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Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2012

Great leap forward: Jayhawk jumpers 4-6; women in 2nd

Kansas University’s Francine Simpson competes in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor. Simpson placed fourth in the event Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.

Kansas University’s Francine Simpson competes in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor. Simpson placed fourth in the event Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.

June 7, 2012

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— Kansas University horizontal-jumps coach Wayne Pate knew his two competitors in the long jump probably thought he was disappointed in their efforts Thursday.

He wasn’t.

Though Francine Simpson and Andrea Geubelle didn’t set personal records, they still managed to grab fourth and sixth places, respectively, tacking on much-needed team points for the KU women Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium.

“They did what they’ve been doing all year long: being solid (with) good jumps,” Pate said.

And in a high-pressure meet — when some competitors experience a significant dropoff in performance — both women were able to secure a strong jump early.

Simpson, ranked fourth in the nation, posted a leap of 21 feet, 63⁄4 inches on her first attempt, an effort that brought loud applause from teammates and coaches in the stands.

“I felt like my takeoff was decent,” Simpson said. “After that, I just started to do the wrong things, so I wasn’t improving.”

Geubelle, the 10th-ranked long jumper coming in, was able to steady her nerves after her first jump.

On her second try, she leapt 21-4, just three-fourths of an inch behind the PR she set two weeks ago at regionals.

“It wasn’t like I jumped bad, but I definitely didn’t jump to my capability,” Geubelle said. “Sixth place is OK. It’s not great, but I’ll take it.”

Neither Jayhawk was able to improve her mark on the last three jumps following a long break between the preliminaries and finals. During the 10-minute delay, officials fidgeted with the takeoff board, perhaps trying to make sure it was level.

“I thought it just took all the excitement, all the luster out of the competition,” Pate said.

Simpson and Geubelle still were able to combine for eight team points, which helped push the KU women into a position where a national championship is still a possibility.

After six completed events out of 21, the KU women sit in a tie for second with 14 points. Stanford is in first with 22 points, while Oklahoma also has 14.

KU also received three points from Alena Krechyk, who left frustrated following a sixth-place finish in the hammer.

The senior’s second throw of 211-10 ended up being her best, though just four weeks earlier, she posted a 226-05 to win the Big 12 championships in Manhattan.

Southern Illinois’ Jeneva McCall won Thursday’s competition with a throw of 225-3.

The KU women also had two more qualifications for finals.

Junior Paris Daniels won her heat and was the third-fastest in the 200 preliminaries, posting a personal-best time of 22.65 seconds.

That was the second-fastest time in school history.

KU’s 4X400 relay team of Denesha Morris, Daniels, Taylor Washington and Diamond Dixon also won its heat, posting the second-fastest qualifying time with a 3:29.07.

Freshman Lindsay Vollmer — the only other KU women’s competitor Thursday — is in 17th place in the heptathlon with 3,286 points after completing four of seven events.

The Kansas men failed to qualify for the finals in two races: The 4x400 team of Kyle Clemons, Michael Hester, Michael Stigler and Kenneth McCuin ran the 12th-fastest time with a 3:05.25, while sophomore Josh Munsch had the 22nd-best time in the 1500 (3:48.03).

Thanks to Mason Finley’s second-place performance in the discus Wednesday, the KU men still are tied for 11th place in the team standings with eight points.

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