Bartnovskaya's Record Vault Highlights Sun Angel Classic
April 7, 2013
TEMPE, Ariz. – For the second-consecutive week, junior pole vaulter Natalia Bartnovskaya rewrote the school record books as she and the rest of the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams competed at the Sun Angel Classic Saturday. Kansas saw NCAA-top 10 performances in five events on the day as it took part in its second meet of the outdoor season.
Bartnovskaya, the 2013 indoor NCAA pole vault champion, entered the meet just six days removed from etching her name into the school record books after she and teammate Christen Guenther cleared 4.31 meters (14’1.75″) at the Texas Relays last week.
Inside Sun Angel Stadium Saturday, Bartnovskaya appeared to have not lost a beat after her performance in Austin, again moving through the heights with little resistance. Her day nearly came to an end prematurely on two occasions, needing all three attempts to clear two bars, but she was able to get over four heights on her first vaults, which included her career-best and school record leap of 4.41 meters (14’5.5″). Her clearance earned her the victory over a national championship-caliber field while her teammate Guenther earned a fourth-place finish with a top bar of 4.21 meters (13’9.75″).
Bartnovskaya’s clearance is the third-best in the NCAA this season and was just two inches from making the Krasnoyarsk, Russia native one of the top-10 all-time performers in NCAA history. Her vault also topped the five-year-old Sun Angel meet record and gave her the first outdoor pole vault victory of her KU career.
Heather Bergmann had a solid outing in her second javelin competition of the year. The senior saved the best for last, hitting a top mark of 52.23 meters (171’4″) on her final attempt of the night. Her mark placed her as the top collegiate finisher and gave her a third-place finish overall. Bergmann’s throw was also just 16 inches from her own school-record mark and puts the two-time All-American fourth in the NCAA rankings.
On the track the KU women’s top performance came from the 4×400-meter relay team. All-Americans Denesha Morris, Diamond Dixon, Taylor Washington and Paris Daniels looked to turn in a top time in the quartet’s first outing of the outdoor season. Kansas led from the gun, with each leg padding the team’s lead as the race progressed. The anchor, Daniels, got the baton through the finish in a time of 3:32.26 to beat the runner-up Arkansas team by nearly five seconds. KU’s time is the third-fastest in school history and is the eighth-fastest time in the NCAA in 2013.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay also featured an exciting finish. The team of Kyle Clemons, Michael Hester, Michael Stigler and Kenneth McCuin held off a pesky Arizona State squad to earn their first win of the 2013 outdoor campaign. The group traded the lead with ASU for the majority of the mile-race but McCuin was able hold off the Sun Devil’s anchor down the final 100 meters to seal the Jayhawk victory and give his time the win. KU clocked in with a season-best of 3:05.95, a time that ranks the team eighth in the nation this year.
Junior Josh Munsch ran the fastest 1,500-meter race of his career among a collection of the best professional and collegiate distance runners in the U.S. Munsch found himself in the middle of the pack 1,000 meters into the race but made a charge to the front with 400 meters remaining to give himself a shot at the win. The Hays, Kan., product fell back down the homestretch but still managed to cross the finish in a personal-best 3:43.03 to finish fourth overall. A Second Team All-American in the event last season, Munsch’s time puts him in the top-five of this season’s NCAA rankings and just .2 seconds from entering the prestigious top-five of KU’s all-time 1,500-meter list.
Brendan Soucie also found himself competing in a premier event, racing in the 800 meters. The junior out of Osawatomie, Kan., posted the best half-mile time of his career, crossing the finish in 1:50.21 to finish fifth overall. Soucie’s time now sits him inside the top-15 of the NCAA’s West Region and is the fastest 800 meters run by a KU male since 2005.
Friday night, Natalie Becker turned in an outstanding performance in the 5,000 meters. The junior out of St. Louis ran away from the field notching a final time more than five seconds faster than the next finisher. She finished the 3.2 mile race in 16:57.82 to earn the victory. The time is the best of her career and is No. 7 on KU’s all-time performance list.
In her first appearance in the event, freshman Hannah Richardson looked well-seasoned in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. The Kirkwood, Mo., native finished the race in 10:57.95. The time earned her a fifth-place finish and puts the first-year Jayhawk at No. 7 in the Big 12 rankings in 2013.
While they were not competing in the heptathlon, combined-event specialists Lindsay Vollmer and Rebecca Neville took part in several events Saturday. Vollmer was able to tie her personal best in the high jump, clearing 1.72 meters (5’7.25″). Both Jayhawks notched career-bests in the shot put with Vollmer hitting a top throw of 12.45 meters (40’10.25″) and Neville notching a mark of 11.12 meters (36’5.75″)
Other notable Jayhawks in action were senior Andrea Geubelle, who finished third in her first outdoor long jump of the season, posting a top leap of 6.31 meters (20’4.5″). Daniels sprinted to a runner-up finish in the 100 meters, crossing the finish in 11.52. Anastasiya Muchkayev claimed fourth in the premier division of the discus throw, notching a throw of 51.91 meters (170’4″).
The Jayhawks will have one final tune-up before they return home for the 86th Annual Kansas Relays as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the John McDonnell Invitational next weekend. Action from Arkansas will begin Friday, April 12 with the hammer throw and discus events and will conclude Saturday, April 13 on the track. Follow all the action by following on twitter at KU_Track and logging on to KUAthletics.com.
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