Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Stephanie Richartz

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Stephanie Richartz

Michael and Cindy Richartz always encouraged their daughter, Stephanie, to aim high.

At Carmel High School in Mundelein, she was a member of the National Honor Society and an accomplished athlete who became a state finalist in the pole vault.

Originally a walk-on at the University of Illinois, Richartz studied industrial engineering and earned an international study scholarship, but she was best known for her accomplishments in track and field. She steadily improved her vaulting skills, going from 11 feet, 6 inches as a prep athlete to 13-1 as a college freshman in 2011.

Richartz increased her height to 14-2 as a sophomore, becoming UI's first Big Ten pole vault champion. She added yet another foot as a junior in 2013, winning both indoor and outdoor conference titles, and placing sixth at the NCAA outdoor meet.

An injury sidelined Richartz for most of 2014, but she rebounded for two more Big Ten championships as a senior in 2015, and finished third at the NCAA Championships with a personal best jump of 14-7. Celebrating her birthday today, Richartz is now a Consulting Senior Analyst at Accenture in Chicago.

Illini Birthdays

Today: Caleb Day, football (23)

Monday: Matt Minnes, football (36)

Tuesday: Jaelyn Cunningham, soccer (20)

Wednesday: Mark Qualls, football (48)

Thursday: Amira Aduma, track & field (19)

Friday: Gary Moeller, football coach (77)

Saturday: Chris Tamas, volleyball coach (37)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.