K-State Posts Strong Showing on Day One of NCAAs

Day 1 Men's Results | Day 1 Women's Results | Day 1 Men's Scores | Day 1 Women's Scores

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.
– Collegiate records, a top-three finish and a finals qualifier highlighted the first day of competition for the Kansas State track and field team at the 2016 Indoor NCAA National Championships in Birmingham on Friday.

After one day of competition, the men will finish tied for 16th place with 5.50 points, topping last year’s performance when the Wildcat men did not score in the meet. The women will be looking for their first points of the competition as the meet resumes tomorrow. 

Despite tripping over the final hurdle in the 60 meter hurdles, senior Akela Jones bounced back in the high jump in impressive fashion, falling just one centimeter short of the indoor world record with a personal-best mark of 1.98m/6-06.00. The mark also set a new school record, breaking the previous record of 1.96m/6-05.00 set by Gwen Wentland in 1995. 

Her efforts in the pentathlon high jump also set a new NCAA Indoor Championships meet record, the collegiate pentathlon high jump record and the Barbados national record, while it tied the collegiate open record in the event.  

After winning shot put with a throw of 13.59m/44-07.00, the senior posted another record-breaking mark in long jump with a leap of 6.80m/22-03.75. That mark set a new school, topping the previous mark of 6.64m/21-09.50 which she set at this season’s Tyson Invitational. She also set the meet record, Barbados record and collegiate pentathlon long jump record with the result.  

“What a lot of people do not know about Akela is prior to coming to K-State she had run one pentathlon in her entire life,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “She only did one pentathlon before today’s this year. All of these other girls have done it many times, so there is a learning curve. You have to do the competition to manage the competition. She obviously has not mastered that yet. However, she had some tremendous performances today.”

Sophomore Christoff Bryan recorded a scoring performance in the men’s high jump, finishing tied for third place with a mark of 2.18m/7-01.75. His finish is a major improvement from last season’s meet, where he finished tied for 14th place with a mark of 2.15m/7-00.50. 

“Where he placed was really good,” Rovelto said about Bryan’s performance. “It was his highest finish at the indoor national meet.”

Fellow sophomore A’Keyla Mitchell used a time of 23.26 in the 200 meter dash, her second-best time of the season, to finish second in her heat and seventh overall in the events semifinals and qualify for the finals on Saturday. The time is the third-best in school history and just a tenth of a second slower than her qualifying time at last year’s National Championships.  

“I thought A’Keyla ran really well,” Rovelto added. “She has been at two NCAA indoor meets and has made the finals both times she has been there. Obviously she is doing pretty well so that is a pretty big positive.”

In men’s long jump, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye finished in 11th place in the long jump with a 7.39m/24-03.

The Wildcats return to action at 2 p.m. on Saturday with Jones and Kimberly Williamson competing in women’s high jump. Senior Dani Winters competes in shot put at 5 p.m. before Mitchell closes out the competition for the Wildcats in the 200 meter dash finals at 6 p.m.

Live updates from the meet can be found on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday. More information on the meet, including live results, can be found 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 Indoor National Championships
Birmingham CrossPlex
Birmingham, Ala. 

Pentathlon 60 Meter Hurdles
16. Akela Jones – 10.98 (540 points)

Pentathlon High Jump
1. Akela Jones – 1.98m/6-06.00 (PR, School Record, Meet Record, Collegiate Pentathlon High Jump Record, Ties Collegiate Open Record and a Barbados Record)

Pentathlon Shot Put
1. Akela Jones – 13.59m/44-07.00

Pentathlon Long Jump
1. Akela Jones – 6.80m/22-03.75 (PR, School Record, Meet Record, Collegiate Pentathlon Long Jump Record)

Pentathlon 800 Meter Run
DNF – Akela Jones

Pentathlon Final Score
14. Akela Jones – 3623 points

Men’s Long Jump
11. Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye – 7.39m/24-03 

Women’s 200 Meter Semifinals
7. A’Keyla Mitchell – 23.26q

Men’s High Jump
T3. Christoff Bryan – 2.18m/7-01.75