EUGENE, Ore. – Andrea Geubelle notched a second-place finish in the long jump as the Kansas track & field teams competed on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field Wednesday. Geubelle’s finish, as well as scoring performances from senior throwers Alena Krechyk and Heather Bergmann, gave the women’s team 17 points to lead the overall team standings following the first day of action.
Geubelle, who claimed the NCAA indoor long jump title in March, entered the competition Wednesday as the No. 3-ranked jumper for the outdoor season. The senior out of University Place, Wash., cruised into the final round of jumps after a leap of 6.45 meters (21’2”) on her third trip down the runway. Geubelle entered finals in second place, improving her best jump to 6.50 meters (21’4”) on her fourth attempt. However, a collegiate-leading mark by TCU’s Lorraine Ugen was too much to overcome, leaving Geubelle with a runner-up finish in the event. Geubelle’s finish was the highest by a KU long jumper at a NCAA meet since 1982 and tacked on eight points to her team’s total.
Geubelle’s finish also garnered her first team All-America honors in the event for the third time in her career, the most by a Kansas woman in the outdoor long jump. The senior will return to the Hayward Field runway Friday as she looks to add a national title to her résumé in the triple jump. The event is set to begin at 3:25 p.m. (5:25 CT).
Krechyk got the Jayhawk women started off on the right foot as she posted a scoring performance in the hammer throw early in the afternoon. Krechyk, who entered the week as the nation’s No. 3 seed in the event, was only able to get two fair marks in, but made it count on her third walk into the throws ring. The senior out of Grodno, Belarus unwound for a mark of 68.22 meters (223’10”) to take the overall lead as she and eight of the NCAA’s top hammer throwers headed into the finals. The toss was the second farthest of Krechyk’s career and was the sixth time this season she surpassed the 220-foot mark.
Krechyk fouled on all three of her attempts in the finals, but her third round throw was enough to earn her a third-place finish and six points to the KU women’s team total. Krechyk’s finish earned her the second first team All-America honor of her Jayhawk career.
Bergmann also ended her illustrious Kansas career on a high note, but waited until the very last throw of the day to do it. The Concordia, Kan., product posted an opening mark of 50.90 meters (167’0”) on her first attempt of the evening. The mark moved the senior through to the final round of throws, however she sat in 8th-place and in danger of moving out of the all-important scoring position.
After she was unable to improve on her fourth and fifth attempts, Bergmann unleashed the best throw of her career on her sixth and final attempt. The spear hit a mark of 52.67 meters (172’9”) to, not only break her own school record, but move her up to sixth-place overall, where she would eventually finish. Bergmann’s record throw earned her first team All-America honors for the third-consecutive season and gave the Kansas women their final three points of the meet’s opening day.
The KU women’s first event on the track was the semifinals of the 4x100-meter relay. Paris Daniels, Tianna Valentine, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon ran to the school record and the top West Region qualifying time a week ago at the NCAA prelim meet and looked to advance to the NCAA final for a chance to earn some important potential points on the meet’s final day.
The team got off to a rocky start as the baton pass between Daniels and Valentine nearly went outside of the exchange zone, however the Jayhawks’ second two legs, Morris and Dixon, brought the team back to claim the runner-up finish in the heat and earn the automatic qualification to the final. The group clocked in with a time of 44.32 for the sixth-fastest qualifying time. A video review of the Jayhawks’ first exchange later in the day showed no violation had occurred and confirmed the team’s qualification to the final.
KU’s 4x100-meter team will try for the national title Saturday in the race slated for 2:05 p.m. (4:04 CT).
The Jayhawk men saw one athlete advance to an event final on day one as Michael Stigler faced little resistance in the 400-meter hurdle semifinal. The sophomore out of Canyon, Texas cleared the 10 hurdles and crossed the finish in 49.65 to win his heat and claim a spot in the event final as an automatic qualifier. His time was the third-fastest out of the semifinal round and moves him on to the event final to be held at 4:40 p.m. (6:40 p.m. CT) Friday afternoon.
It was a day to forget for Kansas’ 400-meter semifinal participants. On the women’s side, Dixon failed to qualify for the event final after clocking in with a time of 52.38, the 10th-fastest time overall and two spots off from earning a spot in Friday’s final. Dixon, who finished third in the 400 meters each of the last two seasons, will try to extend her season as she is scheduled to run a leg of the 4x400-meter relay in the event semifinal to compete Thursday at 6:20 p.m. (8:20 CT).
In the men’s 400-meter semifinal, Big 12 champion Kyle Clemons also was unable to move on to the event final, finishing third in his heat with a time of 46.01. The senior’s time was the 13th-fastest overall but will earn him second team All-America honors in the event for the third-consecutive season.
Elsewhere inside Hayward Field Wednesday, a trio of Jayhawks saw action in their first NCAA Championship meet. In the men’s pole vault junior Alex Bishop and sophomore Casey Bowen competed in the men’s pole vault, both clearing a top bar of 5.25 meters (17’8.5”). Bishop managed to finish in a tie for 15th, while Bowen posted a 25th-place finish. Freshman Sydney Conley joined Geubelle in the long jump. The Fayetteville, Ark., native finished 17th with a best mark of 6.02 meters (19’9”).
Day two of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Champions will kick off Thursday at 1 p.m. (3 p.m. CT), with Sophomore Lindsay Vollmer competing in the first of seven events in the women’s heptathlon, the 100-meter hurdles. Stay logged on to KUthletics.com for complete coverage of the remaining three days of action from Eugene and don’t forget to follow on twitter at @KU_Track.