Bergmann Shines for Jayhawks on Soggy Day 2 of NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 9, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa –
Kansas sophomore Heather Bergmann garnered First Team All-America honors as she collected a seventh-place finish in the women’s javelin throw here Thursday at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University.
After an hour rain delay, the Concordia, Kan., native launched a throw of 49.14 meters (161-02 ft.) on her first attempt to quickly push her into a contending position on the leader board. That first attempt would be enough to get her into the finals, placing her in seventh as she began her final three throws.
“I wish I would have thrown farther,” said Bergmann of her performance. “I know people always say that. I got seventh place and earned All-American honors, it feels good. I didn’t throw as well as I could have. I still have USA’s and I want to get that big mark, but it still feels great.”
In the final flight Bergmann put together three solid attempts, but was unable to move up the field. Seventh is where she would end up, earning two points for the KU women’s team, while becoming the first Jayhawk female to achieve All-American status in the javelin since 2006.
The women’s 4X400-meter relay team set a school record en route to advancing to the event final on Saturday. In the first two legs of the race, senior Kendra Bradley and sophomore Denesha Morris kept the Jayhawks within striking distance. After Morris handed the baton to freshman Diamond Dixon the Jayhawks stood in fifth place with two legs to go.
Dixon ran an incredible split of 51.2, pushing the Jayhawks all the way to first with only one leg to go. Morris then handed off to junior Shayla Wilson, who held onto the lead for 300 meters. Although she was overtaken at the end of the race, Wilson still elevated the Jayhawks to the automatic qualification and into the event final with a second-place finish.
“Right before I got the baton I was just thinking ‘I’ve got to run, I’ve got to run and do it for my team,” said Dixon, of her impressive leg. “It was an exciting race. Kendra and Denesha did a great job. And then after I handed off to Shayla it was nerve wracking, but at the same time, I knew she had it. She was running great so I was pretty excited.”
KU’s time of 3:33.31 shattered the previous school record by more than a second and was the time overall. The quartet will look to gain All-American status as they compete in the 4X400-meter relay final at 1:40 p.m., Saturday.
Rebeka Stowe extended her outstanding junior season Thursday night as she advanced to the finals of the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. Competing in the first of two heats, the Olathe Northwest grad spent most of the race at the front half of the pack, before finishing the race in fifth. She crossed the finish line in 10:07.90, 13th in the field overall. She will be in action in the event final on Saturday at 12:54 p.m.
In a controversial men’s 1,500 meter semifinal, junior Donny Wasinger took to the track in an attempt to advance to Saturday’s final. The Winona, Minn., native stayed in the middle of a tight pack for the majority of the race. With just 400 meters remaining, Wasinger was caught in the middle of a three-man fall that, for a moment, appeared to end his chances of advancing to the event final. After courageously ending the race in 3:57.85, the finish was protested by the Kansas officials. In the end the protest was upheld and Wasinger was advanced to the finals. He will take the track at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday to try to become the first ever KU male to take home an individual title in the event.
The Jayhawk men and women will look to move up the overall team standings on Day 3 of the Championships Friday. Sophomore Mason Finley, who finished third in the men’s discus on Wednesday, will look to earn All-American honors in his second event, the men’s shot put. Finley will take the ring at approximately 5:35 p.m., Friday. Also competing Friday evening will be freshman Diamond Dixon in the 400 meters final. Dixon had the second-fastest time in the semifinals and will attempt to be the first female outdoor champion to don a Kansas uniform. She will take the track at 7:55 p.m.
“I just want to go out there and do whatever it takes to win,” said Dixon, of her 400 meters final. “I just need to keep doing what I have been doing. I don’t want to take it out too fast, but I need to get a good start. I need to push it to the end and do whatever it takes to win.”
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June 9, 2011
3,000-Meter Steeplechase (Semifinals)
5. Rebeka Stowe, 10:07.90 (Advances to finals)
Kansas (Bradley (54.1), Morris (53.9), Dixon (51.2), Wilson (53.8)), 3:33.31 (Advanced to Finals) ***School Record***
7. Heather Bergmann, 49.14m (161-2 ft.)
21. Donny Wasinger, 3:57.85 (Advanced to Finals)