Krechyk Claims Hammer Throw Title on Day One of Big 12 Championships
May 11, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Senior Alena Krechyk was crowned the conference’s hammer throw champion Friday at the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Kansas State University. Krechyk’s winning mark of 69.02 meters (226-05 ft.) smashed both the Big 12 meet record and Kansas State facility record as well as her own school record and moved her to No. 3 in the NCAA this year.
“I was surprised that I threw that far,” said Krechyk after winning the title. “I’m proud of it and I’m really happy that I got the points the coaches expected.”
Krechyk’s school record throw was the only fair toss she would record all day. After throwing the hammer into the net on her first attempt, the Grodno, Belarus native uncoiled for a mark that had never before been reached at a Big 12 meet. The distance measured out to 69.02 meters (226-05 ft.), giving Krechyk her fourth new school record of this year and the third-furthest mark in the NCAA this season.
“I’ve had a pretty good year,” Krechyk concluded. “It’s been tough balancing practice and school, so I didn’t expect to compete this well. Coach (Andy Kohkanovsky) has been working me hard in practice and that has really helped me a lot.”
Krechyk’s victory marks just the third time in the last six years that a KU female has claimed the conference crown in the event, having won the title herself in 2010 and Zlata Tarasova earning the win in 2007. In all events combined, the KU women have now won 15 individual Big 12 outdoor titles since the conference’s inception in 1997.
Krechyk’s heroics not only added another Big 12 trophy to her collection but also garnered 10 points toward the KU women’s team score. The Jayhawks amassed 20 points on Day 1, enough to put them in third place close behind Iowa State’s and Texas A&M’s 21 points through the first three events scored.
Heather Bergmann and Allison Mayfield kicked off the KU scoring effort early in the day in the women’s javelin. Bergmann entered Friday boasting the No. 2 mark in the conference and fourth best in the nation. The junior didn’t disappoint, easing her way into the finals in second place after hitting a mark of 50.11 meters (164-05 ft.) on her opening throw. Mayfield had to work a bit harder to claim her spot among the final eight throwers. The senior out of Overland Park, Kan. threw the javelin a distance of 41.83 meters (137-03 ft.) on her last attempt of the preliminary round, sneaking her way into the finals with a mark just over a foot better than the first athlete eliminated.
Mayfield reaffirmed that she belonged in the finals when she bettered her previous best mark, hitting 42.52 meters (139-06 ft.) on her first of three attempts of finals. The throw moved the senior up one spot to seventh, where she would eventually end her day.
Bergmann also improved upon her best mark in the finals; however, unlike Mayfield, she waited until her final throw. The Concordia, Kan. native sailed the javelin a distance of 51.39 meters (168-07 ft.), which claimed her spot as the conference runner-up. Bergmann’s and Mayfield’s finishes, both career highs at the Big 12 meet, combined for 10 points toward their team’s score.
On the men’s side, the javelin field was loaded with Jayhawks as four KU men took the runway for competition in a field of 14 throwers. Junior Johann Swanepoel entered the day as the highest-ranked Jayhawk in the Big 12 rankings at No. 2. He was joined by seniors Iain Trimble and Daniel Hitman, as well as junior Jesse Vaughn. Swanepoel and Vaughn each advanced to the finals via their second-round attempts. Trimble and Hitman found themselves just off the marks needed to advance to the finals, finishing ninth and 10th, respectively.
In the finals, Swanepoel struck gold on his fifth attempt of the day, hitting a mark of 65.86 meters (216-01 ft.) to cement his position in third place. The finish gave Swanepoel six points toward the team scoring and the highest finish of his career at the conference meet. Vaughn waited until his final attempt of the day to earn his best mark. The junior stood in seventh place going into his final throw but launched a big mark of 64.17 meters (210-06 ft.) to propel himself up to fourth place. Vaughn would add five additional points to the team total with his highest-ever finish at the Big 12 meet.
Multi-event specialists Lindsay Vollmer and Rebecca Neville got the meet started for the Jayhawks as the duo began the two-day excursion of the heptathlon. The highlight of the day came in the high jump portion of the event when Vollmer cleared a new personal-best height of 1.72 meters (5-07.75 ft.) to top all her competitors in the event. Through the first four of seven events, the freshman Vollmer sits in third place having accumulated 3,326 points, while Neville collected 2,850 to position herself in 15th.
The running of the men’s and women’s 10,000 meters closed out the opening day of the conference meet with KU featuring pair of Jayhawks running on both sides. For the women, freshman Liza Tauscher completed the 6.2-mile race in 12th place finishing in a PR time of 38:29.62 while junior Tessa Turcotte was unable to complete the race.
For the men a pair of first-time competitors, James Wilson and Evan Landes, hung tough with the leaders for the majority of the race, however the two were unable to keep up with the suicide pace down the stretch. A redshirt freshman, Wilson finished 11th in 30:19.67, while the true-freshman, Landes, crossed the finish line in 30:23.16 to place 12th.
The KU men sit in sixth place with 11 points after the first day’s events at R.V. Christian Track Complex.
Two days remain of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Saturday will feature preliminary action from the track as well as shot put, 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.