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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Red carpet sweepers: Track takes two top awards at Rock Chalk Choice Awards

Kansas University track athletes Michael Stigler, left, and Andrea Geubelle were named athletes of the year at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at the Lied Center.

Kansas University track athletes Michael Stigler, left, and Andrea Geubelle were named athletes of the year at the Rock Chalk Choice Awards on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at the Lied Center.

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Andrea Geubelle stops to speak with the media on the red carpet during the Rock Chalk Choice Awards Sunday at the Lied Center.

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Michael Stigler stops on the red carpet to speak with reporters during the Rock Chalk Choice Awards Sunday at the Lied Center.

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Members of the Kansas University volleyball team pose on the red carpet outside the Lied Center Sunday before the Rock Chalk Choice Awards.

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Ben McLemore stops to answer questions on the red carpet during the Rock Chalk Choice Awards Sunday at the Lied Center.

A record-breaking year for Kansas University’s track and field teams was capped off with a clean sweep of the final three awards during Sunday’s Rock Chalk Choice Awards at Lied Center.

Jumper Andrea Geubelle won the 2012-13 female athlete of the year, men’s hurdler Michael Stigler was named male athlete of the year, and the women’s track team’s clinching of the NCAA Outdoor national championship was recognized as the Rock Chalk Moment of the Year.

“For track to get recognized like this, it’s great,” Stigler said. “That means we’re up on the rise, just like the basketball team, so we’ve just got to continue doing what we’re doing.”

In her final season as a Jayhawk, Geubelle won two Big 12 championships, a pair of NCAA Indoor championships and also was first in the triple jump at the USA Track and Field Championships.

Other nominees included teammates Natalia Bartnovskaya and Lindsay Vollmer, women’s basketball player Angel Goodrich, softball player Maggie Hull and volleyball player Caroline Jarmoc.

“Winning a team championship, I couldn’t have imagined any other way to end my collegiate career,” Geubelle said. “I’m proud of my team, proud of my coaches and honored to be a part of that program. I’m really excited for their future.”

Stigler, just a junior this season, finished second in the 400 meter hurdles at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor championships. He also is a two-time Big 12 outdoor champion in the event and holds the school record.

“He hates to lose — at practice and at competitions,” Geubelle said. “He overall just leads the team. You can watch people follow him, and he will never have to say a word.”

Stigler took the top honor over teammate Kyle Clemons, golfer Chris Gilbert, men’s basketball players Ben McLemore and Jeff Withey, baseball closer Jordan Piché and football running back James Sims.

KU track and field coach Stanley Redwine described Geubelle and Stigler as great competitors.

“It’s unbelievable the things they were able to accomplish,” Redwine said, “because they put their work in.”

McLemore, who was taken seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings in this year’s NBA Draft, attended the event alongside former teammate Naadir Tharpe.

Wearing a red San Francisco 49ers hat (San Fran is about 90 miles away from Sacramento), McLemore said he was beginning to settle into his new locale. He recently secured a place to stay in Sacramento and has started to get acquainted with his new teammates and coaches.

“I’m definitely enjoying the process right now,” McLemore said, “and ready to start up and get this thing going.”

Other award winners at the hourlong Rock Chalk Choice Awards were:

• Football halfback Tony Pierson, who won the Crimson Climb Award, given to the an athlete “who has served as an inspiration to others by overcoming academic challenges and exceeding academic expectations.”

• Volleyball libero Brianne Riley, who picked up the Jayhawker Award, given to an athlete who exhibits commitment to KU principles while demonstrating “mental toughness in the face of adversity and competition while making a positive contribution to Kansas Athletics.”

• Volleyball setter Erin McNorton, who won Best Jayhawk in a Supporting Role, given to an athlete who “demonstrates extraordinary sportsmanship, support and loyalty to teammates and Kansas Athletics.”

• Rower Abbey Lozenski, who was honored with the True Blue Award, given to an athlete who “demonstrates devotion to excellence in academics and athletics while advancing Kansas Athletics through participation in various student organizations and community service projects.”

Also, KU soccer won the Top Team GPA Award, while volleyball won its third straight CHAMPS crown, which is based on “participation in personal development, community outreach, team GPA, Jayhawks Supporting Jayhawks, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Jayrock activities.”

Comments

Brad Farha 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I love reading these stories. Great to see student-athletes from multiple sports recognized. I'm sad that the departed seniors won't get to compete at the Rock Chalk Park, but they should always be proud knowing they were a part of making it happen.

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JayhawkRock78 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I am so happy for these two deserving track stars. It has been really great to watch KU track return to greatness. Andrea, I've said it before. You belong on a box of Wheaties. RCJH

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Brett McCabe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

A real university, one that offers opportunity and rewards excellence in a broad range of athletic and academic pursuits, is the type of university that can make us all proud.

Let's continue the excellence. Let's expand the athletic program and let's continue to pursue greatness.

Congrats to all of the deserving winners. Rock Chalk!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 7 months, 2 weeks ago

And the award for biggest drain of academic department dollars goes to...

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Scott MacWilliams 7 months, 2 weeks ago

As a Jayhawk living in Eugene, about three blocks from Hayward Field, site of the last two Olympic Trials and last springs NCAA track championships, I have to say AMEN!! to the Lady Jayhawks winning the NC in track & field as the Jayhawk Moment of the Year!!!
To come into Eugene, home of the Ducks, on their hallowed home field, and win was an amazing team effort, and I hope that it's the beginning of a long and illustrious track dynasty at KU.
I have read people on this site gritch about the track around Memorial Stadium, and I can't see what the problem is. Hayward Field was originally a small football stadium, and the local powers in track and Uncle Phil knight would like to try and have the World Championships in track held here. But there is the little problem of a lack of seating at Hayward. At the last Olympic Trials, even with massive temporary bleachers, they could only seat about 21,000.

If a Memorial Stadium were here, we'd be hosting the Worlds next year. Maybe KU can expand their track program, steal away some of Haywards cachet, and end up hosting the WORLD Championships in Track & Field!!! In yer face, Phil!!

That would be Big Time International Rock Chalk!! Hey, it never hurts to dream big, my fellow Jayhawks!!!

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Jack Jones 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Congratulations Andrea and Michael ~ A well deserved individual recognition for each of you, as well as for the historically incredibly successfully University of Kansas Track and Field program. You, and each of your teammates have made significant contributions to that tradition.

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