Jones Dominant in Day One of the Tyson Invite

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Akela Jones continued to dazzle, highlighting a solid effort by K-State Track and Field with multiple school-record performances in day one of the Tyson Invitational. In all, the Wildcats combined for four personal bests, four program top-10 marks and a bevy of season best efforts. 

Jones Puts on a Clinic

Akela Jones put up yet another record-setting performance, making waves both on the track and in the field with personal bests in both the long jump and 60-meter hurdles. Her performance in the former was perhaps the most dominant as Jones leapt a career-best and school record 6.64m/21-09.50 to take first in the long jump invitational. Shattering both her K-State season-high of 6.38m/20-11.25 and overall PR of 6.55m/21-06, Jones bested the previous school record of 6.43m/21-01.25 set by Nina Kokot at the 2011 Tyson Invitational.

The junior transfer from Oklahoma Baptist won in dominating fashion, leaping 6.52m/21-04.25 in her first attempt before going on to hit 6.64m in her third attempt of the evening – she would opt to pass on her final three attempts. She outlasted a field of eight that included, in addition to herself, four jumpers in the Division I top-20 as well as Bahamian national record holder Bianca Stuart, who placed second (6.62m/21-08.75).

With her latest mark, Jones currently hold the top jump in both Division I and the Big 12 and is top-15 overall in the world.

On the track, Jones ran twice in the 60-meter hurdles, including tying her school record and personal best time of 8.17 seconds in the event’s semifinals. First, Jones opened the preliminaries taking third overall out of eight combined heats to move onto the semifinals, which starting at 6:45 p.m. began less than an hour after the start of the long jump invitational. Nevertheless, Jones clocked 8.17 to take first in the second of two semifinal heats before opting to not run in the event final. Her time tied her school record set at the Winter Invitational last December.

Head coach Cliff Rovelto praised Jones on her strong showing.

“Akela did a great job. Her long jump mark is her longest jump ever in either indoors or outdoors. She actually, in the end, finished up with two big jumps that would have been PRs. She also ran well in the hurdles, but we didn’t have her run the finals so as to not overdo it.”

The Rest in Notable Performances...

Jones may have led the way, but several Wildcats on the track also put in notable efforts as highlighted below, including personal best performances from Sonia Gaskin and Christopher Campbell. Said Rovelto of the efforts on the track, “All-in-all it was good day. Sonia and Chris ran well, but are capable of more and our young athletes got their first taste of real elite competition and managed alright in their first test.”

• In the women’s 800-meter, Sonia Gaskin clocked a personal indoor best in the event for the second time this season. Entering the meet with a PR of 2:08.12 set at this season’s Triangular, Gaskin went sub 2:08 for the first time in her indoor career, clocking 2:07.80 to finish fourth overall. The returning All-American’s top-five finish added to what has been a consistently solid junior year. Though Gaskin did not pick up a victory in individual competition for the first time this season, she finished behind an impressive trio that included the No. 2 800m runner in the country in Arkansas’ Chrishuna Williams, as well as Alabama’s Kimberley Ficenec and former Arkansas All-American Stephanie Brown.

Gaskin moved to No. 3 all-time in program history with her latest effort.  

• In the men’s 400-meter, senior Christopher Campbell registered a solid time of 47.819 to place 30th. For Campbell, it was the second-straight meet he has ran sub-48 seconds in the event and is the 8th-fastest time in school history. The last Wildcat to run sub-48 in the event indoors was Tevan Everett at 2007 Conference Challenge, who clocked 47.63 – sixth-fastest in school history. Campbell is currently tied for the sixth-fastest time in the Big 12.

Kain Ellis, Lukas Koch and Kayla Doll all recorded season-bests in their respective events on the track. Ellis, in the 800-meter, ran 1:52.44 to finish 29th – just ahead of teammate Logan Smith, who placed 30th in 1:52.92. Koch, on the other hand, ran a Wildcat season-best time by over four seconds in the mile of 4:14.60 to finish 12th, while Doll clocked 5:05.68 to finish 28th on the women’s side.

Both freshman, Koch and Doll have shown steady progression in the mile to date. Koch has bettered his season-opening time of 4:23.08 at the Bill Easton Classic by nearly 10 seconds, while Doll has progressed, in order, 5:20.25/5:14.54/5:10.36/5:05.68 in her four meets running the mile so far this season.

• Freshmen A'Keyla Mitchell and Terrell Smith sped back into action after taking last weekend off from competition, making it all the way to 60-meter semifinals on their respective sides. Mitchell clocked 7.46 in the prelims to qualify for the next round of races and went on to finish 17th-overall (7.487), while Smith ran his best time in the prelims as well of 6.776 before finishing 18th (6.79) in the event semis.

• Lastly, a couple of returning All-Americans continued their indoor campaigns in Erica Twiss and Sara Savatovic. Twiss competed both in the 60-meter hurdles and long jump. She placed 23rd in the latter with a leap of 5.81m/19-00.75 and 18th-overall (8.481) in the former to qualify for the event’s semis. Savatovic, meanwhile, was joined by Janee' Kassanavoid and Dani Winters in the weight throw with the trio finishing 12-14-19, respectively. Savatovic’s final mark of 19.19m/62-11.50 came on her second attempt of the afternoon.

What’s Next?

The Wildcats finish up in Fayetteville with a full day of action, starting at noon with the both the women’s 3000-meter and triple jump. Follow @kstate_gameday under #KStateTF for updates throughout.

Tyson Invitational
Randal Tyson Track Center
Fayetteville, Ark.

K-State Results

18: Terrell Smith, 6.79

24: Terrell Smith, 6.776pq
58: Dane Steen, 6.978p

17: A'Keyla Mitchell, 7.487

18: A'Keyla Mitchell, 7.46pq

34: Christopher Campbell, 47.819 – Indoor personal best & 8th-best in school history

29: Kain Ellis, 1:52.44
30: Logan Smith, 1:52.92

4: Sonia Gaskin, 2:07.80 – Indoor personal best & 3rd-best in school history
20: Marija Stambolic, 2:12.15

12: Lukas Koch, 4:14.60

28: Kayla Doll, 5:05.68

30: Adam Deterding, 8.21

3: Akela Jones, 8.17sq – Ties school record

5: Akela Jones, 8.254pq
18: Erica Twiss, 8.481pq

Pole Vault
T14: Tommy Brady, 4.95m/16-02.75

Long Jump (Invitational)
1: Akela Jones, 6.64m/21-09.50 – School record & personal best

Long Jump
--: Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, FOUL

23: Erica Twiss, 5.81m/19-00.75

Weight Throw
12: Sara Savatovic, 19.19m/62-11.50
14: Janee' Kassanavoid, 18.56m/60-10.75
19: Dani Winters, 17.79m/58-04.50