K-State Competes in Nebraska for Second-Straight Week

MANHATTAN, Kan. - One week removed from the Conference Challenge and NWU Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., the Kansas State track teams will return to the Devaney Sports Center for the Sevigne Husker Invitational Fri.-Sat., Feb. 1-2. Nebraska will host the 33rd running of the event that will bring in 18 teams from across the country.

This week’s invitational marks the halfway point of the Wildcats’ indoor season, and K-State will hold back and rest all of its field competitors. The Sevigne Husker will pose an opportunity for KSU to enter student-athletes in the multis events, as five Wildcats are scheduled to compete in the pentathlon and heptathlon. Twenty-four additional Wildcats will make the trip with each racing in at least one event during the two-day invite.

A complete recap of K-State results will be posted after each day’s events.

Last Time Out
Kansas State paired with conference foes Missouri and Nebraska to lead the Big 12 squad to victory over the Mountain West (Air Force, BYU and Colorado State) at the Conference Challenge in Lincoln, Neb., on January 26th. The Big 12 won by a score of 224-145, while the Wildcat women led all female teams by collecting 53 points.

The women captured seven event titles, including two by senior Donniece Parrish. Parrish raced to the 60M and 200M win with times of 7.61 and 24.24, respectively. Senior Marnyka Honeycutt finished as the runner-up to Parrish in both events with a time of 7.67 in the 60M and 24.86 in the 200M. Sophomore Lauren Fisher captured the other sprint event, the 400M, with a personal-best run of 57.71.

Senior Morgan Bonds raced to victory in the 600Y with a time of 1:22.46, while she also anchored the winning women’s 4x400M relay team. The Wildcat squad of Tiara Walpool, Parrish, Honeycutt and Bonds finished in 3:45.91.

Loren Groves took the weight throw title with her second-best toss of the year at 67-00.50, while Laci Heller had a season best of 65-01.25. Thomaida Polydorou recorded a personal best of 40-06.25 in the triple jump to win the event.

Sam James was the only Wildcat male to take a title, as he raced to the 800M win with a time of 1:51.81, marking a new personal best.

What To Expect
At the Sevigne Husker Invitational, Kansas State will be looking to test their combined events competitors and gain additional national qualifiers. Lindsay Grigoriev, Stephanie Hejde and Annika Schoenebeck will all take part in the pentathlon, while Moritz Cleve and Adam Fretwell will participate in the heptathlon. All five of the Wildcats tallied marks in the pentathlon at the Carol Robinson meet that opened the season. The women went three-four-five in the competition with Grigoriev leading with 3,449 points. Schoenebeck registered 3,448 points as her first tally in her KSU career, and Hejde notched a career-high 3,284 points.

Cleve and Fretwell finished the Winter Pentathlon in fourth and fifth place, respectively, with personal-best efforts from each. Cleve produced 3,792 points to mark the eighth best point total in school history. Fretwell finished with a PR of 3,635 to break his previous best of 3,478 from 2005.

Sevigne Husker Invitational History
A number of Wildcat individuals have performed well in past Husker Invitationals, including four current K-State members. During last year’s invite, now-senior Morgan Bonds captured the 600Y title with the second-best mark in school history. Bonds raced to a time of 1:20.80 in the 2007 running, which is second to the school record of 1:19.56 set by Michelle Maxey at the 1986 Husker Invitational.

Junior Jason Collett had a personal best in the 800M in last year’s meet, as he clocked a time of 1:51.77. The run sits as the seventh best in the K-State record books. In the women’s mile, Liliani Mendez ran a time of 4:49.62 last year to rank as the sixth best school mark. Thomaida Polydorou had the 10th-best mark prior to this season as she recorded a triple jump of 40-00.50 at the 2006 Husker Invitational. She has since bettered that mark twice and has the ninth top school triple jump.

One school record was set during the 32 years of Husker Invitationals, as the men’s 3000M was clocked in 1994 by Francis O’Neill with a run of 8:06.09.

Adding to the Ranks
Both the Wildcat men and women opened the preseason outside of the USTFCCCA Top 25, but the women made an appearance in the first ranking of the season with three NCAA qualifiers in field events. The K-State women enter the polls with a 19th rank in the January 30th releasing. The Wildcats are one of six Big 12 Conference teams to be ranked, while Texas A&M sits at third in the country. K-State’s men are just outside of the Top 25 with a 34th placing with the automatic qualification of junior Scott Sellers. Four Big 12 men’s teams are ranked in the top 25, as Oklahoma is No. 3 in the nation.

Ever Closer
The Wildcats have two automatic and two provisional qualifiers for the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, but are looking from more from those that have been inching closer with personal best marks. Two of the Wildcat sprinters are looking to breakthrough with necessary times, as Mike Myer and Donniece Parrish have been nearing the 60M and 200M marks. Myer has times of 6.84 and 21.36 in the 60M and 200M, respectively, and is looking for the magic numbers of 6.74 and 21.48.

Parrish has been even closer in each event. She ran a personal best time of 7.51 in the 60M and looks for a 7.44 qualification. In her primary event, the 200M, Parrish ran as close to the mark as possible, finishing with a 24.11 - the provisional time is 24.10.

Correct Combination: The Women’s Story
As the men began to find the fit for their 4x400M relay team, the Kansas State women found their working combination during the Conference Challenge on January 26th. The team earned points for the Big 12 victory as they raced to a first-place finish with a time of 3:45.91. The quartet of Tiara Walpool, Donniece Parrish, Marnyka Honeycutt and Morgan Bonds finished four seconds better than KSU’s previous season best of 3:49.99 from the KSU All-Comers in December. The time from the Conference Challenge ranks as the ninth best mark in the school record books and the best time since the 2006 season.

Groves in a Groove
Wildcat thrower Loren Groves has put herself into a groove of performing well as the junior has thrown nothing short of an NCAA provisional mark since starting the season with a victory in the women’s weight throw at the KSU All-Comers. The native of Scott City, Mo., won the event with a top toss of 66-10.00 to earn a provisional mark. Her career performance came at the Wildcat Invitational when Groves launched a school-record mark of 69-11.50, adding nine inches to the previous record by Renetta Seiler in 1998. As a sophomore, Groves threw for six NCAA provisional marks, including a previous top mark of 68-03.75 at the KSU Open on Feb. 15, 2007. This year she has tallied one automatic and three provisional tosses thus far.

Selling his Championship Case
After capturing an outdoor national title, the question to start the indoor season was if junior Scott Sellers could add an indoor championship to his resume. The native of Katy, Texas, has now twice cleared the NCAA automatic height for the NCAA Indoor Championships set at 7-04.25. Sellers also received a good preparatory trial during the Wildcat Invitational as he jumped against six well-qualified and decorated leapers during the high jump invitational. Against three Division I and two Division II All-Americans, Sellers took second in a jumpoff with Jesse Williams, former USC jumper and 2007 USA Indoor runner-up.

Over the Top
Kansas State might have known the potential that transfer Alexandra Gonzalez held, but being the Puerto Rico record holder might make her potential apparent. Gonzalez proved her worth in the first meet as a Wildcat, as she recorded an NCAA provisionally-qualifying height in the pole vault with a clearance of 12-11.50. The height marks the first time for a K-State female vaulter to pass over 12 feet since the 2006 season. During her first competition away from Ahearn Field House, Gonzalez set a personal best at the Arkansas Invitational. The young Wildcat cleared the bar at 13-02.25 to mark the third-best height in school history. Although it was her first loss, it marked a PR by nearly three inches.

Dual Threat
Freshman Tiara Walpool was seen on the track in the first three competitions for the Wildcats, but displayed her talent on the field when she entered the triple jump at the Wildcat Invitational. In her first competition, Walpool placed second to former Wildcat Chaytan Hill after recording a mark of 39-10.50. In running events, the Dallas, Texas, native has recorded times of 7.89 in the 60M while also having a mark of 25.21 in the 200M. While at Plano East in Plano, Texas, Walpool qualified for the 200M, 400M, triple and long jump as a junior and senior, while she advanced to state in the 200M in 2007.

Polydorou Continues to Increase PR
Senior Thomaida Polydorou sat with the same personal best in the triple jump since January 2005 when she recorded a leap of 40-00.50. She matched the mark in February 2006 when she placed fourth at the Husker Invitational. At the 2007 Arkansas Invitational, the Limassol, Cyprus, native shattered that mark, deciding it had been around long enough. She finished with a top jump of 40-04.25 to earn her a fourth-place finish. Only two weeks had passed with that jump, as she added another two inches at the Conference Challenge with a leap of 40-06.25.

Another Week, Another Improvement
Freshman Moritz Cleve’s chance to be one of K-State’s next great decathletes improves with each passing week, as the Wildcat continues to erase time from running marks and add inches to his throws and jumps. Cleve debuted in his Purple and White uniform at the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon in December and finished with an 8.51 in the 60M hurdles, 20-10.00 in the long jump and a throw of 41-05.25 in the shot put. Cleve improved his first shot put mark at the second meet, the KSU Invitational, with a throw of 41-10.75. The Arkansas Invitational found improvements in the long jump with a 22-00.75 mark and a run of 8.25 in the hurdles. During the Wildcat Invitational, Cleve added the pole vault to the list of his marks, finishing in second with a height of 14-01.25 and bettering the mark with a clearance of 14-02.50 at the Conference Challenge.