Given the level of acclaim bestowed upon the Kansas University women’s track team’s 2009 recruiting class — a group that featured three high school All-Americans and was tapped as the nation’s fourth-best by “Track and Field News” — it was reasonable to assume the unit eventually would have a major impact on the program.
That that impact would come less than two months into the 2010 indoor season, however, was far less predictable.
“I think we’ve all just been like, ‘Wow, where did these girls come from?’” said senior distance runner Lauren Bonds, following Friday’s Jayhawks Classic at Anschutz Pavilion.
So far this year, one freshman — triple-jumper Andrea Geubelle — already has qualified provisionally for the national meet, and Friday’s invitational, which didn’t include team scores, featured a number of standout performances by some of the team’s newest faces.
Former prep All-American Rebecca Neville, who concluded her high school career ranked as the nation’s No. 2 heptathlete, finished first in the pentathlon, tallying 3,562 points and narrowly missing a provisional qualification of her own. Geubelle was first in the long jump and third in the 200-meter dash, and Taylor Washington added a victory in the 600 to lead the Jayhawks.
“I just came out at the beginning of the season and haven’t really taken a break yet,” Geubelle said. “Over Christmas break, I trained hard, and I guess it’s all paying off.”
There were plenty of noteworthy moments from the team’s non-freshman members Friday, as well.
Bonds’ time of 9:30 in the 3,000 marked a school record. Alena Krechyk’s weight-throw distance of 18.59 meters topped the runner-up by more than three meters, and on the men’s side, Jordan Scott (pole vault), Don Wasinger (mile run) and Kyle Clemons (200) earned individual victories.
The day, though, belonged largely to the freshman women, whose early success seems to have exceeded the expectations of coaches and teammates.
“Kansas, as we get older and older and older, is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Neville said. “And it’s already starting to show now. So I’m not surprised (by the early success), but I know we have so much more potential — which makes me super-excited.”