Krais Breaks School Record at Kansas Relays

Ryann Krais

April 23, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – It was a record-breaking day for Ryann Krais at the 84th Kansas Relays on Saturday. The junior heptathlete was dominant for the Wildcats in both hurdles events winning the 100 meter hurdles with her time of 13.63 seconds and later crushing the field in the 400 meter hurdles with a new school record time of 57.04 seconds.

Krais made up the stagger and then some through the first turn to lead the way onto the back stretch and shattered her previous personal record in the 400 hurdles of 57.20 and her season-best of 57.60 to dominate the field by more than two seconds. The previous school record was set by Kim Kilpatrick in 1989 at the Big Eight Championship. Krais also finished third in the media poll for the women’s Most Outstanding Performer at the meet.

“I wasn’t thinking about winning the 100 hurdles coming into this week. I was just focused on running the best time that I can run. I know in some meets I’m not going to be able to compete at an elite level in the 100 hurdles because it’s not my best event,” Krais said. “The 400 hurdles, on the other hand, that’s the event where I always feel like there is something I want.”

K-State coach Cliff Rovelto said Krais had an impressive day, even more so when you take into consideration the strong headwind on the back stretch of the 400 hurdles and her training regimen the last two weeks.

“That was a pretty phenomenal day,” Rovelto said. “She’s training at an incredibly high level right now and is doing a lot of work on the track. She did five events last weekend, then had a hard day of practice on Wednesday. She is not by any means rested, and to run that well really shows how strong she is. She was spectacular.”

In K-State’s first running event of the day the women’s 4x100 relay team finished second in a solid performance from the tandem of Cenarda Jackson, TiAra Walpool, Kim Haberman and Denise Baker. Haberman helped K-State move into second on her leg before handing off to Baker for the anchor. Baker held of a charge from Missouri State to finish second and clocking in at 46.49 seconds.

The men’s team answered in the next race winning the 4x100 relay thanks to strong runs by the second and third legs of the competition. Mantas Silkauskas ran a fast first leg before handing off to Jeffrey Julmis for the second. Julmis ran fast to put the Wildcats into second place heading into the handoff to Jason Coniglio. Coniglio quickly made up ground in the turn to hand the baton to Martynas Jurgilas with the lead. Jurgilas opened the lead as the anchor crossing the line in 40.60.

Rovelto praised both 4x100 relay teams for their performances on Friday and Saturday. He said the men’s team could have run faster under different circumstances as well.

“I think both teams had pretty good times,” Rovelto said. “We were running by ourselves in the men’s 4x1 because we were ahead, and I think with better competition to drive us and better weather we could be faster.”

The success kept coming for the Wildcats early on the track Saturday with Ryann Krais winning the women’s 100 meter hurdles. Krais was neck and neck with Nebraska’s Karyn LaCour and K-State assistant coach Bettie Wade before pulling away by half a step over the final two hurdles finishing in 13.63 seconds. The time would have ranked third in school history but was wind-aided. Senior Denise Baker finished sixth with her time of 13.97 seconds. Wade claimed third, and fellow K-State assistant coach Kasey Hill finished fifth clocking in at 13.92.

The women’s 1,500 meters had a pair of Wildcats competing with Meghan Heuer finishing fourth after making her push beginning on the back stretch of the final lap. She crossed the line in 4:32.31 just shy of her personal record from last week. Laura Lee Baird came in sixth finishing in 4:37.22 also a bit shy of her PR set last week at the K.T. Woodman Classic.

Former Wildcat and 2008 Olympian Christian Smith won the men’s 800 meters holding in fourth place throughout much of the race before making a huge burst in the final turn. Smith blew past the field in the final 150 meters to finish in 1:52.07.

Blaine Cash finished fourth in the men’s 400 meters with his time of 49.12 seconds just off his time of 48.95 seconds from the preliminaries on Friday.

Cash ran the opening leg of the men’s 4x400 relay in the final event on the track. He handed to Sam James with Grant Loescher and Gus Vazquez-Milan closing it out for the Wildcats. K-State finished seventh with its time of 3:17.12.

In the field events, Jessica Carter finished seventh in the women’s discus with her toss of 148-11. Ryan Hershberger claimed 15th in the men’s discus, and Meriel Harwood had a season-best mark of 10-11.75 in the pole vault.

The Wildcats will return to action again next weekend for another one of the longest running track and field meets in the nation. The 102nd Drake Relays will feature 115 events over four days of action from Des Moines, Iowa, beginning Wednesday.