FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Kansas women’s track & field team finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships Saturday inside the Randal Tyson Track Center. On the shoulders of national champions Andrea Geubelle and Natalia Bartnovskaya, the Jayhawks took the indoor runner-up finish for the second-straight season, amassing 44 points during the two-day meet.
“It was a tremendous weekend with some great performances,” said 13-year head coach Stanley Redwine. “Having three national champions is amazing. The athletes and the coaches have done a great job of representing Kansas well and it’s great to again see all their hard work paying off.”
Geubelle came into Saturday coming off her first long jump national title the night prior and was looking to make NCAA history by taking both the indoor long jump and triple jump crowns. The reigning indoor triple jump champion, Geubelle left little doubt whether she was the nation’s top triple jumper, turning in four jumps of over 45 feet in her six attempts.
The University Place, Wash., native eased her way into finals after hitting a mark of 13.88 meters (45-6.50 ft.), which gave her the overall lead heading into her last three jumps. With the national-leader, San Diego State’s Shanika Thomas just a centimeter behind her, Geubelle unleashed the largest jump of her career. She soared to a mark of 14.18 meters (46-6.25 ft.) on her fourth attempt to break her own school record and extend her lead by more than two feet. The jump was the fourth-longest in NCAA history and was just two inches shy of tying the American record.
With the victory in hand, the senior again posted a jump of over 46-feet on her final attempt of the day and went on to successfully defend her indoor triple jump crown. Geubelle became the fourth women in NCAA history to win championships in both the long jump and triple jump at a NCAA indoor meet and the first since 2003. She also tied Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino as the meet’s high point scorer, notching an impressive 20 points.
Bartnovskaya also had the performance of her career earlier in the evening in the pole vault. The Krasnoyarsk, Russia native turned in a nearly blemish-free sheet as she took home her first NCAA indoor title and KU’s second in the event.
Bartnovskaya vaulted to five-straight clearances without recording a foul, the only competitor to do so. The bar up to 4.45 meters (14-7.25 ft.), she snuck over on her second attempt, not only earning a new career-best, but breaking her own school record in the process. The mark also made Bartnovskaya the eighth-highest indoor vaulter in NCAA history.
With the junior and two others remaining in the competition, none could make it over the next progression, giving Bartnovskaya the win by way of her fewer fouls. The win is KU’s second national title in the event after Amy Linnen took the title in 2005.
The women’s 4x400-meter relay team came in at the end of the meet needing to post a score and help their team’s chances at a high place. Seniors Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon passed the baton around in 3:34.91 to finish third in their heat. The time eventually gave the quartet an eighth-place finish and the KU women’s final point. It proved to be an important one as Kansas claimed second with 44 points over third-place LSU, who collected 43.
Like Geubelle, Dixon was also trying for a repeat bid as national champion, running in the final of the 400 meters. The junior entered the final with the seventh-fastest qualifying time, running 52.77 in the semifinals Friday. In the final, Dixon again used her signature closing kick to make a late push and clock in with a time of 52.38. The season-best time earned Dixon a sixth-place finish and her third-straight First Team All-America honor in the event.
Competing in the first Indoor Championship meet of her career, sophomore Lindsay Vollmer looked to claim a top spot in the pentathlon. The 2013 Big 12 champion in the event, Vollmer entered the day already having already broken the school record twice this season and holding a personal-best of 4,123 points.
Vollmer collected personal records in three of the five events. She tied a career best in the high jump with her mark of 1.72 meters (5-7.75 ft.). In the shot put the sophomore threw to a new indoor personal best of 12.10 meters (39-8.5 ft.). Another career best in the long jump, 5.87 meters (19-3.25 ft.), placed Vollmer in fifth with just one event to go and nearly plus-30 points ahead of her personal best pace in the event. In the final event, Vollmer could not continue her good fortune as she posted an 800-meter time of 2:26.26, over three second behind her best time.
The time in the fifth and final event pushed the Hamilton, Mo., native to ninth-place overall and earned her a final score of 4,105 points, the second-highest total of her career.
The Jayhawks 44 points are their most ever at an indoor national meet. The Oregon Ducks claimed the overall team title, ending the day with 56 points.
Both the KU men and women will now have nearly three weeks off before the teams kick off the outdoor portion of the season at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas March 27-30. For updates on KU Track & Field until then, log on to KUAthletics.com.