WAHINE TRACK AND FIELD
Kaufman, Sheppard point way
DES MOINES, Iowa » In the big picture of the overall meet, it was just another fifth and sixth place. But the performance by Amber Kaufman and Emily Sheppard in the high jump at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships represented a historic breakthrough for the Hawaii program.
In yesterday's finals, Kaufman placed fifth with a jump of 6 feet and Sheppard took sixth as she cleared 5 feet, 103/4 inches. Elizabeth Patterson of Arizona won the event, jumping 6-11/4.
UH earned seven points in the event, marking the first points for the Rainbow Wahine at the NCAA outdoor meet since Gwen Loud won the long jump in 1984. It is also the first time UH had two athletes place in the same event at the nationals.
"It was a great day," coach Carmyn James said in a phone interview last night. "We just came back from a celebration dinner."
Kaufman and Sheppard - who both achieved All-American status by placing - fed off each other's success.
"Definitely. We were more relaxed and comfortable," Sheppard said. "I felt very comfortable, like I belonged, which I wasn't expecting. But I'd been jumping well in practice, so I felt ready."
Kaufman cleared 6 feet on her third and final try.
"I don't feel like I could've asked for much more," said Kaufman, who is also a starter on the UH volleyball team. "It's pretty cool that we made school history. Conditions were good for us. It was hot and sunny without too much wind. Perfect."
Kaufman will compete next at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., at the end of the month.
UH hopes to get into double-digits in points today as Annett Wichmann tries to place in the heptathlon. The senior WAC champion in the seven-discipline competition was 12th after yesterday's four events with 3,305 points.
Wichmann tied for the day's best mark in the high jump at 5-10. She placed seventh in the shot put (40-101/2), 21st in the 100-meter hurdles (14.51), and 25th in the 200-meter dash (26.51).
The heptathlon concludes today with the long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run. Wichmann's career-best is 5,649 points, set at last year's NCAA Championships when she finished ninth. The top eight finishers score points.