Jumpers Get Jayhawks Off to Strong Start in Arkansas

John McDonnell Invitational
John McDonnell Field // Fayetteville, Ark.

Senior Colleen O’Brien soared to victory in the high jump Friday evening
John McDonnell Invitational
Friday Results
Kansas Results

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jayhawk victories in both the men’s and women’s high jump got Kansas track & field’s weekend off to a fast start Friday evening at the John McDonnell Invitational. Seniors Nick Giancana and Colleen O’Brien tallied wins in their respective competitions, while junior Lindsay Vollmer turned in a career best in the high jump en route to a runner-up finish.
Two weeks removed from an impressive season-opener at the Texas Relays, Giancana proved he had not lost a step after returning from a one week hiatus. The Topeka, Kansas product needed only three clearances to claim the first outdoor victory of his Kansas career. While it took him all three of his allotted attempts, Giancana leaped over the bar at 2.10 meters (6’10¾”), a height none of the other competitors could match. Senior teammate Austin Hoag posted a season-best clearance of 2.05 meters (6’8¾”) to finish third overall.
Just 90 minutes later, O’Brien followed Giancana’s lead by picking up some hardware of her own. Already among the NCAA’s top-12 jumpers this season, she continued her fast start to her final collegiate season by posting her second clearance over 5’10” this year. O’Brien needed only two tries to top 1.80 meters (5’10¾”), which ended up being plenty to claim her second-career outdoor high jump title. Jayhawk sophomore Grace Pickell was the runner-up finisher after she tallied an outdoor personal-record leap of 1.75 meters (5’8¾”).
It was another successful outing for the multi-event specialist, Vollmer, who continues to refine her various skills in preparation of her first heptathlon competition in the coming weeks. Taking part in her first long jump competition of the outdoor season, she made it a day to remember as she turned in the best mark of her KU career. On her third trip down the runway, the All-American soared to a distance of 6.19 meters (20’3¾”), a leap no other collegian in the field could top. Vollmer’s jump was also one of the best ever by a KU female as only eight other Jayhawks have posted a better mark in the event.
Many more Jayhawks are expected to be in action Saturday as the John McDonnell Invitational will get into full swing. The day’s events will kick off with the women’s hammer throw at 9:30 a.m., while the action on the track is slated to begin at 2 p.m. with the prelims of the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Stay updated on all the Kansas performances by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter, Instagram and Vine at @KUTrack.