Wildcats Open Strong on Day 1 at NCAA Championship

Devin Dick

March 8, 2013

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – At the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Kansas State Wildcats had three members of the men’s team in action and narrowly missed out on scoring points to open the meet. Kyle Wait was one miss away from making his way to the podium and scoring for the men in the pole vault, and Carlos Rodriguez was in one of the fastest heats in the 200 meters to miss out on the final.

To open the day, however, it was Devin Dick making his NCAA Championship debut in the heptathlon as he was able to grab the final qualifying spot in the meet. He opened the meet with a time of 7.35 seconds in the 60 meters and followed that with a long jump of 7.08 meters (23-02.75). After the first two events, Dick found himself in 15th place.

In the third event of the day for the heptathlon, Dick was able to climb up the standings slightly with the No. 7 mark in the shot put. His toss of 13.14 meters (43-01.50) earned him 676 points and moved him into 13th place overall heading into the fourth and final event of the day, the high jump.

In one of Dick’s stronger events, the high jump, he cleared just 1.93 meters (6-04.00) for 740 points. It was the same height he cleared at the Big 12 Championship, but not enough to keep up with the rest of the field as he finished 10th in that discipline.

His point total of 3,011 for the first day put him in 13th place heading into the final three events on Saturday. Another of Dick’s better events will be second on the day in the pole vault where he could gain points on the field.

“Considering he didn’t know he would get into the meet until late, he probably wasn’t all that bad,” said K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto. “You could see that physically it was there, just not sharp. He can do well tomorrow and place pretty decently.”

Field events and semifinals in running events began shortly after day one of the heptathlon ended, and Wait took on a strong field in his first NCAA Indoor Championship putting together another impressive showing a week after breaking the school record to finish in ninth place.

Wait entered the meet ranked 11th. He cleared the opening height of 5.20 meters (17-00.75) on his first attempt and also at 5.40 meters (17-08.50). His clearance at 5.40 on his first attempt helped move him up the standings before being eliminated at the next height of 5.45 meters (17-10.50), which he cleared last week.

Wait was tied for eighth place when the bar went up to 5.50 meters, but with some athletes electing to pass 5.45 meters, he was bumped down to ninth when Shawn Barber of Akron cleared 5.50.

“Kyle did a great job,” Rovelto said. “Anytime you are performing at what is PR level that’s all we can ask.”

The evening closed for K-State with Carlos Rodriguez in the 200 meters. The sophomore from Puerto Rico also was competing in his first NCAA Indoor Championship and finished 14th in his semifinal heat
with a time of 21.44. His time was fourth in his heat that saw Texas A&M’s Ameer Webb run the fastest time in the world this year at 20.37

“Carlos did not run well. He has been dealing with a sore quad since before the conference championship meet and we have had to back off too much to get through and he has lost too much,” Rovelto said. “We had no choice, and it was no fault of his.”

K-State will have three Wildcats in action on Saturday with Merryl Mbeng competing in the pentathlon for the women’s team and Dick finishing the heptathlon in the third straight year the Wildcats have had a man and woman in the combined events. Senior high jumper Erik Kynard will look to win his first NCAA crown indoors in the deepest field the high jump as seen in some time. It will also be the first time he and Indiana’s Derek Drouin have faced each other since the Olympics when Kynard won silver and Drouin tied for bronze for Canada.

Early action from the meet can be seen on arkansasrazorbacks.com for free beginning with the heptathlon at 11 a.m. before ESPN3.com takes over coverage at 6 p.m. Live results will be provided by flashresults.com and fans can get updates on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday.