Wildcats to Take on Strong Field at Iowa State

Tarique Hill

Jan. 23, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – After posting a series of marks ranking in the top 10 in school history last weekend, the K-State track and field is set to take on some of the top teams from the region and nation at the Bill Bergan Invitational over three days of action. The Wildcats will send a large contingency to Ames, Iowa, this week for a team scored meet that will also have combined events action before a full day of events on Saturday from the Leid Recreational Center on campus at Iowa State.

K-State’s men are ranked No. 16 in the latest USTFCCCA Rankings and also competing will be Minnesota’s No. 8-ranked men. Wisconsin comes in at No. 10 and UT-Arlington is No. 24. On the women’s side, host Iowa State is No. 9 with Wisconsin No. 18 and K-State at No. 35. The meet will also feature Iowa, Marquette, North Dakota, North Dakota State and South Dakota State.

Senior combined events specialists Devin Dick and Tomas Kirielius will compete in the heptathlon beginning Thursday, and K-State will send four women to participate in the pentathlon on Friday as well. It will be approximately 20 Wildcats on the men’s and women’s side each taking on the Bill Bergan Invitational on Saturday for a day full of action.

The Bill Bergan Invitational will be a team scored meet and will provide an opportunity for the Wildcats to guage themselves against those top teams previously mentioned and against a Big 12 foe in Iowa State. It will also allow K-State to participate in a meet at Iowa State where this year’s Big 12 Conference Championship will be held in late February.

High jumper Erik Kynard will be competing again after making his return to action for the first time since the London Olympics. He will be joined by fellow Wildcat and NJCAA champion Zack Riley as the combo represent two of the top seven high jumpers in the NCAA so far this season.

Admission to the meet is free and fans unable to attend can keep up with the action on Twitter by following K-State’s live events handle @kstate_gameday and the hashtag #KStateTF. Live results will be available at cyclones.com and can be found on the track and field schedule.

K-State Sweeps Duals at Wildcat Invitational
It was another successful day at Ahearn Field House for the K-State track and field teams as the home team dominated the Wildcat Invitational winning all six dual meets against Oklahoma State, Tulsa and UMKC. K-State tallied 18 total victories on the afternoon and two meet records that included some of the top marks of the season in the NCAA.

The Wildcat Invitational was highlighted by the return of Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard to completion as he jumped for the first time since London. The senior did not disappoint as he urged the large crowd to help him with the slow clap as he jumped. Kynard went on to clear 2.29 meters (7-06.00) to set a new collegiate dual meet record as well as set the standard for the NCAA this season as it is the highest jump so far.

Carlos Rodriguez crushed the field in the 200 meters with his time of 21.14 seconds. The time ranks third in school history and was the second meet record of the day to fall by way of the Wildcats. But more impressive is he did it on a flat 200-meter track. Taking a conversion rate into affect used to compare flat track times to banked track times, Rodriguez’s time converts to 20.87 seconds and currently ranks fifth in the NCAA this season.

Junior Kyle Wait moved his way up to No. 2 in K-State history as he cleared 5.40 meters (17-08.75). His mark also is tied for No. 6 on the NCAA list this season and is a new Wildcat Invitational record. Wait and his teammates had great performances with senior Cameron Savage finishing second at 4.95 meters (16-02.75), and sophomore Tommy Brady posted a new personal best at 4.80 meters (15-09.00). Freshman Hannah Rubin won the women’s pole vault with her mark of 3.35 meters (10-11.75).

The Wildcat Invitational was scored as a triple dual meet with the men and women all taking on each other from each school. K-State easily bested both sides of Oklahoma State, Tulsa and UMKC on the day. K-State’s men bested Oklahoma State 75-47, UMKC 86-51 and Tulsa 70-59, while the women were victorious over Oklahoma State 81-57, UMKC 86-45 and Tulsa 85-47.

Wildcats Climb to No. 16 in Rankings
Last season, K-State track and field had a successful campaign highlighted by high jumper Erik Kynard’s silver at the London Olympics and second straight NCAA outdoor title. That momentum has carried over to the 2013 indoor season with the men’s track shooting up six spots this week in the latest USTFCCCA Rankings. K-State’s movement up six places ties with Penn State and Mississippi State as the largest this week.

K-State opened the year at No. 22 in the preseason rankings and following two impressive showings from sprinter Carlos Rodriguez and pole vaulter Kyle Wait, the Wildcats move up to No. 16 in this week’s rankings. Rodriguez and Wait both posted marks that rank in the top six for their respective events this season to help the Wildcats climb up the rankings. The women’s team held steady at No. 35 in the rankings this week.

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 with marks from this season and better marks from last season still counting in the formula. Eventually marks from this season will only be counted in the formula.

K-State’s men have six athletes ranked in a total of six events highlighted by Kynard. His jump of 7-07.00 (2.31m) last season ranks No. 2 in the event behind Indiana’s Derek Drouin by just two centimeters. Kynard has the highest jump of the season so far at 7-06.00 (2.29m).

This year juco transfer Zack Riley joins Kynard at K-State to give the Wildcats one of the top 1-2 combinations in the high jump. Riley is tied at No. 9 this week along with Arizona’s Edgar Rivera-Morales and NC State’s Kris Kornegay-Gober. Another junior college transfer in Jharyl Bowry gives K-State one more ranked in the top 10 in their respective event as Bowry comes in at No. 9 in the long jump.

On the women’s side, combined events specialist Merryl Mbeng is ranked fourth after scoring 4,069 points in the pentathlon to finish second in her debut as a Wildcat in December at the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon. She is one of five Wildcats currently ranked in an event. She is joined by sophomore high jumper Alyx Treasure at No. 9 in the high jump. Joslyn Barnes also ranks in the high jump at No. 33. Erica Twiss is ranked in the pentathlon as well, and freshman Jasmine Gibbs is No. 33 in the 60 meters.

Kynard Named to Bowerman Watch List
Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard is entering his senior year with the Wildcats as the back-to-back NCAA outdoor champion and an Olympic silver medalist. For that he was named to the initial 2013 Bowerman Watch List by the USTFCCCA, making the list of 10 athletes to keep an eye on during the 2013 indoor and outdoor seasons. The Bowerman is considered the Heisman Trophy of track and field and has been awarded to the top male and female athletes in NCAA track and field since its introduction in 2009.

Kynard is currently ranked No. 2 in the NCAA for the indoor season, trailing Indiana’s Derek Drouin by just two centimeters. Drouin tied for bronze at the London Olympics after taking second place behind Kynard at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Kynard also has swept the Big 12 Championship the last two seasons and looking to become the second athlete to win six men’s Big 12 high jump crowns.

Last season, Kynard spent most of the year on the Watch List after being promoted to the official watch list midway through indoor season from the list of others receiving mention. He also was a semifinalist for the award in 2012. The USTFCCCA will update the list throughout the year with the finalists announced this summer.