KU’s Stigler posts runner-up in 400-meter hurdles

EUGENE, Ore. – Junior Michael Stigler tallied a second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles for the second-consecutive year on the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday afternoon inside Hayward Field. The finish made Stigler a First Team All-American in the event for the third time.

“Things didn’t go the way I wanted them to today, but I need to keep my head up,” said Stigler following the race. “It hurts to come in second two years in a row so I’m starving for that title now. I’ll go into this offseason motivated and ready to work to get back for another go at it next year.”

Stigler, who hails from Canyon, Texas, came into Friday’s final following a strong outing in the semifinals two days earlier, posting the fastest time out of the eight finals qualifiers. He clocked in with a season-best 49.34, nearly half a second better than the rest of the field

In the final, Stigler found himself running alongside the only man to beat him so far in 2014, Nebraska senior Miles Ukaoma, who topped Stigler at the West Preliminary meet two weeks ago. Both the Jayhawk and Cornhusker got out to nearly equal starts, running stride-for-stride over the first 200 meters. Stiger and Ukaoma emerged from the final curve neck-and-neck, but it was the Nebraska veteran who managed to outkick Stigler over the final 100 meters. Ukoama pulled away to win the event in 49.28, with Stigler coming in .62 seconds later at 49.90. Stigler finished as the event’s runner-up for the second-straight year and managed to pick up a top-six finish at the national meet for the third time.

Stigler’s finish earned him First Team All-American honors for the third-straight season and marks the first time since 1980 a KU male has collected All-American accolades in a track event on three occasions.

A promising start through the first half of the heptathlon ended in disappointment for Lindsay Vollmer after the junior was forced to withdraw following an injury on day two of the competition. Vollmer entered the second day of events in second overall after amassing 3,493 points during the first four events on Thursday. In the fifth event and first of day two, the long jump, Vollmer posted a mark on her first attempt, however injured herself on her third trip down the runway. The injury proved too much for the defending national champion to continue, as she was forced to pull out of the competition still with two events to go remaining.

With the week complete for the Kansas track & field teams at the NCAA Championships, so is the regular season for the majority of the Jayhawks. A small few will compete later this summer at several events across the nation, including the USA Championships (June 26-29) in Sacramento, California, the USA Junior Championships (July 5-6) in Eugene, Oregon and the IAAF World Junior Championships (July 22-27) also in Eugene, Oregon. Follow all the Kansas performances over the summer by logging on to KUAthletics.com and following on Twitter at @KUTrack.

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