Top 13: Women's Track Sweeps Big 12 Conference Indoor and Outdoor Titles

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.

Fill out my online form.

The University of Kansas women’s track and field team was crowned team champions May 5 at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Four individual champions as well as wins in both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays propelled the Jayhawks to the first outdoor team title in program history.

“Today was a total team effort and I couldn’t be happier for everyone involved in this championship,” said 13-year head coach Stanley Redwine. “The team knew what was on the line and the ladies went out there and competed so well. To have eight individual champions today was outstanding and well deserved. It’s just a great day for KU.”

The women finished the meet with 158 points, outduelling the reigning Big 12 Outdoor Champion, Texas Longhorns, who tallied 145 team points for the runner-up finish. The Jayhawks’ point total was the most accumulated by a women’s team since Texas amassed 188 points in 2003.

With a host of Jayhawks turning in championship performances, it was senior Paris Daniels who stood above the rest as she scored 23 of her team’s final 84 points to help seal the victory. The St. Louis product started the afternoon by running the leadoff leg on the women’s 4×100-meter relay. Daniels, along with freshman Tianna Valentine, senior Denesha Morris and junior Diamond Dixon, ran away from the field down the final 100 meters to take the event crown in 43.89.

Daniels then returned for the final of the 100 meters, a race in which she had placed second a day earlier in the semifinal round. Daniels sprinted down the straight away and nearly caught the leader, Texas Tech’s Cierra White, but settled for the runner-up finish, clocking in at 11.34 and adding eight points to her team’s total.

Daniels saved her best individual event for last as she attempted to go for the title repeat in the 200 meters. There was little doubt from the opening gun she would be beat as she pulled away from the competition down the final 50 meters to earn her second-consecutive league title. The win also tallied an additional 10 points in the team standings for the Jayhawks.

Having already clinched the team title, Daniels, along with Morris, Dixon and senior Taylor Washington again were able to outduel Texas in the 4×400-meter relay for the second year in a row. The quartet passed the baton around in a season-best 3:32.00 to earn its second-straight Big 12 championship in the event and put an exclamation point on the team title.

With Daniels’ 2.5 points in both the relay events, her eight points in the 100 meters and her 10 points in the 200 meters, she was the highest female scorer of the meet, earning her outstanding performer accolades, marking the first time a KU woman has earned the honor.

Dixon also had heavy influence in the team scoring. In addition to her hand in the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relay titles, she also earned her third-straight outdoor 400 meter championship. The Houston, Texas native rounded the track in a season-best 51.73 to beat the rest of the field by a wide margin of nearly a second. Dixon’s victory marked the second time in the team’s history an athlete has claimed three or more outdoor conference championships in a single event.

Dixon also added a fourth-place finish in the 200 meters, posting a personal-record time of 23.38 to garner an additional five points for her team.

In the women’s triple jump Andrea Geubelle looked to make conference history by becoming just the second woman in Big 12 history to repeat as league champion in both indoor and outdoor triple jumps. The senior left little doubt of her impending victory after her first leap of the morning when she hit a distance of 13.55 meters (44’5.5″). None of the other 12 athletes would be able to come within 2.5 feet of her opening mark, making it a stress-free day for the All-American.

Geubelle was able to improve on her fourth trip down the runway when she turned in a mark of 13.59 meters (44’7″). That would be as far as she could get but the mark was more than enough to garner her second-straight outdoor triple jump victory and KU’s fourth in the event since 2005. Geubelle now joins current teammates Francine Simpson (long jump) and Dixon (400m) as well as four other Kansas women to defend their individual outdoor conference titles.

Coming of her own repeat in the long jump Saturday, Simpson managed to add five points to Geubelle’s 10 in the triple jump. In her first career outdoor triple jump competition, Simpson soared to a distance of 12.68 meters (41’7.25″). The mark would move her into the finals and eventually give the senior a fourth-place finish and five points to add to Geubelle’s 10 in the event.

Perhaps the most clutch individual title of the day came in the women’s discus when junior Jessica Maroszek turned in the best performance of her career. The Seymour, Wis., native never trailed in the event leading from her first attempt of the afternoon. On her third attempt, Maroszek unleashed a throw of 56.81 meters (52’1.75″), which not only tallied a new personal best, but also smashed her own school record in the event. Only one other thrower was able to come within 10 feet of Maroszek’s record mark, earning her the first conference title of her career and the first discus title for a Jayhawk since 1986.

Maroszek’s win, coupled with freshman Anastasiya Muchkayev’s five points after her fourth-place finish, gave Kansas 15 vital points late in the day after Texas had cut the Kansas lead to two.

Other Jayhawk scorers on the final day of competition were Morris in the 400 meters (sixth, 53.77), senior Heather Bergmann in the javelin (third, 49.30m), sophomore Lindsay Vollmer in the high jump (fouth, 1.75m) and freshman Hannah Richardson and junior Natalie Becker in the 1,500 meters, who combined for eight points with their fourth- and sixth-place finishes, respectively.

Big 12 Indoor Championship
The University of Kansas women’s track & field team claimed the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field team title after collecting a total of 150.5 points at the two-day meet held inside the Lied Recreation Center. The championship is the first conference title in the program’s history and the first for any KU team – men’s or women’s – since the Kansas men won the Big Eight indoor title in 1983.

“Everyone did a great job today,” said 13-year head coach Stanley Redwine. “We knew it would take a total team effort and that’s what happened for us. This is just a result of a lot of effort paying off. The coaches have done a great job helping the kids. The athletes have stepped up. We’ve been working hard and now all that work has finally paid off.”

Entering the day, the KU women held a commanding lead in the team standings, sitting in first with 67 points. The Jayhawks would never relinquish the lead, collecting 83.5 points on the shoulders of three more individual winners on the final day to earn their first conference championship.

To begin the historical afternoon, Andrea Geubelle looked to retain her title as the conference’s top triple jumper. The senior out of University Place, Wash., left little doubt Sunday, hitting a mark of 13.49 meters (44-3.25 ft.) on her first attempt of the day. The mark shot her up the leaderboard and into the first-place spot. Geubelle went on to claim her second-consecutive indoor triple jump championship and gave her team an additional 10 points to start the Jayhawks off on the right foot on the meet’s final day. Senior Francine Simpson also added to the scoring effort in the triple jump, soaring to a mark of 12.41 meters (40-8.75 ft.) on her second leap to finish third and garner six more points.

Junior Diamond Dixon returned to her gold-medal form as she also defended her Big 12 title in the 400 meters. The Houston, Texas product entered the day appearing vulnerable after not yet breaking the 53-second barrier yet this year. She ran to the fourth-fastest qualifying time a day earlier in the event semifinals and needed to shave nearly a second off that time if she was to return to the winner’s circle. In the final Dixon used her signature strong final kick to outpac the field down the final 50 meters to earn the victory. The junior clocked in with a season-best time of 52.52 for the win, the fifth-fastest in the NCAA this season. Dixon was joined by senior Denesha Morris in the final, who placed seventh in 54.70.

Paris Daniels made school history Sunday as she became the first Jayhawk to win the 200 meters at the Big 12 Indoor Championships. The senior ran to a personal best and broke the facility record in the semifinals, running 23.15 for the fastest qualifying time as she moved on to the final Sunday. Daniels assured he name remain at the top of the scoreboard as she held off charges from Texas’ two star sprinters down the final 100 meters. She leaned over the finish in 23.29 to earn the gold medal and retain the 200-meter title after winning the outdoor 200 meters a year ago.

Earlier in the day Daniels was joined by freshman teammate Tianna Valentine as the two looked for top finishes in the finals of the 60 meters. Daniels entered the event with the top qualifying time (7.36), but it was Valentine who turned heads in the final. The St. Louis native dashed to the finish in a personal-best 7.39 to take the runner-up finish by just .05 seconds. Daniels finished fourth in 7.40 as the two Jayhawks combined for 13 points in the team scoring.

The KU high jumpers earned some of the most vital team points Sunday as three Jayhawks competed in the event. Colleen O’Brien, Ashley Shearer and pentathlon champion Lindsay Vollmer each were able to secure points for the women’s team with top-eight finishes. O’Brien tied her personal best clearance after jumping over the 1.76 meter (5-9.25 ft.) bar, good enough for a third-place finish. Shearer wasn’t far behind, finishing in a tie for first with her personal-best clearance of 1.71 meters (5-7.25 ft.). Vollmer rounded out the KU scoring effort with her sixth-place finish, also notching a mark of 1.71 meters (5-7.25 ft.). In all, the trio collected 13.5 points to add to their team’s total.

Natalie Becker turned in a career performance in the final of the women’s mile. The junior posted a career-best 4:50.32 as she claimed fifth in the event and four points overall. Freshman Hannah Richardson was also successful in the 1,000 meters. She too notched a fifth-place finish with her time of 2:49.91, the fifth-fastest in school history.

In the women’s shot put, Freshman Anastasiya Muchkayev and junior Jessica Maroszek added six points to the women’s team total. Muchkayev got a big throw off on just her second attempt, hitting a distance of 16.62 meters (54-6.5 ft.) on just her second attempt of the day. Maroszek wasted even less time, hurling the shot 15.65 meters (51-4.25 ft.) on her first throw of the afternoon. The marks elevated both Jayhawks up the leaderboard and propelled them into the final where they were unable to improve. Muchkayev ended her day in fourth place, while Maroszek took eighth.

In the final event of the night, the women’s team needed the 4×400-meter relay team of Morris, Daniels, Taylor Washington and Dixon to finish sixth or better to clinch the team title. The team, who was the reigning conference champions in the event, ran its fastest relay of the season, clocking in at 3:37.73 for a fourth-place finish. The finish gave their team five points and just enough to outscore Texas in the final overall standings by just two points. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.