`Cats Impress in Final Day of Tyson Invite

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Wildcats Christoff Bryan, Akela Jones and Kim Williamson excelled in the high jump, headlining an impressive closing effort by K-State Track and Field at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas. All three athletes made strong cases to make a return trip this March to the site of NCAA Indoors this season with their top-five finishes, while the women’s 4x400 on the track broke the school record to cap off a successful weekend for the purple and white.

High Jumpers Shine against Top Competition

The Wildcats put in a stellar showing in the high jump portion of the afternoon with both the men’s and women’s teams coming away with NCAA qualification-worthy marks against some of the best competition in the country. 

Freshman Christoff Bryan stole the show on the men’s side, taking first in the high jump invite against a field that included top-ranked Jacorian Duffield of Texas Tech, as well as nationally-ranked Bradley Adkins (T-3rd) also of Tech, DJ Smith (T-6th) of Auburn and James White (T-6th) of Nebraska. Bryan, who entered the meet tied for third in DI with a mark of 2.25m/7-04.50, cleared 2.28m/7-05.75 to defeat Adkins in the event, while also tying with Duffield and Marquette’s Wally Ellenson of Marquette for the nation’s top overall spot.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Bryan competed for the first time since this past January’s KSU-KU-WSU Triangular and moved to third-best all-time in school history with his latest effort. In fact, Bryan’s winning mark was the best performance by a Wildcat men’s high jumper since Erik Kynard set the school indoor record at 2.33m/7-07.75 in 2013.

He was joined by teammates Nate Gipson (5th), Zack Riley (10th) and Miles Bearden (T-12th) in today’s competition, with the freshman Gipson, most notably, clearing a season-best 2.21m/7-03 for the top-five finish. 

On the women’s side, newcomers Akela Jones and Kim Williamson starred in their respective competitions. Jones, who took part in the high jump invite along with teammates Alyx Treasure and Rhizlane Siba, cleared a season-best 1.85m/6-00.75 to finish third overall. Her mark bested her previous season-high of 1.82m/5-11.50 set in the Jayhawk Classic pentathlon, while also moving her into a tie for fifth in school history – it was the third K-State top-10 mark set by Jones this weekend, as she also set the school record in the long jump (6.64m/21-09.50) and tied her school record in the 60H (8.17) in day one of the Invitational.

Treasure, meanwhile, finished tied for seventh, clearing 1.77m/5-09.75, and Siba tied for 11th with a final mark of 1.72m/5-07.75.

In the non-invite portion of the high jump, Williamson also cleared 1.85m/6-00.75 to finish first. The lone competitor in a field of 20-plus to clear six feet, Williamson tied an indoor personal best with her winning effort, while also joining her teammate Jones at No. 5 in program history.

Transferring from Oklahoma Baptist and Central Arizona College, respectively, this past season, Jones and Williamson have bolstered a women’s high jump group that is dominating across the board in both the Big 12 and Division I. Including Treasure, a returning All-American, the K-State women hold the top-three heights cleared in the conference. Not only that, but perhaps more impressively, prior to today’s competition only 12 athletes in all of Division I had cleared six feet or better with both Jones and Williamson now adding to that total – Georgia (3) is the only other school to also have multiple jumpers within that group. 

Women Break School Record in 4x400

The foursome of Sonia Gaskin, Tia' Gamble, A'Keyla Mitchell and Erica Twiss combined to break the women’s 4x400 record for a second time this season. Clocking an impressive 3:34.27 to take fifth-overall, the squad shattered the previous record of 3:37.98 set at last December’s Winter Invitational. The time was good enough to finish second in their heat behind only the Texas A&M women (3:32.84). Gaskin opened the relay with a split of 54.81, while Gamble, Mitchell and Twiss follow with sub-54 second splits in the remaining legs. The freshman Mitchell in the third leg closed the gap considerably, clocking 51.97 seconds, the second-fastest split out of all the four schools competing in the heat.

The men’s 4x400 group of Christopher Campbell, Carlos Rodriguez, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye and Logan Smith also moved into the K-State top-10 with their 14th-place finish. Clocking 3:10.97, the squad finished second in their heat, ringing in the fifth-fastest time in school history. Campbell, who set a personal 400m indoor best of 47.819 in day one of the Tyson Invitational, opened the relay running 47.83 seconds. Rodriguez, who followed Campbell, ran the fastest split of group with a time of 46.89 seconds – good for also the second-fastest overall split in the heat’s group.

The Rest in Notable Performances…

•    Junior Dani Winters kept up her winning ways, taking first overall in the women’s shot put invite in dramatic fashion. Fresh off of setting the school record at last weekend’s Sevigne Husker Invitational, Winters saved her best throw of the evening for last, hitting 17.00m/55-09.25 to edge out Jill Rushin of Missouri (16.98m/55-08.50). The winning effort marked the second-straight victory for Winters in the event.

•    In the men’s 200-meter, freshman Terrell Smith clocked a season-best time of 21.331 to finish 17th-overall in the event. Moving from sixth to fifth-fastest in program history, Smith has ran three of the four fastest times by a Wildcat sprinter in the event this season. He was joined by seniors Carlos Rodriguez and Dane Steen in competition, who ran 21.435 and 21.83 seconds (personal best) to finish 17th and 43rd, respectively.

•    Lastly, Laura Galvan and Morgan Wedekind both registered personal best efforts in the women’s 3000-meter to finish ninth and 13th, respectively. Galvan, who notched a personal best at the Husker Invite, finished the event in 9:45.03, almost a second better than her time of 9:46.00 ran in Lincoln last weekend. Wedekind, meanwhile, one-upped her season-best time of 10:00.95 by a little over seven seconds at 9:53.45. The sophomore’s latest effort was the fastest she has finished the event since she clocked 9:51.98 on Iowa State’s oversized track at Big 12s in 2013.

What’s Next?

K-State closes out its regular season indoor slate hosting the K-State Open next Friday, Feb. 20. Action is expected to begin in the evening at 5 p.m. before finishing up later on the track. Following the quick stop in Manhattan, the Wildcats will then head to Ames, Iowa for Big 12 Indoors held on Feb. 27-28. For more information on the Wildcats’ upcoming meets, visit www.k-statesports.com.

Tyson Invitational
Randal Tyson Track Center
Fayetteville, Ark.

K-State Results

17: Terrell Smith, 21.331 – 5th-fastest in school history
23: Carlos Rodriguez, 21.435
43: Dane Steen, 21.83 – Personal best

9: Laura Galvan, 9:45.03 – Personal best
13: Morgan Wedekind, 9:53.45 – Personal best

14: Campbell-Rodriguez-Otuonye-L. Smith, 3:10.97 – 5th-fastest in school history

5: Gaskin-Gamble-Mitchell-Twiss, 3:34.27 – School record

Distance Medley Relay
5: Koch-Harrison-Ellis-Donahue, 9:56.50

5: Wedekind-Parks-Stambolic-Galvan, 11:55.56

High Jump (Invitational)
1: Christoff Bryan, 2.28m/7-07 – 3rd-best in school history
5: Nate Gipson, 2.21m/7-03
10: Zack Riley, 2.11m/6-11
T12: Miles Bearden, 2.06m/6-09

3: Akela Jones, 1.85m/6-00.75
T7: Alyx Treasure, 1.77m/5-09.75
T11: Rhizlane Siba, 1.72m/5-07.75

High Jump
1: Kim Williamson, 1.85m/6-00.75 – Ties indoor personal best & T-5th best in school history

Triple Jump
14: Alyssa Kelly, 12.25m/40-02.25

Shot Put (Invitational)
1: Dani Winters, 17.00m/55-09.25