KU Women Remain No. 1 in National Rankings
April 2, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – The University of Kanas women’s track & field team verified its No. 1 preseason ranking as the Jayhawks maintained their position at the top spot on the first regular-season list that was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Tuesday.
A pair of pole vaulters was the impetus behind the Jayhawk women extending their lead atop the national rankings, as junior Natalia Bartnovskaya and senior Christen Guenther both posted school-record clearances of 4.31 meters (14’1.75″) at the Texas Relays en route to a tie at the No. 6 spot in the NCAA event rankings.
Kansas’ ranking also is based on the strength of 11 returners from last year who were ranked in the top 10 of their events, including top-ranked Andrea Geubelle (No. 1 triple jump, No. 8 long jump) and Alena Krechyk (No. 1 hammer throw). Geubelle took both the long jump and triple jump titles at the recent indoor championships, as she lead the Jayhawks to their second-consecutive runner-up finish.
Other Jayhawks poised to make an impact this season are seniors Heather Bergmann (javelin), Paris Daniels (100m, 200m) and Francine Simpson (long jump) in addition to junior Diamond Dixon (400m). Bergmann was the Big 12 runner-up in the event last year and finds herself ranked seventh in the nation this year after a winning performance last weekend at the Emporia Spring Open. Daniels has won the last two 200-meter titles against league competition and turned in the NCAA’s No. 10 100-meter time (11.42) at the Texas Relays last Friday. Simpson has already been outstanding in her senior campaign, topping the field in the long jump at the Texas Relays with a NCAA-leading mark of 6.62 meters (21’8.75″).
Dixon ran the second-fastest 400-meters in the nation a year ago (51.09), repeating as conference champion in the event. She was also the top collegiate finisher at the Olympic Trials, running to a fourth-place finish overall in a school-record time of 50.88 and earning a trip to the London Olympics as part of the gold medal-winning 4×400-meter relay team.
The KU men still find themselves sitting just outside the top-25 of the preseason rankings, coming in at No. 26. The Jayhawks finished last year with a 23rd-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and return four of the five athletes who scored at the national meet, including sophomore Michael Stigler who currently has the top 400-meter hurdle time in the NCAA (50.00).
The Kansas men and women will move into the heart of the outdoor season when they travel to Tempe, Arizona for the Sun Angel Classic April 5-6. Get a complete recap of all the Jayhawks’ performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter at KU_Track.
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