Four More `Cats Earn NCAA Bids at Prelims

AUSTIN, Texas -- K-State Track and Field notched four more bids to the NCAA Championships, as Alyx Treasure, Akela Jones, Kim Williamson and Tia' Gamble all recorded strong qualifying efforts in the second day of NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas.

Bringing the total to eight NCAA qualifiers for the Wildcats, the day's action also saw Terrell Smith and A'Keyla Mitchell move onto the 200-meter quarterfinals and Sonia Gaskin, Kain Ellis and Morgan Wedekind each put in solid efforts on the track in their respective events.

Treasure, Jones, Williamson Clinch Bids

Entering the meet all ranked in the top-10 of the West Region, the trio of Alyx Treasure, Akela Jones and Kim Williamson took care of business, clearing 1.82m/5-11.50 to secure a trip to NCAAs.

Treasure led the way for the Wildcats, tying for first-overall by way of going four-for-four in clearances on the day -- she also tied for first at last season's West Prelims in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Last season's national runner-up in the event, Treasure will now head to NCAA Outdoors with the opportunity to become the first Wildcat women's high jumper since Connie Teaberry in 1992 to earn first team honors in consecutive seasons.

Jones and Williamson, meanwhile, tied for third, missing on only one attempt each at 1.78m/5-10 and, along with Treasure, will seek to become the first set of teammates in the high jump to earn All-American honors outdoors in K-State women's history.

Gamble Motors Her Way to Eugene

Tia' Gamble nabbed qualification to Eugene, Oregon, with a spirited effort in the 400-meter hurdles quarterfinals. Ranked No. 23 in the West Region heading into competition, Gamble clocked a career-best 58.19 seconds to finish just ahead of Washington State's Liz Harper (58.23) and take third in the first of three quarterfinal heats.

Starting the race off strong, Gamble hung in the top-three of the pack before Melissa Gonzalez of Texas (58.08) made a huge push in the final 100 meters to move past both Gamble and Harper. Dropping to fourth momentarily, Gamble quickly caught up to Harper and used a final lunge at the finish line, falling to the track in the process, to edge past the Cougar.

For Gamble, she finished with the eighth-fastest time out of the field of 24 and the personal best time bested her previous PR of 58.61, set in 2014 also at the Prelims, by a little less than a half-second. She is the first Wildcat to qualify for the event at NCAAs since Erica Twiss in 2013.

On the Track...

• The 800-meter quarterfinals saw both Sonia Gaskin and Kain Ellis register near-qualifying efforts for the women's and men's teams, respectively. Gaskin, who took first team honors in the event last season, clocked a near season-best 2:05.77 seconds to finish 13th-overall. Just outside of the qualifying top-12, Gaskin's time was a little more than two-tenths of a second off of the 12th-place finishing time of 2:05.55 by Kelsey Brown-Gilbert of BYU.

On the men's side, Ellis capped a strong sophomore season with a personal best time of 1:49.90 to finish 18th-overall. The first Wildcat men's athlete since Kyle Hanson at the 2014 West Prelims to clock a sub 1:50.00 time in the event, Ellis' top-20 finish in the region is more than a 30-spot improvement from where he entered the meet ranked at -- No. 50.

• Freshmen A'Keyla Mitchell and Terrell Smith each cruised to quarterfinal qualification in their respective 200-meter first rounds. Mitchell broke her 200-meter school record for a second-straight meet, clocking 22.96 to take fourth-overall. The first wind-legal, sub-23 second time by a women's sprinter in school history, Mitchell is set to run in tomorrow's quarterfinal at 7:35 p.m. Smith, meanwhile, clocked his second-fastest wind-legal time of the season at 20.716 seconds to nab qualification. He will follow Mitchell in the men's quarterfinals tomorrow, starting at 7:50 p.m.

• Lastly on the track, Morgan Wedekind finished 23rd-overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 10:34.52. Less than six seconds off of her personal best time of 10:28.61, Wedekind took ninth in her heat and was one of only three runners from the Big 12 to finish in the event's top-25.

What's Next?

Ivan Hartung and Dwight Davidson kick off a final day chock-full of action for the Wildcats at the West Prelims, competing in the men's javelin at noon. Also set to compete for K-State in the field will be Dani Winters in the shot put, Alyssa Kelly in the triple jump and Danie Plank and Haley Pitko in the javelin, while, along with the 200m qualifiers, the women's 4x400 relay squad will take to the track. Updates on the all of the day's action for K-State can be found on Twitter via @kstate_gameday under #KStateTF.


NCAA West Preliminary Round (Day II)
Mike A. Myers Stadium
Austin, Texas

200m (First Round)
Men
9: Terrell Smith, 20.716q (1.3)

Women
4: A'Keyla Mitchell, 22.96q (1.9) -- School record

800m
Men
18: Kain Ellis, 1:49.90 -- Personal best

Women
13: Sonia Gaskin, 2:05.77

400H
Women
8: Tia' Gamble, 58.19q -- Personal best & T-4th-best in school history

3000m Steeplechase
Women
23: Morgan Wedekind, 10:34.52

High Jump
Women
T1: Alyx Treasure, 1.82m/5-11.50
T3: Akela Jones, 1.82m/5-11.50
T3: Kim Williamson, 1.82m/5-11.50
27: Rhizlane Siba, 1.73m/5-08