Jayhawk Softball Adds Fun and Fitness to Final Week of October

Nov. 2, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – To complete the fall session of team practices, the Kansas softball team conducted its annual pumpkin carving contest followed by a its most impressive performance to date in the Rock Chalk Triathlon, in the final week of October.

On Monday, the team gathered for its yearly battle to prove who could carve the best Halloween pumpkin. The Jayhawks split into their usual Rock Chalk teams, which the coaching staff appoints and adds to at the start of every season: the Warhawks, the Wheaties, the Crusade and the PHOG.

With additional team points added to their Rock Chalk Triathlon score on the line, the pumpkin carving contest took on an added level of importance. Ultimately, the PHOG won the competition and the points when the team displayed its creation of a pumpkin turned into a shark. They took the names and pictures of the Big 12 teams and put them in the mouth of the shark. Members of the PHOG are redshirt junior and team captain Alex Jones, junior Elsa Moyer, sophomores Chanin Naudin and Cassen Salamone and freshman Nikki Bruce.

Not to be outdone, the Wheaties won two points for presentation, highlighted by a “spirited” reading of a poem by senior team captain Maggie Hull. Junior Taylor Hatfield and freshmen Kylee Kennedy and Kelsey Kessler join Hull to make up the Wheaties team.

Armed with the additional team points from the pumpkin battle, the four teams arrived at the Anderson Family Strength and Conditioning Center for the Rock Chalk Triathlon on Wednesday. Held on Halloween, the Jayhawks rarely miss the opportunity to add some fun to an otherwise grueling competition and all came dressed in full Halloween costumes.

The PHOG, who completed the entire competition dressed as the Incredibles, and the Crusade, members of which sported Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes, won Rock Chalk team points for best costume.

Despite their look, the Jayhawks were all business as the team finished the competition in record time. The course begins with six miles of biking, followed by a 2.2-mile run on campus and ends with three laps inside the competition pool in the Robinson Natatorium.

“I said when we very first started the season that this is this team is incredibly athletic and we are – it was impressive,” head coach Megan Smith said. “Alex Jones, who was out last year with an injury, came back and just annihilated the triathlon this year. Our last few people that finished were still working hard and still competing till the end. There wasn’t a weak link in the bunch.”

Jones, who sat out the 2012 season with a torn ACL, showed off her fully-recovered physique and won the overall event with a time of 35:48. She and junior Elsa Moyer set a program-record time of 10:13 time on the bike as Moyer finished in second overall with a time of 36:29. In her first-ever triathlon, freshman Alex Hugo took third with her total time of 37:54.

Led by Jones, the PHOG won with an overall average time of 40:20. The Warhawks, paced by Hugo, came in second with an average of 42:23.Joining Jones and Moyer, senior Maggie Hull set a program-best time of 3:26 to win the swimming leg of the event. Sophomore Chanin Naudin won the running portion, churning out 2.2 miles in 19:23.

“When you don’t have any weaknesses in the bunch, everything rises,” Smith said. “I think we’re seeing a higher level of performance in the weight room, running and out of the field because we’re just extremely athletic from top of bottom.”

KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.