Wildcats Host Series of Duals at KSU Invitational

Kim Haberman

Jan. 12, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State track and field team begins the bulk of its schedule this weekend when the Wildcats host the KSU Invitational at Ahearn Field House on Saturday. After hosting the annual Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon and KSU All-Comers in December, the Wildcats are ready to begin the grind toward the NCAA Indoor Championship in March with a full slate of action.
 
The majority of the Wildcats will be in action for both the men and women on Saturday with field events slated to start at 11 a.m. and running events begin at 3:30 p.m. with regional foes coming to take on the Wildcats. Big 12 member Oklahoma State will bring its Cowboys and Cowgirls for the meet as well as Tulsa and UMKC. The meet will be structured as a triple dual scored meet pairing each team against the other to add a team element to the meet.

Last season, K-State dominated the team scoring against all three teams and look to do the same this year. The Wildcat men are ranked 11th in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings.

Wildcats Ranked No. 11 in Preseason
After a successful 2011 campaign, the 2012 Wildcats are ready for another strong showing and the men’s team is already among the favorites to do well come the NCAA Championships in March. The K-State men come in at No. 11 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings thanks to a group of All-Americans returning this season.

The USTFCCCA rankings formula takes into account performances from athletes in each event and awards points based on their ranking in the event and on the strength of the performance. The Wildcats have four athletes ranked in six events to open the year led by high jumper Erik Kynard. His jump of 7-07.75 (2.33m) last season ties for first with Indiana’s Derek Drouin. Mantas Silkauskas ranks third in the heptathlon after finishing seventh at the NCAA meet last year. A number of athletes who finished ahead of him at the championship were seniors, opening the door for a new champion this year. Silkauskas also is ranked in the 60 meter hurdles and long jump. Jeffrey Julmis stands fifth in the 60 meter hurdles, and Martynas Jurgilas is 12th in the 60 meter dash.

On the women’s side, combined events specialist Ryann Krais is one of two Wildcats currently ranked in an event as she is fifth in the pentathlon with her score of 4,115 points at last year’s NCAA meet. She is joined by freshman high jumper Alyx Treasure at 25th in the high jump. Treasure leapt 5-10.00 (1.78m) in her K-State debut in December to make the list.

K-State Open Indoor with Strong Showing
The Wildcats got the 2012 indoor season off to a good start while the calendar still read 2011. K-State tallied 10 wins at the KSU All-Comers in December with a number of Wildcats posting new personal records in their events.

Ryann Krais dominated the women’s 600 yards as she crossed the line in 1:22.96. She won the event by nearly six seconds in her first time running the event as the combined events specialist prepares for the heptathlon. Newcomer Mairead Murphy won the women’s 60 meter hurdles with her time of 8.95 in her first race as a Wildcat. Krais teamed up with a series of newcomers to also win the women’s 4x400 relay. Krais ran the second leg after freshman Sarah Kolmer. Edina Brooks ran the third leg and redshirt freshman Erica Twiss ran anchor.

The women’s squad saw a lot of success in the field events beginning with freshman Alyx Treasure in the high jumper. The Canadian cleared 5-10.00 in her first meet as a Wildcat to win the event. Fellow freshman Joslyn Barnes finished second with her leap of 5-06.00. Kim Haberman claimed the long jump after finishing second in the 60 meters. Senior Ali Pistora posted a new personal best in the weight throw on her way to winning the event at 60-00.25. The mark was a new personal record and moved her into eighth in school history.

Most of the men’s success also came in the field events, but freshman Logan Smith did register a win in the 1,000 meters clocking in at 2:33.24. The tandem of Blaine Cash, Chris Campbell, Martynas Jurgilas and Grant Loescher won the 4x400.

High Jumper Erik Kynard shined for the Wildcats clearing 7-07.00 on his first attempt at the height to win by a large margin. Sophomore Kyle Wait won the pole vault tying his best vault ever at 16-06.75. Newcomer Cameron Savage finished second.

Kirielius Wins Pentathlon
Combined events specialist Tomas Kirielius claimed victory in the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon to open the season in December. The Lithuanian bested the field with 3,770 points to win by 16 points over K-State newcomer Devin Dick. Dick transferred to K-State from Wichita State this year and posted 3,754 points in his first action in purple. Kirielius posted personal bests in the long jump and high jump to start the year off strong.

Two Wildcats made their indoor debuts for K-State as well with redshirt freshman Erica Twiss finishing second in the women’s pentathlon with 3,664 points to just miss out on the top 10 in school history. Twiss showed strength in the running events clocking in at 8.86 in the 60 meter hurdles and 2:28.06 in the 800 meters. She also had a solid mark in the long jump at 18-04.50. Freshman Sarah Kolmer made her debut finishing fourth with 3,348 points. Sophomore Julia Zeiner finished third with her point total of 3,364 points.

Big 12 Presence Felt in Top 25
The Big 12 Conference has long been a force in track and field, and again the league is among the best when examining the USTFCCCA Rankings. A total of four men’s teams and five women’s teams are in the USTFCCCA Preseason Top 25. The five women’s teams are the most of any conference, and Iowa State (26) and Kansas (27) are just outside the list.

Texas is the top team in the Big 12 at this point with the men standing at No. 10 and the women at No. 4. Texas A&M and Oklahoma are the other two teams with both their men and women ranked in the Top 25 to start the season. The Aggies are No. 12 in the men’s rankings and No. 17 in the women’s. OU’s men are No. 23 and the women stand at No. 21. Also ranked among the women are No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 18 Baylor. Two men’s teams are also right outside the Top 25 with Texas Tech coming in at No. 27 to start the year and Baylor right behind at No. 28.

Krais Among Track & Field Elite
Ryann Krais claimed her first NCAA title during outdoor season last year winning the heptathlon. She also finished third in the 400 meter hurdles, to complete a rare double All-American campaign in two of the sports most grueling events. For that and her prowess indoors in the pentathlon, Krais is being recognized as one of the top collegiate track and field athletes to watch this season.

Krais is listed among the others receiving mention on the first 2012 Bowerman Preseason Watch List released by the USTFCCCA. The list of 10 athletes on the Watch List is dominated by Pac-12 and SEC competitors. Six athletes from Pac-12 schools and two SEC members highlight the list. All 10 athletes on the list won at least one NCAA title in 2011, and two semifinalists from 2011 are on the list. Among the others receiving mention with Krais are LSU’s Semony Hackett, Central Missouri combined events specialist Lindsay Lettow and Moravian pole vaulter Abigail Schaffer.

The Bowerman is awarded annually by the USTFCCCA to the top male and female collegiate track and field athletes in the nation. The award was created in 2009 and is named for legendary Oregon track and field and cross country coach Bill Bowerman. It is considered the Heisman Trophy of track and field.

Kynard, Krais Complete Busy Summer
After winning their first NCAA titles in June, Erik Kynard and Ryann Krais continued competing for Kansas State and Team USA as each travelled quite a bit in 2011 for competition.

The pair both went to Oregon for USA Championships with each shining for the Wildcats. Kynard finished third in the men’s high jump with his leap of 7-05.75. With his third-place finish and previous leap of 7-07.00 earlier in the season he qualified to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Prior to heading to Korea, however, Kynard also wore the Red, White and Blue at the World University Games where finished 13th. He then went on to finish 14th among the best in the world in Daegu where he again jumped 7-05.75.

Krais showed her potential in the heptathlon at the USA Championships finishing second with her score of 6,030 points. She nearly won the event by running away from the field in the 800 meters - the final event of the heptathlon. Krais left the field behind her within the first 150 meters of the race and ran to a time of 2:08.96 for a new personal best. The NCAA champion fell to Sharon Day by just 28 points overall to narrowly miss qualifying for the World Championships.

Krais did compete for Team USA at the Thorpe Cup in California as she and a group of heptathletes took on a team from Germany at the annual meet. Krais finished third with her score of 5,831 points to help Team USA to the win.

Two Lithuanians also competed at the World University Games as Martynas Jurgilas finished 17th in the 100 meters. He also finished second in the Lithuanian championships earlier in the summer and ran the 4x100 relay at the World University Games. Mantas Silkauskas ran in the 110 meter hurdles for his country after winning the Lithuanian championship earlier in the summer.