Wildcats Set for Duals in KSU Invitational

Jan. 13, 2011

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats get back to business in track and field hosting the KSU Invitational on Saturday at Ahearn Field House. K-State resumes its season after the holiday break in a meet that will bring teams from across the region and will include a team scoring element to add excitement to the competition.

This year’s KSU Invitational will pit each team against the other in a triple dual format on both the men’s and women’s sides. Teams competing in the dual meets are K-State, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, and UMKC. The Oklahoma State men’s team comes to Manhattan ranked No. 19 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings with K-State’s men standing at No. 20.

Field events are slated to begin at 11 a.m. at Ahearn with the men’s high jump and women’s weight throw opening the competition. Running events will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Zeiner Wins in Debut
In her debut as a Wildcat, freshman Julia Zeiner won the annual Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon. Zeiner scored 3,495 points in her first pentathlon with strong marks in a number of the events. Zeiner jumped 5-04.50 in the high jump and posted a leap of 18-07.00 in the long jump to help bolster her score.

Sophomores Lauren Garrott and Cenarda Jackson each posted personal bests in four of the five events to improve their pentathlon scores from a year ago. Garrott finished third in the pentathlon with her score of 3,388 points while Jackson claimed fourth with 3,331 points.

Kynard Flies High in Opener
The track and field season opened with a number of Wildcats posting impressive numbers in their first competition at the KSU All-Comers. The meet was highlighted by sophomore Erik Kynard’s high jump of 7-05.25. The mark is an NCAA automatic qualifying height and is currently the tied for the top jump in the nation thus far.

A total of six Wildcats posted new personal bests, including Kynard, at the meet. Some newcomers also showed well for K-State. Transfer Ryann Krais showed she can make an impact for the Wildcats winning the 60 meter hurdles with her time of 8.66 seconds. Krais transferred from UCLA where she was an All-American in the pentathlon and heptathlon.

K-State Men Ranked in Preseason
The Kansas State men are ranked in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings debuting at No. 20 this season. The Wildcats welcome back four of the nation’s elite athletes in their respective events. The rankings place student-athletes according to their best marks from last season and the first month of this season awarding points for those performances to come up with the rankings.

Sophomore high jumper Erik Kynard currently stands No. 2 in his event trailing only Indiana’s Derek Drouin, who won both indoor and outdoor NCAA titles last season. Kynard’s season-opening jump of 7-05.25 ties Drouin’s jump last week to stand atop the rankings this season to date. Last year, Kynard finished 10th at the NCAA Championship.

Senior combined events specialist Moritz Cleve is still among the best in the grueling heptathlon. Cleve’s score of 5,767 points at the Big 12 Championship last season is good enough to rank third among returning heptathletes. As a sophomore two years ago, Cleve posted 5,783 points to come up just shy of the school record. He also finished fifth at the NCAA Championship that year.

Cleve is not alone in his event as K-State maintains its reputation not only as one of the top high jumping programs in the nation but also one of the best multis programs. Junior Mantas Silkauskas is currently 12th on the USTFCCCA ranking in the heptathlon with a career-best score of 5,579 points last year at the Big 12 Championship to finish fifth. He went on to score slightly lower at the NCAA Championship to claim 14th.

Jeffrey Julmis returns to run hurdles for the Wildcats after finishing 13th at the NCAA Championship a year ago. His fastest time of 7.83 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles last year places him 10th heading into the 2011 campaign.

The Wildcat women also have some of the nation’s top talent wearing Purple to rank No. 37 in the preseason. Seniors Nina Kokot and TiAra Walpool are K-State’s top returners, each ranked in the Top 10 in their events. Kokot is currently ninth in the long jump, and Walpool is eighth in the triple jump. Also, junior thrower Chelsie Bonds is 23rd in the weight throw.

New to the Wildcats this year is mult-event specialist Ryann Krais. Krais transferred to K-State from UCLA where she was an All-American in the pentathlon during indoor and the heptathlon during outdoor for the Bruins. Krais had a season-high score of 4,041 points last season to rank seventh on the list. She also stands 26th on the high jump list.

Freshman Julia Zeiner’s performance in the season opener Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon ranks 35th in the event as well to give K-State two women on the combined event list matching the men.