Wildcat Women Claim 34th at NCAA Championship

Ryann Krais

March 10, 2012

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NAMPA, Idaho – Seniors Ryann Krais and Boglarka Bozzay provided the Kansas State women’s track and field team with the best performances of the weekend for the Wildcats with each scoring points toward the team total and competing closely with the best in the nation at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Krais finished fifth in the pentathlon with a new personal best score of 4,142 points, while Bozzay finished sixth in the 800 meters scoring three points.

With seven points the K-State women finished in a tie for 34th overall in the team standings, while the men’s team scored just 4.5 to finish 44th. The men came into the championship meet ranked No. 16 in the nation and the women were No. 41.

With seven points scored, the Wildcat women posted their highest total since 2005 when they scored 15.5 points and finished in 14th place. This year’s 34th-place finish is the best since that 2005 team. For the men, the four points is the fewest since not scoring in 2010 when three Wildcats failed to finish in the top eight of their respective events.

It was an unlucky start to the day for the Wildcats as Mantas Silkauskas clipped the third hurdle after an injury in the 60 meter hurdles portion of the heptathlon. He was unable to recover and ran through the fourth hurdle and did not finish the event resulting in not scoring any points toward his total. With the DNF, Silkauskas withdrew from the remainder of the competition.

“Obviously, it was very unfortunate that Mantas got injured in the hurdles and couldn’t finish,” K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said. “I have far too much respect for the quality of this meet to allow us to feel sorry for ourselves when all six athletes should be either first or second team All-American when those awards are announced next week.”

The mood quickly turned for K-State as senior Ryann Krais ran her fastest time of the season in the hurdles to start the pentathlon in 8.60 seconds and seventh place. She backed that up with her best high jump of the year at 5-07.75 (1.72 meters). That brought her point total up to 1,874 through the first two events and moved her up to sixth place with three events remaining. Krais would continue to put up her best marks of the season as she would go on to score a new personal best 4,142 points to rank alone in third in K-State history.

Krais continued her strong pentathlon going in the third event as posted a personal best in the shot put. Her new best mark of 39-06.00 (12.04m) gave her 664 points and brought her three-event total up to 2,538. The distance was not enough to make up ground on the leader board as she remained in sixth but positioned to make a move.

Again, Krais posted her best mark of the season in an event with her jumping 18-07.25 (5.67m) in the long jump. The mark was just two centimeters shy of her personal record set during her time at UCLA. Krais went on to run 2:17.74 in the 800 meters to finish with a point total of 4,142.

Bozzay again was the last Wildcat to compete on Saturday and she crossed the line in 2:06.00. She held with the leaders for the first 400 meters of the race, running just a few meters behind the pace in fourth place. Then, the eventual champion Nachelle Mackie from BYU picked up the pace and increased her lead on the rest of the pack. Mackey finished in 2:03.30, which is the fastest time in the NCAA this season. With Bozzay’s finish and scoring points for the Wildcats, it marked the first time since 2005 the women’s team has scored in the 800. Lysaira Roman-Del Valle finished fourth.

“Ryann had a PR and placed higher than she did last year, and Boglarka had a great season finishing sixth in her first national final,” Rovelto said. “They both had quality performances for us this week.”

High jumper Erik Kynard entered the championship meet as the No. 1 collegiate jumper in the nation, but Kynard struggled on the fourth bar of the competition as he failed to clear 7-03.75 (2.23m). Kynard cleared the first there bars of the meet with ease but missed on his first attempt at 7-03.75. He continued to struggle after Arizona’s Nick Ross cleared the bar on his first attempt after taking two to clear the previous height. Kynard missed his next opportunity and failed his third after Florida’s Dwight Barbiasz cleared on his third attempt. Indiana’s Darius King also cleared on his third attempt, but no one could clear 7-05.00, giving Ross the title.

“Erik obviously didn’t jump as well as he is capable of, but I can only hope that as a program we can continue to attract and develop kids who on a bad day can still get fourth at the national championships,” Rovelto said.

Rovelto closed his thoughts by saying the season was a success for his Wildcats and the focus now turns to outdoor season and continuing to work toward what each of his athletes has their sights set on achieving in 2012 He said this weekend’s NCAA Championship is a learning experience for all the athletes and not just his because the quality of competition and what is at stake down the road this year.

“As a coach I don’t coach an event. I coach an individual. Teaching and coaching is a process, and this meet was not an end all for any of the athletes that competed for us this weekend,” Rovelto said. “They all have significant goals for this year and all of them are on the right track to achieving those goals. There are athletes who scored last year in this meet that didn’t get here this year. There will be kids who make Olympic teams this summer who had subpar performances this weekend. That’s competition and life.

The Florida men had a target on their backs coming into the meet, and they did not back down as the Gators won their third straight NCAA indoor title. The Gators scored 52 points and won a total of three individual events. Oregon’s women also had won back-to-back titles and were eyeing a three-peat. The Ducks were able to get that third title in a row, scoring 49 points to hold off the Kansas Jayhawks by 19 points. Oregon’s women won just two events, claiming the 60 meters and the pentathlon.

K-State will have next week of before beginning the outdoor season at the Arizona State Invitational on March 23-24. The outdoor season will be highlighted for the Wildcats when they host the 2012 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships at R.V. Christian Track and Field on May 11-13.

K-State Results
DNF: Mantas Silkauskas – Day 2: 60H, DNF (0 pts), PV, DNS, 1000m, DNS; Day 1: 60m 6.73 PR (980 pts); LJ 7.37m (903 pts); SP 12.45m (634 pts); HJ 1.90m (714 pts)

5th: Ryann Krais, 4,142 pts (4 team points) – 3rd school history
Breakdown: 60H, 8.60 (995 pts), HJ, 1.72m (879 pts), SP, 12.04m PR (664 pts), LJ, 5.67m (750 pts), 800m, 2:17.74 (852 pts)

High Jump
T-4th: Erik Kynard, 7-02.50 (2.20m) – 4.5 team points

6th: Boglarka Bozzay, 2:06.00 – 3 team points

NCAA Team Standings – Top 5
1: Florida, 52
2: Arkansas, 47
3: Arizona, 41
4: Arizona State, 31
5: LSU, 27

1: Oregon, 49
2: Kansas, 30
3: LSU, 27
4: Texas, 25
5: Arkansas, 24
5: Texas A&M, 24