Four More Jayhawks Eugene Bound After Final Day of NCAA West Prelims

NCAA Championships – West Preliminary
Mike A. Myers Stadium // Austin, Texas

Junior Hannah Richardson advance to the NCAA Championships with the help of a personal record time in the 1,500 meters Saturday night.
West Preliminary
Kansas Results
Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

AUSTIN, Texas – The Kansas track & field teams finished with a flurry as four more Jayhawks punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships on the third and final day of the West Preliminary inside Mike A. Myers Stadium. A pair of Jayhawk pole vaulters as well as junior Hannah Richardson and sophomore Zainab Sanni turned in performances that were good enough to add their names to the Kansas contingent heading to the National Championships. In all, 11 Jayhawks advanced in 12 events to the national meet to be held in Eugene, Oregon beginning on June 10.
Hannah Richardson turned in the gutsiest outing of her collegiate career in the quarterfinals of the 1,500 meters. Already ranked among the top-10 in the west region this year, the junior proved her name belonged near the top of those rankings after she turned in one of the fastest races in school history. The race stayed at a relatively fast pace throughout, with Richardson holding a strong position just behind the leaders in fourth place. As the pack headed into the final 300 meters the runners began to spread out with Richardson falling back to the fifth position, but she used a strong kick down the final straightaway to keep herself in contention for a spot to Eugene.
Working hard to remain among the top five in the final 10 meters, Richardson lost her footing and was passed just before the tape to fall to sixth place and just short of earning one of the automatic qualifying spots. Despite the late mishap, she still clocked in with the fastest 1,500-meter time of her Jayhawk career, crossing the finish in a blistering 4:16.73. She would then be forced to sit through several nervous minutes as the second quarterfinal heat took the track, to see if that time would be good enough to extend her season.
The time was more than good enough, with her clocking ranking faster than any of those who ran in the second quarterfinal heat. Richardson earned the sixth qualifying spot out of the west region and a ticket to her first NCAA Championship meet. She will toe the start line for the national semifinals of the 1,500 meters on Thursday, June 11 at 6:14 p.m. (CT).
Earlier in the day, two KU pole vaulters used career-high clearances to secure their first journey to the NCAA Championships. Junior Jake Albright and sophomore Nick Meyer each came up with some clutch, third-attempt clearances with the future of their 2015 seasons hanging in the balance. Meyer was the first to clear with the bar at 5.35 meters (17’6½”), bettering his previous career best by two inches. Two vaulters later, Albright followed his younger teammate’s lead by posting a personal record clearance of his own. The two Jayhawks’ marks earned them top-12 finishes as well as qualifying spots to the national meet in two weeks.
Albright and Meyer will each compete at the NCAA meet for the first time but their trip will mark the fifth time in nine years the Kansas men sent at least one pole vaulter to the National Championships. The Kansas duo will hit the Hayward Field runway on Wednesday, June 10 at 6 p.m. (CT).
Twenty-four hours removed from posting a career time in the 200 meters, Zainab Sanni added another somewhat notable accolade to her résumé. Advanced to her first NCAA Championships.
Competing in the quarterfinals of the 200 meters, the sophomore held on for the 12th and final qualifying spot after she leaned through the finish in 23.39. The time was .01 seconds slower than her personal best from one night prior, but was .05 seconds faster than Boise State’s Mackenzie Flannigan, which was the difference between the last spot to nationals and the first non-qualifying spot.
Sanni will be the second Jayhawk in three years to hit the 200-meter starting blocks at the NCAA Championships after Paris Daniels ran to a fourth-place finish in the event in 2013. Sanni’s week in Oregon will begin on Thursday, June 11 at 8:14 p.m. (CT) for the 200-meter semifinals.
Kansas will send a total of 11 athletes to compete in 12 events at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships June 10-13 in Eugene, Oregon at Historic Hayward Field. The No. 25-ranked Kansas women will see the following compete for national titles: Sydney Conley (long jump), Daina Levy (hammer throw and discus), Colleen O’Brien (high jump), Hannah Richardson (1,500 meters), Zainab Sanni (200 meters) and Lindsay Vollmer (heptathlon).

The Jayhawk men’s contingent will feature Jake Albright (pole vault), Cole Ceban (discus), Mitch Cooper (discus), Nick Meyer (pole vault) and Michael Stigler (400-meter hurdles). Follow throughout the week as the Jayhawks go head-to-head with the NCAA’s best by logging on to and following on Twitter, Vine and Instagram at @KUTrack. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.