Wildcats Open Outdoor Season with Four Wins

March 17, 2013

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TEMPE, Ariz. – The move to outdoor season came this weekend for K-State track and field as the Wildcats took on three of the nation’s top teams in Texas A&M, Minnesota and hosting Arizona State at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The Wildcats carried over a strong indoor season to a strong showing in the first outdoor meet of the season with four victories in a smaller meet.

Friday night saw only a few events held, and freshman Sara Savatovic immediately put her name in the K-State record books with a win in the women’s hammer throw. The Serbian national record holder was short of her personal best mark but tallied a victory with a toss of 59.07 meters (193-09) to also rank fifth in school history. It was a strong event for the Wildcats with Jessica Carter opening the year with a fourth-place finish and redshirt freshman Dani Winters right behind. Alex Roe was 11th for the men with a new personal record.

Then on Saturday, the Wildcats were in a full slate of events with a good mix of sprints and field events.

All four of the Wildcats’ wins came from the women’s team with freshman Tia Gamble crossing the line first in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.35. Angela Hart tallied a win in the 400 meter hurdles, and a group of veterans and newcomers combined to win the 4x400.

Sophomore Sarah Kolmer ran the opening leg of the 4x400 with Erica Twiss next, followed by two newcomers in Merryl Mbeng and Gamble. The Wildcats ran a time of 3:43.14. Jordan Matthews, Ashley Williams, Joslyn Barnes and Jasmine Gibbs ran a 4x400 as well and came away in third.

The women’s 4x100 did not come away with a victory, but the group of Samantha McKnight, Williams, Richelle Farley and Gibbs rans one of the fastest times in school history. With a time of 44.98 seconds, K-State finished third but posted the No. 6 time in school history.

Farley also had a strong showing in the women’s 100 meter hurdles finishing in second place as the top collegian in the field. She crossed the line in 13.88 seconds for a respectable time to open the outdoor season and longer race length compared to indoors. Kolmer and Barnes also posted PRs in the event.

The fast times were not unique to the women’s team with sprinter Carlos Rodriguez stepping outside of his normal 100 and 200 meters to run the 400. Rodriguez finished second behind Chris Burrows of Arizona State with a time of 46.77 seconds. Burrows ran 46.66 to set a new meet record. With his time, Rodriguez is now ninth in school history for the event. He already owns the No. 4 and No. 3 marks in the 100 and 200 respectively.

Devin Dick also posted a new PR for the men with his time of 15.26 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles. He and fellow decathletes Tomas Kirielius, Tony Granillo and Reinis Kregers were in action in a variety of events in making the transition to outdoors.

Another top-three finish came for the men in the 4x100 with three freshmen helping to run to a time of 41.43 seconds. Devin Field, Tyris Jefferson and Jay-J Parks teamed up with sophomore Chris Campbell to finish third with Campbell running the anchor leg.

Ryan Hershberger opened the outdoor season with a third-place finish in the shot put. Arizona State has one of the top shot put programs in the nation, laying claim to multiple NCAA titles recently, although recent indoor champ Jordan Clarke was not in the field.

“All in all it was a pretty decent start to outdoors for us,” said K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto. “The girls 4x100 did a nice job with somewhat limited practice. Carlos ran well in the 400 and Sara had a solid opener in the hammer. Tia had another in the 800. We had a lot of decent opening performances across the board. We look forward to a good week of training and an even more competitive meet next weekend.”

The Wildcats are currently on an extended trip to Arizona where the team will remain during spring break for training and another meet at Sun Angel Stadium. K-State will be in action again next weekend at the ASU Invitational.