Eugene, Ore. – Junior Jessica Maroszek turned in a fourth-place finish in the discus Thursday as the Kansas track & field teams competed on day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships inside Hayward Field. The Jayhawks also saw one individual and a relay team advance to their respective event finals, while the Kansas women maintained their lead in the overall team standings, now with 22 points through five of 21 events.
Maroszek stepped into the discus ring Thursday as the nation’s No. 5 overall seed and hoped to add to an already successful meet for the Kansas throwers. Wednesday, seniors Alena Krechyk and Heather Bergmann posted top-eight finishes in their respective events and Maroszek eyed the same feat in the discus to add some important points toward the team race Thursday afternoon.
The junior out of Seymour, Wis., posted only two legal throws on the day but made them count as both were over 180 feet. Maroszek’s first mark, a toss of 54.98 meters (180’4”) quickly moved her up to second in the overall standings. She then unwound for the second-farthest mark of her career, a throw that measured out to 55.78 meters (183’0”), which cemented her spot in second as she moved on to the final rounds of attempts.
She was unable to post a fair throw on her final three attempts, but her third round mark was enough to earn her a fourth-place finish in the event and an additional five points to her team’s total.
Maroszek’s placement tied her for the highest NCAA finish by a Jayhawk and garnered her first team All-America honors for the second time in her career. With Maroszek’s finish, the KU throwers have now combined for 16 of the Jayhawks’ 22 points through the first two days of action.
Sophomore Lindsay Vollmer began her Championship week Thursday as she participated in the day one events of the heptathlon. The Hamilton, Mo., product kicked off the event on a high note as she ran to a new lifetime best in the 100-meter hurdles. Vollmer clocked in at 13.56 to post the seventh-fastest time out of the 24-woman field and earn 1,039 points to start the event.
Vollmer then moved to the high jump, where she was able to tie her career best. She cleared the 1.75 meter (5’8.75”) bar on her second attempt to add another 916 points to her total. After a toss of 11.97 meters (39’3.25”) for 659 points in the shot put moved her up to third in the overall standings, she saved her best performance for last in the 200 meters. Vollmer sprinted to a new personal record time of 24.27, slicing over half a second off her previous best and claiming her final 955 points of the day.
Through four of seven events, Vollmer sits in third in the overall heptathlon standings with a total of 3,569 points. She will begin day two of the event Friday in the long jump, scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. (2:30 CT).
In semifinal action, Paris Daniels advanced to her second-straight NCAA 200-meter final as she competed in the semifinal heats of the event. Daniels left little doubt in her right to advance when she won her heat handily, crossing the finish in a wind-aided 23.56. The time made Daniels the second-fastest qualifier and earned her a trip to the event final slated to run Saturday at 2:43 p.m. (4:43 CT).
Daniels returned to the track later in the day to help secure the women’s 4x400-meter relay team a spot in the event final. Daniels was joined by Denesha Morris, Diamond Dixon and Taylor Washington as the Big 12 champion quartet ran to the fifth-overall qualifying spot. After Morris and Dixon got the Jayhawks into the lead in the first half of the race, Washington then kept here in the all-important top-two before handing off to the final leg, Daniels. It was up to Daniels to hold off a determined Arizona anchor down the final 200 meters as she checked in with a second-place finish in the heat and earned the automatic qualification to the final. The four All-Americans will now try for big points in the meet’s final event Saturday, as they run in the championship race slated for 3:43 p.m. (5:43 CT).
The KU men’s 4x400-meter relay wasn’t as successful as that of its female counterpart. The Jayhawks were the first team not to make the event final as they turned in the ninth-fastest time in the semifinals. DeMario Johnson, Kyle Clemons, Michael Stigler and Kenneth McCuin passed the baton around in 3:05.63 to take third in their heat, just one spot from earning the automatic trip to the final.
Day three of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Champions will kick off Friday at 12:30 p.m. (2:30 CT), with Vollmer competing in the fifth of seven events in the women's heptathlon, the long jump. Stay logged on to KUAthletics.com for complete coverage of the remaining two days of action from Eugene and don't forget to follow on Twitter at @KUTrack.