Kansas bests second-place Texas A&M by 14 points to take home first title
EUGENE, Ore. --As a high school senior, Andrea Geubelle made a bet on an up-and-coming track program. Four years later as a college senior, she was leading that team to an NCAA championship.
Buoyed by Geubelle’s runner-up finishes in the long jump and triple jump, Kansas won its first team championship Saturday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The Jayhawks scored 60 points to second-place Texas A&M’s 44, while Oregon finished third with 43 on it’s home track and LSU was fourth with 40 points.
“It’s been a long road coming,” Geubelle said. “I watched this team come from not even being a top-50 team my freshman year to being national champions. It’s awesome.”
The Jayhawks, who came into the meet as the top-ranked team in the USTFCCCA rankings, brought 13 entries and 10 of them scored. Only one — heptathlete Lindsay Vollmer — won her event, but Geubelle and Natalia Bartnovskaya (pole vault) added second-place finishes while Alena Krecyhk was third in the hammer throw. Kansas also had two fourths, a fifth and two sixth-place finishes.
“Every event I was telling myself I had to do well so I could score as many points for the team,” said Vollmer, who scored 6,086 in the seven-event competition. “It’s been so fun being a part of such a great team this season, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.”
The NCAA championships at historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, featured several standout individual performances.
In the women’ 400 hurdles on Friday, Stanford junior Kori Carter outlasted Arizona senior and 2012 U.S. Olympian Georganne Moline to finish first with a collegiate record and world-leading time of 53.21. The title came one year after she finished 24th in the event at the 2012 NCAA championships.
“I told my director this morning, ‘She’s going to do something special,’” Stanford hurdles coach Jody Stewart said. “I didn’t know she was going to beat [the collegiate record], but I knew she was going to do something special.”
Carter followed up her first NCAA title by finishing second in the 100 hurdles on Saturday. However, her performance was overshadowed by that of Clemson junior Brianna Rollins. On Thursday, Rollins’ semifinal time of 12.47 clipped the previous collegiate record by 0.1 seconds. Then in Saturday’s finals Rollins dropped that record even further to 12.39, which was also a track record.
Both hurdlers figure to be major factors in their events at USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which take place June 20-23 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event will determine the athletes who move onto the IAAF World Championships, which begin in August in Moscow.
The Oregon fans who showed loud support for the hometown Ducks were dealt a scare when sprinter English Gardner struggled with an ankle injury in the 200-meter prelims on Thursday, missing the finals. But Gardner came back on Friday to defend her NCAA title in the 100 meters, holding off a blazing field that included 2012 Bowerman Award winner Kimberlyn Duncan of LSU (third place) and Central Florida duo Octavious Freeman (second) and Aurieyall Scott (fourth).
“It’s the icing on top of the cake,” said Gardner, who also ran on Oregon’s fourth-place 4x100 relay team. “I love the Oregon fans and I love Hayward Field. I’m very happy and I’m pleased. I thank my abilities and I thank the Lord.”
Duncan got revenge on Saturday in the 200 meters, claiming her sixth consecutive NCAA title (including indoors) in the event. In doing so, she also became the first athlete, man or woman, to claim three consecutive outdoor 200-meter titles.
“I’m very satisfied right now, I’m trying to hold back tears,” Duncan said. “I’m happy to have been here and to have been able to run for LSU, and so I’m very excited about everything out there.”
Also winning her sixth consecutive NCAA title was high jumper Brigetta Barrett. The Arizona senior and 2012 Olympic silver medalist for Team USA completed the indoor/outdoor sweep for the third consecutive year with a final height of 1.95m (6-04.75).
Oklahoma and 2012 U.S. Olympic shot putter Tia Brooks wasn’t far behind. With a final throw of 18.91m (62-00.5) she completed the indoor/outdoor sweep for the consecutive season. Her winning throw was more than three feet farther than second-place finisher Brittany Smith of Illinois State.
Ashley Spencer, an Illinois sophomore, remains undefeated in the 400 meters after she defended her NCAA title in a personal-best time of 50.28. Colorado senior Emma Coburn technically defended her steeplechase title as well, although she took a redshirt season between her 2011 and 2013 titles while training for the Olympics. She led wire-to-wire to handily outpace the pack in 9:35.38.
Iowa State senior Betsy Saina won the 10,000 meters Wednesday with a time of 33.08.85. However, she was unable to complete the double on Friday when Dartmouth junior Abbey D’Agostino repeated as the 5,000-meter champion in 15:43.68. Saina came in second at 15:50.26.