Something had always gone wrong. Maybe an injury. Maybe she just put too much pressure on herself. In four years at Kansas, Andrea Geubelle had won conference championships, and indoor crowns, and clinched team glory when her KU squad took home the NCAA women’s outdoor track and field championship earlier this month.
But despite being the reigning NCAA indoor champion in the long jump and triple jump, Geubelle had never won an individual NCAA title at an outdoor meet. The disappointment gnawed at Geubelle, and the pressure felt like a ton of bricks on her back.
But on Thursday, finally, came relief.
Geubelle took home the triple jump title at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, besting the field with a winning of jump of 46 feet and 1/2 inch.
“I had a rough NCAA meet,” Geubelle said by phone, “so that was a little bit of motivation to come back out here and jump well.”
Rough meet? Well, that, of course is a relative term. Geubelle still finished second in both the triple jump, her best event, and the long jump, leading the Jayhawks to the first women’s NCAA title in school history.
But she also suffered a heel bruise on her final jump at the NCAA meet, and Geubelle had to fight through the pain on Thursday.
“(I was) just trying to get past that,” she said.
Geubelle had entered the event as the highest ranking triple-jumper in the country. But despite the winning jump, she’ll still need to do better in the coming weeks to qualify for the World Championships in Moscow, which begin on Aug. 10.
Geubelle, who will turn just 22 on Friday, has ambitious career goals. (“I’m kind of hoping to change the face of triple jump in the U.S.,” she says.) But for now, she’ll need to reach the World Championship ‘B’ standard (46-7 1/4) to clinch a spot in Moscow.
On Thursday, though, she was good enough to win. After clinching the title, and taking a victory lap at Drake Stadium, she talked about a conversation she had with KU jumps coach Wayne Pate after her “disappointing” NCAA meet.
“He just sat me down and we talked about NCAAs,” Geubelle said. “I was doing it for the team there, and I put a lot of pressure on myself.
“He told me, that I have everything that it takes. He reassured me, that we’ve been training all year for this.”
Sure enough, for one day, Geubelle had enough to become a champion.
• KU’s Heather Bergmann finished eighth in the javelin and KU sophomore Michael Stigler advanced to Friday’s semis in the 400-meter hurdles.