NEW YORK – University of Kansas Track & Field’s Andrea Geubelle and Natalia Barntovskaya each claimed school records Friday as they competed in the 12th-Annual Armory Collegiate Invitational inside the legendary Armory Track & Field Center in New York City. The KU duo’s performances came in the meet that is featuring 23 of the top-50 ranked men’s and women’s teams in the nation.
A senior out of University Place, Wash., Geubelle entered the day boasting marks in the triple jump and long jump that each ranked in the top-five in the nation. She had no hesitations in again moving up the national lists, something she had done on three separate occasions already this season. Geubelle looked strong from the start Friday, twice improving on her season’s best long jump mark in the first round of jumps and entered the finals in first with her leap of 6.35 meters (20-10 ft.).
With group of competitors gaining on her, a group including teammate Francine Simpson, Geubelle struck gold on her fifth trip down the runway, soaring to a mark that measured out to 6.69 meters (21-11.5 ft.). The jump smashed Charisse Bacchus’ previous Kansas indoor record by 11 inches and also took down the Armory Collegiate Invitational record. The All-American topped the NCAA’s previous top 2013 mark by almost a foot and now holds the sixth-best long jump mark in the world this year.
Geubelle went on to claim the easy victory and her second long jump title of the season. Teammate Francine Simpson also recorded a season best, hitting a mark of 6.31 meters (20-8.5 ft.) on her fifth attempt, enough to earn her a fourth-place finish. Geubelle’s leap all but assures her a spot in her fourth-consecutive NCAA Indoor Championships and second competing in the long jump, where she finished eighth a year ago.
After taking a week off from competition, Bartnovskaya returned to action Friday night looking stronger than ever. The junior, entered the day boasting wins in her previous three competitions and the nation’s third-highest clearance of 4.29 meters (14-1 ft.) this year. A win at the Armory would be no ease feet though, as Bartnovskaya, along with fellow Jayhawk Demi Payne, would go up against nine of the top-25 vaulters in the nation.
Bartnovskaya recorded only one foul as she advanced through her first four heights on the day. The nearly blemish-free sheet made her one of only two remaining vaulters left in the competition. With the bar up to 4.30 meters (14-1.25 ft.), Bartnovskaya needed just one more clearance to seal the win and to tie the KU indoor record in the event. After Cincinnati’s MacKenzie Fields failed to get over the bar on her first two leaps, Bartnovskaya managed to slink over, clinching her fourth pole vault win in four-straight meets.
The Krasnoyarsk, Russia native’s mark ties former Jayhawk All-Americans Amy Linnen and Kate Sultanova as the highest-vaulting Jayhawks in school history and keeps her in a prime position to secure a bid to the NCAA Indoor Championships in March as she holds the No. 3 mark in the NCAA. Payne went on to finish in a tie for third with a top vault of 4.10 meters (13-5.25 ft.).
On the men’s side, senior sprinter Kyle Clemons was the top performer, running to a personal best and school record in the 500 meters. Clemons, who was running in the second of two finals heats, led almost the entire 2.5-lap race. Down the homestretch however, he was caught by Villanova’s Samual Ellison, who out leaned Clemons for a photo finish at the finish line. The Rowlett, Texas product was declared the runner-up by just .01 seconds but notched an impressive time of 1:01.32. The time is the fastest-ever by a Jayhawk in the rarely-run 500 meters and is the fourth-fastest ever recorded in the 12 years of the Armory Collegiate Invitational.
Anastasiya Muchkayev was also able to garner a high finish Friday, taking second in the women’s shot put. The freshman out of Be’er Sheva, Israel recorded three throws over 16 meters, including a mark of 16.15 meters (53-0 ft.) on her third attempt of the afternoon. She was unable to improve upon that mark in the finals but propelled herself to her third top-three finish of the season. Teammate Jessica Maroszek was also able to advance to the finals, notching a top mark of 14.92 meters (48-11.5 ft.) to finish 12th overall.
The Kansas men’s distance medley relay team had an impressive night as the quartet ran in the championship division against some of the fastest relay teams in the nation. With junior Brendan Soucie on the 1,200-meter leg, freshman Drew Matthews running the 400-meters, junior Nick Seckfort on the 800-meters and junior Josh Munsch anchoring on the 1,600 meters, the four passed the baton around in 9:46.92 to finish fifth overall. The team’s time is the sixth-fastest in school history and puts them at eighth in the NCAA rankings.
Earlier in the day, KU saw another career performance out of sophomore Jaimie House in the college division women’s pole vault. House took care of business in the early heights before clearing 4.00 meters (13-1.75 ft.) on her first attempt at height, a new personal best. The mark earned her a third-place finish and ranks fifth in the Big 12 season rankings. The KU women now find three of their vaulters ranked in the top-five of the conference standings with just three weeks until the Big 12 Indoor Championships.
The Jayhawks will be in action again tomorrow for the second and final day of the Armory Collegiate Invitational. Events will begin at 8:35 a.m. (ET) with the men’s and women’s eastern division high jump competitions. The men’s 4x400-meter relays will close things out at around 5:45 p.m. (ET). Follow all the meet action and results at KUAthletics.com and stay updated through twitter at @KU_Track.