DES MOINES, Iowa — University of Hawai‘i high jumper Amber Kaufman placed fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, yesterday and in the process became the school’s highest finisher at the meet since Gwen Loud won the long jump in 1984.
Kaufman cleared 6 feet, behind champion Elizabeth Patterson of Arizona, who jumped 6 feet, 1 1/4 inches on her first attempt. Cal Poly’s Sharon Day took second followed by Auburn’s Raeven Harris and Cal State Northridge’s Desirae Gonder.
Also participating in the high jump was junior Emily Sheppard, who took sixth after clearing 5 feet 10 3/4. Sheppard and Kaufman automatically earn All-America status with their top eight performances and scored seven team points for the Rainbow Wahine.
In Wednesday’s qualifying, both cleared 5 feet, 9 3/4 to advance to yesterday’s finals.
With each of the 16 qualifiers’ marks wiped clean, 15 qualifiers cleared the opening height of 5 feet, 8 1/2.
With the bar moving up to 1.77m, both Kaufman and Sheppard cleared on their first attempts. At 5 feet 10 3/4, only eight of the 15 advanced with Sheppard clearing the height on her opening jump and Kaufman making it over on her second attempt.
Kaufman cleared the 6 feet mark on her third try, but Sheppard missed on her three attempts.
Kaufman, who missed most of the track season while training with the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team during their spring workouts, will next compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials at the end of the month. Kaufman earned the invitation to the championships following her gold-medal winning performance at the Western Athletic Conference Championship.
After the first four disciplines of the heptathlon, Annett Wichmann, in her attempt to finish in the top eight, stands in 12th place after a total of 3,305 points.
Wichmann tied for the day’s best mark in the high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches. In the other events, she placed seventh in the shot put 40 feet, 10 inches, 21st in the 100-meter hurdles (14.51), and 25th in the 200-meter dash (26.51).
The heptathlon concludes today with the final three events — long jump, javelin, and 800-meter. Wichmann’s career-best total in the heptathlon is 5,649 points, set at last year’s NCAA Championships.