Kansas Track and Field Prepares for 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships

June 6, 2011


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Kansas’ nationally-ranked men’s and women’s track and field teams will be traveling to Des Moines, Iowa this week for the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The 20th-ranked KU men and 16th-ranked Jayhawk women will compete against the nation’s best at historic Drake Stadium on the campus of the Drake University June 8-11.

The Jayhawk men will be led in the field by sophomore thrower Mason Finley, who will be competing in both the shot put and discus. He enters his respective events ranked in the top three in the field prior to this week’s competition.

Finley, who was the Big 12 Champion in the shot put and runner-up in the discus, enters both the shot put and discus finals having notched top-three performances at the NCAA Preliminary rounds last week. Finley has turned in a season’s best mark of 19.84 meters (65-01.25 ft.) in the shot put and 60.65 meters (199-00 ft.) in the discus, both of which rank as top-three marks on the season in the NCAA.

Also competing for the Jayhawk men will be sophomore Kyle Clemons in the 400 meters. Clemons advanced to this week’s nationals after notching his second-fastest time of the season last week at the preliminary meet, crossing the finish line in 46.34. This season Clemons has amassed three first-place finishes in the event, including a win at the Kansas Relays. The Rowlett, Texas native’s fastest time of the season came at the Big 12 Championships where he finished sixth with a time of 46.32. Clemons will try to improve upon his 23rd-place finish in the event at last year’s NCAA Championships when he takes the track at 7 p.m., Wednesday for the 400 meters semifinals.

Joining Clemons on the track will be junior Donny Wasinger, who will compete in the 1,500 meters. Wasinger enters the NCAA Championships after an eighth-place finish at last week’s West Preliminary. The Winona, Minn., native, has turned in the most successful season of his career notching four top-three finishes, including a win in the 1,500 meters at the Kansas Relays. With a season’s best mark in the 1,500 meters of 3:44.89, he has been a regular in the top-30 of the NCAA rankings. Wasinger’s first career race at the NCAA Championships will be at 6:15 p.m., Thursday.

Also making his NCAA Championships debut will be freshman Johann Swanepoel in the javelin throw. The Shawnee Mission South (Shawnee Mission, KS) alumni punched his ticket to Des Moines after finishing ninth in the event at the West Preliminary last week. Swanepoel has had an outstanding debut season for the Jayhawks, collecting four top-three finishes, including a win at the Razorback Spring Invitational and moving up to fourth in the KU record books with his season’s top throw of 73.60 meters (241-06 ft.), which he hit at the Kansas Relays in April. Swanepoel will take to the runway at 3:05 p.m., Wednesday.

Five KU women will compete as individuals in six events this week. Junior Rebeka Stowe and freshman Diamond Dixon will hit the track for KU while sophomores Andrea Geubelle and Heather Bergmann and freshman Jessica Maroszek will represent the Jayhawks in the field. Also making the trip to Des Moines will be the women’s 4X400-meter relay team.

Diamond Dixon will compete at her first NCAA Championships in both the 400 meters and the 4X400-meter relay. She currently is the co-leader nationally in the 400m dash entering the championship meet. Her top time of the season in the 400 meters is 51.55, a school record.

Dixon, an El Paso, Texas native, took home the 400 meter title at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships and was recently named the Big 12 Female Outstanding Freshman of the Year after her impressive outdoor season for the Jayhawks. Over the three month outdoor season, Dixon amassed three first-place finishes in the 400 meters and was a regular in the top 25 of the national rankings. This week she was named the Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA.

Stowe will compete in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase at the NCAA Championships for the second-consecutive year and enters the meet with the second-fastest time amongst the competitors. She clocked in at 9:53.12 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May, smashing the previous school record and vaulting her up the national rankings. She took second at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships, crossing the finish line in 10:15.29. Stowe will continue her quest for a national title in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter Steeplechase at 7:30 p.m., Thursday.

Geubelle will pull double duty as she qualified for the NCAA Championships in both the long jump and the triple jump for the second consecutive year. The University City, Wash., native claimed a seventh-place finish in the triple jump and an eighth-place finish in the long jump at the NCAA West Preliminary to earn a spot in Des Moines.

Geubelle, who currently ranks 13th nationally in both events, has season’s best marks of 13.20 meters (43-3.25 ft.) in the triple jump and 6.44 meters (21-01.50ft.) in the long jump. Her long jump mark came in a third-place finish at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships and is a personal best for the sophomore. Geubelle will start her week off in the long jump at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday and will conclude her competition at 5:35 p.m., Friday in the triple jump.

Bergmann will be competing for the first time at the NCAA Championships in the javelin throw after qualifying with a fifth-place finish at the West Preliminary last week. The Concordia, Kan., native is the school record holder in the event with a mark of 51.38 meters (168-07 ft.) which she set at this year’s Kansas Relays. She has ranked in the top ten nationally in the event for the majority of the season, has notched two first-place finishes and was the fourth-place finisher at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Bergmann will be in action on Thursday at 3:05 p.m.

Maroszek, a native of Seymour, Wis., extended her stellar freshman campaign by advancing to this week’s national meet by placing third in the discus at the Preliminary Meet last week. She has been ranked in the top ten in the NCAA in the event for most of the season after she heaved a personal best throw of 54.21m (177-10 ft.) in a win at the Kansas Relays. She took home gold in the event at three additional meets and was the eighth-place finisher at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Maroszek will kick-off the week for the Jayhawks on Wednesday at 3 p.m., in the discus.

Senior Kendra Bradley, junior Shayla Wilson, sophomore Taylor Washington and Dixon will compete for the Jayhawks in the 4×400-meter relay. The quartet turned in the second-fastest time in school history, 3:35.01, at the NCAA West Preliminary and finished fifth to qualify for a trip to Des Moines. The women will take the track in the 4X400-meter relay semifinals at 8 p.m., Thursday night.

Maroszek will kick-off competition at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships for KU as she competes in the discus at 3 p.m., Wednesday, June 8. Dixon will be the first KU athlete to compete on the track as she runs in the 400 meter semifinals Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. For results and live updates throughout the week log on to kuathletics.com.