Olympic Trials locals
Competitors at U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials with a Kansas connection:
Michael Beeler, Pittsburg State, javelin
Kyle Clemons, Kansas, 400
Mason Finley, Kansas, discus
Erik Kynard, Kansas State, high jump
Trent Mazanec, Wichita State, javelin
Todd McKown, Wichita State, 110 hurdles
Jordan Scott, Kansas, pole vault
Michael Stigler, Kansas, 400 hurdles
Iain Trimble, Kansas, javelin
Brett Trudo, Wichita State, javelin
Chandra Andrews, Wichita State, hammer
Heather Bergmann, Kansas, javelin
Paris Daniels, Kansas, 200
Diamond Dixon, Kansas, 400
Andrea Geubelle, Kansas, triple, long jumps
Amy Hastings, Leavenworth, 10,000
Kellyn Johnson, Wichita State, 5,000, 10,000
Ryann Krais, Kansas State, heptathlon
Jessica Maroszek, Kansas, shot put
Rebeka Stowe, Kansas, steeplechase
Tiara Walpool, Kansas State, triple jump
Kansas junior Andrea Geubelle once saw the Olympic Trials as the destination, an endpoint for the season and an opportunity to broaden her worldview.
That approach has evolved.
“At the beginning of the school year if you’d have asked me if I was going to make the Olympic team I’d have said I was going to the Trials and it would be a great experience,” Geubelle said. “I’m going to get the experience out of the way and I’d be ready to compete in 2016.”
The timetable has advanced.
Geubelle is in Eugene, Ore., at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, which begin today, to win. At this point anything less than a spot on the national squad as a triple jumper for the Olympic Games in London would be considered a disappointment.
Every competitor dreams of wearing the U.S. uniform, but Geubelle arrived in Oregon with a deeper sense of desire after her previous competition.
At the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, Geubelle appeared to have won the triple jump. She had completed her three preliminary jumps and on the first of her three finals attempts soared 46 feet, 11 3/4 inches, an NCAA meet record.
When nobody topped that leap, Geubelle had added the outdoor championship to her indoor one, or so she thought.
Geubelle learned later, after meeting interviewers in the mix zone as the event winner, that her fourth attempt had been the subject of a protest by Kevin Stephen of Southern Mississippi, the coach of the eventual winner. Geubelle’s jump was disallowed and Ganna Demydova had won the event.
Before Geubelle had been made aware of the reversal, she spoke passionately about the importance of mental toughness.
“I hate to lose,” she said. “It’s the worst feeling in the world to lose. If there’s a girl in front of me, I love going after her. When I see marks that are farther than mine, all that’s in my head is I’m going to jump farther.
“You can have as much physical talent in world, if you don’t have a mental game you’re not going to do much.”
That belief is what will make Geubelle a strong competitor in her events, the triple and long jumps, at the Trials.
“She has the ideal frame of mind,” said Wayne Pate, Kansas’ assistant track coach who oversees the jumpers. “She already has that competitive edge, a drive, a prove-myself type of thing. After the NCAA, I almost hate to say it, this is a perfect situation for her right now.”
If she can keep from the dreaded scratch. Her winning jump was taken down by less than the length of a big toe.
And when Geubelle believed she the event in the bag, she went for broke on her final attempt and, although scratches aren’t officially tallied, she was told her jump was in the 14.61-meter range. That’s beyond American record distance, and it proved to Geubelle that she has a monster leap in those fast and powerful legs.
“To know I have it in me, that’s huge,” Geubelle said. “I’m telling myself that I’m saving it for the one that counts the most. Hopefully, I’ll do it at the Trials and if I don’t do it there and still qualify I can do it at the Games.”
Geubelle came to triple jumping in the usual way, starting with something else. She ran everything from the 100 to 800 in her track career, and her first field event was the long jump. A coach noticed her bouncy gait and suggested the triple jump. Technically unsound initially, Geubelle still was hop, skip and jumping beyond any other.
Her greatest strength, according to Pate, is the ability to maintain speed throughout the jumping process.
“When she makes contact with the board, she loses little speed,” Pate said.
By the time she was finished at Curtis High in University Place, Wash., near Tacoma, Geubelle was a two-time winner in the triple and long jumps and added the 100 championship as a senior in the state 4A meet.
With Kansas track coach Stanley Redwine starting to put together the pieces for a nationally competitive program, he caught a recruiting break with Geubelle. Two, actually.
She made it known during her recruiting process that she wanted to leave the Pacific Northwest and, although she had lived nowhere but Washington, her parents were from Kansas and she had family in Olathe and near Garden City.
In her third year at KU, Geubelle helped the Jayhawks to a fourth-place tie at the NCAA meet, the highest finish in the program’s history.
At the Trials, the schedule sets up nicely. She’ll compete in the triple and long jumps with the triple her stronger event. That comes first with qualifying Saturday and the finals Monday. The long jump, which Geubelle said takes a greater toll on her legs, is later in the competition.