Wildcats Finish Third Behind Top 10 Teams at ISU

Samantha McKnight

Jan. 26, 2013

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AMES, Iowa – K-State track and field went up against some of the top teams in the nation this weekend at the Bill Bergan Invitational for a team scored meet and came away in third place on both the men’s and women’s sides. The Wildcats posted two victories for the men’s team and a total of nine runner-up finishes combined.

The Wildcat men entered the meet ranked No. 16 by the USTFCCCA and finished behind the victorious No. 8 Minnesota Golden Gophers and No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers while tying with Iowa. The women trailed No. 9 Iowa State and No. 18 Wisconsin in the team standings as points were awarded to athletes finishing in the top six in their respective events.

“I thought the meet was pretty good,” said K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto. “We had a number of PRs and I was really impressed with the young kids and those new to program. I think there is cause for much excitement moving forward this season.”

Erik Kynard claimed one of the men’s wins as he soared over the bar at 2.24 meters (7-04.25) and just missed on repeating his leap of 2.29 meters (7-06.00) last week. Junior college transfer Zack Riley was also in competition with the Wildcats’ 1-2 punch leading the way. Riley cleared 2.19 meters (7-02.25) for second place.

The other win for the Wildcats came in the men’s long jump with Ifeanyi Otuonye flying through the air 7.40 meters (24-03.50) for a new personal best. He post a personal record on both his jumps on the day leaping 7.33 meters on his first attempt and shutting it down after his second to begin warming up for running events. Juco transfer Jharyl Bowry finished third with his jump of 7.30 meters (23-11.50) on his final attempt. Bowry and Otuonye rank 1-2 in the Big 12 Conference so far this season with Bowry jumping 7.53 meters last week.

A freshman came up with 14 points for the women’s team in the horizontal jumps as Alyssa Kelly continued to shine. Kelly finished third in the long jump with a leap of 5.66 meters (18-07.00), just three centimeters off her season’s best mark. She then claimed second in the triple jump to close the meet with a mark of 11.72 meters (38-05.50), which was only four centimeters short of her best.

K-State scored eight points for both the men and women in the 60 meter dash with Carlos Rodriguez and Samantha McKnight taking second place. Rodriguez ran a new PR of 6.70 seconds in the final and McKnight tied her previous best time of 7.59 seconds to claim second place as well.

The women’s team came away with 10 points in the 60 meter hurdles with Richelle Farley and Merryl Mbeng finishing third and fourth. Erica Twiss just missed out on scoring taking seventh place as all three Wildcats entered in the event made the final, the most of any school competing.

Continuing with the success in the sprints the pair of Jay-J Parks and Chris Campbell combined for nine points. Park ran across the finish line in 47.99 seconds to finish in second place, and Campbell finished sixth in 48.53 seconds.

Campbell and Parks would each run a leg of the 4x400 relay to close the meet that finished second narrowly to Minnesota by just five hundredths of a second. Otuonye opened the race, handing to Rodriguez, then Parks and Campbell closed the race strong for the Wildcats. Before converting for the over-sized track at Iowa State, the men’s time of 3:10.65 ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 this year. The conference championship meet will also be held at Iowa State this year.

The women’s 4x400 also finished second, falling to Iowa State by just over half a second in another close race. The group of Tia Gamble, Ashley Williams, Jordan Matthews and Sonia Gaskin ran 3:43.48. Williams saw success earlier in the day finishing just behind McKnight for third in the 60 meters.

Gaskin helped the Wildcats in the distance events finishing second in the 800 meters behind Iowa State’s Ejiroghene Okoro. Senior Martina Tresch also took silver in a distance event, crossing the finish line in 4:54.03, her fastest time on an over-sized track. Freshman Mary Frances Donnelley also took fourth in the mile.

K-State had some big numbers posted by the Wildcats in throwing events as well. Alex Roe and Jacquelyne Leffler both posted PRs on the day and moved up the rankings in the Big 12.

Roe finished sixth in the men’s weight throw as he posted a PR during his flight and then again in the finals with a toss of 17.76 meters (58-03.25). His mark ranked second in the Big 12 at the time, but now stands third after other results reported this weekend. Leffler improved her PR in the shot put to 15.39 meters (50-06.00) to finish fifth and stand at ninth on the Big 12 list so far this season. Her throw also ranks seventh in school history. Jessica Carter finished sixth in the women’s weight throw and was just a few centimeters shy of her PR and now ranks fifth in the Big 12 at 18.11 meters (59-05.00).

The Wildcats will be back in action next weekend when they travel to the Sevigne Husker Invitational for action on Friday and Saturday.

Bill Bergan Invitational Team Standings
1: Minnesota, 123.25
2: Wisconsin, 70
3: K-State, 64
3: Iowa, 64
5: Iowa State, 56.25
6: North Dakota State, 23
7: Texas-Arlington, 12.25
8: Marquette, 10.25
9: North Dakota, 7
10: South Dakota State, 1

1: Iowa State, 105
2: Wisconsin, 95
3: K-State, 75
4: Texas-Arlington, 69
5: Marquette, 40
6: North Dakota State, 36
7: Iowa, 8
8: North Dakota, 4
9: South Dakota State, 2