K-State track and field sophomore Devin Field accepts his first Big 12 title at the 2013 Outdoor Big 12 Championship in Lubbock, Texas.
May 29, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
Devin Field might be young, but that hasn't stopped him from making a big splash for K-State track and field.
With just over a year under his belt, the sophomore jumper from Desoto, Texas, recently earned an Outdoor Big 12 title for the Wildcats in the triple jump and is set to compete in both the triple and the long jump at the NCAA West Regional Preliminaries this afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
"I'm very excited," Field said before leaving for Arkansas alongside 26 teammates who are also competing at the preliminaries. "I didn't get to the prelims last year, but I'm in better shape right now. I just really want to qualify for the NCAA Championship."
Field came to K-State in January of 2013. He graduated from Desoto High School a semester early and began competing with K-State right away.
Though K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said Field battled lingering injuries during his freshman campaign, in 2013, at his first Big 12 Championship indoor meet, the freshman carded and impressive fourth place finish in the triple jump and 11th place finish in the long jump.
Things have only gone up from there.
"He graduated early and came in mid year," began Rovelto. "He didn't have much of a training background and he came in a little dinged up, so that first year for him was a rough one. This year, he has performed at the level that we anticipated that he could. He's come a long way in a year's time."
On Sunday, May 18, Field dominated the Big 12 with and impressive 16.13m/52-11.00 mark in the triple jump at the Big 12 Championships. His leap was enough to earn him his first-ever Big 12 title and was the first time a Wildcat men's triple jumper placed first in the conference since Stelios Kapsalis won the event in 2004. Along with his third place finish in the long jump at the Big 12 Championships, Field accumulated 16 points for his team to rank No. 3 all-time in K-State's Big 12 scoring performances.
Going into today's competition, Field is ranked No. 2 out of a field of 48 triple jumpers and No. 10 in the long jump. He is ready to take on whatever competition is thrown his way but knows it will take some of his best jumps if he wants to get to the next level.
"On paper, the rankings say that I'm No. 10 in the long jump and No. 2 in the triple jump," he explained, "but anything can happen when it comes down to it. Some people, they go in ranked at No. 1 and don't even make it to the finals."
The top 12 performers from each event will move on to the NCAA Championship Finals meet in Eugene, Oregon, from June 11-14.
Including Field, 27 track and field student-athletes qualified for the NCAA West Regional Preliminaries, a number Rovelto said is pretty impressive.
"In both regions, West and East, there's about 100 or so schools represented and we're probably one of the top 15 or so in both genders in terms of numbers of people qualified," began Rovelto. "So to have this number of people qualify for the NCAA prelims, that's pretty good. It speaks to the work that all these student-athletes have done over the course of the year."
2014 has been a year filled with positives for K-State track and field with stellar performances from both the men's and the women's teams.
On the men's side, along with Field, senior Devin Dick earned a Big 12 title in the decathlon while teammate junior Reinis Kregers places second - a feat never accomplished in K-State history. Rovelto said that if the two decathletes keep up the good work, they will bode well at the NCAA Championship.
"Devin Dick has had a very good year winning both indoor and outdoor (Big 12) championships and having a significant PR this year compared to last year," said Rovelto. "Reinis Kregers, same thing, he had a 300 point PR."
On the women's side, senior Erica Twiss is expected to have a strong showing at the preliminaries. Earning a Big 12 title in the long jump earlier this month, she also earned a sixth place finish in the 4x100, a fourth place finish the 100H and a third place finish in the 400H. Her overall performance brought in 21.75 points for the K-State women's team - a top-five women's outdoor scoring performance in Wildcat history.
"Erica Twiss has had a phenomenal year," began Rovelto. "What she did during the indoor and the outdoor season is just amazing. I mean, it's one thing to have one event improve significantly, but she's had multiple events improve significantly. She's had about as good of a year as a female has had here in quite some time."
Along with athletes like Field, Dick, Kregers and Twiss who have stepped up and made their names known, the team, as a whole, has worked this entire season for these final competitions, and it is excited and ready to show the nation what it is made of.
"My team has been preparing really hard," said Field. "A lot of the people that are going, this is a breakout year for them. There are a lot of great things that have happened this year and everyone's just excited to see how far we can go."
Field will compete in the long jump today at 6:30 p.m., and then compete in the triple jump on Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
For a complete schedule of events for this year's NCAA West Regional Preliminaries, click here.