Kansas Scores Big in National Recruiting Class Ratings

Dec. 17, 2009


With a successful preseason meet already under its belt, the Kansas track and field team looks ahead to 2010 with a strong team in place, as this year’s recruiting classes are ranked among the top ten in the nation by Track and Field News.

The January issue of the publication detailed each of the incoming classes in the country, and Kansas fared quite well on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The KU women were ranked fourth overall, behind Arizona State, Michigan and Big 12 foe, Texas A&M, who captured the No. 1 spot for the third year in a row. The 2009-10 class is highlighted by a trio of Track and Field News All-Americans, which includes javelin thrower Heather Bergmann, long and triple jumper Andrea Geubelle and heptathlete Rebecca Neville.

Bergmann, a product of Concordia, Kan., went undefeated in the javelin her senior year of high school. She won titles at the Kansas Relays, the Kansas state 4A championships and the Great Southwest Classic. She also captured a gold at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, where she threw the javelin nearly four feet further than any of her competitors. As a junior, Bergmann threw 162-8 feet at the K.T. Woodman Track Classic in Wichita, Kan., which remains her personal record and the Concordia High School all-time record.

Geubelle is a native of University Place, Wash., where she captured three state titles in the long jump and triple jump. She ranked third overall in the nation in both events, according to Track and Field News, with PRs of 20-5.00 feet in the long jump and 42-10.25 feet in the triple. She also won gold at Nike Outdoor Nationals in the long and triple jump, and finished first among her competitors at the USATF Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in the triple jump.

Neville came to Kansas ranked second in the nation by Track and Field News for heptathletes. The freshman from Merryville, Ind., was the top prep performer at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as she finished with 4,879 points. Neville also competed for USA at the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships, where she placed sixth overall with 4,627 points. She placed in the top-five in four events, including her best finishes of second in the long jump and third in the 200-meter dash.

Other strong members of the 2009-10 recruiting class include pole-vaulter Jaci Perryman, a junior transfer from the University of Arizona, freshman Kathryn Lupton, a state-champion hurdler from Kingwood, Texas and Sara Noonan, a freshman heptathlete from Kirkwood, Mo.

The men’s team was ranked seventh among NCAA Division I schools. Headlining the Jayhawks’ freshman class is discus and shot put phenom Mason Finley, who was recently named Track and Field News Boys Athlete of the Year.

Finley is the best of the best in the throws ring. Not only does he hold the national high school record in the discus, with a mark of 236-6 feet, but has also evolved into one of the top shot put throwers in the nation. He won both events at the Nike Outdoor Nationals and the 2009 Pan American Junior Championships, while also defending his Colorado state titles for the third-straight year. In the Jayhawks’ first indoor meet of the season, the Bob Timmons Challenge in Lawrence on Dec.5, Finley threw 62-08.00 feet, which was an NCAA provisional qualifying mark and would have placed him fifth at last year’s NCAA Division I Indoor Championships.

Other standout athletes now competing for the Crimson and Blue include Sam Jones, a four-time all-state, all-district and all-conference honoree out of Ozark, Mo., and Corey Shank, a two-time NIKE Indoor All-American pole-vaulter from Fort Wayne, Ind.

Jones was the 2009 Missouri Class 4A state champion and Great Southwest Classic champion in the 800-meters, while Shank captured three Indiana state pole vault titles and holds both the indoor and outdoor Indiana state pole vault records.

Joining Finley, Jones and Shank as part of this prestigious freshman class are Kyle Clemons, a sprints/middle distance runner from Rowlett, Texas and Jesse Vaughn, a thrower out of Tecumseh, Kan.

All of KU’s new student-athletes have the potential to make an immediate impact on the Kansas track and field squad, as well as vie for medals at the both the conference and national levels.

The Jayhawks will host their first event of the 2010 calendar year, the Bill Easton Classic, on Jan. 8 in Anschutz Pavilion.

For more information on this year’s recruiting classes and some of Kansas’ featured athletes, visit trackandfieldnews.com or kuathletics.com/sports/c-track.