Trio of Jayhawks Earn All-America Honors on Day Two of NCAA Championships
June 7, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa – Three more Jayhawk women collected first team All-America honors Thursday at the NCAA Track & Field National Championships on the campus of Drake University. Francine Simpson and Andrea Geubelle combined for eight points in the long jump, while Alena Krechyk tallied an additional three points in the hammer throw. The women’s team currently sits in second place with 14 points overall.
Juniors Simpson and Geubelle entered the day having dominated the long jump as a duo this season. They finished first and second at both the indoor and outdoor conference championship meets and placed sixth and eighth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. Each started strong in the event Thursday with Simpson jumping out to a mark of 6.57 meters (21-6.75 ft.) on her first attempt of the day, while Geubelle hit a distance of 6.50 meters (21-4.00 ft.) on her second jump of the evening. Both marks kept the duo going, advancing them into the event finals.
Neither was able to improve upon their early round marks, keeping them in comfortable positions at the end of the competition. Simpson, who hails from Chapelton, Jamaica claimed fourth place and five points toward the team total, and Geubelle finished sixth, garnering three points for the women’s squad.
Simpson earned outdoor first team All-American honors for the first time in her KU career, while Geubelle claimed the distinction for the second time in the long jump.
Krechyk snatched her first outdoor All-American honor of her career, placing sixth in the hammer throw earlier in the afternoon. The Grodno, Belarus native also started out strong, getting a huge throw off that would have put her near the top of the leaderboard, however the official raised the red flag indicating a foul and negating the measurement. Krechyk went big on her next attempt though, this time with a fair throw that measured out to 64.58 meters (211-10 ft.). The throw was good enough to move the junior on to finals in sixth place.
Krechyk was not able to improve on any of her three attempts in the finals, but she was able to maintain her sixth-place spot, claiming three points toward the women’s total and her best-career finish at an NCAA Championships.
Freshman Lindsay Vollmer began her two-day journey competing as one of 24 athletes in the heptathlon. The Hamilton, Mo., native began in the 100-meter hurdles, earning 946 points with her time of 14.23. She moved up the overall leaderboard following her next event, the high jump. Vollmer negotiated her way over the 1.69 meter (5-6.5 ft.) bar on her second attempt to finish 10th in the field and garner an additional 842 points to her overall score.
Vollmer then switched gears to the shot put where she hit a mark of 11.37 meters (37-3.75 ft.) twice during her three attempts. The throw earned her 619 points heading into the final event of the day.
Vollmer ended her day on a high note as she ran in the first heat of the 200 meters. She made the half lap in a personal best 25.08 to place fifth in her heat and collect 879 points. Vollmer finished out her first day with 3,286 points through the first four events and sits in 17th with three events left to complete.
The remaining semifinal races were contested on the Jim Duncan track Thursday evening with two Jayhawks and two KU relay teams vying for spots in event finals.
Junior Paris Daniels led off in the first heat of the women’s 200 meters. The reigning Big 12 Champion got out to an outstanding start right out of the blocks, sprinting around the opening curve to lead through the first 100 meters. Daniels found herself in an all-out foot race down the homestretch, with as many as four runners fighting over the top-two automatic qualifying spots. The St. Louis native was able to out-kick the pack to win her heat with wind-aided time of 22.65. She enters finals with the third-fastest qualifying time and will run for the national championship on Saturday at 11:47 a.m.
Daniels returned to the track later in the evening to join her nation-leading 4×400-meter relay team in semifinal action. Juniors Denesha Morris, Daniels and Taylor Washington along with sophomore Diamond Dixon ran in the first of three preliminary heats, hoping to maintain their status as the NCAA’s No. 1 team for another race. It was never a race as Morris and Daniels opened with outstanding legs to get the women in the first position early. Washington and Dixon left little doubt of who would win the heat, getting out to nearly a three second lead before Dixon crossed the finish line in 3:29.07 to claim the second fastest preliminary time of the semifinals. The team’s mark is their second fastest this season and gives them a spot in the event finals Saturday afternoon at 12:50 p.m.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay took to the track looking to become the first relay team to claim All-American status in over 30 years. Junior Kyle Clemons led off the contingent, just a night after he ran to the second-fastest time in school history in the 400 meters semifinals. Clemons got the Jayhawks out to a terrific start, completing the first leg in second place. Freshmen Michael Hester and Michael Stigler ran the middle legs, maintaining the team’s position in the top three with just 400 meters to go. Freshmen Kenneth McCuin ran the final leg for the quartet, crossing the finish line in 3:05.25 to place fourth in the heat. The team’s time was within two seconds of qualifying for finals as they finished 12th overall among the 24-team semifinal.
Sophomore Josh Munsch saw his first National Championships action running in the semifinals of the 1,500 meters. In a race that got out to a frantic pace, the Hays, Kan., native held his own, sticking with the tightly grouped 12-man field for the first 1,000 meters. Munsch fell off the pace somewhat over the last lap, coming in at 11th in his heat with a time of 3:48.34.
Day Three of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Champions will kick off Friday at 3 p.m., with Vollmer competing in the fifth of seven events in the women’s heptathlon, the long jump. Stay logged on to kuathletics.com for complete coverage of the remaining three days of action from Des Moines. Don’t forget to follow on twitter at KU_Track.