Jumpers Pace Jayhawks on Day Three of the Texas Relays

March 29, 2013

86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays
Day 3
As she did with the indoor mark, junior Natalia Bartnovskaya took down the KU outdoor pole vault record along with teammate Christen Geunther.

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Austin, Texas – Five Jayhawk jumpers claimed event titles while a school record fell Friday as the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams competed on the third day of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Friday. Several members of the No. 1-ranked KU women’s squad moved into the top-10 of the NCAA rankings, which puts the team in solid position as it tries to kick off its highly-anticipated outdoor season strong.

In their first outdoor competitions in a Kansas singlet, senior Christen Guenther and junior Natalia Bartnovskaya inserted their names into the school record books as both leaped to a new school high mark in the pole vault. Guenther, who is a fifth-year senior after transferring from BYU, got over her first three bars without a single foul and was able to clear the school-record height on just her second attempt. Bartnovskaya, the reigning NCAA indoor champion in the event, needed six attempts to get her three heights but managed to match her teammate. The duo got over 4.31 meters (14’1.75″) to erase former Jayhawk Amy Linnen’s name from the school record books.

Guenther managed a runner-up finish and edged her teammate, Bartnovskaya, who finished third, after she turned in fewer misses. Both Jayhawks now hold the third-best pole vault marks in the NCAA this season.

Seeing her first action since claiming NCAA indoor titles in both the long jump and triple jump, senior Andrea Geubelle continued her dominance at the collegiate level by winning the triple jump inside Mike A. Myers stadium Friday evening. Geubelle trailed for nearly the entire competition, sitting in second-place as she went into her final attempt. The University Place, Wash., native leapt to a mark of 13.74 meters (45’1.75″) on her last jump of the night to take over the lead, where she would eventually finish.

The win gives Geubelle her 14th triple jump win in her last 16 competitions versus collegians and moves her to the top of the NCAA leaderboard. Her winning mark, although wind-aided, was the third-farthest jump of her career.

Francine Simpson was another senior jumper who opened up her final outdoor season on a good note. The reigning Big 12 champion in the long jump, Simpson entered the competition in Austin up against a formidable field which featured two professionals and a handful of All-Americans. Like her teammate Geubelle, Simpson waited until her last attempt of the competition to take over the lead. The Chapelton, Jamaica native soared to a mark of 6.62 meters (21-8.75 ft.) on her sixth attempt to outpace UCLA’s Kylie Price by four inches. Simpson’s winning mark makes her the NCAA leader and was just two inches from breaking her own personal record.

Earlier in the day, promising freshman Sydney Conley took part in the B-section long jump and began the trend for a successful day for the KU jumpers. The Fayetteville, Ark., native posted a top jump of 6.20 meters (20’4.25″) which went on to propel her to her first win as a Jayhawk. Conley’s mark moves her into the top-10 of the NCAA leaderboard and trails only her teammate, Simpson, in the Big 12 rankings.

On the men’s side Jonathan Fuller appeared to return to form as he claimed the B-section men’s high jump title. The sophomore out of Dallas was one of five competitors to clear 2.13 meters (6’11.75″) but won the event in a jump-off after he got over the 2.10 meter (6’10.75″) bar on his first attempt. The win was Fuller’s second outdoors as a Jayhawk, after he won the event at the Missouri Southern Invitational last April.

On the track, Michael Stigler picked up where he left from his conference freshman of the year campaign a year ago. Running in the final of the 400-meter hurdles, the sophomore entered the race boasting the top-qualifying time after turning in a time of 50.88 in the semifinals Thursday. In the final, Stigler again pulled away from the field down the final 100 meters, crossing the finish in 50.00 to take the victory. The Canyon, Texas native’s winning time is the fastest in the NCAA this season and is the third-best of his young career.

Senior Paris Daniels was in semifinal action of the 100 meters and was able to advance to the final in amongst a competitive field. The All-American sped to the finish in a wind-aided time of 11.42 to turn in the sixth-fastest qualifying time. She will head to the starting blocks for the final Saturday at 3:05 p.m.

One more day of track and field action is in store from Austin as the Jayhawks close out competition at the Texas Relays Saturday. Daniels will look for the win in the finals of 100 meters at 3 p.m., while the men’s 4×200-meter relay will hit the track at noon. A host of Jayhawks will also take to the track Saturday at the Emporia Spring Open in Emporia, Kan. The women’s throwers are expected to highlight the day as All-Americans Alena Krechyk, Heather Bergmann and Jessica Maroszek will all be in action. Stay updated on all the KU performances Saturday through twitter at KU_Track and log on to KUAthletics.com for a complete recap of the day’s action.

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