KU Throwers Highlight Outdoor Opener at Baker Relays
March 24, 2012
BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – Seeing his first competitive action in over seven months, junior Mason Finley claimed victories in both the shot put and discus competitions at KU Track and Field’s outdoor season opening meet Saturday, the Baker Relays. Finley led the KU men and women throwers to earning wins in all but one of the throwing events on the day, which propelled the women’s and men’s teams to first and second-place finishes, respectively in the team standings.
Finley, who was returning from an injury that sidelined him for the indoor portion of the season, wasted no time making a national impact Saturday afternoon in the shot put. On his first attempt of the day in the shot put the Salida, Colo., native hurled a throw of 19.32 meters (63-04.75 ft.), which was the nation’s top mark in of the 2012 outdoor campaign. He entered the final round of throws with the victory in tow but it didn’t deture him from trying to up his previous top mark. On his final attempt, Finley launched the shot 19.48 meters (63-11 ft.), giving him the event title and putting him at the No. 1 spot on the national leaderboards.
The junior wouldn’t be content with being at the top of just one national list, however, as he duplicated his shot put efforts in the discus throw later in the day. Finley never trailed in the competition and got four of five fair attempts down before he made the trip to the ring for his sixth and final throw. He spun and hurdled the discus to a huge mark of 61.40 meters (201-05 ft.), a new personal best for the highly decorated All-American and the best mark in the country in 2012.
Jessica Maroszek followed Finley’s lead with titles of her own in the women’s shot put and discus competitions. The sophomore out of Seymour, Wis., took her second-career shot put victory with her mark of 13.77 meters (45-02.25 ft.). However, it was her performance in the discus that turned some heads.
After Maroszek cruised into the finals of the event, she unloaded with a throw of 51.00 meters (167-04 ft.) on her first of three attempts of the finals. The mark would be more than enough to give her the event crown and ranks as the ninth-best mark in the nation thus far in the outdoor season.
Alena Krechyk continued her fantastic senior campaign with a great performance in the hammer throw. Krechyk, who earned Second Team All-American honors in the weight throw during the indoor season, was never tested Saturday. The Grodno, Belarus native notched a mark of 63.06 meters (206-11 ft.) on her fourth throw, which would go on to top the field by over 47 feet. Her throw moves her into the nation’s top-five this outdoor season.
In the women’s javelin, 2011 First Team All-American Heather Bergmann started her outdoor season strong with a victory. The junior, who hails from Concordia, Kan., heaved the javelin to a distance of 47.90 meters (157-02 ft.) on her third throw of the day, which easily put her into finals and would also be good enough to bring her the gold. The mark ranks Bergmann at ninth in the early NCAA standings.
On the men’s side of the javelin, senior Iain Trimble also racked up an event title. Trimble, who ranks fifth on the all-time school performance list in the javelin, waited until his final attempt to hit his best mark. The Overbrook, Kan., native threw to a distance of 59.50 meters (195-02 ft.) to earn his fifth-collegiate win in the event and first since 2010.
On the track, it was a freshman that stole the show for the Jayhawks as Alisha Keys claimed two event crowns in the 100 meters and 200 meters. Keys first ran to the fastest time in the 100 meters, crossing the finish line in 11.96, the only competitor to break the 12-second mark. The Junction City, Kan., native then made the fastest half-lap around the track in the 200 meters, running in 24.77, a whopping 2.02 seconds better than the field.
Timmie Morris was the only other Jayhawk victor on the track. The sophomore claimed gold in the 400-meter hurdles, the first collegiate victory of her career. Morris finished in 1:04.57 to win the race, just .11 seconds off her personal best in the event.
The KU pole vaulters had a solid opening day in the vaulting pits, as both men’s and women’s groups had five athletes finish within the top six of each competition. For the women, Demi Payne, determined to back up her great indoor campaign, earned the win with a top clearance of 3.95 meters (12-11.50 ft.) and didn’t notch a foul until her fourth height.
For the men, freshman Greg Lupton collected his first collegiate victory, topping teammate Alex Bishop on misses with a top bar clearance of 4.85 meters (15-11 ft.). The KU men had five of their six competitors finish within the top-six of the field.
Senior Jamaica Collins leaped to her first outdoor collegiate victory as well, however Collins did it in the long jump pits. The Fort Worth, Texas native, sealed her victory on her sixth and final attempt of the day hitting a mark of 5.76 meters (18-10.75 ft.), which sets a new personal best.
In all, the women’s team collected 137.5 points to win the meet, while the men placed second in the team standings with 151 points.
The men’s and women’s track teams will journey to Austin, Texas for the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays March 28-31. The women’s multi-event participants will kick off the event in the heptathlon which is slated to begin at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday. Stay updated on all the Jayhawks’ performances through the meet central page at kuathletics.com and through twitter at KU_Track.