Jayhawks Journey to College Station for Big 12 Indoor Championships
Feb. 22, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – It is a busy weekend across the country for Division I track and field programs, as teams gear up for conference championship action. The University of Kansas Jayhawks, who are competing in one of the fiercest leagues in the NCAA, will head to College Station, Texas for the 2012 Big 12 Indoor Championships. Nine of the nation’s top 25 teams will be featured between the men’s and women’s sides, including the seventh-ranked KU women’s squad. The Jayhawks have 26 men and 25 women in tow for an exciting weekend at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.
“I’m really excited about both teams right now,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “Everyone is healthy and looking forward to going out there and doing their best. This meet is just another chance for us to continue to do what we’ve been doing and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
The Jayhawk women will be led on the track by sprinter Diamond Dixon. The sophomore currently holds the fifth-fastest 400-meter time in the nation (53.05), which ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 this year. The reigning conference champion in the outdoor 400 meters, Dixon will look to bring Kansas its first indoor conference crown in a sprint event since 2008. She will also help lead her NCAA-qualifying 4×400-meter relay team Saturday evening at 6:45 p.m.
Horizontal jumper Andrea Geubelle is the only female track and field athlete in the Big 12 this season to be twice named the conference’s athlete of the week. The junior boasts NCAA top-15 marks in both the long and triple jumps and has collected a combined four victories in both events this season. Geubelle will try to duplicate former Jayhawk Crystal Manning’s feat of an indoor conference title in both the long jump and triple jump this weekend.
Other women competing for Big 12 crowns in College Station are junior Francine Simpson, the No. 1-ranked long jumper in the Big 12 this season; sophomore Demi Payne, who has cleared a new personal-best height in all six meets this year, with her most recent best at 4.22m (13-10 ft.) being the second-highest in the conference; senior Alena Krechyk, who was the Big 12 Champion in the weight throw in 2010 and enters this year’s meet with the third-best throw in the conference and junior Taylor Washington, the 2010 conference champion in the 600 yards and anchor of the school record-setting 4×400-meter relay team.
The KU men have several athletes who could find themselves on the podium at the end of Big 12 weekend. Sophomore Alex Bishop has done a great job with the difficult task of filling seven-time Big 12 Champion Jordan Scott’s shoes in the pole vault. The sophomore boasts the fourth-best clearance in the conference this season and has topped the 17-foot mark in his past four meets. He and freshmen Casey Bowen, Greg Lupton and Regan Gilbert will be in action Friday at 4 p.m.
Junior Kyle Clemons enters the weekend as the most experienced of the men’s young sprinters group. He was one of the Kansas men’s top scorers at last year’s indoor conference meet and was a second team All-American in the outdoor 400 meters in 2011. The Rowlett, Texas native will lead a young 4×400-meter relay team Saturday night, a team that holds the No. 5 time in the Big 12 this year.
Other men in action this weekend will be senior distance specialist Donny Wasinger, an All-Big 12 performer in the 1,500 meters at the 2011 outdoor conference meet and who will see action in the 1,000 meters and distance medley relay; senior Joel Krause, who has already notched a win and a new personal record in the shot put in 2012, will compete in both the weight throw and shot put events and high jumpers Nick Canton and Nick Giancana, who both are currently reaching their peaks having hit personal bests two weeks ago at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
“This week it’s going to be really important for everyone to do what’s expected of them,” concluded Redwine. “That means some athletes are going to be doubling-up on events, some athletes are going to be tripling-up; but we, as coaches, feel like they’re ready for that. They’ve been preparing for this all semester.”
The Big 12 Indoor Championships kick off Friday, Feb. 24 at 11 a.m. with pentathlon events and continues through the evening of Saturday, Feb. 26. Log on to kuathletics.com and go to the meet central page for updated results, links to live video streams and the interactive meet blog. Also stay connected to the Jayhawks this weekend through twitter at KU_Track.