KU Set for 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships

June 10, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Four Jayhawks are set to compete at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., June 10-13. Keith Hayes (110-meter hurdles), Lauren Bonds (1,500 meters) and Zlata Tarasova (hammer throw) qualified automatically at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Norman, Okla., while Nickesha Anderson (200 meters) received an at-large bid.

Hayes, a freshman from Wichita, Kan., has had an up and down year but has saved his best for the postseason. Hayes originally qualified for the regional championships with a then-season-best time of 14.22 before lowering that regional mark to 14.05 at the Kansas relays. He struggled at the Big 12 Championships, missing the final, but bounced back in a huge way at regionals by running two sub-14-second times. Hayes recorded the second-fastest 110-meter hurdles time in school history in the prelims (13.73) and followed that with a 13.79 in the finals to earn the silver medal. He ranks 15th in the country in the 110-meter hurdles heading into the NCAA Championships.

Bonds qualified for regionals with a dramatic finish in her 1,500 meters victory at the Kansas Relays. All alone on the home stretch, the junior from Hutchinson, Kan., kicked into high gear and achieved the regional mark by .44 seconds (4:27.36). Bonds improved her ranking with a ninth-place finish in Palo Alto, Calif., in which she ran a time of 4:20.95, the third-fastest time in school history. At the Midwest Regional Championships, she finished in fifth place to earn her first trip to Nationals.

Tarasova was the first Jayhawk to qualify for the NCAA Championships, as she punched her ticket Friday, May 27, the first day of regionals. The senior from Togliatti, Russia, took fifth place at the regional meet with a hammer throw of 55.87 meters (183-04 feet). Tarasova recorded multiple regional marks in the hammer throughout the season. Her best performance came at the Big 12 Championships with a mark of 57.59 meters (188-11 feet), good for a fourth-place finish.

Anderson, a 2008 Olympian for Jamaica, has battled an injury all season long but managed to fight through it to earn a spot in Fayetteville. The senior from Hanover, Jamaica, did not finish in the top-five in the 100 meters or 200 meters at regionals, so she did not automatically qualify. However, because of times she posted earlier in the season, she made it in as an at-large selection in the 200 meters. Anderson also had a good enough time in the 100 meters, but did not declare to run that event at Nationals.

Action from John McDonnell Field begins Wednesday, June 10, with Tarasova kicking off the KU action with the hammer throw qualifying rounds at 1 p.m. CDT.