Wildcats Roll Into Outdoor Season with ASU Meet

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State will shift gears and transition to outdoor season as the track and field team travels to Tempe, Ariz., for the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Fri.-Sat., March 21-22. The meet, hosted by Arizona State, will begin with the hammer throw on Friday and all other events will take place on Saturday.

The Wildcats will travel with a group of 21 men and 22 women, including 2006 outdoor All-American Candice Mills, who returns for her final season of outdoor eligibility. Also competing will be 2008 indoor All-Americans Rok Derzanic, Loren Groves and Scott Sellers. The three wrapped up indoor competition last week at the NCAA Championships, where each finished in the top eight of their respective events.

Last week also marked the early start to the outdoor slate as 15 Wildcats recorded marks at the ESU Spring Twilight. K-State’s top performers came from the javelin as Cameron Traxson and Ali Pistora each recorded NCAA regional marks in their first competition with the Cats. In addition, K-State left the meet with seven titles out of 13 events that fielded Wildcat individuals.

A complete recap of Wildcat results from the Baldy Castillo Invitational will be made available at www.kstatesports.com at the conclusion of the meet.

Last Out: Outdoor Opener
The Kansas State Wildcats opened their season at the ESU Spring Twilight and were able to come away with two tickets punched for the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lincoln, Neb. Junior Cameron Traxson registered his first regional mark as a Wildcat when he threw 210-02 in the men’s javelin. Freshman Ali Pistora also recorded her first qualifying toss when she threw for 148-02 in the women’s javelin.

The men finished the day with four titles in Emporia, Kan., including two from freshman Kyle Van Horn. The Abilene, Kan., native placed first in the 110M hurdles as well as the 400M hurdles. He clocked a time of 15.86 in the high hurdles, while running a time of 58.70 in the intermediate hurdles. Senior Bryce Bergman cleared 16-00.00 in the pole vault, and Marcus Ball won the men’s 100M with a run of 11.12.

For the women, Pistora claimed the javelin win while freshman Kristel Williams took the top spot in the both hurdle events. She crossed the line at 16.16 in the 100M hurdles and also had a mark of 1:05.03 in the 400M hurdles.

Last Out: Closing the Indoor
Kansas State traveled a contingent of six Wildcats to the 2008 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., with three competing for each the men and women. Half of the Wildcat competitors garnered All-American accolades, including Rok Derzanic who earned his first honor since joining the K-State team. Loren Groves captured her second award, while Scott Sellers jumped to his third.

Derzanic finished eighth in the two-day men’s heptathlon with a personal-best total of 5,645. He finished the first day in sixthwith a total of 3,126 after recording a time of 7.06 in the 60M, jumps of 23-10.75 in the long jump and 6-05.00 in the high jump and throwing 39-11.25 in the shot put. On the second day, Derzanic produced an 8.30 in the 60M hurdles, 14-03.25 in the pole vault and 2:38.04 in the 1000M to become K-State’s second heptathlon All-American.

Groves earned her second All-America certificate on Friday with a sixth-place performance in the weight throw. She tossed to a distance of 68-08.00 to capture the seventh KSU honor in the event since 1997.

Sellers finished second in the men’s high jump in what turned out to be a rematch against Dusty Jonas of Nebraska from this year’s Big 12 Championships. As Sellers won the conference title, Jonas captured the national title. Sellers finished out at a height of 7-04.50, while Jonas jumped 7-07.00. The finish earned Sellers his third indoor All-America award and his fifth overall.

Other competitors for the Wildcats included senior Laci Heller, who qualified in the women’s weight throw. She finished just outside of scoring position in 10th after notching a top throw of 64-10.75. Freshman Moritz Cleve placed 12th in the men’s heptathlon with 5,604 points (7.19 60M; 22-01.75 LJ; 43-03.00 SP; 6-04.00 HJ; 8.24 60MH; 14-11.00 PV; 2:36.03 1000M). Senior Donniece Parrish, competiting in her first championships, finished 15th in the 400M preliminaries. She ran a time of 54.09 and missed qualifying for the final run.

With nine points from the combined efforts of Derzanic (1) and Sellers (8), the K-State men finished in tied for 27th in the final team standings. The women earned three points from Groves and tied for 53rd in the country.

Last Trip to Tempe
Kansas State missed a trip to the Tempe area during the 2007 season, as the team instead made a visit to Tucson, Ariz., for the Jim Click Shootout. In 2006, though, K-State participated in the 27th annual Sun Angel Classic hosted by Arizona State. At that meet, three Wildcats and one relay team recorded their first NCAA regional marks of the year, including two current team members.

The meet marked the first qualification in the 800M for then-sophomore Morgan Bonds after she finished second with a time of 2:08.33. The time marked a then-personal best and then-seventh best time in KSU history. She was also a member of the 4x400M relay team that ran a regional mark of 3:39.43. Current Wildcats Emily Dittemore and Marnyka Honeycutt were also a part of that team that placed third in the meet. The time remains in the K-State record books with the sixth fastest run in school history.

Then-freshman Liliani Mendez ran to her first regional mark as she finished second in the mile. Mendez clocked a personal-best time of 4:48.94 in the race. In field events, both Thomaida Polydorou and Candice Mills improved their regional standing with season-best jumps. Polydorou tallied a jump of 41-05.75 in the triple jump, while Mills finished second with a 20-00.25 in the long jump.

And for My Final Act...
The Wildcats will gain the help of three senior captains who will return for their final outdoor season after sitting out indoor with exhausted eligibility. Candice Mills, Bryce Bergman and Lamar Garrett will all suit up in the purple and white for one final season with K-State. Mills will instantly be expected to lift the women’s team, as she returns after having a 2006 All-America outdoor campaign. At her last outdoor meet, she placed fourth in the nation at the NCAA Championships with a leap of 20-11.25 in the long jump. That same year she finished second at the NCAA Midwest Regionals and third at the Big 12 Championships. She also qualified for the Championships in 2005, as she placed 13th, and soared past the regional mark in each of her competitions that season.

Bergman will return to the men’s team as the top pole vaulter for the squad. He finished his last outdoor campain with a regional qualification and talllied his top mark of 16-07.25 at the Midwest Regionals. During his second outdoor season, Bergman finished fourth at the Big 12 Championships, adding to his two All-Big 12 Indoor selections.

Garrett will rejoin Scott Sellers and Michael Healey as a member of the high jump crew. During his 2007 outdoor season, Garrett passed over the regional-qualifying standard with a personal-best height of 6-10.75. He met the mark twice throughout the year, including at the season-opening Jim Click Shootout. He is a two-time All-Big 12 indoor performer after finishing sixth in 2006 and 2007. His top clearance is 7-01.50 from the KSU Open during the 2006 indoor season.

Dusting off the Javelin
Along with the outdoor season comes the first tosses of the javelin - an event that K-State welcomes back. The women’s team holds an ace in the javelin with 2007 national qualifier Ashley Reider. She earned her ticket after placing fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regionals as a sophomore with a career best of 165-00. The distance is currently listed as the third-best throw in school history, less than 2.5 feet from the second position. She has earned all-conference honors in each of her first two seasons, as Reider placed sixth as a freshman and third last year.

Also returning to the field in the javelin is Kyle Seiler, who will complete his K-State eligibility this season. The 2008 team captain is a three-time All-Big 12 competitor, including two-consecutive seasons of fourth-place finishes. Seiler has also recorded regional marks in each of the last two seasons and placed fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regionals as a sophomore. He has a top mark of 216-09 which he threw at the regionals in 2006.

Breaking in Their Javelin
While the men and women are anxious to welcome back two of their top performers with the javelin during outdoor, two Wildcats already shined in the event at the ESU Spring Twilight. Junior Cameron Traxson and freshman Ali Pistora each finished with regional qualifications in their first competitions with K-State. Traxson, a transfer from Cowley County Community College, notched a distance of 210-02 to finish third. The mark will allow the Cheney, Kan., native to participate in the NCAA Midwest Regionals set for May 30-31 in Lincoln, Neb.

Freshman Pistora tossed a rocket of a launch in her first collegiate competition, as she took first with a distance of 148-02. The mark qualified her for the regional meet and also sent her directly to the K-State history books. Pistora’s first-place throw sits as the seventh best in school history with the new javelin regulations.