals in the long jump, qualified on one of the best triple jumps in Kansas school history. The University Place, Wash. native made only one trip down the runway in the competition, leaping to a mark that measured 14.17 meters (46-06 ft.). The jump was an enormous personal best for the junior and put her at No. 1 in the NCAA as she heads to nationals in two weeks.
Even though the mark was slightly wind-aided at 2.8 meters/second, the jump ranks Geubelle at 10th in the world this year under all conditions and would have set a new NCAA meet record had it not been for the minimal aiding wind.
The defending indoor triple jump champion, Geubelle, will try to collect the first outdoor triple jump national title in school history as she competes in the championship meet on Saturday, June 9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Paris Daniels also entered the day hoping to qualify for Nationals in her second event of the meet, running in the quarterfinals of the women's 200 meters. Daniels already had earned a spot to Des Moines in the 100 meter dash a day earlier but was looking to claim a high spot in the same event in which she was crowned Big 12 Champion, the 200 meters.
As usual, Daniels got out to a strong start in the event, moving into the lead through the first half of the race. Down the straightaway, Daniels did not waiver, sprinting to the finish and clocking in with a time of 23.22, the fourth-fastest time out of those who qualified.
The St. Louis native will run in the 100-meter and 200-meter national semifinals on Wednesday and Thursday of the Championships, June 6-7.
KU junior thrower Mason Finley again found success and advanced to Des Moines in his second event of the week, the discus throw. Finley, who already took home a fifth-place finish and an automatic qualification in the shot put on Thursday, did the same Saturday in the discus, punching his ticket to Nationals with his 10th-place finish.
Finley opened the competition strong, heaving a throw of 56.81 meters (186-05 ft.) on his first go-around of the day to quickly move him up among the leaders. After no improvement on his second attempt, Finley launched a throw of 57.02 meters (187-01 ft.) on his final throw of the preliminary round to cement his spot in the finals.
The Salida, Colo. native was unable to better his third-round throw in the finals but it wouldn't matter. Finley ended the day with a 10th-place finish and a qualification for two national championship events for the third time in his Kansas career.
Big 12 Champion Alena Krechyk had an easy day in the hammer throw ring as the junior only needed one fair throw to book her trip to the 2012 NCAA Championships. After starting the day with a foul on her first attempt, Krechyk unwound for a huge mark of 68.23 meters (223-10 ft.) on her second throw of the day. The throw shot Krechyk up the leaderboard and settled her into third-place.
With a spot all but assured at the national meet, Krechyk decided to shut it down for the day, passing on each of her remaining attempts and finishing in third place overall. She will look to become the first KU female to take home All-America honors in the hammer throw two weeks from now in Des Moines.
Jayhawk sophomore middle distance runner Josh Munsch became the fourth member of the KU men's team to earn a ticket to Des Moines on the track as he finished 12th overall in his quarterfinal heat of the 1,500 meters with his time of 3:45.11. Munsch, who advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career, had to earn every second of his time Saturday.
Munsch immediately found himself in a battle after the pack got out to a frantic pace to begin the race. He maintained his position throughout much of the first 1,000 meters before the tight-knit group of runners started battling for position for the final stretch of the race.
Munsch was pushed several times, but found his balance and after dropping back to around eighth place with 300 meters until the finish line, he turned up the heat to try and clock in with the fastest time possible. The Hays, Kan. native crossed the finish line in 3:45.11 to place seventh in his heat. He would have to wait four tense minutes while the second and final heat ran to see if he would qualify based on his time. Luckily for Munsch, his time ended up being the second fastest after the top 10 automatic qualifiers made it in based on their finish in the respective heats. He was the last athlete to qualify, finishing 12th overall and punching his ticket to the national championship meet.
The young but talented men's 4x400-meter relay team made their way on to the track coming off a great outing two weeks ago at the Big 12 Championships. The same four who ran to the 13th-fastest time in the nation hoped to duplicate their performance and book a trip to nationals. The veteran, junior Kyle Clemons, led off for the KU men, getting the team out to a commanding lead through the first 400 meters. Freshmen Michael Hester and Michael Stigler then ran the middle legs for the team, kicking them squarely in the hunt for the all-important top-three finish in the heat. Freshman Kenneth McCuin ran the final leg for the Jayhawks, trying to hold Kansas in second place with several teams nipping at his heels over the final lap. McCuin maintained the team's position, bringing the baton across the finish line in 3:05.87 and in second place in the heat. The finish now gives the quartet an opportunity to garner All-American honors for Kansas in a relay event for the first time since 1980.
The Kansas women's 4x400-meter relay team also had an outstanding performance winning its quarterfinal heat to close out the night. The Jayhawks clocked in at 3:30.80, the second fastest of the West Prelim qualifiers.
Junior Denesha Morris got things started off, running a strong first leg and handed off the baton to junior Paris Daniels with the Jayhawks in the lead. Daniels kept the Jayhawks in the race, passing the baton off to another junior, Taylor Washington, to run the third leg of the race.
Washington ran an outstanding leg for the Jayhawks, propelling her team back into the lead with only one lap remaining. The one lap belonged to KU's Big 12 and National Champion Diamond Dixon who, as usual, left little doubt of who would claim victory. Dixon held the lead for the first 300 meters, deflecting a late charge by Texas A&M. The Houston, Texas native crossed the finish line with the clock reading 3:30.80, winning the heat and marking another trip for her relay team to the outdoor championships.
Kansas will send a total of 17 athletes to compete in 17 different events at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. Hosted by Drake Univeristy at Drake Stadium, the following KU athletes will compete: Heather Bergmann (javelin), Kyle Clemons (400 meters), Paris Daniels (100 meters, 200 meters, 4x400), Diamond Dixon (400 meters, 4x400), Mason Finley (shot put, discus), Andrea Geubelle (long jump, triple jump), Michael Hester (4x400), Alena Krechyk (hammer throw), Kenneth McCuin (4x400), Denesha Morris (4x400), Josh Munsch (1,500 meters), Demi Payne (pole vault), Francine Simpson (long jump), Michael Stigler (400-meter hurdles, 4x400), Rebeka Stowe (3,000-meter Steeplechase), Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon) and Taylor Washington (4x400).