World Leader, Stigler, Highlights KU’s Friday at Texas Relays

88th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays
Mike A. Myers Stadium // Austin, Texas.

Freshman Jaron Hartley led off the men’s sprint medley relay Friday afternoon at the Texas Relays.
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AUSTIN, Texas – Senior Michael Stigler picked up his third-consecutive Texas Relays 400-meter hurdle title in grand fashion as the Kansas hurdler posted a school record and world-leading time Friday evening inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. Stigler’s time of 48.44 smashed his own school record by more than half a second and made him just the second athlete in meet history to garner 400-meter hurdle titles in three-straight years.
“It feels great, especially doing it here,” said Stigler, who hails from the Lone Star State. “It’s a great facility, great fans and just to do it three years in a row, it’s a blessing. Especially considering the field, this year is stacked and just to be able to pull off a win today here, in front of these fans, is just phenomenal. That was a pretty huge PR for me and it was a meet record I believe too, so that was great.”
Stigler, who earned a spot in Friday’s final by way of a 50.41 clocking in the preliminary race Thursday, was never challenged as he ran his way to his fifth 400-meter hurdle title in his last six meets. The Canyon, Texas native outpaced the rest of the field by more than a second and eased through the finish to earn his third Texas Relays win in the event. The clock read 48.44 moments after the Jayhawk crossed the finish, marking the fastest 400-meter hurdle time run by a collegian in nearly four years.
Stigler’s performance broke his own school record of 49.19 set at the NCAA Championships in 2013, as well as the Mike A. Myers stadium and the Texas Relays meet records. The running was also fractions of a second from moving the three-time All-American among the NCAA’s all-time fastest 400-meter hurdlers. His mark was a mere .02 seconds from making him the No. 10 performer in collegiate history.
While it is still early in the outdoor season, Stigler’s time easily moved him to the top of the world rankings for 2015, bettering the previous leader by well over a second. Comparing to recent seasons, the time would have made him the fourth-fastest in the world in 2014 and would have ranked No. 10 in the world in 2013.
While the KU men were led by an individual, the Kansas women saw a strong outing from one of its relay squads for the second-straight night. Just over 24 hours after the 4×800-meter relay team turned in the sixth-fastest time in school history, the distance medley team of Lydia Saggau, Whitney Adams, Rhavean King and Hannah Richardson stepped it up notch. The quartet finished third in the 4,000-meter race in 11:21.69 to turn in the second-fastest outdoor distance medley time in program history. The foursome’s performance was also just over three seconds off the school record.
The Jayhawk men also had a pair of relay teams in action Friday. The sprint medley team of Jaron Hartley, Jaime Wilson, Drew Matthews and Adel Yoonis finished in 3:27.15 to take 15th overall. The distance medley quartet of Josh Munsch, Kenneth McCuin, Anthonio Humphrey and James Wilson passed the baton around in 9:57.29, which was good enough for an eighth-place finish.
Grace Pickell kicked her outdoor season off strong with a personal best in the high jump. The sophomore cleared a height of 1.71 meters (5’7¼”) on her second attempt to earn a seventh-place finish. The bar improved upon her outdoor personal record by a centimeter and moved her into the top-five of the latest Big 12 rankings.
Kansas will return to the Mike A. Myers Stadium for the final day of the Texas Relays on Saturday, March 28. Jayhawks will be in competition in only field events with Colleen O’Brien starting things off in the A-section high jump at 11 a.m. A large KU contingent will also be in action at the ESU Spring Open in Emporia, Kansas, throughout the day. Keep track of all the Kansas performances from Austin and Emporia by following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.