Wildcats Host KSU Invitational on Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats get into the bulk of their indoor schedule this weekend as they host the KSU Invitational at Ahearn Field House on Saturday. Action in the field events is slated to start at 11 a.m. with running events beginning at 3:30 p.m. K-State looks to start its season off with strong showings from both the men’s and women’s teams before hitting the road for four weeks.

The men’s team enters the season ranked No. 22 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings with a strong core from last year’s team returning. A number of newcomers are expected to make an impact for the Wildcats this season as well. The women’s team brings back a number of athletes who scored at last year’s Big 12 Championship with a large freshman class to help the program build on its previous successes.

Rovelto Optimistic for Upcoming Season
The Wildcats return two All-Americans to this year’s squad on the men’s side and welcome back four more who have scored points at conference championship meets. An incoming class of freshmen and transfers have coach Cliff Rovelto excited as well with more quality depth on the team than he’s had in years past. At the same time, however, he realizes the task at hand in arguably the nation’s toughest conference for track and field.

“We have people in the hurdles, 800, high jump, heptathlon and pole vault that are all capable of qualifying for the NCAA meet and quite possibly all of them could score. That’s as large of a group of qualifiers we’ve had,” Rovelto said. “I’m excited about the season because of that, and I’m also a realist. This conference is so good. We’ve got eight teams ranked. We have three hurdlers that could break the school record this year, but they’re not going to go 1-2-3 at Big 12’s. That’s how strong the Big 12 is.”

While the men are ranked No. 22 in the nation and poised to make some noise with the Big 12, the women’s team finds itself with a lot of depth as well thanks to a large incoming class and only losing a few major players from last year’s team.

Rovelto anticipates the women’s team being strong in the mid-distance and distance events following a good cross country season from the women. Beverly Ramos highlights the women’s distance runners with Sydney Messick looking to build off her strongest cross country season. Sophomore Boglarka Bozzay came on strong as a freshman last year finishing third in the 800M indoors at the Big 12 Championship.

This year’s women’s team could be comparable to the men’s team from a year ago, Rovelto said. The women will be strong in a few specific areas with quality depth and young in others. He is looking for the youth movement to turn heads this year like the men in 2009 and turn up the heat next season after growing within the program.

“The women this year will be similar to the men from a year ago,” Rovelto said. “We have some good individuals that will score high at the conference meet, but not enough bullets to do damage at the conference or national level. The significant contributors are underclassmen, so one year from now we hope to see the women be where the men are now.”

With the youth movement and a ranked program both working in Ahearn Field House, 2010 could be an exciting year for K-State track and field and a good one to catch the action from the stands.