Eight Jayhawks Take Titles in Final Day of 84th Annual Kansas Relays
April 23, 2011
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
Kansas had a dominate performance in several track and field events Saturday as both the men’s and women’s teams closed out the 84th Kansas Relays in impressive style. Diamond Dixon was the highlight of the meet for the Jayhawks as she earned female athlete of the meet honors for her first-place performances in the 400 meters and the 4X400-meter relay. The El Paso, Texas native is the first KU athlete to earn the honor since KU pole vaulter Andrea Branson received the award in 2000.
Other Jayhawks to notch first-place finishes were sophomore Mason Finley in the discus, sophomore Kyle Clemons in the 400 meters, juniors Rebeka Stowe and Donny Wasinger in the 1,500 meters, freshman Jessica Maroszek in the discus and both men’s and women’s 4X400-meter relay teams brought home gold for the Jayhawks in their final home meet of the season.
Both men’s and women’s 400 meter titles went to Jayhawks on Saturday afternoon as freshman Diamond Dixon and sophomore Kyle Clemons brought home gold in the event. Dixon, who ran a personal record time of 53.62 in the qualifying round Friday, crossed the finish line in the finals with a time of 53.63. The time moves her up to seventh in the Big 12 Conference standings for the 400 meters. Clemons took the men’s title with a time of 47.67. The Rowlett, Texas native won the event for the second-straight year.
“I felt pretty good, it’s been a long week,” said Clemons following his race. “This puts me in a good position to go and try and win that Big 12 title and then I’ll just take it from there.”
While Clemons was the lone Kansas competitor in the men’s 400, Dixon was joined by teammates Kendra Bradley and Taylor Washington in the event who finished second and third, respectively. Bradley recorded a personal-best time as she rounded the track in 54.83 while Washington was not far behind as she crossed the finish line in 55.53.
Kansas freshman Jessica Maroszek captured first place in the discus throw with her toss of 54.21 meters (177-10 ft.). Maroszek opened the competition with a 53.10 meter toss, which was a good enough mark to win the competition, as the closest competitor finished nearly four meters behind her.
“I felt really confident today,” said Maroszek. “I practice in this ring a lot and because it’s a home meet I felt like I had to do really well.”
On her third throw in the preliminaries, Maroszek unloaded her winning toss, which also doubled as a new career-best mark and ranks second in KU history. Although just a freshman, Maroszek is just three feet off the all-time Kansas mark of 180-10 ft., set by Abby Emsick in 2003.
Kansas dominated the 1,500 meters competition as juniors Rebeka Stowe and Donny Wasinger each took home titles in the event. Stowe was very strategic with her running as she stayed with the pack for much of the first two laps before pushing herself towards the lead. Stowe clocked in at 4:28.19, a new personal best for the Olathe, Kan., native. Stowe was followed in the event by fellow junior Cori Christensen, who also posted a new career-best with her time of 4:30.41.
Wasinger took home the men’s title with his new personal best time of 3:44.89. Wasinger maintained a close second-place position throughout much of the race before overtaking the lead down the stretch. His KU teammate, freshman Josh Munsch, finished in third place with his time of 3:52.32, while junior Austin Bussing was sixth with his time of 3:56.44.
“I’m definitely happy,” Wasinger said after his race. “I didn’t see exactly what my time was but my goal was to hit a 46. So I felt my time was good. (It was the) fastest time in the Big 12 this year so that’s legit.”
Mason Finley took home his second title of the meet Saturday evening in the men’s discus. The sophomore, who is currently ranked third in the country in the event, hurled a throw of 58.86 meters (193-01 ft.) on his fifth attempt to blow away the field by almost 10 feet.
“It is a good feeling to know I could pull through for my team,” said Finley after winning both the shot put and discus. “It’s always good to keep Kansas on top.”
Finley won the discus event for the second-straight year, but bested last year’s winning mark by more than five feet with this year’s winning throw.
After impressive times in the qualifying rounds, the men’s and women’s 4X400-meter relay teams didn’t disappoint in the finals as both took gold to close out the day’s events.
On the women’s side, senior Kendra Bradley, sophomore Taylor Washington, freshman Diamond Dixon and junior Shayla Wilson passed the baton around in 3:38.55, just 1.22 seconds off their season’s best time. The win was their second of the season.
“We felt pretty confident coming in,” said Wilson following the race. “We can only go up from here so we’ll just try to do what we did during the indoor season and keep improving.”
For the men, freshman Dominique Manley, sophomore Kyle Clemons, freshman Dalen Fink and senior Keron Toussaint marked their season’s best time, winning the race in 3:12.34. After falling behind going into the final leg of the race, the anchor Toussaint sped around the track, moving up the field and pulling away in the final 100 meters. The time is the seventh-fastest in the Big 12 this season.
“It feels good; that’s the fastest time we have run all year,” Toussaint said of his team’s performance. “We have some room for improvement, but it was good to get this win on our track.”
In the women’s pole vault, Jaci Perryman tied her outdoor personal record, clearing a height of 4.10 meters (13-05.25 ft.) in a runner-up finish to Nebraska’s Natalie Willer. Perryman hit the mark on her first attempt but was unable to get over the next bar at 4.10 meters. Seven other Jayhawks joined Perryman in the event, three of whom set personal bests. Freshman Demi Payne took fifth with a jump of 4.00 meters (13-01.50 ft.), Julia Cummings tied for seventh with a personal record vault of 3.90 meters (12-09.50 ft.), Tara Turnbull marked a height of 3.65 meters (11-11.75 ft.) in a 10th-place finish and Sarah Hedberg recorded a personal record also at a height of 3.65m (11-11.75ft.) to finish in 12th place.
Kansas’ Francine Simpson, currently ranked No. 2 in the country in the women’s long jump, placed third in the event with a top jump of 6.38 meters (20-11.25 ft.). The mark is her second best of the season. Simpson’s teammate Andrea Geubelle was not far behind in a fourth-place finish with a final mark of 6.33m (20-06.25 ft.), her best of the season.
After one of most successful meets for the Jayhawks this season, the men’s and women’s teams will look to continue to move up the national rankings as they make trips to several different meets across the country next weekend. For complete Kansas results and live updates, follow www.kuathletics.com.
Kansas Relays 4/23
1. Diamond Dixon, 53.63
2. Kendra Bradley, 54.83 ***Personal Best***
3. Taylor Washington, 55.53
3. Shayla Wilson, 2:13.34
1. Rebeka Stowe, 4:28.19 ***Personal Best***
3. Cori Christensen, 4:30.41 ***Personal Best***
4X400 Meter Relay
1. Kansas (Bradley, Washington, Dixon, Wilson), 3:38.56
2. Jaci Perryman, 4.10m (13-05.25 ft.)
5. Demi Payne, 4.00m (13-01.50 ft.)
7. Julia Cummings, 3.90m (12-09.50 ft.) ***Personal Best***
10. Tara Turnbull, 3.65m (11-11.75 ft.)
12. Sara Hedberg, 3.65m (11-11.75 ft.) ***Personal Best***
15. Abby Row, 3.50m (11-05.75 ft.) ***Personal Best***
17. Abby Jones, 3.50m (11-05.75 ft.)
3. Francine Simpson, 6.38m (20-11.25 ft.)
4. Andrea Geubelle, 6.33m (20-06.25 ft.)
1. Jessica Maroszek, 54.21m (177-10 ft.) ***Personal Best***
1. Kyle Clemons, 47.67
6. Dalen Fink, 1:53.07
7. Dominique Manley, 1:53.36
8. Nick Seckfort, 1:54.58 ***Personal Best***
1. Donny Wasinger, 3:44.89 ***Personal Best***
3. Josh Munsch, 3:52.32
6. Austin Bussing, 3:56.44
4X400 Meter Relay
1. Kansas (Manley, Clemons, Fink, Toussaint), 3:12.34 ***Season’s Best***
5. Nick Giancana, 2.05m (6-08.75 ft.) ***Personal Bests***
10. Nick Canton, 2.00m (6-06.75 ft.)
9. Jareb Stallbaumer, 7.00m (22-11.75 ft.)
15. Darryl Trotter, 6.70m (21-11.75 ft.)
1. Mason Finley, 58.86m (193-01 ft.)
5. Brian Bishop, 54.76m (179-08 ft.)
19. Joel Krause, 41.35m (35-08 ft.)