Jayhawk Softball Shows Off Pre-Season Conditioning During Team Triathlon

Oct. 21, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Rarely does a team look forward to biking six miles, running more than two miles and swimming six laps, but the University of Kansas softball team brought its game face and genuine excitement to compete in the team’s triathlon on campus Thursday afternoon.

The triathlon served as a collaboration of several of the Jayhawks’ fall goals, including preseason conditioning and adding to the team’s already solid team chemistry. The team started with a six-mile bike ride in the Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center, then sprinted off to a 2.2-mile run around campus and ended the competition with a six-lap race at the Robinson Gymnasium pool.

“It was fun and competitive,” head coach Megan Smith said. “We wanted to do something different that still involved both, and to test what they’ve done so far with (strength and conditioning coach Patricia) Dietz. It gives them a different avenue to show that, which is a lot of fun. Some of them are always a little nervous if they’ve never done it before, but I had a couple of the newcomers tell me that they felt really accomplished when they finished it. It’s such a big feat.”

Smith explained that the Jayhawks were given a map beforehand to ensure they knew the trail around campus and even had a pace bike riding in front of them and a Gator behind them to fuel the competition. Although the team consistently works on speed agilities for the quick bursts needed for base running and tracking down fly balls, the triathlon gave the team a chance to display the endurance work the Jayhawks have put in this fall.

“You have to play at least 56 games in a season and sometimes we’re playing five or six games in a weekend,” Smith said. “So you need that endurance, too. They’ve been working on that and this was another venue for them to showcase that.”

Junior outfielder Rosie Hull came up as the overall individual winner with a combined time of 40:10. Freshman third baseman Chanin Naudin was right behind her in second (40:29), while Rosie’s twin sister Maggie came in third (41:04). Senior catcher Leah Daiber rounded out the top four, just two seconds behind Maggie (41:06).

Smith was on the pool deck with Rosie Hull and Naudin were battling it out for first place in the final leg of the afternoon. Although Naudin beat her to the water, Smith watched as Rosie Hull refused to lose.

“Rosie won, got out of the pool and was just exhausted,” Smith laughed. “But she was just so determined that she wasn’t going to lose. We make everything competitive. Bottom line your job is to compete win you’re out there. Anything our girls do, you can see how competitive they are.”

When the Jayhawks reported in August, Smith and her coaching staff divided the girls into four teams: the Warhawks, the Crusaders, the Wheaties and the PHOG. All season long, team competitions are decided using those divisions. On Thursday, it was the Wheaties (bike, run) and Warhawks (swim), who took the team trophies.

Individually, Daiber won the bike event (12:50), Naudin ran the quickest time (21:06) and Maggie Hull swam the fastest (3:48).

Kansas now returns to the final weeks of team practices before transitioning back to individual workouts at the close of the fall semester. In January, the Jayhawks will report back to Lawrence ready to improve on a 31-22 season that had them on the NCAA Tournament selection bubble a year ago.