K-State Men Ranked No. 22 in Preseason

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State men's track and field returns a strong group of athletes this season and enter the year ranked No. 22 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Team Rankings. The Wildcats bring back junior combined events specialists Moritz Cleve and Rok Derzanic to lead the way.

Cleve finished fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championship in the heptathlon last season while Derzanic earned All-America honors in 2008 as a freshman. Sophomore Mantas Silkauskas adds depth in the heptathlon after posting an NCAA provisional qualifying mark to finish seventh at last year's Big 12 Championship. High jumper Michael Healey also has put up strong performances for the Wildcats to garner points toward the ranking system. Thrower Eric Thomas posted a provisional mark at the KSU All-Comers in December to help project K-State into the rankings as well.

K-State welcomes in a large class of newcomers to the roster as well with freshman Erik Kynard already posting an NCAA provisional mark in the high jump in December. The season gets under way on January 16 when the Wildcats host the KSU Invitational at Ahearn Field House.

The Wildcats are just one of eight teams from the Big 12 Conference in the preseason rankings with the Big 12 leading the way. The Southeastern Conference boasts seven Top 25 teams - three in the Top 10 - and the Pac 10 has five. Nebraska leads all Big 12 teams ranking No. 4. Oklahoma (6) and Texas A&M (8) also crack the Top 10. Five Big 12 women's teams are in the Top 25 with Texas A&M ranked No. 1.

The USTFCCCA uses a ranking system based on performance of returning athletes compared to others in the same events. Points are assigned according to those event rankings among other considerations to come up with team totals.

- k-statesports.com -