Kaufman shakes off pain to take bronze


POSTED: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sophomore Amber Kaufman of Hawaii captured UH's first medal yesterday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships since 1984, despite a back injury from trials. Kaufman won the bronze for third in the high jump at the University of Arkansas' John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark.

Kaufman cleared 6-1 1/4 feet before falling out with the bar set at 6-3 1/2 . Texas' Destinee Hooker captured her fourth NCAA title with a jump of 6-4 3/4 . Arizona's Elizabeth Patterson was second at 6-2 1/4 . UH senior Emily Sheppard was 10th, clearing 5-10 3/4 .

“;(The back) doesn't feel great,”; Kaufman said by phone last night. “;But you just do what you gotta do.”;

UH coach Carmyn James said it was iffy that Kaufman would jump in the finals.

“;She could barely touch her knees, let alone her toes (Wednesday),”; James said. “;She had treatment from a chiropractor and started out cautiously in warm-ups. Considering the pain she was in, she did pretty good.”;

Meanwhile, senior Annett Wichmann placed seventh in the heptathlon, eclipsing her personal best by five points with a total of 5,675.

But she might have finished higher if she'd run with the other leaders in the 800 meters. James said an official acknowledged after the event that a clerical mistake was made when Wichmann was forced to run in the first heat, with little time to warm up.

“;They apologized, but couldn't change anything,”; James said.

Through 13 events yesterday, Oregon led the women's team scoring with 39 points. Hawaii is done with eight. The Ducks also led the men's competition, with 36 points.