Jayhawks Finish Strong at 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships--West Preliminary
May 28, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. –
Kansas had a strong finish at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships—West Preliminary as a total of five athletes added their names to the list of Jayhawk athletes advancing to the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and two more qualified for the second time as they each finished in the top 12 of their respective events here Saturday afternoon at the historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.
“Overall I am pleased with our performance here this weekend,” said Kansas head coach Stanley Redwine. “We had a couple of disappointments and a few people who really stepped up in big moments and that is usually what happens with track and field. You cannot predict the weather or other conditions. I am looking forward to seeing these 12 athletes perform at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines.”
Kansas freshman thrower Jessica Maroszek took home a third place finish in the women’s discus throw with her mark of 53.94 meters (176-11 ft.), which ranks as her third best throw this season. The Seymour, Wis., native, opened the competition with a solid mark of 49.89 meters (163-08 ft.), which all but assured her a spot in the 16-person quarterfinal round. Maroszek then recorded fouls on her next two attempts, but moved on to the next round sitting in 13th place, one spot out of a trip to Des Moines.
“In prelims I felt like my throws were good, but there was just something missing technically that was not allowing me to get a big throw in,” said Maroszek, who advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career. “Going into warm ups for finals Coach (Kokhanovsky) told me I needed to compete because it was going to be my last shot to make it to Des Moines.”
Compete she did as Maroszek hurled the discus 53.94 meters (176-11 ft.) on her fourth attempt, pushing her all the way up into second place amongst the final 16 competitors. Her big throw allowed her to pass on her final two opportunities to throw in the competition. Baillie Gibson of Arizona moved in front of Maroszek in the fifth round of throws, giving the KU freshman her final spot of third place.
“Technically I kept telling myself to go wide out of the back, keep my left arm down and jump at the end,” said Maroszek, of her form on her top throw. “I am not supposed to think about anything when I am in the ring, but today it helped me to focus on those three things and then take a deep breath and clear my mind right before I threw. Knowing I had locked up a top spot was such a great feeling. I was shaking, but I was also so relieved.”
KU sophomore thrower Mason Finley also advanced to Des Moines in the discus with an identical third place finish. Finley, who already took home the shot put title from the West Preliminary, turned in a toss of 57.29 meters (187-11 ft.) en route to his third-place finish.
Finley opened the competition with a foul before recording a mark of 57.08 meters (187-03 ft.) on his second throw, which was good enough to put him in fourth place. He then recorded a foul on his third and final preliminary throw.
Finley opened the finals with his best mark of the day of 57.29 meters (187-11 ft.) and ascended into second place. He was bested by Texas Tech’s Julian Wruck in the fifth round, dropping into third place. He then recorded a foul on his final throw of the day, resulting in his third place finish.
Jayhawk junior middle distance runner Donny Wasinger became the second member of the KU men’s team to earn a ticket to Des Moines on the track as he finished fifth in his quarterfinal heat of the 1,500 meters with his time of 3:47.28. Wasinger, who advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career, had to earn every second of his time here Saturday.
Wasinger immediately found himself in a battle for the fifth and final automatic qualifying spot about 100 meters into the race. He maintained his position throughout much of the first 1000 meters before the tight knit group of runners starting battling for position for the final stretch of the race.
Wasinger was pushed several times, but found his balance and after dropping back to about eighth place with 300 meters til the finish line, he maneuvered around the crowd and secured the fifth spot for the final 100 meters of the race.
“I’ve been getting used to the kind of race where I lead the whole way and where I can control the race,” said Wasinger, who competed at the 2010 NCAA Cross Country Championships. “Today was about responding to what the rest of the guys did. There were a lot of really good runners in my heat. Some of the best in the nation were in there. I was just focused on getting top five and luckily it came together.”
The Kansas women’s 4×400-meter relay team had an outstanding performance taking second in its quarterfinal heat here Saturday. The Jayhawks clocked in at 3:35.01, their top time of the 2011 season. The time also ranks as the second-fastest time in KU history.
Senior Kendra Bradley got things started off. Bradley ran a strong first leg and handed off the baton to freshman standout Diamond Dixon with the Jayhawks in third place. Dixon made quick work of her competitors and took over the lead about 200 meters into her leg of the race.
After extending the lead to about 10 meters, Dixon passed the baton to junior Shayla Wilson. Wilson ran a great leg for the Jayhawks, extending their lead slightly before handing off the baton to sophomore Taylor Washington for the final lap of the race.
“I thought we did really well,” said Wilson. “I was really excited when I was waiting for Diamond to hand it off and saw we were in first. I just told myself, ‘I have to maintain this, I can’t lose this position.’ I did that so I’m pretty proud. I really have worked on staying relaxed and not trying to go all out in the first 200 meters and just maintaining. I think it worked because I did a good job of that today.”
Washington, who had to battle Texas A&M All-American Jessica Beard, more than held her own. Beard sprinted the Aggies back into the lead, but Washington fought her way down the stretch and provided KU with an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships as she crossed the finish line in second place.
“I am very proud of my teammates,” said Washington, of her fellow NCAA Championships qualifiers. “It’s definitely a huge PR for the outdoor season. Kendra got us out there strong, Diamond ran a great second leg and got us out in front, Shayla kept the lead, and I tried to go out and make sure I didn’t go too hard the first 200 meters and have a great finish. I didn’t give up when the other girl (Beard) passed me. I tried to keep up with her and I think I did a good job of that.”
Kansas will send a total of 12 athletes to compete in 12 different events at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Hosted at Drake Stadium by Drake University, the following KU athletes will compete: Heather Bergmann (women’s javelin), Kendra Bradley (women’s 4×400), Kyle Clemons (men’s 400 meters), Diamond Dixon (women’s 400 meters, women’s 4×400), Mason Finley (men’s shot put, men’s discus), Andrea Geubelle (women’s long jump, women’s triple jump), Jessica Maroszek (women’s discus), Rebeka Stowe (women’s 3,000-meter Steeplechase), Johann Swanepoel (men’s javelin), Taylor Washington (women’s 4×400), Donny Wasinger (men’s 1,500 meters), Shayla Wilson (women’s 4×400).
May 28, 2011
NCAA Championships – West Prelims
1,500 Meters (Quarterfinals)
24. Cori Christensen, 4:37.42
4X400-Meter Relay (Quarterfinals)
5. Kansas (Bradley, Dixon, Wilson, Washington), 3:35.01 (Advances to Semifinals)
3. Jessica Marozsek, 53.94m (176-11 ft.) (Advances to Semifinals)
1,500 Meters (Quarterfinals)
13. Donny Wasinger, 3:47.28 (Advances to Semifinals)
4X400-Meter Relay (Quarterfinals)
18. Kansas (Fink, Clemons, Manley, Toussaint), 3:10.79
Triple Jump (Quarterfinals)
41. Darryl Trotter, 14.24m (46-08.75 ft.)
3. Mason Finley, 57.29m (187-11 ft.)
13. Brian Bishop, 54.01m (177-02 ft.)