Jayhawks Head to Fayetteville for NCAA Indoor Championships
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The second-ranked Kansas women’s track & field team will journey to Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend as it searches for the program’s first team title at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships March 8-9. Nine individuals and one relay team will compete in 10 events for the Kansas women while one KU male will make the trip to the Randal Tyson Indoor Track on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
KU_TRACK QUICK HITS
· This weekend, the Jayhawks will travel to Arkansas’ Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center, which is hosting the NCAA Indoor Championships for the 11th time including nine-straight from 2000-08.
· The KU women won their first conference championship two weeks ago by outscoring runner-up Texas 150.5 to 148. The 2.5-point margin was the closest in the Big 12 history.
· Over the last three seasons, the KU women have seen an average of six athletes earn First Team All-American honors at the national indoor championships, with a program best eight claiming the distinction last year.
· Senior sprinter Kyle Clemons will run at his first NCAA indoor meet after he broke the 30-year-old school record in the 400 meters two weeks ago at the Big 12 Championships. Clemons ran 46.44 in the prelim heats, beating out Deon Hogan’s 46.50 set in 1983.
· Including both indoor and outdoor seasons, the KU women have now been ranked in the top-five of the USTFCCCA rankings for 14-straight weeks, the longest-active streak in the nation.
· Andrea Geubelle and Diamond Dixon will attempt to defend their indoor national titles this weekend. Prior to the duo’s individual championships at last year’s event the KU women had seen just three women claim individual indoor titles.
· This weekend, junior pole vaulter Natalia Bartnovskaya will compete on the same runway where she smashed the previous school school earlier this year at the Tyson Invite. Bartnovskaya cleared 4.43 meters (14-6.5 ft.), the third-highest mark in the nation.
· The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Denesha Morris, Taylor Washington, Paris Daniels and Diamond Dixon combined for the fourth-fastest relay in school history last weekend at the Alex Wilson Last Chance (3:33.71). The same group holds six of the top eight 4x4 times ever run at KU.
· Pentathlete Lindsay Vollmer has posted personal bests in three of the five events this season, breaking the school record twice this year, with the most recent score (4,123) earning her a Big 12 title in the event.
LAST TIME OUT
The Kansas women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon ran the fourth-fastest time in school history last Saturday at the Alex Wilson Last Chance. The team’s time was seventh among NCAA relays this season and gave them an eventual qualification to the NCAA Championships this weekend.
Freshman Sydney Conley and the men’s distance medley relay team each posted new season bests last Friday. Conley soared to a distance of 6.17 meters (20-3 ft.), notching a new personal best and a fourth-place finish at the Alex Wilson Last Chance. Conley’s leap moved her up to fifth on the all-time school long jump charts and elevated her to No. 26 on the national performance list. Sophomores Reid Buchanan and Michael Hester and juniors Brendan Soucie and Josh Munsch combined for the fourth-fastest distance medley time in Kansas history. The quartet passed the baton around in 9:38.89 to finish 21st in a field that saw the top-15 finishers post times faster than the previous NCAA-best.
STICKING IN THE TOP-FIVE
After the KU women’s track & field team ascension to No. 2 in the most recent USTFCCCA rankings, the squad has added to an impressive streak. The ranking marks the 14th-consecutive week the women’s team has been slotted in the top-five of the NCAA, which includes last year’s outdoor season.
The women first moved into the top-five when they jumped to No. 4 the week prior to finishing second at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in May and have remained in the top-five ever since. Before this week, Only Clemson had a longer active streak (27), however the Tigers fell to No. 6 in the rankings released Tuesday.
TEAM TITLE TALLIES
The KU women’s team will attempt to win the program’s first national title this weekend in Fayetteville. However, the Kansas track and field program is no stranger to success at the national level.
The Kansas men have claimed six NCAA time titles, three have which have come at the indoor championships. The most recent men’s indoor title came at the 1970 championships held in Detroit. KU has also been close to hoisting the team championship trophy on several occasions with the men finishing in second-place five times, all from 1956-75, and the women taking the runner-up finish once, which came last season in Boise.
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CHASERS
The KU track & field program has seen a hoist of its athletes reach success at the NCAA Indoor Championships. A total of 31 NCAA golds have been earned by Jayhawks in the 47-year history of the indoor meet. Twenty-six have been claimed by KU men while five Jayhawk women have also won individual titles.
Four KU men have notched multiple indoor titles (Jim Ryun [mile], Karl Salb [shot put], Leo Bookman [200 meters], and Egor Agofonov [weight throw]) with Ryun running to four-consecutive mile championships. No KU female has recorded multiple NCAA titles, however current Jayhawks Diamond Dixon and Andrea Geubelle have opportunities to become the first, as they try to repeat as national champions in the 400 meters and triple jump, respectively.
IN COACH REDWINE’S WORDS
With so many veterans competing this weekend for the Jayhawks, how do you think experience will help the team in Fayetteville?
“It will really come into play this weekend. They’ve been there before. They know what to do. Lindsay Vollmer and Anastasiya Muchkayev will each be competing for the first time at the indoor championships so hopefully with everyone else’s experience, it will keep those two athletes calm.”
There’s some pressure on athletes to produce big points this weekend. How do you and the coaches make sure the athletes handle that pressure and benefit from it?
“The athletes are used to it. That’s why I’m glad our athletes have the experience they have. They know how to deal with the pressure of trying to be the best. As coaches, we don’t put any more pressure than they put on themselves, because they want to do so well. It’s more of a self-inflicted pressure, which sometimes is good and sometimes is bad. I believe our athletes will be able to step up and get the job done.”
Do you think the athletes are still fresh and ready to go already four months into the season?
“We have experienced coaches that know how to season the athletes and prepare them for the last meet. We have great coaches in that aspect, especially Coach (Wayne) Pate who was the regional coach of the year. So we know he knows what he’s doing. With that said, I think all the coaches know how to make sure their athletes are peaking at the right time. That’s a big reason this team is in the position it is at this point of the season.”
JAYHAWKS FLYING TO THE TOP-8 OF THE NCAA
The Jayhawks have seen a host of athletes move toward the top of the NCAA performance charts. Currently, KU has nine athletes ranked in the nation’s top-8 in seven events on the women’s side. The No. 8 mark is an important ranking to stay above since eight best performances results in points toward the overall team scoring at the NCAA meet.
A year ago, the Jayhawk women had three Jayhawks and a relay collect 30 points in four events en route to their NCAA runner-up finish.
ROCK CHALK RECORD BREAKERS
This year an incredible 13 school or Anschutz facility records have been broken on the men’s and women’s teams combined. The women’s squad has seen four of its athletes topple the school records in five events, while the men’s team has seen two of its own records fall. Below is a list of KU’s record-breaking performances this year:
Big 12 Championships
Armory Collegiate Inv.
4.43m (14-6.25 ft.)
6.69m (21-11.75 ft.)
Armory Collegiate Inv.
13.91m (45-7.75 ft.)
21.76m (71-4.75 ft.)
Armory Collegiate Inv.
Big 12 Championships
ANSCHUTZ FACILITY RECORDS
Bob Timmons Chall.
Bob Timmons Chall.
4.29m (14-0.75 ft.)
6.25m (20-6.25 ft.)
GEUBELLE GOING FOR GOLD
Senior Andrea Geubelle has had a great first half to her final campaign in Lawrence. The University Place, Wash., product has collected a litany of accolades this season that have her among top-collegiate athletes this year. Here are some of her accomplishments thus far:
· USTFCCCA Midwest Region Female Field Athlete of the Year.
· Jayhawks’ top scorer (18 pts.) at the Big 12 Indoor Championships with her victory in the triple jump and runner-up finish in the long jump.
· One of 10 athletes listed on ‘The Bowerman’ Watch List.
· Has won 12 of the last 14 triple jump competitions versus collegians, including all four this season.
· Moved into top-10 of NCAA all-time triple jump list after breaking her own school record with a leap of 13.91 meters (45-7.75 ft.).
· Broke long jump school record in her win at the Armory Collegiate Invitational with her nation-leading leap of 6.69 meters (21-11.5 ft.).
· Broke Anschutz facility record in the long jump with mark of 6.25 meters (20-6.25 ft.).
· Named the National Female Athlete of the Week by the USTFCCCA Feb. 4.
LONG JUMP LEGENDS?
The KU horizontal jumps have been arguably the most impressive event group thus far in 2013. Senior Andrea Geubelle and Francine Simpson have each climbed their way to the top of NCAA’s rankings and all-time KU rankings, sitting at No. 1 and No. 2 in both, respectively. Geubelle smashed the school record after jumping 6.69 meters (21-11.5 ft.) in early February, while Simpson recently moved up to to No. 2 on the all-time school performance lists with her PR leap of 6.59 meters (21-7.5 ft.), en route to her second-straight indoor Big 12 title in the event.
Geubelle and Simpson combined for 18 points in the long jump at the Big 12 meet three weeks ago and will try to do the same this weekend at the NCAA Championships. In the recent history of the indoor national meet (2000-2012), no school as seen two of their athletes finish first and second in the long jump.
RELAYS UP THE RANKS
The 4x400-meter relay team of Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon will look to continue their status as a perennial national title contender. The four hold six of the top-eight times ever run at Kansas with their school record-performance of 3:31.36 earning them the 2012 Big 12 title. The time also put them at No. 8 on the all-time collegiate performance list.
The quartet finished third in the NCAA indoor meet a year ago and went on to claim the outdoor Big 12 title as well. Currently, the group ranks seventh in the national rankings but their last three times have each been improvements by an average of four seconds, with their current season best a time of 3:33.37. Look for another top time for the four this weekend.
KU’S NCAA EXPERIENCE
The KU women will feature one of their most veteran groups it has ever seen compete at a NCAA meet. Of the nine Jayhawks making the trip, seven have seen action in at least one NCAA indoor or outdoor championships. Seniors Andrea Geubelle and Taylor Washington lead the group, with both having competed in six indoor and outdoor national meets. Two newcomers, Natalia Barnovskaya and Anastasiya Muchkayev will be in action in their first NCAA meet this weekend however Bartnovskaya is no stranger to national-caliber meets. The junior pole vaulter was a four-time competitor at the NJCAA indoor and outdoor championships when she jumped at Vincennes University (Ind.) her first two seasons at the collegiate level.
Other KU women with sizeable expereince at the national level ar Denesha Morris with six NCAA meets, Diamond Dixon (four), Paris Daniels (2) and Alena Krechyk (2).
Head coach Stanley Redwine has taken Kansas track & field to a level it hasn’t seen in quite some time during his 12 years at the helm. During Redwine’s tenure, he has seen 73 indoor and outdoor Big 12 Champions, 117 First Team All-Americans and 11 NCAA Champions come through his program at KU.
Redwine’s teams have also collected a combined five top-10 NCAA team finishes, including last year’s indoor runner-up finish for the KU women. On March 6, 2013 he was named the Big 12 Women’s Coach of the Year after leading the team to its first conference title in program history.