Kansas Track & Field Preps for 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 4, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas’ nationally-ranked men’s and women’s track and field teams will be traveling to Des Moines, Iowa this week for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The second-ranked Jayhawk women and the 20th-ranked KU men will compete against the nation’s best at historic Drake Stadium on the campus of the Drake University June 6-9.
The Kansas women enter the week looking to end the best season in their program’s history on a high note. They will have 11 athletes in action in 13 events and vying for the first NCAA title for a Kansas group since the KU men claimed the outdoor team championship in 1970.
Leading the charge for the women’s squad are national champion hopefuls Diamond Dixon, Andrea Geubelle and the women’s 4×400-meter relay team. Both Dixon and Geubelle are the reigning NCAA indoor champions in their respective events and will both be doubling up in two competitions each this week.
The sophomore Dixon has a top 400-meter time this season 51.09, which she ran en route to claiming her second-straight Big 12 outdoor championship in May. She enters the meet having run the second-fastest time in the preliminary rounds two weeks ago at 51.71. Dixon will try to win the first outdoor NCAA title for the KU women in a track event as she hits the starting blocks in the 400-meter semifinals Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Geubelle will head to Des Moines with the furthest triple jump mark of the preliminary rounds as well as the entire season. The junior jumped a wind-aided 14.17 meters (46-06 ft.) two weeks ago in Austin, making her the national leader by over seven inches. She too will hope to make Kansas history by claiming the Jayhawks’ first women’s triple jump title Saturday at 10 a.m. Geubelle will also compete in the long jump alongside teammate Francine Simpson Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
The women’s 4×400-meter relay team has recorded the fastest time in the nation this year at 3:28.10, run in its win at the Big 12 Championships. Two of the four competitors ran to All-America honors in the competition last year with their third-place finish but are looking for gold this year. Dixon will be joined by juniors Denesha Morris, Paris Daniels and Taylor Washington in the event semifinals Thursday at 8:25 p.m.
Other Jayhawks looking to score big for the women this week in Des Moines are Daniels (100m – Wed./7:30, 200m – Thurs./5:45), Heather Bergmann (javelin – Wed./2:40), Alena Krechyk (hammer throw – Fri./3:00), Demi Payne (pole vault – Wed./5:30), Rebeka Stowe (Steeplechase – Wed./7:45) and Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon – Thurs./Fri.).
On the men’s side, Mason Finley enters his third NCAA Outdoor Championships competing in two events and still looking for the elusive first national championship. The junior held the nation’s top shot put mark for several weeks earlier this year with his toss of 19.89 meters (65-03 ft.) and has been No. 2 in the NCAA for the entire season in the discus with a throw of 61.40 meters (201-05 ft.). Finley will start his week in the discus Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. and will close things out in the shot put at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Freshman Michael Stigler has had an outstanding end to his first season in the KU singlet, nabbing the Big 12 title in the 400-meter hurdles, claiming the conference’s Freshman of the Year distinction and running to the fourth-fastest time in the nation this year at 49.45. The Canyon, Texas native will try to close out his rookie year on a high note as he runs in the 400-meter hurdle semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Other KU men hoping to make their mark at this year’s national championships are junior Kyle Clemons (400m – Wed./6:45), sophomore Josh Munsch (1,500m – Fri./6:15) and the men’s 4x400m relay team of Clemons, Stigler, Michael Hester and Kenneth McCuin who will run in the event semifinals at 8:05 p.m. Thursday.
Finley will kick-off competition at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships for KU as he competes in the discus at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 6. Clemons will be the first KU athlete to compete on the track as he runs in the 400 meter semifinals Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. For results, live updates, videos and recaps throughout the week log on to kuathletics.com and follow on twitter at KU_Track.