FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior Paris Daniels posted the third-fastest 200-meter time in the world this year as the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field teams took part in the John McDonnell Invitational Saturday in Fayetteville. The No. 1-ranked women finished third in the scored meet, while the Jayhawk men claimed a fifth-place team finish.
Daniels turned in KU’s best individual performance of the evening as she ran away from the rest of the field in the 200 meters. The reigning Big 12 champion in the event, Daniels made sure her first 200-meter race of her final outdoor season would be a memorable one. The senior out of St. Louis was the fastest out of the blocks, racing to a sizeable lead through the first 100 meters. Once Daniels got to the home straight away she put even more distance between her and the rest of the field. She crossed the finish in a wind-aided time of 22.76 to take the title by nearly half a season.
Daniels’ mark is the No. 2 time recorded in the NCAA this year and is the third-fastest in any-wind-condition in the world in 2013. Last season, Daniels ran a personal-best 22.65 the semifinal round of the NCAA Championships, the second-fastest 200 meters in school history.
KU’s top performance in the field came in the long jump from Sydney Conley. The Fayetteville native put on a show for her family and friends as she claimed the event title with ease. On her third trip down the runway, Conley soared to a distance of 6.35 meters (20’10”). The wind-legal mark earned Conley her second victory of the outdoor season and puts her at No. 3 on the school’s all-time performance list. No other competitor was able to come within five inches of the freshman’s jump, which is the fourth-best in the NCAA this season.
On the men’s side, sophomore Michael Stigler again turned in two great performances, competing in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles. The Canyon, Texas product began the day in the 110-hurdles and was running alongside the current world-record holder in the event, Aries Merrit. While Merrit went on to take the win, Stigler ran to season-best time of 14.16 and a fourth-place finish.
Stigler returned to the track later in the evening to run the 400-meter hurdles. Already boasting the NCAA’s second-fastest time this season at 50.00, Stigler completed his lap just slightly off his season-best pace but was still able to bring home the victory, crossing the finish in 50.26. Stigler now holds the second- and third- fastest 400-meter hurdle times in the NCAA this season.
Christen Guenther closed out the night for the Jayhawks by taking the women’s pole vault crown. The senior just needed two clearances on the day to secure the win, her first as a Jayhawk. Guenther’s top bar of 4.12 meters (13’6.25”) was able to edge Arkansas’ Danielle Nowell, who was unable to clear the height.
Elsewhere on the track the men’s and women’s 4x100-meter relay teams ran to impressive times in the event. The women’s squad of Andrea Geubelle, Syndey Conley, Denesha Morris and Diamond Dixon completed the quarter-mile in 44.92 to earn a first-place finish.
The men’s team of Shawn Smith, Michael Hester, DeMario Johnson and Kyle Clemons passed the baton around in 41.17, which gave the quartet a fourth-place finish.
Kansas will return home to host the 86th running of the Kansas Relays inside Memorial Stadium April 17-20. Action from Lawrence will begin Wednesday with the men’s and women’s combined events and will go on to feature some of the top high school, collegiate and professional athletes over the next three days. For updates, field information and the meet schedule, log on to the meet website KansasRelays.com and follow on twitter at @KU_Relays.