Top 13: Women's Track Claims 2013 NCAA Outdoor Title

Kansas Athletics and Jayhawk student-athletes had numerous successful athletic and academc accomplishments during the 2013 calendar year and will relive the top 13 moments in a nearly two week series leading up to New Years Eve. One crowning moment will be posted to and across the department’s social media platforms. Like, favorite or vote for your favorite 2013 moment and a top three, based on fan votes, will be revealed on New Year’s Eve. Check back daily for video highlights, a recap and your chance to weigh in on your favorite moments of 2013.

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The 2013 University of Kansas women’s track & field team was crowned as the NCAA Champion as the Jayhawks concluded competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships inside historic Hayward Field. The title is the first in the women’s program’s history and first for the KU track program since the men’s team won the 1970 outdoor championship.

“We’re really excited,” said 13-year head coach Stanley Redwine. “Everyone came into this week with the idea that this was something that we could do. It’s really hard to single one person out though because it was a total team effort but I’m just thankful that everyone did so well. This is just another great step for Kansas.”

The Jayhawks clinched the team title Saturday afternoon on the shoulders of three scoring performances in the 4×100 meters, 200 meters and the 4×400-meter relay.

The women’s 4×100-meter relay got the Jayhawks started strong in the first race of the day. The quartet of Paris Daniels, Tianna Valentine, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon posted the fifth-fastest qualifying time in Wednesday’s semifinal and returned to Hayward Field Saturday trying for a similar result in the final.

After a troublesome hand off in the semifinal race, the Jayhawks passed the baton around in near-flawless fashion with the anchor, Dixon, crossing the finish in 44.92 to take fifth in the event. KU’s placement earned the Jayhawks its first four points of the day and moved the squad ever closer to the team title.

Daniels then returned to the track looking to earn first team All-America honors in the 200 meters for the second-straight year. The St. Louis native got out of the starting blocks well, but found herself near sixth as she made her way into the straight away. Daniels made up two spots down the final 50 meters to snag the fourth-place finish in a wind-aided time of 22.52. Her finish not only garnered her team five more points, but clinched Kansas’ victory in the team championship.

An hour later, the Jayhawks put the finishing touches on the team title when the 4×400-meter relay team tacked on Kansas’ final three points of the meet. For the third time in a two-hour span, Daniels made her way onto the track as the relay team’s anchor leg. She was joined by Morris, Dixon and Taylor Washington, each of whom boast multiple first team All-America honors in the event. The squad completed all four legs in 3:32.74, finishing sixth in the event and notching the highest finish ever for a Jayhawk 4×400-meter relay at the NCAA Championships.

The KU women finished the meet with 60 points, 16 points ahead of second-place Texas A&M. The Jayhawk men ended the week in a tie for 28th after amassing eight points.

In all, 11 of the Jayhawks 13 entries in the meet contributed to the team’s scoring effort, with senior Andrea Geubelle leading the way with her 16 points in runner-up performances in both the long jump and triple jump. The Jayhawks saw 11 athletes earn first team All-America honors as well as both relay teams, with an additional two claiming second team honors. The Jayhawks also saw the program’s first individual outdoor champion as Lindsay Vollmer took gold in the heptathlon Friday afternoon.

The women’s title is the 11th in Kansas Athletics history and the seventh for the Kansas track & field program (three men’s outdoor, three men’s indoor, one women’s outdoor).

Second Day Results
Junior Jessica Maroszek turned in a fourth-place finish in the discus as the Kansas track & field teams competed on day two of the NCAA Outdoor Championships inside Hayward Field. The Jayhawks also saw one individual and a relay team advance to their respective event finals, while the Kansas women maintained their lead in the overall team standings, now with 22 points through five of 21 events.

Maroszek stepped into the discus ring Thursday as the nation’s No. 5 overall seed and hoped to add to an already successful meet for the Kansas throwers. Wednesday, seniors Alena Krechyk and Heather Bergmann posted top-eight finishes in their respective events and Maroszek eyed the same feat in the discus to add some important points toward the team race Thursday afternoon.

The junior out of Seymour, Wis., posted only two legal throws on the day but made them count as both were over 180 feet. Maroszek’s first mark, a toss of 54.98 meters (180’4″) quickly moved her up to second in the overall standings. She then unwound for the second-farthest mark of her career, a throw that measured out to 55.78 meters (183’0″), which cemented her spot in second as she moved on to the final rounds of attempts.

She was unable to post a fair throw on her final three attempts, but her third round mark was enough to earn her a fourth-place finish in the event and an additional five points to her team’s total.

Maroszek’s placement tied her for the highest NCAA finish by a Jayhawk and garnered her first team All-America honors for the second time in her career. With Maroszek’s finish, the KU throwers have now combined for 14 of the Jayhawks’ 22 points through the first two days of action.

Sophomore Lindsay Vollmer began her Championship week Thursday as she participated in the day one events of the heptathlon. The Hamilton, Mo., product kicked off the event on a high note as she ran to a new lifetime best in the 100-meter hurdles. Vollmer clocked in at 13.56 to post the seventh-fastest time out of the 24-woman field and earn 1,039 points to start the event.

Vollmer then moved to the high jump, where she was able to tie her career best. She cleared the 1.75 meter (5’8.75″) bar on her second attempt to add another 916 points to her total. After a toss of 11.97 meters (39’3.25″) for 659 points in the shot put moved her up to third in the overall standings, she saved her best performance for last in the 200 meters. Vollmer sprinted to a new personal record time of 24.27, slicing over half a second off her previous best and claiming her final 955 points of the day.

In semifinal action, Paris Daniels advanced to her second-straight NCAA 200-meter final as she competed in the semifinal heats of the event. Daniels left little doubt in her right to advance when she won her heat handily, crossing the finish in a wind-aided 23.56. The time made Daniels the second-fastest qualifier and earned her a trip to the event final.

Daniels returned to the track later in the day to help secure the women’s 4×400-meter relay team a spot in the event final. Daniels was joined by Denesha Morris, Diamond Dixon and Taylor Washington as the Big 12 champion quartet ran to the fifth-overall qualifying spot. After Morris and Dixon got the Jayhawks into the lead in the first half of the race, Washington then kept here in the all-important top-two before handing off to the final leg, Daniels. It was up to Daniels to hold off a determined Arizona anchor down the final 200 meters as she checked in with a second-place finish in the heat and earned the automatic qualification to the final.

First Day Results
Andrea Geubelle notched a second-place finish in the long jump as the Kansas track & field teams competed on day one of the NCAA Outdoor Championships at historic Hayward Field. Geubelle’s finish, as well as scoring performances from senior throwers Alena Krechyk and Heather Bergmann, gave the women’s team 17 points to lead the overall team standings following the first day of action.

Geubelle, who claimed the NCAA indoor long jump title in March, entered the competition Wednesday as the No. 3-ranked jumper for the outdoor season. The senior out of University Place, Wash., cruised into the final round of jumps after a leap of 6.45 meters (21’2″) on her third trip down the runway. Geubelle entered finals in second place, improving her best jump to 6.50 meters (21’4″) on her fourth attempt. However, a collegiate-leading mark by TCU’s Lorraine Ugen was too much to overcome, leaving Geubelle with a runner-up finish in the event. Geubelle’s finish was the highest by a KU long jumper at a NCAA meet since 1982 and tacked on eight points to her team’s total.

Geubelle’s finish also garnered her first team All-America honors in the event for the third time in her career, the most by a Kansas woman in the outdoor long jump. The senior will return to the Hayward Field runway Friday as she looks to add a national title to her résumé in the triple jump.

Krechyk got the Jayhawk women started off on the right foot as she posted a scoring performance in the hammer throw early in the afternoon. Krechyk, who entered the week as the nation’s No. 3 seed in the event, was only able to get two fair marks in, but made it count on her third walk into the throws ring. The senior out of Grodno, Belarus unwound for a mark of 68.22 meters (223’10”) to take the overall lead as she and eight of the NCAA’s top hammer throwers headed into the finals. The toss was the second farthest of Krechyk’s career and was the sixth time this season she surpassed the 220-foot mark.

Krechyk fouled on all three of her attempts in the finals, but her third round throw was enough to earn her a third-place finish and six points to the KU women’s team total. Krechyk’s finish earned her the second first team All-America honor of her Jayhawk career.

Bergmann also ended her illustrious Kansas career on a high note, but waited until the very last throw of the day to do it. The Concordia, Kan., product posted an opening mark of 50.90 meters (167’0″) on her first attempt of the evening. The mark moved the senior through to the final round of throws, however she sat in 8th-place and in danger of moving out of the all-important scoring position.

After she was unable to improve on her fourth and fifth attempts, Bergmann unleashed the best throw of her career on her sixth and final attempt. The spear hit a mark of 52.67 meters (172’9″) to, not only break her own school record, but move her up to sixth-place overall, where she would eventually finish. Bergmann’s record throw earned her first team All-America honors for the third-consecutive season and gave the Kansas women their final three points of the meet’s opening day.

The KU women’s first event on the track was the semifinals of the 4×100-meter relay. Paris Daniels, Tianna Valentine, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon ran to the school record and the top West Region qualifying time a week ago at the NCAA prelim meet and looked to advance to the NCAA final for a chance to earn some important potential points on the meet’s final day.

The team got off to a rocky start as the baton pass between Daniels and Valentine nearly went outside of the exchange zone, however the Jayhawks’ second two legs, Morris and Dixon, brought the team back to claim the runner-up finish in the heat and earn the automatic qualification to the final. The group clocked in with a time of 44.32 for the sixth-fastest qualifying time. A video review of the Jayhawks’ first exchange later in the day showed no violation had occurred and confirmed the team’s qualification to the final. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.