K-State's Alyx Treasure competes in the women's high jump during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminaries at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 31, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
June 2, 2014
After exceptional performances at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, 12 K-State track and field student-athletes have punched their tickets for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, which run June 11-14.
The 12 athletes will join senior Devin Dick and sophomore Reinis Kregers, who already qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the decathlon, and are ready to compete on collegiate track and field's highest platform.
With a seventh-place finish in the men's shot put, senior Ryan Hershberger was the first Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA Championships. In his fifth attempt, Hershberger threw 18.82m/61-09.00 and secured his spot at his first-ever NCAA Outdoor Championship.
Continuing a successful day of throwing, both freshman Danie Plank and junior Ivan Hartung qualified out of the West Region in the javelin throw.
Plank's final mark of 48.09m/157-09 secured her a ninth-place finish overall and, of the 12 qualifiers in the women's javelin, she was the lone freshman. Hartung also finished the event with a ninth-place finish after a season-best throw of 65.70m/215-07 in the men's javelin.
It will be both Plank and Hartung's first trip to the NCAA Championships.
Qualifying for her first career NCAA Championship, sophomore Sara Savatovic's fifth-place performance in the hammer throw marks the first time since 2009 the Wildcat women will be represented in the event on the national stage. With a throw of 61.21m/200-10, she was one of only five throwers to register a throw of 200 feet or more and is the lone underclassman moving on to the championship out of the West Region.
Continuing a breakout season filled with success, sophomore jumper Devin Field secured his place at the NCAA Championships in both the triple jump and the long jump.
In the long jump, Field clinched a ninth-place finish on his first jump of the day with a leap of 7.62m/25-00.00. Continuing K-State's success in the event, Field's NCAA berth marks the third-straight season K-State is represented in the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor meet, joining Jharyl Bowry in 2013 and Mantas Silkauskas in 2012.
With a first overall finish after registering a personal best jump of 16.30m/53-05.75, Devin Field continued his stellar year in the triple jump. His first visit to the NCAA Championships, the 2013 Big 12 triple jump champion is the first Wildcat since Kenny Harrison in 1986 to represent K-State in both the long jump and the triple jump.
Senior Erica Twiss will also compete in the long jump at the NCAA Championships as she took 11th overall with a wind-aided leap of 6.10/20-00.25. Twiss will look to be the first Wildcat since Nina Kokot in 2011 to earn All-American honors in the outdoor event.
With a first overall finish, junior Alyx Treasure clinched her second career trip to the NCAAs, and first outdoors, in the high jump. With a final leap of 1.77m/5-09, Treasure tied Texas' Shanay Briscoe and Arkansas' Kirsten Hesseltine for the top spot as the trio were the only athletes to clear each bar on their first attempt.
Also continuing K-State's success in the high jump was junior Zack Riley. With Riley's 11th-place finish in the men's high jump, K-State has sent men's high jumpers to 12 straight NCAA Outdoor Championships. Riley finished the day one of 11 jumpers to record a height cleared of 2.16m/7-01.00, a season best.
Sophomore Sonia Gaskin recorded a personal best in the 800 meter run, finishing fourth overall and earning her first career trip to the NCAA Championships. With a time of 2:04.79 in the event, Gaskin finished fourth in her heat - the top-four finishers in her heat were the top four finishers overall. Her speedy effort moved her to fourth all-time in school history as she is only the fourth Wildcat to record a sub-2:05.00 time in the event.
In the women's 4x400, the squad of Gaskin, Tia' Gamble, Merryl Mbeng and Sarah Kolmer put in an exceptional performance for the Wildcats to punch their ticket to Eugene. The foursome clocked in at 3:34.12 to place 10th overall in an effort that saw Gaskin and Gamble combine to run the first two legs in 1:45.60, while Mbeng and Kolmer finished the last 800 meters in splits of 54.38 and 54.15, respectively.
The Wildcats' finish was even more impressive as it was only the second time the four athletes had ran together this season, and they competed in a heat that included two of the top five squads in the West Region in Oregon and Texas A&M. The relay squad's final time was also third fastest in school history.
The group of Gaskin, Gamble, Mbeng and Kolmer will be the first Wildcat 4x400 squad to compete at NCAA Outdoors since Lisi Maurer, Shunte Thomas, Donniece Parrish and Morgan Bonds represented K-State at the 2006 Championships.