Diamond Dixon Claims 400 Meter Title at USA Junior Championships
June 25, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. –
Kansas’ phenomenal sprinter Diamond Dixon added another honor to her already outstanding freshman season Saturday as she was crowned the U.S. junior national champion in the 400 meters at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Dixon has now earned an automatic spot on the U.S. Junior Team that will compete at the Pan American Junior Games in Miramar, Fla., in late July.
Dixon, who hails from El Paso, Texas, led for much of the race before separating herself from the rest of the pack down the home stretch. She crossed the finish line in 52.67, her third-fastest time of the season.
“It feels great to have gone up against some of those girls and come out on top,” said Dixon of her race. “My main focus was just to go out strong in the first 100 (meters), relax and go hard down the back stretch. I think I did a good job of that today.”
Saturday’s win added more hardware to Dixon’s already stellar freshman campaign. A season in which she was crowned Big 12 Champion in the 400 meters, an indoor and outdoor All-American and a third-place finisher in the 400 meters at the NCAA Championships.
“I am very excited to be able to compete there,” explained Dixon of the chance to compete for the U.S. at the Pan American Junior Games. “I’ve never been to Florida before so it’ll be a lot of fun.”
In addition to competing in the Pan American Games in July, Dixon will also look to qualify for the World University Games, which take place in Shenzen, China on August 11-23.
Also in action on Saturday was Jordan Scott who took part in the men’s pole vault at the senior level. Scott, who concluded his Jayhawk career in May, got out to a solid start, only needing four jumps to clear his first two heights and quickly moving into the top five. The Watkinsville, Ga., native was then unable to clear the bar at 5.54 meters (18-02 ft.) ending his day in fifth-place, his best finish ever in the national meet.
Scott was the 2010 NCAA champion, a seven-time Big 12 Champion and a five-time All-American in the event during his four-year career in Lawrence. He will now look to qualify for the World University Games in August.
Another Jayhawk saw action in a national championship meet on Friday evening, but this time it was in the Jamaican National Championships. Sophomore Francine Simpson, who hails from Chapelton, Jamaica, took part in the senior women’s long jump for a chance to represent her home country at the World Championships in August.
Simpson got out to a strong start, hitting a mark of 6.12 meters (20-01.00 ft.) on her first attempt of the night at the meet in Kingston, Jamaica. After falling down the leader board on her next several jumps, Simpson saved the best for her final attempt. The sophomore hit a distance of 6.23 meters (20-05.25 ft.) on her last jump of the night, to jump from third to second, where she would eventually finish. With her runner-up finish, Simpson now has a spot on the Jamaican national team for the World Championships but will need to hit the world qualifying mark in order to compete. She will also look to compete for Jamaica in the World University Games in August.
The men’s and women’s track teams will have two more athletes competing on the fourth and final day of the USA Championships Sunday. Mason Finley will be in action in his second event of the week, competing in the men’s shot put at 2:55 p.m. (CST). On Thursday, Finley finished eighth in the discus throw. Also in action will be junior Rebeka Stowe in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase final at 3:45 p.m. (CST). On Friday, Stowe qualified for the final by finishing fifth in her heat and 10th overall. For live updates and results log on to kuathletics.com and follow on twitter at KUGameday.
June 25, 2011
Junior 400 Meters
1. Diamond Dixon, 52.67
Senior Pole Vault
5. Jordan Scott, 5.45m (17-10.50 ft.)