Wildcats Shine Under Lights at ASU Invitational

Samantha McKnight

March 25, 2012

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TEMPE, Ariz. - While many Wildcat fans were preparing to watch the local news or for bed, the Kansas State track and field team was preparing to run under the lights out west at the ASU Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. The Wildcats tallied a pair of victories, six runners-up and posted multiple personal records at the meet hosted by Arizona State at Sun Angel Stadium on Saturday night.

With field events contested throughout most of the afternoon at the ASU Invitational, running events started in the late afternoon and ran until the sun was down and the Wildcats performed well under the lights and in their first full squad competition of the outdoor season.

The distance runners came out strong with Boglarka Bozzay leading the way for K-State in the 1,500 meters. Bozzay clocking in with a new personal record at 4:21.51 that also ranks ninth in school history. Two Wildcats on the men's team also posted PR's in the 1,500 with Armando Del Valle running 3:47.24 to finish fifth and stand 10th in school history. Kyle Hanson claimed a PR as well, crossing the line in 3:52.09. Both Del Valle and Hanson tallied PR's in the 800 meters as well. Del Valle clocked a 1:49.79 and Hanson was in at 1:52.47.

Senior Sydney Messick returned to action for her final season as a Wildcat and finished second in the women's 5,000 meters. Messick crossed the line in 16:54.82. Freshman Laura Galvan was next to finish behind Messick and give the Wildcats two runners in the top three in the event. Galvan ran the race in 17:14.27.

Three Wildcats posted big numbers in the sprints led by sophomore newcomer Carlos Rodriguez. The native Puerto Rican ran 10.58 seconds in the 100 meters to just miss the school's top 10 list in his outdoor debut as a Wildcat while he took fifth place. Junior Samantha McKnight finished sixth for the women with a new PR time of 12.09. Freshman Sophia Alonso took second for the women in the 400 meters running 55.87.

One of the best performances of the day for the Wildcats came in the men's javelin during the afternoon when Tomas Kirielius posted K-State's second win of the meet. Kirielius won the javelin by nearly two meters ahead of newcomer Ivan Hartung with his throw of 68.89 meters (226-00). The throw also pushed Kirielius into the school's top 10 ranking at No. 7. Hartung's second-place throw was only one centimeter short of his Wildcat debut last week at 66.95 meters (219-08), and senior Cory Boulanger threw 63.66 meters (208-10) to finish seventh and give the Wildcats three athletes to crack the 200-foot mark on the day.

K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said he was pleased with a number of his Wildcats and has high hopes for more good marks down the road at bigger meets.

"As you know, I tend to look at things in terms of potential scoring at the conference and national levels," Rovelto said. "With that in mind I thought Bozzay and Rodriguez had fine opening meets. Tomas threw well in the disc and javelin, which is a good sign for the decathlon."

K-State's first win of the ASU Invitational came in the women's high jump early in the afternoon when freshman Joslyn Barnes continued to build off her fifth-place finish at the Big 12 Indoor Championship. Barnes leapt 1.73 meters (5-08.00) to tie with Arizona State's Christabel Nettey and claimed the victory based on misses at previous heights.

It was not just in the distance and field events that the Wildcats saw success at the meet, either.

The women's multi program had all of its athletes competing in multiple events, and one newcomer cracked the school's top 10 list in the 100 meter hurdles. Junior college transfer Richelle Farley ran 13.84 in the event to finish third and put herself sixth in K-State history. Senior Ryann Krais was right behind her in 13.99 seconds to finish fourth, and sophomore Erica Twiss finished fifth in 14.15. Krais kept the good day going for the heptathletes with a new PR in the shot put as well, and sophomore Julia Zeiner had a PR in the long jump as she leapt 5.68 meters (18-07.75).

"In general, the heptathletes did a good job. The gals should have fun next week in Tuscon in the heptathlon," Rovelto said. "We had a number of freshman do a good job, and hopefully they can build on this throughout the season and be a help at the conference championship."

On the men's side of the hurdles, freshman Tarique Hill finished second as he crossed the line in 14.54. Franciso Colomar also claimed fourth in the 400 meter hurdles with his time of 52.96 not far off his PR.

K-State's throwers showed improvement after opening the outdoor season last week at the Tulsa Duels. Tomaz Bogovic finished fifth with his toss of 60.54 meters (198-07) to improve his mark from a week ago by more than 11 feet. The mark was also just more than two feet off his of own school record.

The Wildcats also had impressive showings in both relays with the women's team fielding a 4x100 relay squad this season full-time. The group of McKnight, Farley, Twiss and TiAra Walpool claimed second place for the women with a time of 46.52 seconds. Sarah Kolmer, Twiss, Alonso and Krais would then team up in the final event of the night to finish third in the 4x400 relay. The women's squad clocked in at 3:44.18. The men put a 4x400 team on the track and came away in third place. K-State's tandem of Rodriguez, Chris Campbell, Jacob Davies and Colomar crossed the line in 3:15.52.

K-State will return to Manhattan for a few days before a busy week of split action. Some Wildcats will be turning around and heading back to the desert for the Jim Click Combined Event Shootout hosted by the Arizona Wildcats. Others will be going to the Texas Relays and the ESU Open at Emporia State.