Jayhawks Gear Up for Various 'Last Chance' Meets

March 4, 2010


This weekend, the Kansas track and field team will split up to compete at three different sites around the country, but all will have the same goal in mind; a bid to the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships. These various “last chance” meets mark the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for indoor nationals, which will be held in Fayetteville, Ark., March 12-13.

Kansas boasts nine individuals and one relay squad who have already met provisional standards in 12 different events this season. Each of those athletes will look to officially punch their ticket to Fayetteville, while several other Jayhawks are hoping to set personal records or season bests in their last outing of the indoor season. The Crimson and Blue will compete at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., the ISU NCAA Qualifier in Ames, Iowa, and the Arkansas Final Qualifier in Fayetteville, Ark.

On average, the NCAA will elect the top 16 athletes in each event to compete at the championships. This pool is based on automatic and provisional standards met throughout the indoor season.

“We have several athletes who are extremely close to earning a spot at nationals,” said KU sprints/hurdles Coach Elisha Brewer. “If those athletes can keep their composure and execute their races this weekend, I guarantee we will be in good shape. The `last chance’ meets also provide an opportunity for some of our other athletes to close out the indoor season on a high note and really set up for the start of outdoor.”

Senior Lauren Bonds is currently 18th in the nation in the mile event with a time of 4:41.61, which is less than two seconds away from those appearing in the top 10. Bonds has set the school record in the event twice this season. She will compete in the mile on Saturday at the Alex Wilson Invitational.

The Hutchinson, Kan., native will also be an important member of the women’s distance medley relay squad that is coming off a runner-up and provisional-qualifying performance at the conference championships. The quartet of Rebeka Stowe, Cori Christensen, Taissa Makhmayeva and Bonds ran an 11:23.08, which is currently 21st in the national rankings. Taylor Washington, the 2010 Big 12 Champion in the 600 yards, will most likely run in place of Makhmayeva this weekend to explore the depth of the Jayhawks’ relay roster.

Also competing in South Bend will be the women’s 4×400-meter relay team, who ran an impressive time of 3:40.47 last weekend at the Big 12 Championships, which was just 47 hundredths of a second off the provisional standard.

The Arkansas Final Qualifier in Fayetteville, Ark., will feature some of the Jayhawks’ top field athletes, as freshman Andrea Geubelle and sophomore Corey Fuller will look to boost their standings in triple jump.

Geubelle, who earned a bronze medal in the triple jump at the league meet, is the only freshman ranked in the top 30 nationally in the event. Her season-best mark of 42-04.25 feet is currently 18th, but only a few inches separate her from some of the top athletes in the field. Geubelle will jump at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

Fuller is also a strong candidate indoor nationals, as his season best mark of 51-04.50 feet is among the top 25 in the country. Fuller has set a new PR in each of his last two meets. His event will follow the women’s triple jump at 7:30 p.m.

Senior Jordan Scott and freshman Corey Shank will also make the trip to Fayetteville to compete in the pole vault. Scott, who is ranked fifth in the nation with a mark of 17-09.75 feet, has all but guaranteed his spot in the national championships, while Shank has flirted with the idea several times this season. Shank’s best mark of the 2009-10 campaign stands at 16-06.75 feet, just five inches shy of the provisional standard. The men’s pole vault is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Returning to the site of the 2010 Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa will be several members of the Jayhawks’ sprints and middle distance squad. Sophomore Keith Hayes is a serious threat in the 60-meter hurdles, as his season-best time of 7.88 is just five hundredths of a second off those ranked in the top 10 nationally. He will run in the prelims on Saturday at 11:10 a.m., and pending qualification, compete in the event finals at 12:15 p.m.

Freshman Kyle Clemons will be a strong competitor in the open 400-meter dash, as well as the 4×400-meter relay. He and Hayes will team up with Keron Toussaint and Reggie Carter for the relay scheduled for 3:50 p.m. on Saturday. Last weekend at the conference championships, the foursome ran a season-best time of 3:11.63, which was just one second shy of the NCAA provisional mark.

Complete results and meet recaps, as well as any provisional or automatic marks hit this weekend will be available on www.kuathletics.com/trackandfield following the events.