Multiple Wildcats Qualify in Day One of NCAA Prelims

May 30, 2014

Photo Gallery  K-State AthleticsFAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – K-State Track and Field kicked off day one of the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with multiple Wildcats earning National Championship berths in the field. In all, five Wildcats registered NCAA berths, while another four athletes moved onto the Quarterfinals in the track events. 

Rovelto said he was impressed with both the men’s and women’s squads, citing the unique nature the West Prelims presents where placing in the top-12 trumps overall marks.

“This meet is really not about performances, it’s about qualifying and moving [onto the NCAAs],” Rovelto said. “Marks don’t carry over and don’t count for much. It is kind of contrary to what we come to think of these meets, but it is what it is, it’s just about moving on.

“So we shouldn’t really get caught up in what the mark was. It’s got to be about the head-to-head and moving on. Having said that, the people who moved onto the finals, nationals, that is what this meet is about and we’re sitting here today with five athletes going, along with Devin [Dick] and Reinis [Kregers], and that’s pretty good.”

Rovelto added though, with several Wildcats hitting PRs or near personal best performances, the individual performances are not something that should be discounted.

“It’s an extra bonus when an athlete is able to [PR] here and there were a lot of really good performances here today,” Rovelto said. “But really, it’s all about the head-to-head and if somebody is 10th, but they are at less than what they normally do, it really doesn’t matter because you beat the other people that are here to move on and that’s what this meet is about.”


Ryan Hershberger continued a recent stretch of strong efforts with a seventh-place finish in the men’s shot put. Sitting in 10th with a throw of 18.16m/59-07.00 following the first three rounds, Hershberger needed to finish in the top-12 in the event’s final round of throws for a trip to Eugene. The senior responded with a throw of 18.82m/61-09.00 in his fifth attempt of the afternoon, moving him up to seventh and cementing his first career NCAA Championship berth. It was an impressive and necessary showing, as 12th-place went to Nebraska’s Chad Wright, who finished the day with a final mark of 18.31m/60-01.00.

The NCAA berth added to what has been an impressive stretch of performances in May for the senior. Hershberger entered the month with a personal best of 18.00m/59-00.75 set in 2012 and has now bested the mark in three consecutive meets, including notching a personal best of 18.86m/61-10.50 in the Ward Haylett Invitational, as well as a career-best third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock, Texas.

He is the first Wildcat men’s shot putter to reach NCAA Outdoors since T.J. Staab in 2005. 

Danie Plank was the lone freshman to qualify out of the West Region in the javelin throw, finishing ninth overall with a final mark of 48.09m/157-09. Her qualifying effort came on her third and final throw of the preliminary round, as she remained in the top-12, dropping from seventh to ninth, in the final three rounds of throws.

For Plank, she is the first Wildcat women’s thrower to qualify in the javelin since Ali Pistora competed in Fayetteville in 2009. She is also only the third freshman from the Big 12 in the past five seasons to qualify for the NCAA Outdoors in the javelin throw.

Ivan Hartung made it three Wildcat throwers to advance to Eugene, as he finished ninth overall with a throw of 65.70m/215-07 in the men’s javelin. The latest effort made it three-straight meets Hartung has set a season-best in the event, as the junior hit his mark in his fifth throw of the evening, moving from 11th to seventh and securing his first ever National Championship berth.

Hartung is the first Wildcat javelin thrower since Adam Fretwell in 2007 to reach the NCAA Championships.

• In the long jump, Devin Field continued a solid sophomore campaign, securing a trip to Eugene with a ninth-place finish. Field’s clinching mark came on his first jump of the afternoon, as the sophomore leapt 7.62m/25-00.00. With Field earning an NCAA berth, the Wildcats have had a long jumper compete at NCAAs Outdoors for three-straight seasons – joining Jharyl Bowry in 2013 and Mantas Silkauskas in 2012. 

Field will look to qualify in the triple jump as well, with the event set to take place on Saturday at 6 p.m.

• On the women’s side, Erica Twiss took 11th overall to secure back-to-back NCAA appearances this season. The senior finished the day with a wind-aided leap of 6.10m/20-00.25 in what was a tightly-contested event. Twiss’ mark of 6.10m finished just ahead of No. 12 Jazmin McCoy of Nebraska and her leap of 6.09m/19-11.75, as spots twelve through sixteen were separated by only .07 meters.

Already with an NCAA appearance in the pentathlon this season, Twiss will look to become the first Wildcat since Nina Kokot in 2011 to earn All-American honors in the event outdoors.

Onto the Quarterfinals…

• In the 800 meter, both Kyle Hanson and Sonia Gaskin registered personal best times in their respective heats. For Hanson, he clocked in at 1:49.55, finishing fifth in his heat, but registering the eighth-best time overall out of the field of 48 runners. The senior’s heat, in particular, was stacked with the four finishers above him finishing with sub-1:50 times, including the top three registering the three fastest times overall. Hanson’s PR bested a previous PR of 1:50.24 set at this season’s Ward Haylett Invitational. He is also the first Wildcat men’s runner to register a sub-1:50 time in the event outdoors since Armando Del Valle ran 1:48.92 in 2012 at the Big 12 Championships.

For Gaskin, she nabbed an automatic qualifying bid to the Prelims Quarterfinal, finishing second in her heat in a time of 2:06.43. The time bested a previous PR of 2:06.84 set at the 2013 CARIFTA Games, as well as further cemented her place at No. 6 all-time in school history. She finished second in her heat only to two-time NCAA Champion Laura Roesler of Oregon, who clocked in at 2:06.38.

• In the women’s 400 meter hurdles, Twiss and Tia' Gamble finished 15th and 20th, respectively, to advance to the quarterfinals. Twiss, who went from competing in the long jump to the hurdles in less than an hour, clocked in at 58.56 seconds, while Gamble registered a PR time of 58.96. Gamble’s time was a tenth of a second better than her previous PR of 59.06 set at this season’s Drake Relays and was good for sixth all-time in school history.

Day two for the Wildcats in Fayetteville is set to begin at 5 p.m., with Alyssa Kelly in the women’s triple jump. For more information, visit

NCAA West Regional Preliminary Round
John McDonnell Field
Fayetteville, Ark.

K-State Results

400m (Prelims)
30: Carlos Rodriguez, K-State, 47.20

800m (Prelims)
8: Kyle Hanson, K-State, 1:49.55q – Personal best

4: Sonia Gaskin, K-State, 2:06.43q – Personal best & 6th-best in school history

400m Hurdles (Prelims)
15: Erica Twiss, K-State, 58.56q
20: Tia' Gamble, K-State, 58.96q – Personal best & 5th-best in school history

Pole Vault
34: Tommy Brady, K-State, 4.96m/16-03.25
--: Kyle Wait, K-State, NH

Long Jump
9: Devin Field, K-State, 7.62m/25-00.00 (1.5)
31: Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, K-State, 7.17m/23-06.25 (0.9)

11: Erica Twiss, K-State, 6.10m/20-00.25w (2.4)

Shot Put
7: Ryan Hershberger, K-State, 18.82m/61-09.00

21: Dani Winters, K-State, 15.21m/49-11.00

9: Ivan Hartung, K-State, 65.70m/215-07

9: Danie Plank, K-State, 48.09m/157-09