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KRAIS SET TO TURN HEADS AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

KRAIS SET TO TURN HEADS AT NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Mark Janssen

Ryann Krais will attempt to clear her first hurdle, literally and figuratively, today in what could be a semi-historic NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Most people will be preoccupied with who wins and who sets records, but Ryann is trying to do something people will be talking about for a long time ... if she can pull it off," said K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto.  "Coaches I've talked to are shocked at what she's trying to do, but on the other hand they know it's Ryann."
Krais is one of 10 Wildcat track athletes taking part in the championships that begin today, and continue through Saturday, on the campus of Drake University.
   
What Krais is attempting to do is compete in the intermediate hurdles, AND, the seven-event heptathlon.  The semifinals of the intermediate hurdles are today, while the first four events of the heptathlon - 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 - take place Thursday, and the final three events - long jump, javelin and 800 - are on Friday's schedule.
   
Oh, if Krais can qualify to the intermediate finals, she will also be running that event in between the javelin and 800 of the heptathlon on Friday.
   
"This wasn't anything we were considering two months ago.  It wasn't even on our radar screen," said Rovelto.  "Her best time in the intermediates had been 58.2 going into the year, which wouldn't have even qualified her to get to the NCAAs, so doubling wasn't even a thought."
   
Krais, who ranks third nationally in the heptathlon and fifth in the intermediates, says, "This is nothing to take lightly, but hearing some people say it's not a real smart thing to do motivates me and gives me extra fire."
   
A native of Eagleville, Pa., Krais attended UCLA the last two years, but said the fit was not right.  At least the meshing was not as right as between her own talents and Rovelto's coaching now at K-State.
   
"Coming out of high school I had big goals for myself, but I wasn't seeing the progression," said Krais, who was a three-time Nike National High School Pentathlon champion and 14-time state prep champion in Pennsylvania.  "The workouts here have physically challenged me to become more powerful and quicker, but more than that, I've become stronger mentally.  There's a plan every step of the way in training and competition, which has taken me to the next level.  There's just a comfort level every step of the way."
   
Krais' steps have been quick and with power.  Throughout her career she has scored the following personal records: 100-hurdles 13.63, high jump 5-9 ¼, shot put 39-10, 200 meters 23.64, long jump 19-0, javelin 127-4 and 800 meters 2:09.
   
Her only heptathlon competition this spring resulted in a score of 5,848, which ranks second in K-State history only to Olympian Austra Skujyte (6,275).
Oh, and her best intermediate clocking is a school record 56.06, or nearly two seconds faster than one year ago.

Overall, Rovelto says, "I've seen athletes do the heptathlon and then come back and run a leg on the 4x400-meter relay at the end of the meet, but I've never seen anybody even dream of trying this combination of events."
   
Rovelto thinks that Krais can score in both events, if not be in it to win.  In the heptathlon, he says, "She can go over 6,000, and that's what it will take to win."
   
"Absolutely," said Krais when asked about whether she could crack the 6,000-point barrier.  "That's the number in my mind.  There are three girls capable of doing that, and I feel I'm one of them.  Some days you can pull it all together, and other days you don't. We'll see."

K-STATE IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD: A total of 10 Wildcats have qualified for the NCAA Championships with Rovelto saying, "The neat thing is that every one of them is capable of making the finals, if they perform well."

"Sports Extra" will be featuring Erik Kynard, the nation's leading high jumper at 7-feet, 7-inches, on Friday.

Boglarka Bozzay, 800, 18th, 2:05.77
Moritz Cleve, Decathlon, 18th, 7,543
Jeffrey Julmis, 100-Hurdles, 10th, 13.53
Martynas Jurgilas, 100-meters, 23rd, 10.39
Nina Kokot, Long Jump, 9th, 21-2 ½
Ryann Krais, Heptathlon, 3rd, 5,848; 400-hurdles, 5th, 56.06
Erik Kynard, High Jump, 1st, 7-7
Martina Tresch, Steeplechase, 12th, 10:06.98
4 x 100 Relay - Grant Loescher, Jeffrey Julmis, Jason Coniglio, Martynas Jurgilas - 8th, 39.46


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