Finley, Women's DMR Earn All-America Honors
March 12, 2010
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –
Kansas thrower Mason Finley and the KU women’s distance medley relay team of Rebeka Stowe, Taylor Washington, Cori Christensen and Lauren Bonds all earned a spot on the podium at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., as Finley took fifth in the men’s shot put, and the DMR team captured sixth. Finley, as well as all four members of the DMR squad earned All-America honors for their efforts in Fayetteville. Finley is the 12th athlete in school history to be named an Indoor All-American in the shot put, while Stowe, Washington, Christensen and Bonds represent only the second DMR team in school history to own the prestigious title.
Finley was the only freshman to advance to the finals of the shot put after posting the fifth-best mark in the prelims of 18.75 meters (61-06.25 feet), which he threw twice during the round. On his second attempt in the event finals, Finley threw nearly 65 feet, but fouled during his recovery.
“It was a very good performance today,” said KU throws coach Andy Kohkanovsky. “Throwing is not only about power, but also involves finesse. Mason had a great throw in the finals of about 65 feet, but didn’t stay in the ring. So, we know he has the power; we just have to work on perfecting the technique. He is still young, but it was a good meet and great experience for him.”
Although Finley was not able to improve on his preliminary mark of 61-06.25 ft., his fifth-place performance held steady throughout the final round, earning four points for the Jayhawks.
“I thought I could have thrown a little better,” said Finley. “But it is my first year competing at nationals, so I will keep working at it. I have a lot of time to learn.”
Finley, the 2010 Big 12 Champion in the event, threw against eight of the nation’s top juniors and seniors in the final round, including the two-time defending indoor national champion and the current collegiate-record holder, Ryan Whiting of Arizona State.
“I really enjoyed competing with such high-caliber athletes,” expressed Finley.
Whiting won the event in Fayetteville with a mammoth throw of 70-07.25 feet, earning his third-consecutive indoor shot put title. He was followed by Kemal Mesic of Florida (63-02.25 feet), Joe Kovacs of Penn State (62-11.25 feet) and Steve Marcelle of Georgia Tech (62-4 feet).
Finley was the first Kansas athlete to compete in the shot put at the indoor championships since Sheldon Battle took fourth in the event in 2006.
Stowe, Washington, Christensen and Bonds got the Jayhawks on the scoreboard, as the quartet combined for a time of 11:11.46 to finish sixth in the distance medley relay.
“I am quite pleased with the team’s performance,” said distance coach Michael Whittlesey. “This was the first trip to the NCAA championships for every one of those girls, and the way they handled themselves both before the race in their preparation and during the heat of competition was very impressive.”
The relay teams from Tennessee, Oregon and Georgetown held a commanding lead for much of the race, but it was a close battle for the four through nine spots. Each leg of KU’s relay raced well down the stretch, allowing the Jayhawks to sneak past a few of the teams that were in the tight pack.
“We kept fighting throughout the entire race,” said Whittlesey. “Each leg of our relay had a strong finish and no one faltered under pressure. They are very deserving of the All-American status.”
Two-time Indoor All-American pole-vaulter Jordan Scott also competed on Friday in men’s pole vault. Scott, a native of Watkinsville, Ga., looked strong in his warm-up and early going of the meet, but struggled to find a rhythm during competition, as he failed to clear the bar on his first two attempts. On his third and final attempt at 17-3, Scott nicked the bar again, resulting in a no height for the senior.
“It was really unfortunate what happed today,” said KU vertical jumps coach Tom Hays. “But Jordan is definitely ready to compete with these guys, so we just have to reload and get ready for outdoor season.”
Scott Roth of Washington, who led the nation all year in the pole vault, won the 2010 indoor title with a mark of 5.60 meters (18-04.50 feet). He was followed by Jason Colwick of Rice, who cleared 5.50 meters (18-00.50 feet).
Freshman Andrea Geubelle will be the final athlete to compete for the Jayhawks at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships, as she takes the stage tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in the women’s triple jump.