An Exciting Season Ahead for K-State Track and Field
"There are a significant number of athletes on both sides that are really good, and people know that, they've seen that," explained Rovelto, "but there are also a number of athletes that are new to the program that are really, really good athletes. Some of them are going to do some really good things in their first year, and some of them will be as good as anyone we've ever had within the next couple of years.
"There's a very high level of athlete on this team, so I think this weekend there is going to be some marks posted, individually, that are going to be eye opening, there's no question about it."
From community-college transfers to student-athletes coming up from high school, with 17 new faces on the K-State roster this year, Rovelto and his team believe this year K-State will make waves at both the Big 12 level and the national level.
"I think both teams are going to be very competitive from a conference championship perspective," said Rovelto. "The women may be a little bit more complete, but I do think we have a lot of quality on the men's side as well. From a national perspective, I think we have guys who can do good things nationally, but we just cover more events with more quality depth on the women's side."
Opening the season at home with the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon and the K-State Winter Invitational provides this year's youth and newcomers the opportunity to see where they stack up after spending the past summer and fall training for a new level of competition.
"For a number of people that are competing, I think they're excited to see where they're at," said Rovelto when asked about what he thinks his team will get out of this meet. "There are a lot of people who have trained at a level that they're not accustomed to, and they really don't know where they're at. This weekend will give them a pretty good sense of that, and I think some of them will be pleasantly surprised of where they're at."
While the newcomers will use this weekend as an opportunity to continue to learn and grow on the collegiate level, there are a few veterans who have big plans for this meet.
"For others, they're looking for very high-level performances in some cases, qualifying for nationals and things like that," continued Rovelto. "They could basically get that out of the way, even though it's early. They're just at a level where if they go out and have a very solid performance, they could maybe get that taken care of."
One of the competitors hoping to qualify for the indoor NCAA Championship meet this weekend is senior pentathlete Erica Twiss.
"I have a lot of goals, but my plan for this indoor season is to go big this meet and get a mark that will qualify me for Nationals," explained Twiss. "As long as I get high enough, it will count and I can put that to the side and focus on my hurdles and long jump, hopefully qualify in those also. If the scheduled plays out, my goal is to do three events at Nationals: pent, hurdles and long jump."
After winning a Big 12 Title in the pentathlon with a score of 4,074, last season Twiss placed 10th overall at the Indoor National Championship with a score of 4,151. Though she did not compete in hurdles or long jump at the indoor NCAA Championship last year, Twiss placed 16th at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in the long jump with a jump of 5.81m/19-00.75.
This weekend, Twiss will be competing in the pentathlon (today) and the 4x400 (tomorrow). Now entering her final season with the Wildcats, she is ready to start out strong and continue to get better every step of the way.
"I really want to keep up the momentum that I had coming off of last year," Twiss said. "I had some pretty good things going last year, so I want to keep up with that."
Also heading into his final year with K-State track and field is senior sprinter Chris Campbell.
"It's an exciting time, I really can't wait to see how this season turns out," said Campbell. "I've been training really well throughout the fall and the preseason, so I feel really confident about this meet coming up and for the whole rest of the season."
While this weekend Campbell will be competing in the 200M and the 4X400, he said he also hopes to compete in the 600Y as often as he can. Last year, Campbell didn't qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, but he did place third at the Big 12 Championship in both the 600Y (time of 1:10.33) and the 4x400 (time of 3:10.06).
Excited and ready for a new year, Campbell echoed Rovelto's words about this year's squad, and he believes the talented bunch is in for an exciting season.
"We're looking pretty good," Campbell said about the men's team. "I know we have a lot of guys in the high jump, and we have a lot of guys who can run, jump and sprint. Team wise, I hope we can place really well in the Big 12 - hopefully first or second. This year is looking very promising for us."
For more on K-State track and field and this weekend's action, please click here.