Wildcats Continue Improving at Two Meets

Tarique Hill

Feb. 8, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – It was another successful day on the day for the Kansas State Wildcats, and at two different meets. The Wildcats traveled a group to the Don Kirby Elite Invitational at New Mexico and posted a series of impressive showings while another group at the Iowa State Classic came away from Ames with more strong numbers against regional competition.

Erik Kynard was up against one of the strongest fields assembled this season in the high jump. Five of the top 20 jumpers were at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational and he came away with another victory. Kynard struggled early with his approach missing a few attempts at lower heights than normal.

After taking three attempts to get over 2.18 meters (7-01.75), Kynard made an adjustment as was able to clear his next two heights on first attempts. He then went over 2.28 meters (7-05.75) on his third attempt before missing three attempts at trying to raise the highest jump in the NCAA this season to 2.31 meters (7-07.00). That jump also would have ranked fourth in the world.

Zack Riley also was in that field in the high jump. He entered the meet ranked No. 12 in the NCAA and came away in a tie for fifth place with a clearance of 2.18 meters. He cleared three bars, all on first attempts, before being eliminated at 2.22 meters (7-03.25) that would have been his best this season.

K-State’s top sprinters were in action at New Mexico and a number of them ran their fastest times of the season.

Tarique Hill advanced to the championship final in the 60 meter hurdles with his time of 7.99 seconds in the preliminaries. That time was a new PR as he has post a new career best twice this season. Samantha McKnight improved her PR to 7.57 seconds to advance to the championship final in the women’s 60 meter dash. Her time also ties her for ninth in school history. Ashley Williams advanced to the consolation final in the 60 meters running the preliminaries in 7.61 seconds.

Carlos Rodriguez pulled away from his heat in the preliminaries in the men’s 60 meters and clocked in at 6.73 seconds, the second fastest time in prelims.

The women moved beyond the preliminaries of the 60 meter hurdles to the consolation final as Richelle Farley ran 8.47 seconds, just .01 off her PR. Merryl Mbeng crossed the line in 8.67, also .01 off her season best. Erica Twiss made a large improvement on her fastest time of the season in the prelims as she ran 8.77.

In those finals, Hill again improved his PR finishing fifth overall in 7.94 seconds. His new PR time also moved him into fifth in school history and ahead of Olympian Balazs Baji. McKnight ran just off her fast time from the prelims to finish ninth in the 60 meters at 7.58 seconds, and Twiss again improved her time in the hurdles for the season at 8.67 to finish 10th. Farley took seventh and Mbeng claimed 11th.

Rodriguez ran faster in his final as well clocking in at 6.69 seconds to take second place and shave .01 off his personal best. With that improvement he moved into a tie for third in school history.

Newcomer Jharyl Bowry took sixth place in the long jump with his leap of 7.40 meters (24-03.50). Results from the men’s triple jump were not known at press time.

At Iowa State, distance runner Martina Tresch provided one of the main highlights from Friday’s action at Iowa State as she finished second in the women’s mile. She clocked in at 4:52.18 to finish by Olympian and former Iowa State star Lisa Uhl by just 4.14 seconds. The time is nearly two seconds faster than her previous best time on an over-sized track.

Erika Schiller gave the distance runners at Iowa State another big showing with her fifth-place finish in the 5,000 meters. She crossed the line in 17:24.29.

Freshman Mary Frances Donnelley continued her steady improvement as she finished sixth in the 800 meters. Donnelley finished in 2:14.22 to run 2.04 seconds faster than her best time this season in the event  two weeks ago at the Bill Bergan Invitational.

The sprinters competing at Iowa State also had some of their best performances of the season. Angela Hart claimed fifth in the 400 meters as she ran 57.37 seconds, a full second faster than her previous best. Dane Steen was just .01 off his fastest time of the season as he finished ninth in the 60 meters for the men’s team in 6.94 seconds. Grant Loescher also was just off his best time finishing 14th in 6.98 while freshmen Michael Gagliano and Reinis Kregers both ran their fastest times of the season. Loescher also finished third in the 200 meters in 21.86 seconds.

In field events, sophomore Tommy Brady kept his strong season going as well finishing in a tie for third place. Brady cleared 4.66 meters (15-03.00). He was eliminated while attempting a new personal record of 4.81 meters (15-09.25).

Cenarda Jackson improved her best mark of the season in the long jump as she also finished fifth for the Wildcats with a leap of 5.37 meters (17-07.50).

The Wildcats will be back in action at both meets again on Saturday. The meet at New Mexico will be an open format after the Elite Invitational on Friday, and Saturday’s action at the Iowa State Classic will feature seeded fields in every event.