Wildcats Face Strong Field at ASU Invitational

Tomas Kirielius

March 20, 2013

Complete K-State Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Live Blog/Results

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State track and field continues its spring break journey to Arizona this week as the Wildcats are set to compete in the ASU Invitational. After opening the outdoor season at the Baldy Castillo Invitational hosted by Arizona State, K-State remained in Tempe for training during spring break and will take on a larger field this weekend at a second meet during the trip.

Last week, K-State opened outdoor season with four victories on the women’s side and is hoping to build off that performance with a deeper field at the ASU Invitational. The Wildcats will take on a larger field with teams from the Southwest and Midwest set to compete. K-State has added some distance runners to the mix this week as well after not fielding runners in those events at the Baldy Castillo Invitational a week ago.

The ASU Invitational will open with men’s and women’s hammer throw on Friday afternoon again before a full slate of events on Saturday at Sun Angel Stadium.

A live blog will be available online for fans wanting to following the action during Saturday’s portion of the meet. The blog will be conducted by ASU and available at sundevils.com. In the blog will be link for results which will be updated periodically throughout the meet. A link to the blog 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.

Four Victories to Open Outdoor Season
K-State’s women started outdoor season strong with four victories at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The meet opened well for the Wildcats with freshman Sarah Savatovic immediately putting her name in the K-State record books with a win in the women’s hammer throw. The Serbian national record holder was short of her personal best mark but tallied a victory with a toss of 59.07 meters (193-09) to also rank fifth in school history.

The other three wins came in running events, as freshman Tia Gamble crossed the line first in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.35. Junior Angela Hart tallied a win in the 400 meter hurdles to mark the second straight season she opened outdoors with a win in the event, and a group of veterans and newcomers combined to win the 4x400.

Although K-State’s 4x100 did not come away with a victory, the group of Samantha McKnight, Ashley Williams, Richelle Farley and Jasmine Gibbs rans one of the fastest times in school history. With a time of 44.98 seconds, K-State finished third and rank No. 6 in school history.

The fast times were not unique to the women’s team with sprinter Carlos Rodriguez stepping outside of his normal 100 and 200 meters to run the 400. Rodriguez finished second behind Chris Burrows of Arizona State with a time of 46.77 seconds. Burrows ran 46.66 to set a new meet record, and Rodriguez’s time is ninth in school history for the event. Devin Dick also posted a new PR for the men with his time of 15.26 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles.

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.