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Back in Action

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December 13, 2013
By Kelly McHugh

The K-State track and field team has been preparing since the summer for the 2013-14 indoor season, and today, it will have the opportunity to see if all its training has paid off. 

In the first track and field action Ahearn Field House has seen since last February, the Wildcats are set to host today's Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon beginning at 10 a.m., and tomorrow's K-State Winter Invitational beginning at 11 a.m.

"We always try to do this meet before finals at the end of the fall. It's an enjoyable thing for the kids, but it also gives them an idea of where people are at in their training," said head coach Cliff Rovelto. "Maybe not so much the coaches, but I think the athletes have a better sense of where they are when they get out there and compete. Sometimes it may not feel like they're as far along as they are or maybe they feel like they're further along than they actually are, so it's kind of an eye-opener and it helps them understand where they are and continuing getting in shape and preparing in competition."

This season the men's team looks to senior pole vaulter Kyle Wait, who won the Big 12 Outdoor Championship in his event and placed seventh in the NCAA Championship last season, and senior long jumper Jharyl Bowry, who won the Big 12 Indoor Championship in his event last season, to highlight the team. 

While both Wait and Bowry are looked to as leaders on the pitch for their previous years of experience, this years' squad - on both the men's and women's team - is among the youngest teams Rovelto has seen at K-State.

"Both of our teams are relatively young. We have very few seniors which is good and bad in a way," explained Rovelto. "It's good in that, looking forward, we're going to have a lot of fun in the years to come, but sometimes it's nice to have people who have more experience and who have been through the battles a little bit.  So we'll see how the young ones adapt to competing at this level, but we feel really good about both teams." 

Senior distance runner Martina Tresch placed first in the 3000M Steeplechase Big 12 Outdoor Championship last summer and spent the fall competing with the K-State cross country team. Though she won't be competing in this weekend's meet (the cross country and distance runners won't compete until January, she said), Tresch is looking forward to the 2013-14 indoor season.

In last year's indoor season, Tresch placed fifth at the Big 12 Championships in the 3000M run and in the DMR she placed sixth.  This year, the expectations for herself and her team are even higher.

"I always want to do better," said Tresch. "I'm motivated to do something bigger than I did before. I'm really looking forward to the indoor Big 12 in the DMR and hopefully the 3K. I know we'll do better than we did last year."

After a breakthrough freshman season where she placed first at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in the hammer throw, Rovelto said he expects sophomore thrower Sara Savatovic will also highlight his women's team this season. The Crvenka, Serbia, native placed eighth in the weight throw at the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships, and after a successful summer and fall of training, Rovelto said her success should only continue to grow.

With a good mix of experienced veterans and young performers, this season's track and field team will be an exciting team to keep an eye on. While every year and every team is different, Rovelto's goals each and every season remain the same.

"From my perspective, when I look at our program, what we're trying to do is have each one of them realize their potential. For some of them that lies in their collegiate careers and for some of them it will go beyond that," Rovelto said. "So first and foremost, it's about helping each of them realize their potential.  If we do that and we've recruited the right kind of people, the team is going to take care of itself."

While it is often difficult to have both the men's and women's team competing at a high level at the same time, Rovelto believes this K-State team as a whole has a promising future.

"This could be one of the better years that we've ever had," Rovelto said, "and I've been at Kansas State for 26 years. This could be a great year if you look at it in terms of how much both teams will accomplish."