Jayhawks Hit the Road for NCAA West Prelim this Week in Austin
May 22, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Austin, Texas, May 24-26 for the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary held at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas. The event is the first of two meets as part of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships that begin this week and conclude in Des Moines, Iowa, June 6-9.
The Jayhawks enter the meet ranked No. 2 in the country on the women’s side and 20th in the national rankings on the men’s side. KU, which recently finished second on the women’s side and eighth on the men’s side at the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor Championships, is sending a total of 34 athletes to the meet, 18 men and 16 women.
The women’s team heads into the week in Austin as true contenders for the program’s first NCAA national title. KU will look to sophomore Diamond Dixon and senior Rebeka Stowe on the track as well as junior Andrea Geubelle and senior Alena Krechyk in the field to guide the Jayhawks to qualifying for the NCAA meet.
Dixon boasts the second-best time in the nation in the 400 meters with her school-record time of 51.09, which she set two weeks ago en route to her second-straight Big 12 title. She will run in the first round of the 400 meter heats on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. Stowe won her first conference title at the 2012 Big 12 Championships in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. The senior has the third-fastest time in the event nationally this season and will look to better her PR time of 9:52.82 in the national semifinals Friday at 9:30 p.m.
Geubelle goes into Austin ranked third in the nation in the triple jump and 10th in the long jump. She claimed her first outdoor conference triple jump title at the Big 12 meet and was runner-up in the long jump to her teammate Francine Simpson. Both will start off their weeks Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the long jump with Geubelle also competing in the triple jump on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Krechyk is coming off a huge performance at the Big 12 Championships in the hammer throw. The senior hit a mark of 69.02 meters (226-05 ft.) to win the conference crown and propel herself to third in the nation as she heads into the post -season meets. She’ll try to once again bring out a school record throw Saturday at 2 p.m.
Other notable Jayhawk women who enter the meet in the top 10 in the region are Heather Bergmann (5th, javelin), Paris Daniels (4th, 200m; 6th 100m), the 4X100-meter relay team ranked fifth regionally composed of Daniels, Simpson, Denesha Morris and Dixon and the 4×400-meter relay team ranked first in the NCAA composed of Daniels, Morris, Taylor Washington and Dixon.
Junior thrower Mason Finley and freshman hurdler Michael Stigler will lead the KU men’s team’s effort this week in Austin. Finley has claimed First Team All-America honors each of the last two seasons in both the discus and the shot put and will begin his journey for a three-time distinction this week. He’ll hit the throwers’ ring at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the shout put and 11 a.m. Saturday in the discus. Stigler will hit the track Thursday in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles at 4:30 p.m. coming off an unprecedented Big 12 victory in the event two weeks ago. His school record time of 49.45 puts him at fourth in the nation this season.
Additionally on the men’s side, junior Johann Swanepoel is ranked fourth in the region in the javelin, while junior Kyle Clemons is ranked eighth in the 400 meters. The KU men’s 4×400-meter relay team composed of Clemons and freshmen Michael Hester, Stigler and Kenneth McCuin arrives in Austin with the seventh-best time in the region.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships-West Preliminary will kick-off Thursday, May 24 with the men’s javelin qualifying and will conclude Saturday, May 26 with the running of the 4×400 meter relays. Stay logged on to kuathletics.com for complete coverage throughout the week, including live updates, results, recaps and videos of each day’s action. Also follow on Twitter at KU_Track.
ABOUT THE NCAA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Just two years ago, the NCAA implemented a new process for qualification into the Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Hard-line qualifying standards are no longer used for entry into a regional meet. Instead of a four-region system, all schools in Division I track and field are categorized into either the East or West region. There are two preliminary sites for the 2012 NCAA Championships, Austin, Texas (West) and Jacksonville, Fla. (East), both of which will be held May 24-26.
In order to qualify for the Preliminary Meet, which is technically the first round of the championships, an athlete must be among the top 48 per region in the individual event in which they declare, while the top 24 relays per region, that declare, will compete at the preliminary site. The caveat to this rule is for the heptathlon/decathlon events. The top 24 overall that declare for the combined events will contest at the national-final site in Des Moines, Iowa.
Some events, like the sprints and up to the 1,500 meters, will have four rounds as part of the national championship: two contested at the preliminary sites and two at the finals site. Some events contest one round at the prelim site, and two at the finals site. Every round will have a “national” component to its title since this is essentially one big meet. Advancement through the rounds will be determined on placement in the round in question and not on prior performances during the season.