Wildcats Finish 8th, 9th at Big 12 Championship
Wildcats Finish 8th, 9th at Big 12 Championship
Feb. 26, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. – Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard came into the season with a laundry list of goals, and on Saturday he checked another one off the list winning the Big 12 Indoor Championship. Kynard soared more than four inches higher than the rest of the field en route to his first conference title after finishing second at both indoor and outdoor championships last year.
Kynard found himself competing against the bar early on with the remaining two jumpers failing to clear 7-03.00. Kynard jumped 7-04.25 on his third attempt to add to his margin of victory and bring home the Big 12 high jump title adding that now he is looking to get ready for the NCAA Championship in two weeks.
“Now it’s just preparation,” Kynard said. “I feel like I’m already prepared physically. Mentally, that’s what’s up next.”
The K-State men finished the day with 42.50 points to claim eighth place while the women finished ninth with 35 points. Texas A&M won the Big 12 Championship for the men with 124 points, and Nebraska’s women won the title with 115.50 points holding off Texas A&M’s 101.
Head coach Cliff Rovelto said his teams finished about where he had anticipated heading into the meet and was pleased to see both the men and women score more points than he had projected. With the Wildcats bringing a smaller number of athletes to compete he also added that individually the athletes performed well and accomplished their goals.
“It’s the same story every year with this meet in that the kids we bring always do a good job,” Rovelto said. “Very rarely do the athletes we bring no do what they are supposed to do, and today was no different.”
It was a strong showing at the track for the Wildcats beyond Kynard’s title. In the men’s heptathlon the Wildcats battled in a tightly contested competition for the top four spots. Nebraska’s Bjorn Barrefors was able to move ahead of K-State’s Mantas Silkauskas for the lead after the pole vault heading into the final event. Second through fourth place were up for grabs with Silkauskas neck-and-neck with Missouri’s Lars Rise and fellow Wildcat Moritz Cleve.
Cleve ran away from the field to make up ground in the point totals running 2:38.85. It was not enough to move up, however, and the drama came down the stretch with Silkauskas and Rise. Rise was able to out-run Silkauskas by 8.04 seconds to sneak past Silkauskas on the scoreboard beating him by five points for second place. In total, K-State added 11 points to the men’s team score with Silkauskas and Cleve taking third and fourth. Silkauskas’ point total of 5,751 is a new personal best and ranks him third in school history. Sophomore Tomas Kirielius showed improvement in a number of the seven events to finish 10th with a new personal best 5,127 points. The depth of the heptathlon was apparent with the top four finishers all posting NCAA automatic qualifying scores.
On the track, K-State continued to post fast times with Denise Baker starting off the action with her sixth-place finish in the 60 meter hurdles with her time of 8.46 seconds. She improves on her eight-place finish a year ago. In the men’s hurdles, Jeffrey Julmis posted a new personal record crossing the line in 7.78 seconds to finish third. He was just off the pace for second finishing behind Texas A&M’s Wayne Davis at 7.75. Rovelto said he was very pleased with how both his hurdlers performed Saturday and throughout the season and praised the progress Baker has made.
“Going into the meet I thought Denise was fifth or sixth and after the prelims last night, I felt she could be fourth,” Rovelto said. “If you would have told me she would finish sixth in the Big 12 at the beginning of the season, I would have taken it. She has had a phenomenal season.”
Meghan Heuer earned the women’s squad three points with her sixth-place finish in the mile. After posting a personal best time of 4:48.78 in the preliminaries Friday night, she followed with 4:54.20 making a move on the final 200 meters to move up in the field. Boglarka Bozzay added to the women’s success in distance events finishing third in the 1,000 meters and clocking in at 2:47.81 to earn six points for the Wildcats.
Sam James kept the distance events going strong with his third-place finish in the men’s 800 meters. He crossed the line in 1:50.16 for a new PR. His time also ranks fourth in school history. He posted PRs in both the prelims and the final this weekend.
In the 3,000 meters, Martina Tresch again showed K-State’s strength in distance events shattering her PR by nearly 14 seconds finishing fifth with her time of 9:24.91. The time also moves her into fourth all-time at K-State. Tresch lingered in the middle of the pack for the first eight laps of her heat and began steadily passing one runner per lap until she made the move to third with four laps to go. She was able to hold off a charge from the field behind her to take third in her heat, fifth overall, and four points for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats now turn their attention toward the NCAA Championship in two weeks hosted by Texas A&M. Four Wildcats have posted NCAA automatic qualifying marks this season, and a small group has marks just shy in their respective events with a strong chance of getting into the field. K-State will know for sure who will be making the journey to College Station after next weekend’s “Last Chance” meets and the NCAA announces the fields.