LUBBOCK, Texas – A Big 12 title from junior Lindsay Vollmer as well as scoring performances from five Jayhawks in three field events moved the Kansas women to the top of the team standings on day two of the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday. The Jayhawk women sit in first heading into the final day after collecting 48 points through the first seven events. The Jayhawk men are in eighth with eight points through six events.
Vollmer added another prestigious accolade to her already outstanding collegiate résumé as she picked up her second-consecutive Big 12 title in the heptathlon. The junior began the day with a comfortable 75-point lead after the first four events on day one of competition. The tables quickly turned on Vollmer after the first event of day two when Texas Tech’s Shanice Stewart soared to an enormous mark in the long jump. The Red Raider went from 75 points down to 63 points ahead of the Jayhawk All-American with two events remaining.
Despite the deficit, Vollmer didn’t waiver as she posted the top mark in the sixth event, the javelin throw. On her first attempt she threw to a distance of 44.12 meters (144’9”), a mark that would end up beating the rest of the field by nearly 23 feet. Vollmer’s performance in the javelin put her back on top in the overall standings by a nearly insurmountable 92 points as she headed into the final event, the 800 meters.
In the eighth and final event, the Hamilton, Missouri native cruised to the finish in 2:33.21, several seconds off her personal best but more than enough to earn her the overall heptathlon win.
“It feels really great to come out here and be able to repeat,” said Vollmer following her victory. “The Big 12 is a really tough conference. It’s humbling to be able to come out here and to be the best at something. It’s a really great and fun feeling.”
Vollmer finished with a total score of 5,786 points, the second-highest score of her career and the No. 4-ranked mark in the NCAA this season. Her win also marked the fourth time a Big 12 athlete has repeated as the conference champion in the event and the second time a Jayhawk has won consecutive heptathlon titles (Candace Mason, ’98 and ’99).
Sophomore Sydney Conley took part in one of the more exciting competitions so far this weekend but came up just a centimeter shy of picking up her first-career Big 12 title. Conley, who came into the competition with the league’s top mark this season, stood in third overall as she faced her final attempt of the day. The Fayetteville, Arkansas native popped off the board on her last trip down the runway and soared to a mark of 6.29 meters (20’7¾”), a leap which put her in the lead. However on the final jump of the competition, Kansas State’s Erica Twiss hit a mark of 6.30 meters (20’8”) to edge out the Jayhawk by a quarter of an inch to steal away the win. Conley’s runner-up finish still earned eight points for her team’s total.
The women saw a big point output from the shot put as senior Jessica Maroszek and sophomore Anastasiya Muchkayev added all-conference outings. Muchkayev’s top mark came on her third trip into the ring when she heaved the implement to a season-best of 16.10 meters (52’10”), which eventually earned her three more attempts in the finals. Maroszek’s toss of 15.63 meters (51’3½”) on her second attempt also guided her into the final three rounds, where, on her last throw of the day, she matched her teammate’s best mark of 16.10 meters (52’10”). Muchkayev earned the tie-breaker over Maroszek by way of a better mark on her second-farthest throw, which placed her third overall. Maroszek was right behind in fourth and rounded out an 11-point scoring performance from the KU women out of the shot put.
A pair of Jayhawk pole vaulters also turned in some impressive scoring performances. Junior Jaimie House and senior Abby Row combined for 10 points in the event. House needed only four attempts to clear her first three heights of the day, the final a season-best vault of 3.97 meters (13’0¼”). The mark earned the El Dorado, Kansas native a runner-up finish in the event, her highest as a Jayhawk. Row picked up a seventh-place finish for the second-straight year at the outdoor conference meet after she managed to get over 3.52 meters (11’6½”).
It was qualifying day on the track as many Jayhawks looked to put themselves in scoring positions in Sunday finals. Kansas saw five of its athletes on the women’s side advance to finals on the track, while three men also moved on to finals in five events. A notable performance came from junior Michael Stigler, who posted the fastest qualifying time in the 110-meter semifinals, a career-best of 13.77. Stigler’s time made him the No. 4 performer in school history and is the 15th-fastest in the NCAA this year. The Canyon, Texas native also went on to notch the fastest qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdles at 50.02.
The final day of the 2014 Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships will kick off at 11 a.m., Sunday with the women's discus. Action from the track will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the running of the 4x100-meter relays. Stay updated on all the Jayhawks' performances via the meet central page at KUAthletics.com and follow on twitter at @KUTrack. A complete recap, results and videos will be posted after the completion of the day's events.