Indoor Track Continues with ISU Classic

MANHATTAN, Kan. - As the Big 12 Indoor Championships near, Kansas State will continue a swing of competition in the Midwest as the Wildcats travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa State Classic. The two-day event will begin on Friday, Feb. 15, at 1:30 p.m., while Saturday contains a full day of events and starts with a 9:25 a.m. morning session.

Thirty-four Wildcats are scheduled to make the trip and compete in the ISU Classic. Among those traveling are NCAA qualifiers Alexandra Gonzalez (pole vault), Donniece Parrish (400M), Annika Schoenebeck (pentathlon) and Scott Sellers (high jump). They are all entered in their respective events expect Schoenebeck, who will run in the 60M hurdles, 200M and 800M.

A complete recap will be available on K-State’s official athletic website, www.kstatesports.com, following each day’s events.

Last Time Out
Kansas State’s last outing in Colorado at the Don Barrett Air Force Open produced strong results from the Wildcat sprinters, including two event victories from senior Donniece Parrish. The product of Florrisant, Mo., raced to wins in the 60M and 200M, including running a personal-best time of 7.51 in the 60M. Parrish added the 200M gold after racing a mark of 24.23.

Senior Marnyka Honeycutt finished second to teammate Parrish in both competitions with season-best runs. In the 60M sprint, Honeycutt raced to a time of 7.60, while she crossed the line in 25.04 in the 200M. Also finishing as the runner-up in sprints was junior Mike Myer. He cruised to a personal-best 6.77 in the 60M, while finishing the 200M in a time of 21.41.

Freshman Emmanuel Neizer led the Wildcats in field competition, earning a first-place finish in the men’s long jump. He recorded a leap of 23-06.00 to take the title and later had a PR of 48-02.50 in the triple jump to take second.

For the women, Laci Heller marked a career best in the weight throw with a toss of 66-10.00, an NCAA provisional mark. The mark is a seven-inch PR and sits as the seventh-best throw in the nation.

What To Expect
The Wildcats have entered 14 men and 20 women in the Friday-Saturday ISU Classic this weekend. Ones to watch include senior Donniece Parrish in the women’s 400M and junior Scott Sellers in the men’s high jump. The two each have qualifying marks in their respective events, as Parrish will look to improve her provisional mark to an automatic.

Morgan Bonds will also compete this weekend in the 800M. She returns to the site of her 2007 Big 12 600Y title as well as returning as the reigning champion in the ISU Classic 800M. Bonds will look to repeat and earn her fifth-straight 800M win on the Lied Recreation Center track.

The following are scheduled to travel with the K-State team this weekend:
Men’s track: Taylor Coate, Jason Collett, Rok Derzanic, Adam Fretwell, Sam James, Desmond McGuire, Nelson Onyegbu, Danny Schneider, Scott Sellers, Mike Sickafoose, Colin Swaney and Kyle Van Horn.
Men’s field: Rok Derzanic, Adam Fretwell, Michael Healey, Emmanuel Neizer and Scott Sellers.
Women’s track: Alyssa Bellinder, Morgan Bonds, Emily Dittemore, Lauren Fisher, Nancy Harrington, Stephanie Hejde, LeKeisha Herring, Marnyka Honeycutt, Liliani Mendez, Sydney Messick, Donniece Parrish, Megan-Anne Perrin, Beverly Ramos, Annika Schoenebeck and Tiara Walpool.
Women’s field: Alexandra Gonzalez, Lindsay Grigoriev, Nancy Harrington, Meriel Harwood, LeKeisha Herring, Thomaida Polydorou, Cassie Styers and Tiara Walpool.

Up In the Ranks
After sitting at their highest ranking of 17th, the Kansas State women’s track and field team fell to 24th in the Week Three USTFCCCA Rankings. They remain in the Top 25 with 36.60 points and five NCAA qualifiers. The Wildcats opened the season outside of the 25, but have remained inside since the first official weekly ranking.

The Wildcats are one of five Big 12 Conference teams to be ranked, while Texas A&M leads with a No. 4 ranking in the country. No. 12 Baylor, No. 18 Kansas and No. 23 Nebraska round out the conference rankings. LSU continues its reign of the top with 206.40 points with Tennessee trailing at 132.07.

K-State’s men are outside of the Top 25 with a 40th placing with the automatic qualification of junior Scott Sellers. Sellers brings the team 23.26 points. Tennessee leads all men’s programs with 105.32 points and Arizona State sits in second with 99.50. Seven conference members are in the top 25: No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 13 Texas, No. 16 Texas Tech, No. 17 Nebraska, No. 21 Baylor and No. 22 Kansas.

Wildcat History of ISU Classic
The 2007 ISU Classic marked a piece of history for the Kansas State men’s team, as Scott Sellers’ performance in the meet set a school record in the high jump. The then-sophomore recorded a height of 7-05.75 to break the previous record of 7-05.25 set by Kyle Lancaster and Percell Gaskins. He recorded his fourth-straight win of the year and marked his 11th jump of over seven feet.

Also taking home a victory last year was then-junior Morgan Bonds. She raced to a time of 2:06.20 to win the 800M. The mark sits as the second-fastest time on an oversized track in KSU indoor history.

Then-sophomore Loren Groves took second in the women’s weight throw with a then-personal best toss of 67-11.50. The throw marked her fourth NCAA provisional qualification of the year and bettered her previous PR of 67-10.25.

Additional marks registered that remain in the K-State record books include the third best long jump mark in women’s indoor history with Candice Mills’ 20-03.00 leap in 2005. Current Wildcat Liliani Mendez also ran the ninth-fastest 3000M time with a clocking of 9:51.52 in 2006.

Steady Improvement
Since first competing in the women’s pole vault on Dec. 8th at the KSU All-Comers, freshman Nancy Harrington has improved her height with each meet. In her first competition, the native of Peoria, Ariz., cleared a height of 11-05.75. She added nearly an inch at the Arkansas Invitational finishing at 11-06.50. Harrington had a drastic improvement of over a foot with a 12-06.75 mark at the Conference Challenge on Jan. 26th. At the Air Force Open on Feb. 9th, the freshman notched a PR of 12-07.50 to place second at the meet. The height sits as the fifth-best mark in KSU indoor history.

Making the Most of Opportunities
Wildcat captain Colin Swaney has only competed in three races this season, but has made the most of them. In his first running of the mile at the Conference Challenge on Jan. 26th, Swaney notched a huge personal best, shaving over two seconds from his previous run. He recorded a mark of 4:11.58 to place fourth. During his second run of the 3000M in the 2008 season, Swaney took nearly seven seconds from his PR with a run of 8:15.72 at the Sevigne Husker Invitational.

Parrish Breaks Through
After coming within a nose of provisional marks this season, senior Donniece Parrish broke through in a big way during the 400M finals at the Sevigne Husker Invitational on Feb. 2nd. The Florissant, Mo., native entered the weekend with a personal best of 55.72 in the 400M, which she ran at the KSU-KU-MU Triangular in 2006. During the preliminary heats on Friday, Parrish shaved .40 seconds from that mark to run a PR of 55.32. As she competed in the finals on Saturday, Parrish took more than a second from that time after clocking an NCAA provisional mark of 53.95, the fourth best time in K-State history. It sits as her fastest run in the event and her first qualifying time for an indoor event.

Parrish has been close in her runnings of the 60M and 200M this season. 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.

Schoenebeck: A Fresh Athlete
Wildcat freshman Annika Schoenebeck improved by drastic measures from her first to her second pentathlon with the help of a month’s work. In December, the fresh face opened her K-State career with 3,448 points at the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon to place fourth. During the Sevigne Husker Invitational, the Bayern, Germany, native tallied an NCAA-provisionally qualifying total of 3,731 points. The total sits as the ninth best in school history as the freshman placed fifth in the field of 12. The freshman earned the points with two personal bests in events including a time of 9.17 in the 60M hurdles and a jump of 17-11.50 in the long jump. She also had marks of 5-03.25 in the high jump, 36-11.00 in the shot put and a time of 2:21.28 in the 800M.

A Record Event
The Kansas State record books changed in a number of locations after the completion of the Sevigne Husker Invitational on Feb. 2nd. Along with Donniece Parrish and Annika Schoenebeck (see previous notes), K-State records in the women’s 60M hurdles and the men’s and women’s 3000M changed. In the hurdles, sophomore Denise Baker finished the prelims in a time of 8.91, bettering her personal best of 9.00 from the Conference Challenge. The time sat as the eighth best in school history, but following a run of 8.86 in the finals the next day, Baker moved to the fifth best place in KSU history.

The Wildcats entered Colin Swaney and Beverly Ramos in the 3000M special invite and both ran away with a top-10 mark in the school books. Swaney clocked a time of 8:15.72 to earn the fifth best mark, while Ramos ran a 9:48.36 to record the eighth.

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 ranked as the ninth best mark in the school record books and the best time since the 2006 season.

Doubling the effort the following week, the quartet finished a shade better with a mark of 3:45.87 to place second at the Sevigne Husker Invitational. The time replaces the previous as the ninth best in the school record books.