Strong Outing by KU Vaulters Kick Off Big 12 Championships
May 3, 2013
WACO, Texas – The Kansas women’s pole vaulters combined to score 20 points as the four Jayhawks put KU in third place in the team standings after day one of the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Junior Natalia Bartnovskaya and senior Christen Guenther notched second- and third-place finishes, respectively, in the event while sophomore Lindsay Vollmer got out to a big lead on the opening day of the heptathlon.
In what turned out to be an impressive showdown in the women’s pole vault, the Jayhawks competing were able to assert their dominance as four KU women were able to place in the top seven of the final standings. The event came down to a Kansas versus Texas battle as each school saw a pair of its athletes among the final four. After Guenther recorded two fouls on her opening bar, she rattled off three-straight clearances, her final a bar of 4.16 meters (13’7.75″). That height eventually garnered her third place in the final standings.
The championship came down to Bartnovskaya and Texas’ Caitlin Petrillose, as the two had jockeyed for the lead the entire competition. Petrillose appeared to be cruising to an easy victory after not recording a single foul throughout the day, but Bartnovskaya vaulted herself back into the competition when she got over a height of 4.26 meters (13’11.75″). The Texas freshman could not be stopped though as she cleared two more heights, a feat Bartnovskaya was unable to achieve, earning her the runner-up finish.
While Texas may have won the individual battle, the event was the greater success for Kansas, which saw the Jayhawks earn total 20 points. Bartnovksaya and Guenther combined for 14 points while sophomore Jaimie House‘s fifth-place finish added an additional four points to the KU total. Junior Abby Row turned in a season-best clearance when the 3.76 meter (12’4″) bar took two bounces but decided to stay put, eventually giving the Merriam, Kan., native a seventh-place finish, two points and her first scoring effort at an outdoor Big 12 meet.
Day one of the heptathlon was a success for the Jayhawk participants. Vollmer blazed out of the gates as she leads the event handily through four of the seven events, while senior Rebecca Neville sits in fifth. The Hamilton, Mo., product recorded career bests on her first two competitions of the day. She first sprinted to a speedy personal record in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking in at a wind-aided 13.65 to take second in the event with Neville claiming fourth as she pushed through the finish in 14.08.
In the second heptathlon event, the high jump, Vollmer was again outstanding. She cleared a top bar of 1.75 meters (5’8.75″) on her first attempt at the height. The career-best earned her an additional 916 points and gave her a lead of 104 points through just two events.
After another first-place finish for Vollmer and fifth-place finish for Neville in the shot put, the two again posted impressive marks in the fourth and final event of the day, the 200 meters. It was Neville who had the upper hand in the late-afternoon event. The Merrillville, Ind., native turned in a season-best time of 25.07, good for 880 points and a third-place finish. Vollmer clocked in at 25.21 to close her day out with an additional 868 points.
Vollmer is well ahead of her personal best pace as she amassed 3,490 points after day one. She leads the event by 164 points with just three events remaining. Neville is also sitting with a strong chance to score on day two after accumulating 3,141 points to move herself into fifth. The KU duo will begin its final day in the event starting at 10:30 a.m., Saturday in the long jump before completing the competition in the javelin and 800 meters.
In the night cap, the men’s and women’s 10,000-meter races took center stage. The Kansas men were led by sophomore Evan Landes who turned in one of the fastest times ever recorded by a Jayhawk. The Mulvane, Kan., native completed the 6.2-mile race in a personal-best 29:31.23 to finish just off a scoring spot at ninth. Landes’ time was also just six seconds from making him one of the top-four performers in Kansas history. Senior Josh Baden claimed a 15th-place finish in 30:54.47, while sophomore James Wilson finished just behind his teammate in 16th with a time of 30:58.43.
Senior Kyra Kilwein was the KU women’s lone representative in the 10,000 meters. Kilwein managed to stick with the lead pack for the first half of the race before falling back in the final three-mile stretch. The Lawrence, Kan., native turned in a time of 36:48.26 to finish 11th overall.
It was a disappointing outing for the Jayhawks’ All-American hammer thrower, Alena Krechyk. The senior, who claimed the conference title in the event in 2010 and in 2012, was unable to record a fair mark on her three attempts in the preliminary round. The three fouls left Krechyk empty handed and was her first non-scoring effort at an indoor or outdoor conference meet.
Two days remain of the 2013 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Saturday will feature preliminary action from the track as well as women’s shot put, men’s pole vault and long jump events in the field. Stay updated on all the Jayhawks’ performances through the meet central page on KUAthletics.com and watch for the complete recap, along with results and videos, which will be posted following the finish of the day’s events.
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