Women Finish 2nd at Big 12s

AMES, Iowa – Akela Jones earned high-point scorer of the meet, highlighting a strong second day effort by the K-State Track and Field women that saw them finish a close second to Texas at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship. Scoring 132.50 points total, the women’s effort was the best in program history in regards to both points and finish in the Big 12 era.

Head coach Cliff Rovelto had nothing but praise for the women’s showing – a showing that had 17 of the 22 women that competed at least contribute a point to the team’s final tally.

“Last night, I sat down and looked at [the standings],” Rovelto said. “And I was thinking we could maybe get to 133 points and we scored 132.50 so we really couldn’t have done much more than we did. I mean we really couldn’t. You can look at it and say, ‘well there’s a couple people in whatever event…’ but we had other people score more than what we would have thought they were going to score.

“I really think that we had everything we could possibly happen, just from a team perspective. We had almost all the women we brought score so that’s pretty good. We couldn’t have done better.”

Rovelto said the individual performances, from Kim Williamson and Dani Winters nabbing Big 12 titles to Akela Jones and A'Keyla Mitchell both scoring in multiple events, were extremely impressive.

“The performances were pretty special,” Rovelto said. “[Nija Collier] hadn’t competed in weeks and, what can you say, what she did [placing second in the triple jump] was pretty good. The high jumpers [who went 1-2-3-5 in the top-eight], I had us going 1-2-3-7, but having said that, it’s not like there isn’t good athletes in that event – the Iowa State and Kansas jumpers both come to mind. It’s one thing to strive to do that and it’s another thing to do it. And all they all obviously had to jump well to do it.

“A'Keyla Mitchell [who scored in the 60-meter, 200-meter and 4x400] is remarkable. For a freshman to do what she did it is really special stuff. She really competed at a high level and that was great to see. Erica Twiss had a remarkable meet, Sarah Kolmer ran well on the 4x400. Tia’ [Gamble] I thought ran well, Sonia [Gaskin] ran well.”

Rovelto added Winters, and the throws group including Sara Savatovic, Janee' Kassanavoid, were all excellent.

“Dani had a remarkable weekend in both events [scored in shot put and weight throw],” Rovelto said. “She’s worked hard and I think she has matured as a competitor, matured from a training perspective – accepting and adapting to tough training. All the women in the weight, they were all great.”

On the men’s side, despite finishing ninth, Rovelto thought several athletes performed well.

“I thought Kain Ellis [scored in both the 800-meter and 4x400] had a tremendous day for himself,” Rovelto said. “Logan [Smith] has had a much improved season as a whole – he’s improved a lot from last year. Nate [Gipson] did a nice job [in the high jump], Miles [Bearden] PRed and Zack [Riley] was better.

“And I thought Adam [Deterding] had a really solid meet [placing fifth in the heptathlon]. He really did a nice job competing throughout. He has certainly improved a lot from where he was a year ago.”

Jones Named Women’s High Point Scorer

Akela Jones capped off a stellar showing at the conference meet winning the women’s high point scorer award. The junior-transfer racked up 24 total points over three events – 60-meter hurdles, high jump and long jump. Already with 10 points in hand thanks to a title in the long jump in day one competition, Jones added 14 points in day two with a second-place finish in the high jump and third-place finish in the hurdles for eight and six points, respectively.

In the high jump, Jones cleared 1.84m/6-00.50 in her first attempt to secure the second-place finish. She cruised in the event, not missing a bar at five separate heights before bowing out at 1.87m/6-01.50 in three tries. Jones followed up that performance by breaking her school record in the hurdles. Clocking 8.14 to finish third overall, Jones broke her previous school record of 8.17, which she had hit on two occasions entering the meet.

With the 24-point effort, Jones accounted for a little over 18 percent of the women’s total points. Her total score was the most accumulated at a Big 12 Indoor meet since Betsy Saina of Iowa State scored 30 points in 2013 and it is the fourth-most ever in the Big 12 indoor era. Jones also joined former Wildcat All-American and Olympian Austra Skujyte as the only K-State women’s athletes to ever win the individual award at Big 12 indoors – Skujyte scored 22 points in 2002.

Women Tally 27.50 Points in High Jump

Kim Williamson notched her first career Big 12 title, placing a top the high jump, which saw four Wildcats finish in the event top-eight for a total of 27.50 points. Williamson, a sophomore-transfer from Central Arizona College, cleared 1.87m/6-01.50 for the victory while teammates Akela Jones (1.84m/6-00.50), Alyx Treasure (1.84m/6-00.50) and Rhizlane Siba (1.76m/5-09.25) placed in second, third and fifth behind her, respectively.

For Williamson, the height cleared was a season-best, bettering her previous high of 1.85m/6-00.75 and is currently the best mark in the conference. She also moved to No. 4 in school history with the winning effort as she is the first Wildcat since Treasure in 2012 to win the conference title indoors.

Treasure’s final clearance of 1.84m, meanwhile, bested her previous indoor PR of 1.83m/6-00 that she had cleared on three separate occasions, including at this season’s New Mexico Team Invitational, prior to this meet. She secured the career-best effort on her third attempt of the afternoon before missing on three tries at 1.87m/6-01.50.

Joining Treasure in the top-eight was the freshman Siba, who hit 1.76m on her third attempt before bowing out at 1.81m/5-11.25 to finish tied for fifth. The national Moroccan record holder, Siba’s latest effort capped off what has been a strong freshman campaign that included her clearing a career-best 1.81m in the season-opening Winter Invitational this past December.

Winters Goes Gold in Shot Put

Entering the meet as the conference’s top-ranked thrower in the shot put, Dani Winters took care of business, winning convincingly with a final throw of 16.80m/55-01.50. The junior’s first career Big 12 title, Winters hit her winning mark on fifth attempt of the afternoon to defeat a field of 13 by well over two feet.

Already with the school record in the shot this season, Winters joined elite K-State company as only the fourth Wildcat to win a conference title indoors and is the first since Rebekah Green in 2001.

Mitchell Shines in Conference Debut

Freshman A'Keyla Mitchell appeared to be not the least bit phased in her first career conference finals, earning a combined 12 points for the Wildcat women over three events – 60-meter, 200-meter and 4x400. She shined in the 200-meter in particular, clocking 23.45 to finish third overall. Earning six points for her effort, Mitchell’s time was also the fastest run by a Wildcat on an oversized track, as she bested her previous record time of 23.49 set in the day one prelims.

In the 60m, Mitchell clocked 7.46 for fifth to add another six points to the women’s overall tally. She closed out her day of competition by helping the 4x400, consisting of Sonia Gaskin, Tia’ Gamble and Sarah Kolmer, to second in the relay.

Men’s High Jump Places Four in Top-Eight

Freshman Nate Gipson led the Wildcats in the men’s high jump with a second-place finish, while his teammates Christoff Bryan, Miles Bearden and Zack Riley also recorded scoring performance to give the men 18 total points.

For Gipson, he cleared a season-best 2.22m/7-03.25 to finish just behind Texas Tech’s Jacorian Duffield by virtue of more missed clearances. The Mansfield, Texas native entered the meet with a personal best of 2.21m/7-03 and ranked seventh in all of Division I.

Bryan and Bearden, meanwhile cleared 2.17m/7-01.50 to finish fourth and sixth, respectively. Bearden, in particular tabbed a new personal best with the scoring effort – he had previously cleared 2.16m/7-01 at this season’s DeLoss Dodds Invitational. The senior Riley rounded out the group, clearing 2.12m/6-11.50 for a seventh-place finish. It was his third-straight conference meet, including outdoors, he has recorded points for the Wildcat men.

The Rest in Notable Performances…

•    The Wildcat women notched a pair of runner-up finishes in the 600-yard run and triple jump thanks to impressive showings from Sonia Gaskin and Nija Collier. On the track, Gaskin clocked a season-best 1:19.46 to finish second behind Longhorn Courtney Okolo. Her time marked an improvement over her qualifying effort of 1:19.78 and was the fastest run by a Wildcat on an oversized track. She was joined by teammate Tia' Gamble on the medal stand, as Gamble took fourth in 1:21.39. Their counterpart on the men’s side, Christopher Campbell also took fourth in 1:10.55 for his second-straight 600Y indoor scoring effort.

In the triple jump, Collier took second with a leap of 12.76m/41-10.50 - the best by a Wildcat in the event this season. The freshman’s scoring effort also slotted her at No. 6 in school history.

•    Kain Ellis, Terrell Smith and Carlos Rodriguez notched scoring performances for the men in the 800-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter, respectively. Ellis sped his way to a fourth-place finish in the mid-distance event, running a K-State season-best 1:50.83 to earn four points. Smith and Rodriguez, on the other hand, both took seventh in their respective events, clocking 21.37 and 47.77.

•    Adam Deterding took fifth in the men’s heptathlon with a career best score of 5,110 points, scoring in the event for a second-straight conference meet. His day two performance was highlighted by a pentathlon-best showing in the 60-meter hurdles, where he clocked 8.25 seconds – 6th-best in the school’s multi-history.

•    Lastly, the men’s 4x400 of Campbell, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, Logan Smith and Ellis capped of the conference meet with a sixth-place finish in the relay. Clocking 3:14.26 on the oversized track, it was the third-fastest time run by a K-State relay squad this season.

What’s Next?

The Wildcats close out the 2014-15 indoor campaign with a select group going to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championship on March 13-14. Qualifiers for the national meet will be announced next week. For more information, visit www.k-statesports.com.

Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championship
Lied Athletic Recreation Center
Ames, Iowa

Team Scores
1: Texas, 140 | 2: Texas Tech, 95.50 | 3: Oklahoma State, 94 | 4: Oklahoma, 89
5: Iowa State, 81 | 6: Kansas, 80.50 | 7: Baylor, 69 | 8: TCU, 49 | 9: K-State, 43

1: Texas, 139 | 2: K-State, 132.50 | 3: Baylor, 105 | 4: Oklahoma State, 77 | 5: Texas Tech, 75.50
6: Kansas, 71 | 7: Iowa State, 68 | 8: Oklahoma, 52 | 9: WVU, 16 | 10: TCU, 5

K-State Results (Day Two)

5: A'Keyla Mitchell, 7.46

7: Terrell Smith, 21.37 (o)

3: A'Keyla Mitchell, 23.45 (o) – Fastest time in school history on oversized track

7: Carlos Rodriguez, 47.77 (o)

4: Christopher Campbell, 1:10.55 (o)

2: Sonia Gaskin, 1:19.46 (o) – Fastest time in school history on oversized track
4: Tia' Gamble, 1:21.39 (o)

4: Kain Ellis, 1:50.83 (o)

9: Laura Galvan, 9:38.11 (o)

3: Akela Jones, 8.14 – Personal best and school record
4: Erica Twiss, 8.33

6: Campbell-Otuonye-L. Smith-Ellis, 3:14.26 (o)

2: Gaskin-Gamble-Mitchell-Kolmer, 3:37.94 (o)

High Jump
2: Nate Gipson, 2.22m/7-03.25
4: Christoff Bryan, 2.17m/7-01.50
6: Miles Bearden, 2.17m/7-01.50 – Personal best
7: Zack Riley, 2.12m/6-11.50
12: Thilina Karunaratne, 2.07m/6-09.50

1: Kim Williamson, 1.87m/6-01.50 – 4th-best in school history
2: Akela Jones, 1.84m/6-00.50
3: Alyx Treasure, Indoor personal best & 9th-best in school history
T5: Rhizlane Siba, 1.76m/5-09.25
T13: Rachel Proteau, 1.71m/5-07.25
T17: Joslyn Barnes, 1.66m/5-05.25

Triple Jump
2: Nija Collier, 12.76m/41-10.50 – 6th-best in school history
9: Alyssa Kelly, 12.00m/39-04.50

Shot Put
1: Dani Winters, 16.80m/55-01.50

Heptathlon (Day Two)
5: Adam Deterding, 5,110 pts. – Personal best
60M: 7.27 – 789 pts.
LJ: 6.70m/21-11.25 – 743 pts. – Personal best
SP: 12.88m/42-03.25 – 660 pts. – Personal best
HJ: 1.86m/6-01.25 – 679 pts.
60H: 8.25 – 920 pts. – 6th-fastest in school heptathlon history
PV: 3.78m/12-04.75 – 557 pts.
1000M: 2:50.34 (o) – 762 pts.

10: Max Estill, 4,210 pts.
60M: 7.36 – 759 pts.
LJ: 6.42m/21-00.75 – 679 pts.
SP: 8.56m/28-01 – 400 pts.
HJ: 1.92m/6-03.50 – 731 pts.
60H: 10.45 – 459 pts.
PV: 3.58m/11-09 – 503 pts.
1000M: 2:58.53 (o) – 679 pts.