Wildcat Men Ranked Among Nation's Best in Preseason

March 19, 2013


Outdoor track and field season is officially underway and the K-State men are ranked in the Top 25 by the USTFCCCA in its first rankings of the outdoor season released on Wednesday. Four Wildcats went to the NCAA Championship last year for the men and three of them return this season to give K-State a strong returning nucleus for 2013 to rank No. 23 in the nation. The women come in ranked No. 46 in the preseason but boast the No. 6 recruiting class of freshmen and newcomers.

Senior high jumper Erik Kynard leads the way with the No. 1 ranking in his event heading into the outdoor season. He is the back-to-back defending champion in the high jump and broke the school record and facility record at historic Drake Stadium last year in one of the most exciting and dramatic high jump finals in some time at the NCAA Championship last year.

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 from last season and any marks from the first week of outdoor season this past weekend.

Joining Kynard on the preseason list is eight of his teammates in a total of 11 individual rankings. The men also have both relays ranked for 14 rankings as a team.

Carlos Rodriguez is ranked in four different events. His times from the 100 and 200 meters last year put him on the list in those events and his debut in the 400 meters last week ranks him No. 47 on the preseason list in that event. He also ran a leg of the 4x100 last year that is currently No. 21.

Transfer Zack Riley joins Kynard in the high jump with the No. 4 ranking. Riley won the NJCAA championship last year with a leap of 2.26 meters (7-05.00). Big 12 champion Kyle Wait is ranked No. 18 in the pole vault to give K-State three ranked in the vertical jumps. Transfer Jharyl Bowry ranks 13th in the long jump as well with his national championship in junior college.

The Wildcats have three rankings in the throws with Ryan Hershberger in the shot put and Tomas Kirielius and Ivan Hartung in the javelin.

Combined events has long been a strength for the Wildcats and two are ranked in the decathlon. Kirielius is ranked No. 17 after finishing 18th at the NCAA Championship last year. Devin Dick is currently No. 20 and was the first one to miss the cut for going to the championship meet in 2012.

K-State’s women have eight individuals ranked for a total of 10 events with Richelle Farley and Jacquelyne Leffler each ranked in two events. The women are also ranked in both relays with the 4x100 and 4x400 both posting fast times last week at the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

Sara Savatovic has the highest ranking for the women at No. 8 in the hammer throw. Her toss of 63.51 meters (208-04) last year in Europe set a Serbian national record. High Jumper Alyx Treasure is ranked No. 9 in the preseason with her jump of 1.84 meters (6-00.50) last year.

The Wildcats have a total of four rankings in the throwing events for the women with Leffler ranked in the discus and hammer throw. She finished 19th in the discus last year at the NCAA Championship. Jessica Carter also is ranked in the discus heading into outdoor season.

One other area of strength for the women is the combined events where three Wildcats are ranked in the heptathlon. Erica Twiss, Merryl Mbeng and Farley all are in the top 40. Farley also is ranked in the 110 meter hurdles.

Martina Tresch is back after redshirting the 2012 season and is ranked 11th in the steeplechase with her time of 10:06.98 at the 2011 Big 12 Championship. She has a faster time from a meet in Europe that summer but it is not eligible for USTFCCCA consideration in the rankings formula.

The Big 12 Conference is again well-represented in the Top 25 of the USTFCCCA Rankings. After finishing second at the indoor championship earlier this month, the Kansas women are the preseason No. 1 for outdoors. The Texas Longhorns come in at No. 5 to give the women two in the top 10. Baylor (13) and Texas Tech (17) round out the women’s rankings for the conference.

Texas is ranked No. 4 for the men and Oklahoma’s men are ranked No. 13. Texas Tech (16), Oklahoma State (22) and Iowa State (25) join the Wildcats in the Top 25. KU (26) and Baylor (28) are just outside the Top 25 for the men. TCU is No. 37 to put the entire conference on the men’s side ranked in the top 40. West Virginia does not field a men’s track and field team.

Iowa State’s women are just outside the elite at No. 26. Oklahoma State (32), Oklahoma (33) and TCU (36) also are close to put eight of the 10 teams ranked 40th or higher.

The Wildcats will be in action this weekend at the ASU Invitational for their second meet during a spring break trip to Tempe, Ariz., for competitions and training outdoors.