Wildcats Sweep High Jump Titles at Big 12 Championship

Boglarka Bozzay

Feb. 25, 2012

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Coming into this year’s Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships, Kansas State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto believed his men’s and women’s teams had the opportunity to score significant points and put together their best performances in a while. He was correct in his projection with the women’s team posting their best finish in three years, while the men had their best showing seven years.

K-State’s men finished fourth in the team standings with 64 points. The fourth-place finish was the best for the men since taking third in 2005. The women finished seventh with 56 pionts, and the last time the women finished seventh or better was 2009. Rovelto said he was happy with how his teams performed and praised the effort against some of the best teams in the country in arguably the deepest league in the country.

“From a team perspective, on paper I had the men I thought would be fifth. When you look at the point totals and what the other teams score, for the men to finish fourth is really good,” Rovelto said. “I thought the women had a nice meet. I didn’t think we would be better than eighth. It ended up Texas Tech was ahead of us by seven points, and that’s the No. 12 team in the nation. We brought 15 girls, and 12 of them scored. I don’t know if you’ll find another team with that kind of percentage.”

K-State came away from the conference championship meet with a combined total of five titles, as K-State continued to show its dominance in the combined events and the high jump. This year was the first time since 2005 the men had multiple champions and the first time for the women since 2007. After Ryann Krais won the women’s pentathlon on Friday to mark the fourth Big 12 title in the event, the Wildcats bested the field in the high jump on both sides.

The Wildcats helped solidify their chance to claim K-State as High Jump U with a sweep of the men’s and women’s titles along with adding another scorer in the event. Erik Kynard successfully defended his title clearing 2.27 meters (7-05.25) with no other competitor clearing seven feet. He failed his attempts at clearing 2.34 meters (7-08.00), which would have tied for the second best mark in NCAA history. Freshman Alyx Treasure won the women’s high jump with her clearance of 1.83 meters (6-00.00). The mark puts her in fourth on the NCAA list this season. Fellow freshman Joslyn Barnes finished fifth jumping 1.75 meters (5-08.75) to give the women’s team 14 points in the event.

Kynard said he could have jumped better but was pleased with the win. More importantly, he said he was proud of Treasure and Barnes for their showings and proving K-State is a force.

“I jumped alright today. I was jumping at 7-8 and I’m clearing it every day in practice, every day. That’s the bar I want to clear,” Kynard said. “I think winning both men and women says a lot about our university, especially about that event. For Alyx to get a win in her first year is great, and Joslyn performed well, too.”

Treasure came in with the top jump in the conference but was up against an experienced crew of jumpers from Texas that finished 2-3-6-7 on Saturday. She said she handled the pressure well and did not let her nerves get the best of her by focusing on her coaching and goals.

“I was a little nervous, but I knew I had to do what coach told me to, and that’s keep it simple,” Treasure said. “This was a big one to win, especially being ranked first coming in. This was the first goal of the year to win conference.”

Rovelto said he was pleased with how his athletes competed in the high jump and mark the first time the Wildcats have won both the men’s and women’s Big 12 titles. Kynard posted the fourth men’s high jump title, and Treasure claimed the third women’s Big 12 high jump crown for the program. The Wildcats remain one of only two schools with a men’s and women’s high jumper ranked in the Top 10 of the NCAA this season.

“Erik jumped really well. I thought his third attempt at 7-8 was really good, and Alyx to PR and win is great. Two of those girls from Texas were as good as anyone in the country coming out of high school. I’m glad to hear her say she wants to go out and compete with those girls and beat them,” Rovelto said. “Because I know how good the Big Eight and the Big 12 have been in the high jump, how long I’ve been in this conference, I know to get a win is not easy. To get two is very difficult.”

Rovelto also had praise for Barnes, who posted her best jump of the season a day after competing in the pentathlon. It marked the second time this season she has done a pentathlon and followed with a PR in an open high jump the next day – something Rovelto said is difficult to do.

The running finals had a bit of a delay after an electrical malfunction with the timing equipment. The delay forced the men’s 60 meter hurdles runners back to the warm up area until the problem could be corrected. When the malfunction was fixed, it was senior Jeffrey Julmis who came out of the blocks to get the win for K-State.

Julmis was neck and neck with defending champion Keiron Stewart of Texas midway through the race. With the two even with two hurdles to go it would be the final sprint after the last hurdle that would determine the winner. Julmis pulled away to get the win in 7.75 seconds. Stewart ran 7.77, and Julmis said he also did what coach Rovelto told him in order to get the win.

“It felt so good. Finally. Senior year – Big 12 champion,” Julmis said. “I got out really bad. They held us for so long, I was basically cold. It was real close over the last two hurdles, and I knew I had him because I did what coach has said all year, ‘after the last hurdle, treat it like the track is hot and quick steps.’”

Julmis is the first Wildcat to win the 60 meter hurdle title in the Big 12 era with the last hurdle champion coming in 1993 when Travis Livingston won the 55 meter hurdles. Mantas Silkauskas also ran in the final for the Wildcats placing sixth with his time of 7.96 seconds to give the men 13 points in the event. Redshirt freshman Erica Twiss also ran in the women’s final finishing sixth in 8.69 seconds.

“I thought the win was great for Jeff,” Rovelto said. “He has run at such a high level since he got here, and you just like to see that happen for someone like that.”

Carlos Rodriguez came away with a sixth-place finish for the men in the 60 meters to make it a successful day for the Wildcats in the sprint events. He clocked in at 6.80 seconds.

Then the success started rolling in for K-State in the mid-distance events, including another title. Senior Boglarka Bozzay continued her undefeated season crossing the finish line first in the 1,000 meters in 2:47.02. The Hungarian was the favorite coming into the competition and she defended her No. 1 ranking in the conference and accomplished her goal of winning her first Big 12 title.

“I wanted to run the school record, but with it being Big 12’s, I knew it was more important to get the win,” Bozzay said. “It’s my first win! I’m excited, definitely. This makes me really excited, and I’m ready to focus on the 800 now for NCAA’s and outdoors.”

The men’s team had a pair of Wildcats score in the mid-distance events as well with Kyle Hanson claiming sixth in the 1,000 and Jacob Davies also taking sixth in the 800. Hanson clocked in at 2:26.28, and Davies finished in 1:49.93 for a new PR and is tied for third in school history.

In long distance events, Laura Galavan cut a chunk of time off her personal best in the 3,000 meters. She finished in 9:48.72 taking 13th place. Her previous best was 10:02.87.

After the women’s team had made a significant impact in the multi-event on Friday, the men’s team did the same thing with two Wildcats placing in the top eight to score a total of nine points toward the team total. Tomas Kirielius posted a new personal record in the heptathlon with his total of 5,221 to finish third and earn six points for the team. Transfer Tony Granillo also had his best performance scoring 5,132 points over the seven events. Devin Dick finished 12th with his total of 4,586 points after posting no-height in the pole as he was battling sickness throughout the day.

Rovelto said he was proud of all three of the heptathletes for how they pushed each other over the two days of competition. The trio combined to post PR’s in multiple events throughout the meet.

In K-State’s other field event action on the day, Ryan Hershberger placed seventh in the shot put. He posted a mark of 16.81 meters (55-02.00) to bring home two points in an event dominated by Texas with four Longhorns scoring a total of 28 points. Jacquelyne Leffler took 10th place with her toss of 14.31 meters (46-11.50).

Entering the final event, the women were in a tight battle in the team standings for spots six through eight. The tandem of Sarah Kolmer, Twiss, Ryann Krais and Sophia Alonso combined to break the school record in the 4x400 relay clocking in at 3:40.38 and finishing seventh. With those two points and only one point going to Oklahoma in eighth place, the Wildcats jumped over the Sooners in the team standings to finish seventh overall with 56 points.

The men’s team was locked in at fourth place with the 4x400 not having an impact on their standings. The team of Chris Campbell, Blaine Cash, Davies and Luke Hibbeler finished eighth with their time of 3:16.21.

K-State will have some Wildcats in action next week at last-chance meets in attempts to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in two weeks.

Team Standings
1: Texas A&M, 154 (6 titles)
2: Texas , 133.50 (5 titles)
3: Oklahoma, 98 (2 titles)
4: K-State, 64 (2 titles)
5: Baylor, 53
6: Oklahoma State, 52 (1 title)
7: Texas Tech, 48
8: Missouri, 47 (2 titles)
9: Iowa State, 45 (1 title)
10: Kansas, 44.50

1: Texas A&M, 140 (3 titles)
2: Texas, 112 (1 title)
3: Kansas, 101.33 (4 titles)
4: Iowa State, 76 (2 titles)
4: Baylor, 76 (1 title)
6: Texas Tech, 63 (1 title)
7: K-State, 56 (3 titles)
8: Oklahoma, 55.33 (1 title)
9: Oklahoma State, 31 (2 titles)
10: Missouri, 29.33 (1 title)