Jayhawks Post Impressive Marks on Final Day of John McDonnell Invite

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

Hannah Richardson claimed her second-straight 1,500-meter title Saturday at the John McDonnell Invitational.
John McDonnell Invitational
Final Results
Kansas Results

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Another 1,500-meter win from junior Hannah Richardson as well as a pair of NCAA top-25 performances from senior Michael Stigler and junior Sydney Conley highlighted a strong final Saturday for Kansas track & field as the Jayhawks competed on the second and final day of the John McDonnell Invitational. The meet served as Kansas’ final tune-up prior to the Kansas Relays, set to run at Rock Chalk Park next week.
“We had a really good meet this weekend,” said head coach Stanley Redwine. “We had a lot of people record personal bests or season bests and that’s exciting to see. There were a lot of really strong performances today and I felt everyone competed well.”
Richardson claimed her second 1,500-meter crown in as many weeks as she blazed to victory on the shoulders of her fastest-career time in the event. The junior ran in stride with the front of the pack for the first 1,000 meters before kicking it into high gear. With 500 meters remaining, she flew by the leaders and used an impressive kick over her final lap of the track to win the race by more than four seconds. Richardson’s dominant performance produced a personal-record time of 4:18.43 and shot her into the top-10 of the national rankings.
Richardson also managed to rewrite the school record book as her time ranks sixth on the KU chart and is the best mark by a Jayhawk in nearly five years. Only two other Kansas runners have turned in faster marks than Richardson’s career run in Arkansas.
The Jayhawks’ 400-meter hurdle specialist, Michael Stigler, also picked up the second win of his senior campaign, however it was in the shorter, 110-meter hurdle race. Stigler wasn’t challenged in the event as he outpaced the field by over .7 seconds after he clocked in at 13.78. The time was just .01 seconds from tying his own career-best in the event and moved the three-time All-American among the top-10 in the latest 2015 national standings.
Stigler returned to the track alongside three of his teammates to close out the meet with a band in the 4×400-meter relay. Kenneth McCuin, Jaimie Wilson and Tre Daniels combined to put the KU squad in second as the baton go passed to the anchor, Stigler. He didn’t waiver despite trailing the leader by two strides in the final lap. On the final straightaway, Stigler passed up the leader and sprinted to the finish to give the Jayhawks the victory in 3:08.55, the team’s fastest time of the year.
It has been a good start to the 2015 outdoor season for junior Sydney Conley and that continued Saturday afternoon in front of her hometown fans. The Fayetteville native, who holds the NCAA’s top long jump mark this year, raced to a runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash. Conley leaned across the finish in 11.52, which would have put her among the fastest in KU history had it not been for the strong tailwind that was over the allowable limit. Her time still was enough to rank the All-American among the top-20 in the NCAA this year.
Less than 24 hours after tallying a new career best in the long jump, Lindsay Vollmer did the same in the 100-meter hurdles en route to a third-place finish. The combined event specialist crossed the finish in 13.51 to shave .05 seconds of her previous collegiate best. In just two outings in the outdoor season thus far, Vollmer has tied or posted a personal best in three of the seven events that make up the heptathlon. She is expected to compete in her season’s first heptathlon at the Kansas Relays beginning April 15.
Sophomore Zainab Sanni added another strong sprint performance for the Jayhawks after she ran to a third-place finish in the 200 meters. Sanni completed her half-lap of the John McDonnell track to clock in with a time of 23.59, which was more than half a second faster than her previous outdoor best in the event. Sanni’s performance, which has her among the top-25 of the NCAA’s 200 meter rankings this year, has only been topped by six Jayhawk women in the school’s history.
The Jayhawks will now return to Lawrence to host the 88th Kansas Relays, April 15-18. Hundreds of high school and collegiate athletes are set to compete inside KU’s year-old home facility, Rock Chalk Park. Saturday afternoon’s session will be televised on the Jayhawk Sports Network and ESPN3 beginning at 1 p.m. Log on to KansasRelays.com for a schedule and additional information on one of the nation’s most tradition-rich track meets.