Fit for Fayetteville: Seven Jayhawks Earn Spots at NCAA Indoor Championships

March 9, 2010


Seven Jayhawks will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend for the pinnacle event of the 2010 indoor track and field season. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas. Representing the Jayhawk men will be senior Jordan Scott and freshman Mason Finley, while the women have in tow freshman Andrea Geubelle and the distance medley relay squad of Rebeka Stowe, Taylor Washington, Cori Christensen and Lauren Bonds.

Scott, a two-time Indoor All-American in the pole vault, enters the event as the sixth-overall seed with a season-best mark of 5.43 meters (17-09.75 feet). The Watkinsville, Ga., native took third at last year’s championships after clearing 5.45 meters (17-10.50 feet). His bronze-medal performance in the event was the best for a Jayhawk since Pat Manson earned runner-up honors in 1990 and 1991. In addition to Scott’s national success, he was recently crowned Big 12 Champion in the pole vault for the fourth-consecutive year.

Also competing for the men will be freshman throws phenom Mason Finley. As the national high school record holder in the discus and one of the top five prep athletes in the nation in the shot put, Finley came to Kansas with high expectations. He has certainly lived up to the hype, as the 6-8, 330-pound thrower from Salida, Colo., qualified for nationals with the fifth-best mark in the country. Finley’s throw of 19.25 meters (63-2 feet) not only earned him a bid to Fayetteville, but it was also the top mark at the Big 12 Indoor Championships two weeks ago.

On the women’s side, the Jayhawks will vie for a medal in the 4,000-meter distance medley relay, as the squad enters the event as the seventh overall seed. The quartet of Stowe (1,200 meters), Washington (400 meters), Christensen (800 meters) and Bonds (1,600 meters) is coming off the best performance in the DMR in school history. The relay team broke the KU record last week at the Alex Wilson Invitational with a blistering time of 11:07.96.

“If we run like we did at Notre Dame, we put ourselves in a great position to score,” said KU distance coach Michael Whittlesey. “Anything is possible at this meet, and I am very confident in our team.”

The Jayhawks will also have a slight advantage as all four members will be running on fresh legs in Fayetteville.

“There are several other teams in the field who have athletes running in multiple events,” expressed Whittlesey. “We will certainly have a good chance, as none of our athletes are `doubling-up’ so to speak.”

Geubelle, the bronze-medalist in the triple jump at the 2010 Big 12 Indoor Championships, will compete in the women’s triple jump as the youngest athlete in the field.

“Anytime you can have a freshman make it to a national championship, especially in their first indoor season, that is something really special,” said KU horizontal jumps coach Wayne Pate.

Geubelle, a native of University Place, Wash., is no stranger to national competition. In high school, she won gold medals in the long jump and triple jump at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, as well as winning the triple jump at the 2009 USATF Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships. But this talented freshman is new to the collegiate arena and will face an array of upperclassmen at the meet in Arkansas.

“She has competed at big meets before,” said Pate. “But nothing of this caliber.”

The Randal Tyson Track Center has been home to the NCAA Indoor Championships since 2000. The track itself features a 200-meter, 60-degree banked track with 55-meter straight-aways running the length of the facility. There are also men’s and women’s jumping runways and pits, as well as seating for over 5,000 spectators.