Distance Runners, Sprinters Shine for K-State

Armando Del Valle

Feb. 10, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State track and field team saw strong performances from its distance runners on Friday at the Iowa State Classic, and another group of Wildcats ran well at the Tyson Invitational as another busy weekend of split squad action began. The Wildcats posted two wins on the day with more action to come on Saturday at both meets.

At the Iowa State Classic during unseeded competition, Armando Del Valle and Kyle Hanson both tallied victories in mid-distance events. Del Valle won the men’s mile by just more than a second crossing the finish line in 4:10.55. Hanson was first to finish the 800 meters clocking in at 1:52.11 beating out South Dakota State’s Dominic Thielen. Luke Hibbeler also ran well in the 600 yard run to finish fifth for the Wildcats. The impressive results continued to come in for K-State in the long distance events as well with Laura Galvan finishing ninth in the women’s 3,000 meters. Her time was less than half a second off the pace she ran at the Husker Invitational last week as she clocked in at 10:02.99.

In preparation for the Big 12 Championship in two weeks, the Wildcats ran a distance medley relay for the first time this season. The men’s tandem of Ryan Hershner, Franciso Colomar, Jacob Davies and Tyler Tilton combined to run 10:35.66 and finish 12th for the men. The women’s group of Galvan, Edina Brooks, Laura Lee Baird and Erika Schiller finished 12th in 12:28.24.

The Wildcats also had a portion of its multi-event women competing in open events following Thursday’s pentathlon and saw more good marks from the group. Richelle Farley ran the 11th-best time in the preliminaries of the women’s 60 meter hurdles, and Joslyn Barnes ran her fastest time of the season. Farley advanced to the final with her time of 8.81.

Assistant Coach Michael Smith said his mid-distance runners competed well and he was happy to see Farley run well the day after placing third in the pentathlon.

“I thought Armando and Kyle were very competitive today,” Smith said. “As we get closer to the Big 12 meet, we have to place a premium on racing well. Kyle and Armando both won their events today and did so in commanding fashion. I thought Richelle competed well in the hurdles after a demanding pentathlon yesterday.”

K-State sent a group of sprinters and combined events specialists to take on some of the top athletes in the nation at the Tyson Invitational, and the Wildcats had a handful of fast times to advance to the semifinals.

The sprinters running at the Tyson Invitational ran fast times as well with Carlos Rodriguez running 6.82 seconds in the 60 meters to advance to the semifinals. He then ran 6.84 in the semis to finish 12th overall. Dane Steen ran 7.05 seconds, and Martynas Jurgilas crossed the line in 7.08 as each was unable to advance out of the preliminaries. Samantha McKnight was unable to move on from the preliminaries for the women running 7.80 seconds.

Freshman Sophia Alonso ran in her first 400 meter race of the season after competing in the 200 and 300 earlier. She crossed the line in 56.66 to miss out on cracking the school’s top 10 list all-time by less than a second.

K-State’s hurdlers ran strong on Friday afternoon with a pair of the women’s multis advancing to the semifinals. Mairead Murphy and Ryann Krais each posted fast times in the preliminaries to move while Erica Twiss missed out on being in the top 16 and advancing to the semis by .001 of a second. In the semifinals, Murphy clocked in at 8.58 seconds to finish 12th while Krais took 15th in 8.79 seconds. Jeffrey Julmis and Tarique Hill took on some of the top hurdlers in the country for the men with Julmis moving on and Hill being the one to miss out by one spot this time finishing 17th overall. In the semifinal, Julmis ran to an 11th-place finish.

Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said he was pleased with some of the performances at the Tyson Invitational with some consistent numbers from the multi-eventers and some season best times.

“Sophia ran pretty well for her first open 400 meters indoors, and Tarique ran another season best time in the hurdles,” Rovelto said. “The girls ran OK in the hurdles for us, and Carlos is doing a nice job.”
Freshman high jumper Joey Muzzio took sixth place with his clearance of 1.96 meters (6-05.00). K-State’s top female high jumpers will compete in a championship level competition that will feature athletes currently ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA.

The Wildcats will be back in action again Saturday for the conclusion of the Iowa State Classic and Tyson Invitational. Saturday will feature seeded running events in Ames with more distance runners taking to the track. In Arkansas, a pair of pole vaulters will take on a strong field, Jurgilas will run the 200 meters, and the women’s 4x400 relay will take on some of the top relay teams in the nation. Fans can follow the action online with live results available at each host team’s respective websites. Live video from the Tyson Invitational will also be available for a fee.