Wildcats Close Weekend with More Strong Marks

Carlos Rodriguez

Feb. 9, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State track and field closed a busy weekend at two different meets with more performances that rank among the best in school history and near the top of the Big 12 Conference so far this season on Saturday. The Wildcats posted five marks that would score points at the Big 12 Championship combined at the Don Kirby Open and Iowa State Classic and four marks that rank in the top 10 in school history, including one school record.

After a successful day at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, the Wildcats took on more competition in New Mexico at the Don Kirby Open on Saturday with strong showings again at the Albuquerque Convention Center and Carlos Rodriguez was the brightest performance of them all.

Rodriguez broke the school record in the 200 meters as he crossed the finish line in 21.01 seconds and shatter the record by .15 of a second previously held by Mike Myer and set in 2008. Rodriguez finished second in the race behind professional sprinter Jeremy Dodson. The former Colorado Buffalo just barely edged out Rodriguez with his time of 20.98.

Freshman Ashley Williams also ran hard for the Wildcats in the 200 meters in New Mexico. She finished fifth with her time of 24.36 seconds. That mark ranks her seventh in school history. Senior Samantha McKnight also posted a new PR in the event at 25.15 seconds.

The group of Tia Gamble, Ashley Williams, Merryl Mbeng and Sonia Gaskin ran late Friday night in the 4x400 relay at New Mexico to finish fourth with a time of 3:41.60. That time is good enough to rank third in school history and rank fourth in the Big 12 Conference.

Some of those Wildcats ran in the open 400 on Saturday and Gaskin came away with one of the top times in school history in that event as well. Gaskin finished fourth with her time of 55.36 seconds and now ranks ninth in K-State history. Freshman Jordan Matthews finished seventh with her fastest time of the year at 56.44.

The men also had two Wildcats competing in the open 400 meters with freshman Ifeanyi Otuonye taking sixth with his time of 48.82. Freshman Tyris Jefferson ran to a 14th-place finish as well after making his career debut Friday night in the long jump. Otuonye also competed late Friday night in the triple jump, making his K-State debut in the event, and came in 10th place. His leap of 14.51 meters (47-07.25) ranks third in the Big 12 so far this season.

Jharyl Bowry also made his triple jump debut for the season on Saturday at the Don Kirby Open and finished fourth with a leap of 14.04 meters (46-00.75). His mark is tied for seventh in the Big 12 this season.

K-State’s women also had a small group in the long jump at the Don Kirby Open with Mbeng leading the way for the Wildcats in fifth place at 5.84 meters (19-02.00). Her jump was just 3.25 inches off her best mark of the season. Erica Twiss competed in her first long jump of the season and finished eighth while Richelle Farley took ninth.

The Wildcats split their team up this weekend with a group going to the Iowa State Classic and after competing in non-seeded events on Friday, K-State was up against stronger fields on Saturday in seeded heats and fields and a handful of them had some of their best performances of the season as well.

After running a new PR in the mile on Friday and finishing second behind an Olympian, Martina Tresch ran her fastest time of the season in the 3,000 meters and came home with a third-place finish. Her time also ranks sixth in the Big 12 this season.

Mid-distance events was again a strong point for the Wildcats in Ames. Freshman Jay-J Parks took second place for the men clocking in at 1:11.23 and now stands fifth in the conference. Sophomore Sarah Kolmer ran her fastest time on an over-sized track at 1:22.50 to finish in fourth place and also is ranked fifth in the conference before seeing results from other meets across the country.

K-State will be back in action at home next weekend when the Wildcats host the KSU Open at Ahearn Field House. It will be the final tune up for the Wildcats before the Big 12 Championship at Iowa State in two weeks. Field events are slated to start at 11 a.m. with running events starting at 2 p.m. Admission to the meet is free and fans are asked to sit in the balcony seating above the track surface.