Kirielius, Other Multis Open Big 12 Meet Strong

May 11, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – After the first day of action at the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Kansas State Wildcats are poised to make an impact in the combined events again this season, this time hosting on their home track. Junior Tomas Kirielius currently stands in second place after the first day of the decathlon, and the women’s team has a number of Wildcats in position to possibly put up to five on the podium Saturday afternoon.

This year marks the first time since 2005 the Wildcats have hosted the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and the first day proved to be exciting with two facility records and two meet records falling victim to the talent on display.

In the combined events, Kirielius started the decathlon with a new personal best time in the 100 meters and followed that with a personal record in the long jump. Although he was short of a PR in the shot put, he had the best toss of the day in the decathlon. He then improved his PR in the high jump by half an inch, clearing 6-08.75 to again post the best mark in the field. He was tied in the high jump by teammate, Devin Dick, who also put together an impressive first day to stand in sixth with five events remaining.

Kirielius and Dick then led the way in their heat of the 400 meters to close the decathlon and crossed the line to cheers from the home crowd. Kirielius cut more than 1.5 seconds off his PR in the event, riding momentum from his previous best marks to the line. Dick also posted a PR as he clocked in at 50.75 seconds, trailing Kirielius’ 49.96.

“I really though Tomas had a phenomenal day,” said K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto. “He’s on pace to score 7,500 points and his PR is around 6,600. Also, for him to get fifth in the javelin in the middle of the decathlon shot put is impressive. It takes a tremendous amount of focus to be able to manage and handle it, and I think he managed it pretty well.”

For the women, the Wildcats sent all seven of their heptathletes to take on the field with defending NCAA champion Ryann Krais leading the pack. She found herself in fourth place after the first four events of the heptathlon with a group of her teammates poised to possibly put four purple uniforms on the podium after it is all said and done.

Krais was joined by newcomers Richelle Farley and Mairead Murphy in the fast heat of the 100 meter hurdles to open the heptathlon and the trio found themselves among the leaders right away. Farley ran her fastest time of the year at 13.64 seconds to stand in second and trail Texas Tech’s Precious Nwokey. Krais was next in line as she ran 13.78 for her season’s best time as well, and Murphy crossed the line in 13.88 seconds.

Those three Wildcats were not the only ones to run strong in the first event of the heptathlon. Freshmen Sarah Kolmer and Joslyn Barnes both posted PR’s, and sophomore Julia Zeiner ran her fastest time of the season. Sophomore Erica Twiss also ran hard.

Following the hurdles, the group of Krais, Murphy and Farley held in the middle of the top eight as Erica Twiss edged her way up the standings in the final event of the day for the heptathlon. Twiss ran 24.69 seconds in the 200 meters to finish fourth for the event and move her way up into ninth place after the day. Farley finished second in the event with a PR time of 24.20, and Murphy also PR’d with her mark of 24.61. Farley’s time was the second fastest in school history in a heptathlon.

Heading into the final three events of the heptathlon on Saturday, Krais has 3,317 points and trails Nwokey 114. Murphy is fifth at 3,305 points and Farley is sixth at 3,217. Twiss is in ninth at 3,084, and not far behind is Kolmer in 11th at 3,035 points. With Twiss and Kolmer just outside of eighth place, they will each be pushing to put four Wildcats on the scoreboard in the heptathlon.

“I think the girls did a nice job in the heptathlon. Mairead and Richelle are both on pace for a significant PR,” Rovelto said. “And with this heptathlon in general, it could take 5,200 points to score, and that’s the best it’s ever been in the Big 12.”

A handful of other Wildcats were in action in field events on Friday with two throwing events putting on a show for the fans. In addition to Kirielius finishing fifth in the javelin with his toss of 209-03 (63.77m), senior Cory Boulanger posted a seventh-place finish in his final meet at home to score two more points toward the team total. Boulanger tallied a toss of 204-01 to mark his fourth meet over the 200-foot mark this season.

Fans got to see one of the best in the nation in the men’s and women’s javelin as Texas A&M’s Sam Humphreys and Oklahoma’s Brittany Borman both wowed the crowd. Borman opened the day with a win as she entered ranked No. 1 in the NCAA. She did not disappoint with her throw of 181-02 (55.21m), hitting the USTF Olympic Trials A Standard to qualify for a chance to make the USA Olympic Team. Humphreys also hit the USA Olympic A Standard, but put his name in the record book twice. Humphreys broke the Big 12 Championship meet record by nearly eight feet. He bested the R.V. Christian Track Complex facility record by 12 feet 1 inch.

K-State had two men score in the hammer throw as well with senior Tomaz Bogovic claiming fourth with his mark of 197-10 (60.29m). He entered the meet ranked second in the conference. He was joined in the top eight by newcomer Ryan Johnson. The juco transfer finished eighth in his first Big 12 outdoor meet throwing 184-08 (56.28m), marking a significant improvement on his best throw of the season by more than eight feet.

In the women’s hammer throw Jessica Carter tallied her best performance of the season at 177-00 (53.95m). It was not enough to score any points for the women’s team total, however, as she finished 10th. Jacquelyne Leffler was right behind Carter in 11th place as she posted a mark of 176-10 (53.89m).

The fans also saw a show in the women’s hammer throw with another facility and meet record going down. Alena Krychek of Kansas dominated the field to win by more than 22 feet, and she broke both the meet and facility records on her second attempt, posting 226-05 (69.02m). She bested the previous Big 12 record set in 2002 by more than seven feet, and broke Loren Groves’ facility record of 214-05 set in 2008. Krychek’s mark also beat the IAAF Olympic B Standard by just two centimeters to be in contention to make the Olympic team for her native Belarus.

Fifth-year senior Sydney Messick was the final Wildcat in action on Friday night as she ended up in 11th place in the 10,000 meters. Messick hung with the leading pack of eight runners for the first half of the race before Dani Stack of Iowa State picked up the pace. Natosha Rogers of Texas A&M, Rose Tanui from Texas Tech, and Sara Sutherland of Texas kept up with Stack before Rogers made her kick with four laps to go and claim the win. Messick and the rest of the field were separated from the leaders and she finished with a time of 37:33.98.

Action on Saturday begins at 10 a.m. with the resumption of the decathlon and heptathlon. The first field event of the day is slated for 2 p.m. when the women’s long jump takes the runway and women’s shot put steps into the ring. It will be an exciting day of running as preliminary heats are scheduled to start at 3 p.m.

Fans can purchase tickets for just $10 for adults and $5 for youth and senior citizens. All-session passes will also be on sale as well at the ticket trailer located at the entrance to R.V. Christian Track Complex for fans wanting to see Sunday’s finals and have not already purchased tickets for the entire meet.