Wildcats Open Outdoor Season in Arizona

Sarah Kolmer

March 14, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State track and field makes the move outdoors this week as the Wildcats travel to Arizona for a pair of meets hosted by the Arizona State Sun Devils. The outdoor season starts with the Baldy Castillo Invitational this weekend in Tempe with K-State taking on Texas A&M, Minnesota host Arizona State and some community colleges from the area.

The Wildcats will remain in Arizona following the Baldy Castillo Invitational to use the warm weather and spring break as an opportunity to train outdoors before competing in the ASU Invitational next week to conclude the 10-day trip.

The Baldy Castillo Invitational will open with men’s and women’s hammer throw on Friday afternoon before a full slate of events on Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium. K-State is sending a majority of its team to compete in nearly every event area while at ASU.

A live blog will be available online for fans wanting to follow the action during Saturday’s portion of the meet. The blog will be conducted by ASU and available at sundevils.com. A link will also be provided on the track schedule page at kstatesports.com.

K-State fans can also get updates on their Wildcats on Twitter on K-State’s live event account @kstate_gameday and also by following the official K-State Track & Field hashtag #KStateTF.

Five Wildcats Earn USTFCCCA All-America
Five Kansas State Wildcats competed at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend in Arkansas and all five came away All-Americans as the USTFCCCA announced its official All-America Teams.

Erik Kynard received his fourth All-America certificate for indoor track and field as he finished in third place with a jump of 2.29 meters (7-06.00) to earn first team status. K-State has now had a men’s All-American in the indoor high jump 10 consecutive years.

Merryl Mbeng also earned first team status for the women as she finished in sixth place in the pentathlon with her final score of 4,178 points. Mbeng posted PRs in four of the five events and her score ranks second in school history. This marks the third straight year a Wildcat has earned first team All-America in the pentathlon.

Pole vaulter Kyle Wait, heptathlete Devin Dick and sprinter Carlos Rodriguez all were named to the second team for the men.

Wait finished ninth in the pole vault with a clearance of 5.40 meters (17-08.50) to just miss finishing in the top eight and making the first team. He is the first All-American for the men’s team in the pole vault indoors since Doug Lytle won the NCAA Championship in 1982.

Dick tied for 14th in the heptathlon with his score of 5,386 points. After an awkward landing into the mat during the pole vault portion of the heptathlon and straining his neck, Dick came back to finish the competition in the 1,000 meters and ensure he would finish the meet and lock up at second team All-America certificate.

Rodriguez finished 14th in the 200 meters with a time of 21.44 seconds and is the first member of the men’s team to be named an All-American indoors in the event in school history.

First team honors were given to athletes who placed in the top eight at the championship meet or were a member of an eight-person final. Second team honors were earned by athletes who finished between ninth and 16th place. In addition, 11 men and nine women received honorable mention honors.

Kynard Remains on Bowerman Watch List
The USTFCCCA announced its Post-Indoor Bowerman Watch List on Wednesday and the list of 10 student-athletes up for college track and field’s biggest award includes Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard. Kynard was on the initial Preseason Watch List and again following conference championship meets. His third-place finish at the NCAA Championship last week and his season-high jump of 2.33 meters (7-07.75) at the KSU Open keep him on the list now.

The Post-Indoor Bowerman Trophy Watch List includes a total of nine NCAA titles won by the honorees. Four athletes also moved onto the list after strong performances at the NCAA Championship in Arkansas.

Kynard currently holds the No. 2 jump in the NCAA this season at 2.33 meters (7-07.75). That mark was a new KSU Open meet record, tied his own school record and tied the Ahearn Field House facility record. At the NCAA Championship, Kynard cleared 2.29 meters (7-06.00) to finish third based on misses. It was the deepest field seen in the high jump in some time as seven jumpers cleared 2.26 meters (7-05.00).

Big 12 Presence Felt At NCAA Championship
The Big 12 Conference has long been a force in track and field, and again the league performed well at the NCAA Championship last week to prove once again it is one of the top conferences in the nation for track and field. Two men’s and women’s teams finished in the Top 10 at the championship, including Kansas women finishing second behind Oregon for a second straight year. Iowa State’s women took ninth place on its strong distance runners and shot put.

Texas Tech finished fifth on the men’s side with two national champions and one runner-up, while Oklahoma State’s distance program and weight thrower worked to an eighth-place finish.

The conference totaled six national champions with KU winning three on the women’s side, including a double from Andrea Geubelle in the long jump and triple jump. The Jayhawks also won the pole vault with Oklahoma’s Tia Brooks setting a new collegiate record in the shot put. Big 12 women also had three second place finishes at the meet.

Five women’s teams finished in the Top 25 and three men’s teams did so as well.