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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 3:57 p.m., Friday, June 13, 2008

UH's Kaufman, Sheppard earn All-America honors with NCAA finishes

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i high jumpers Amber Kaufman and Emily Sheppard placed fifth and sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships today in Des Moines, Iowa. Kaufman became the school's highest NCAA Outdoor finisher since Gwen Loud won long jump in 1984.

Kaufman, who also starts on the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team, cleared 6 feet (1.83 meters), behind champion Elizabeth Patterson of Arizona, who jumped 6-1.25 (1.86). Sheppard took sixth after clearing 5-10.75.

Sheppard and Kaufman, both juniors, earn All-America status with their top-eight performances and scored seven team points for the Rainbow Wahine.

In Wednesday's qualifying, both cleared 5-9.75 to advance to finals. With each of the 16 qualifiers' marks wiped clean, 15 qualifiers cleared the opening height of 5-8.5. Kaufman and Sheppard cleared 5-9.75 on their first attempts. Only eight of the 15 advanced at 5-10.75, with Sheppard clearing on her opening jump and Kaufman making it over on her second. Kaufman cleared the 6 feet on her third try, but Sheppard missed on her three attempts.

Kaufman will next compete at U.S. Olympic Trials the end of the month. She earned the invitation after her gold-medal performance at the Western Athletic Conference Championship.

After the first four disciplines of the heptathlon, UH junior Annett Wichmann is 12th with 3,305 points. Wichmann tied for the best mark in the high jump at 5-10. She placed seventh in the shot put (40-10.5), 21st in the 100-meter hurdles (14.51), and 25th in the 200-meter dash (26.51).

The heptathlon concludes tomorrow with long jump, javelin Wichmann's best event and 800 meters. Wichmann's career-best is 5,649 points, set at last year's NCAA Championships when she finished ninth.