DES MOINES, Iowa – KU senior Andrea Geubelle claimed victory in the triple jump at the USA Track & Field Championships Thursday inside Drake Stadium. Two other KU women notched top-eight finishes in their respective events, while sophomore Michael Stigler advanced to the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles on the first day of the meet that features the top amateur and professional athletes from across the nation.
“This was definitely an awesome competition,” said Geubelle following her triple jump win. “I knew the girls would come out jumping so I knew it would be hard to win. I had a rough NCAA meet so that was definitely motivation to come out here and do well. It definitely helps my confidence to come out here and get a win though, especially to put a 46-foot jump out there.”
Geubelle, who finished third among a similar field at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials a year ago, never trailed in the event and moved to the top of the leaderboard with her first attempt of the day, a jump of 13.72 meters (45’0.25”). The University Place, Wash., native added six inches to her lead on her third trip down the runway as she flew to a mark of 13.87 meters (45’6.25”) and headed into the final three rounds of jumps with a comfortable lead over the field.
Geubelle’s fourth jump was her best of the day as she broke the 46-foot mark for the first time this outdoor season. The 12-time All-American measured in at a wind-aided 14.03 meters (46’0.5”), the third-farthest any-condition mark of her career. She was unable to best that fourth-attempt leap, but neither would the rest of the field, which earned Geubelle the victory and her first U.S. Championship.
Geubelle now has until July 20 to chase the World Championship triple jump B-Standard (14.20m/46’7.25”). If she’s able to match or top the standard, she will have the opportunity to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships to be held in Moscow, Aug. 10-18.
Before she can focus on earning a trip to Moscow, Geubelle will return to the Drake Stadium runway to take part in the U.S. Championship long jump. The event is slated to take place Saturday, June 22 at 3:15 p.m.
Another outgoing Kansas senior, Heather Bergmann, turned in a notable performance in the javelin. Bergmann, a three-time first team All-American in the event, notched a top throw of 50.03 meters (164’1”) on her third and final attempt of the preliminary round of throws. The mark moved her from 12th overall to eighth and secured three more throws for the Concordia, Kan., native.
Eighth was as high as Bergmann could climb, unable to improve on her third attempt mark. She concludes her KU career as the owner of seven of the top-10 javelin marks in school history.
Freshman Tianna Valentine took part in the junior section of the 100 meter dash earlier in the day. After running to the eighth-fastest qualifying time in the semifinals by clocking in at 12.06, Valentine returned to the track for the event final two hours later, vying for a spot on Team USA’s Pan Am Junior team with a top-two finish. Valentine, who was a member of KU’s All-American 4x100-meter relay team, crossed the finish line in 12.09 in the final, good enough for an eighth-place finish.
On the men’s side, Stigler began his journey to the U.S. Championship finals of the 400-meter hurdles. Stigler ran in the 1st round of the event and managed to turn in the ninth-fastest qualifying time overall with his time of 51.04, finishing fourth in his heat. The two-time reigning Big 12 Champion will run in the event semifinal Friday. The race is scheduled for 7:04 p.m.
Kyle Clemons also saw preliminary action Thursday afternoon in Des Moines as he competed in the 1st round of the 400 meters. The senior took fourth in his heat and was just .4 seconds from earning the automatic pass to the semifinal round. His time of 46.56 was also not enough to extend the Rowlett, Texas native’s weekend, as it placed him 22nd overall.
Three more days of action are in store at the U.S. Championships as four more Jayhawks will compete in Des Moines. Stigler will be the lone KU athlete to compete Friday, running in the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles at 7:04 p.m. Follow the Jayhawks’ progress throughout the weekend by following on Twitter at @KUTrack.