Kansas Opens Big 12 Championships with a Flurry

May 11, 2007


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Seniors Abby Emsick and Cody Roberts concluded their Big 12 discus careers with second and third-place finishes, respectively, Friday at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships at Ed Weir Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Junior Josh Kirk and freshman Chelsea Helm competed well in the decathlon and heptathlon and in the day’s finale, the 10,000-meter run, juniors Alicia McGregor and Paul Hefferon picked up valuable for the Jayhawks.

After day one, the women have scored nine points, good for fifth place, while the men have totaled 11 points and stand in second place.

Senior Abby Emsick wrapped up her conference discus career with a second-place finish throw of 179-08 (54.76m). She battled with <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>Nebraska’s Dace Ruskule throughout the competition and missed the league title by 38 inches. The finish matched a career best for Emsick, the school record holder, at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, as she also finished second during her freshman year.

“I am very happy with my performance today,” Emsick said. “I pretty much improved with every throw and am eagerly anticipating the Midwest Regionals.”

Fellow senior Cody Roberts placed third in the discus with a throw of 180-01 (54.88m). Roberts earned six points for the men’s team with his career-best conference finish. He leapt from fifth to third on his final throw of the competition, surpassing Bobby Musil of Missouri.

“Although I am a little disappointed with my performance, I am happy to help my team out by earning these valuable points,” Roberts said. “I know that I still have at least one more meet to improve my performance.”

Kansas throws coach Andy Kokhanovsky was pleased with the way his seniors competed at their final Big 12 championships.

“I am very proud of Abby and Cody for their performances today,” Kokhanovsky said. “Cody did a great job overcoming some early jitters to take third and Abby demonstrated the consistency that has made her one of the conference’s best over the past four years.”

In the multi-event competitions, junior Josh Kirk stands in 10th place in the decathlon and freshman Chelsea Helm is in 12th place after day one of the competition. The decathlon is tightly contested, as 88 points separate 10th from fourth place. Kirk finished the day strong, placing second in the 400-meter dash to earn 840 points and bring his point total to 3,702.

“This is the closest decathlon competition I have ever been a part of,” Kirk said. “I was happy to finish today the way I did in the 400-meter dash and feel that I am primed to make a move on the field in tomorrow’s events.”

Helm finished with 2,466 points and set new personal bests in the four events completed Friday: the 100-meter hurdles, shot put, 200-meter dash and the high jump.

“Today went great. I felt very good and was proud to set new personal records in all the events today,” Helm said. “I am very excited to see how things progress tomorrow and hope to continue to improve.”

Friday concluded with the running of the men’s and women’s 10,000-meter run. In the women’s event, junior Alicia McGregor scored for the first time in her KU career, finishing eighth in 37:02.62. In the men’s event, junior Paul Hefferon, a 2006 cross country All-American, finished fourth in 30:52.21.

The Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships continue Saturday. Stay with kuathletics.com for all the results and standings.