Facility Records Fall as KU Dominates Jayhawk Challenge

Jan. 11, 2013

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Junior Diamond Dixon made her 2013 debut with wins in the 600 yards and 4×400-meter relay

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LAWRENCE, Kan. – Featuring strong performances from Kyle Clemons, Andrea Geubelle and Natalia Bartnovskaya, the Kansas Jayhawk track & field teams again looked impressive Friday at the Jayhawk Challenge inside Anschutz Pavilion. Kansas saw three facility records fall as well several of its athletes move up the national ranks in its third home meet of the season.

For the second week in a row, junior Bartnovskaya put on a show in front of the home fans as she won her second pole vault title in as many weeks. The JUCO transfer, whose winning clearance of 4.12 meters (13-6.25 ft.) a week ago was already No. 1 in the nation, somehow managed to top that performance in just her third competition in a Kansas uniform.

Bartnovskaya fouled only once while she easily cleared the first four heights of the day and took down the five-year-old facility record of 4.13 meters (13-5.50 ft.) held by former KU great Kate Sultanova in the process. She then flew over the next bar of 4.29 meters (14-0.75 ft.) to sew up the victory over teammate Demi Payne and extend her NCAA-leading mark. Her clearance is just an inch off from tying the school record and moves her to No. 2 on the all-time school performance lists.

A week removed from taking the national lead in the triple jump, Geubelle tried to do the same Friday, however this time, in the long jump. The senior was never challenged in the event, soaring to a mark of 6.25 meters (20-6.25 ft.) on her second attempt of the day to not only break the Anschutz facility record by more than four inches, but to give her the NCAA-leading mark in the event.

Geubelle came close to topping the mark over her next four jumps, but fouled on two of those attempts and was unable to improve on her second-round leap. It didn’t matter though, as Geubelle earned her first long jump title in Lawrence since 2010, beating the field by just under two feet.

On the track, Clemons again notched an impressive performance in the 600 yards for the second week in a row. The senior out of Rowlett, Texas, who was already in possession of the NCAA’s best time in the event, blazed around the track in a personal-best 1:09.77 to break Texas Longhorn John Patterson’s 17-year-old facility record of 1:09.91. Clemons raced to first by more than four seconds and collected his fourth collegiate victory in the event with his time that still remains as the best in the nation.

Seeing her first competitive action since helping the U.S. Olympic 4×400-meter relay team win gold at the London Olympics in August, Diamond Dixon returned to the track to kick off her 2013 season. The junior, running in the 600 yards, looked like her old self as she came from behind in the final 50 meters to take the event title over Kansas State’s Sonia Gaskin. Dixon posted a time of 1:22.69 to vault herself to the top of the national performance list in the event.

Later in the night Dixon played anchor on the women’s 4×400-meter relay team. The quartet of Denesha Morris, Alisha Keys, Paris Daniels and Dixon had to come from behind to beat out Kansas State’s speedy freshman squad. The four passed the baton around in 3:44.93 to win the event and earn KU’s fastest relay time of the season.

011113aaa_506_8467228.jpegIn field action, Jessica Maroszek notched the first shot put win of her young season. The junior out of Seymour, Wis., started her day strong with a toss of 15.04 meters (49-4.25 ft.). The mark was a new indoor personal best and propelled her on to the finals. Maroszek came close to topping the mark with her sixth-throw heave of 14.94 meters (49-0 ft.) but had already guaranteed the win, topping the runner-up finisher by more than two feet.

Senior Francine Simpson impressed in the first triple jump competition of her career. An All-American in the long jump, Simpson started the day of with a bang when she leaped to a mark of 12.41 meters (40-8.57 ft.). The jump is the fifth-farthest in the NCAA this season and handed Simpson the victory as no competitor could come within three feet of her first attempt mark.

In the women’s high jump, Colleen O’Brien continued her dominance, soaring to her seventh-collegiate victory and extended her unbeaten streak inside Anschutz Pavilion. After moving through the early heights with ease, the sophomore snuck over the 1.75 meter (5-8.75 ft.) bar on her third try to tie a personal best and clinch the victory. The career-tying clearance places O’Brien at No. 11 on this season’s national performance list.

Daniels entered the day boasting the top times in the NCAA in two events, the 60 meters and the 200 meters. The senior had a chance to better her 60-meter time but some bad luck in the timing booth made it hard for the St. Louis native. A computer malfunction forced two false starts and gave Daniels and her four KU brethren running in the heat a definite disadvantage. With a fair start on the third attempt Daniels clocked in with a time of 7.46, .14 seconds slower than her season-best, but still good enough to win the event. She outpaced freshmen teammates Tianna Valentine, who finished third in 7.55, and Sydney Conley, who took fourth in 7.64.

The men’s middle distance and distance groups had successful outings as Jayhawks claimed victories in all but one of their events. Junior Josh Munsch backed up his 3,000-meter victory a week ago with a win in the 1,000 meters. The Hays, Kan., native completed the five laps in 2:27.19 to just beat out teammate Brendan Soucie for the victory.

Sophomore Gabe Gonzalez put together a strong race in the mile, earning his first victory in the Crimson and Blue. Gonzalez battled with teammate Soucie for the majority of the race, but used a strong closing kick to nab the victory in 4:16.93, topping Soucie’s personal-best 4:17.11.

Another young Jayhawk, redshirt freshman Evan Landes, claimed his first collegiate title Friday evening. The Mulvane, Kan., native flew through the 3,000 meters in impressive fashion to cross the finish line in 8:29.73 in just his second collegiate 3K. His time ranks him among the top-15 in the NCAA this season.

Other Jayhawk who collected wins on the day were the senior Morris (400 meters), sophomore Michael Stigler (400 meters), Keys (200 meters) and freshman Richard Smith (triple jump). The men’s distance medley relay team of Kaman Schneider, Nick Ucherek, Munsch and Gonzalez claimed victory with a time of 10:22.84.

With most of the team off for the next two weeks, the KU pole vaulters will journey to Reno, Nev., to take part in the UCS Pole Vault Summit on Saturday, Jan. 19. Updates and results of the meet can be found on KUAthletics.com or on Twitter at KU_Track.

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