Eight Punch Tickets to NCAA Championships on Day Two

Friday Results | Saturday Schedule | Saturday Start Lists

LAWRENCE, Kan.
– Competition at the NCAA West Preliminary was delayed again due to inclement weather in the area, but not before eight Kansas State track and field athletes punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships at Rock Chalk Park on Friday. 

“I thought we did some pretty good things today,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said about his team’s performance on Friday. “We still have a number of potential qualifiers yet to compete.”

Despite weather on Thursday delaying the men’s hammer throw to Friday, Tyler Merkley and Brady Grunder were both able to punch their tickets to Eugene. Grunder set a new personal best on Thursday before the weather set in, posting a mark of 62.45m/204-10 on his first throw to take 12th place in the event. Grunder’s mark moves him to second on the school’s all-time list in the hammer throw. 

Merkley, on the other hand, fouled his first two throws of the competition on Thursday before the delay. He then came out firing on Friday, using a dominate throw of 63.94m/210-05 on his final attempt to secure an eighth-place finish and qualify for NCAAs. 

Freshman Ranae Mc Kenzie also punched her ticket to Eugene with a strong effort in the 400 meter hurdles. Running in the first heat of the event, the freshman used a personal best time of 57.94 to finish in fourth place in her heat and in 10th place overall. Her mark moves her to third on the school’s all-time list in the event. 

K-State’s high jumpers had a successful day, as senior Kim Williamson, sophomore Christoff Bryan and freshman Thilina Karunaratne each qualified for NCAAs. For Williamson, it will be her second trip in as many years to Eugene as she earned her spot with a jump of 1.80m/5-10.75 to finish tied for first place. 

In the men’s high jump, Bryan also tied for first place with a jump of 2.16m/7-01. The sophomore cleared every bar on his first attempt en route to his qualification for the second-straight year. Karunaratne recorded a new personal best in the event with the same mark of 2.16m/7-01 on his final attempt to finish in 11th place and qualify for his first NCAA Championship. 

As the meet moved into the evening hours, hammer throwers Sara Savatovic and Janee' Kassanavoid each qualified for NCAAs. Savatovic posted a mark of 63.47m/208-03 on her first attempt before fouling her second attempt and ultimately passing on her third attempt. She would finish the competition in fifth place. Kassanavoid, similar to Merkley, fouled her first two throws of the competition before using a huge personal best throw of 61.34m/201-03 to take 10th place. 

The final day of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary will begin at 9:00 a.m. CT with the conclusion of the women’s discus throw. K-State’s first event on the track will begin at 12:30 p.m. CT with the women’s 200 meter dash. 

More information on the NCAA West Preliminary, including results, heats sheets and the meet schedule, visit the meet home page by clicking here

For the latest on K-State track and field, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateTF or on the team’s Facebook page. 

NCAA West Preliminary
Rock Chalk Park
Lawrence, Kan. 

Women’s 800 Meter Run
19. Sonia Gaskin – 2:08.38

Men’s 800 Meter Run
29. Lukas Koch – 1:50.88
44. Kain Ellis – 1:53.75

Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles
10. Ranae McKenzie – 57.94q (PR)
16. Tia’ Gamble – 58.64

Women’s High Jump
T1. Kimberly Williamson – 1.80m/5-10.75q
T18. Rhizlane Siba – 1.71m/5-07.25

Men’s High Jump
T1. Christoff Bryan – 2.16m/7-01.00q
11. Thilina Karunaratne – 2.16m/7-01.00q (PR)

Women’s Long Jump
25. Zanri Van der Merwe – 5.85m/19-02.50
41. Alyssa Kelly – 5.58m/18-03.75

Men’s Long Jump
23. Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye – 7.33m/24-00.75

Women’s Javelin Throw
36. Haley Pitko – 43.89m/144-00
42. Ally Zerbe – 43.22m/141-09

Men’s Javelin Throw
29. Dwight Davidson – 62.39m/204-08

Women’s Hammer Throw
5. Sara Savatovic – 63.47m/208-03
10. Janee’ Kassanavoid – 61.34m/201-03 (PR)

Men’s Hammer Throw
8. Tyler Merkley – 63.94m/209-09q
12. Brady Grunder – 62.45m/204-10 (PR)q