Wildcats Set for Night Action at ASU Invitational

Erica Twiss

March 22, 2012

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MANHATTAN, Kan. - After a few Wildcats opened outdoor track and field season last week at the Tulsa Duels, this weekend Kansas State sends a large group to compete under the lights in the desert at the ASU Invitational. Arizona State will be hosting its annual meet with athletes from some of the top programs in the nation competing Friday and Saturday. K-State will take on athletes from Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa State, Northern Arizona, Air Force and Utah along with ASU.

Action starts on Friday with the men’s and women’s hammer throw beginning at 1 p.m. The hammer throw will be the only event on Friday with the remainder of the meet contested Saturday from Sun Angel Stadium. Field events start at 11 a.m. Saturday and running events start on the track at 5:15 p.m. and go until 9:15 when the meet concludes with the 4x400 relays under the lights.

K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said he is looking forward to this meet with a full squad traveling. A few of the Wildcats will be running in long distance events who have not competed on the track in a while, and Rovelto is excited to see those runners in action. He said he also is anticipating seeing his combined events groups compete in a number of events to prepare for their first multi competition next week. He also added he wants to see his team take on a strong field as the ASU Invitational is traditionally a highly competitive meet.

“Our heptathletes will do a lot of stuff this weekend. The heptathlon group is a big part of our team on the women’s side, and next week they will do the heptathlon at Arizona,” Rovelto said. “There are sure to be good schools at this meet. A lot of teams are on spring break, and I have never been there when there wasn’t good competition.”

There will not be live results available from the ASU Invitational, but fans wanting to following the action can log onto a live blog provided by Arizona State. The blog can be found on ASU’s athletics website thesundevils.com.

K-State Throwers Start Strong at Tulsa Duels
The Wildcats opened the outdoor season at the Tulsa Duels and came away with six wins overall and a handful of strong performances from the throwers. K-State’s throwers started the weekend off with a pair of wins in the hammer throw and javelin and added another on Saturday. Tomaz Bogovic came away with a win in the hammer claiming victory with his toss of 57.02 meters.

In the javelin, Ivan Hartung posted another win for the Wildcats with his throw of 66.96 meters just missing out on cracking the school’s all-time top 10 list in his first meet as a Wildcat. Newcomers Ryan Johnson and Chris Gattman both finished in the top 10 in the hammer throw, and Jacquelyne Leffler finished second with her toss of 51.98 meters for the women. Fellow senior Chelsie Bonds finished fourth for K-State. Senior Cory Boulanger also came up big in the javelin for the men finishing third at 60.79 meters. Jake Darrington claimed fourth.

The Wildcats also had good performances in the discus and shot put led by Ryan Hershberger taking fourth in the discus and winning in the shot put. Hershberger won the shot put with a mark of 16.50 meters for a new personal best. Leffler finished third in the shot put, opening her season at 13.92 meters. K-State also posted wins in the women’s 200 meters with Edina Brooks clocking in at 25.21 seconds. Angela Hart won the 400 hurdles and David Taylor won the pole vault.

Wildcats Ranked in Outdoor Preseason Top 25
Heading into the outdoor season the USTFCCCA has released its Preseason Top 25 Rankings, and the K-State women’s team is considered among the nation’s best. The women finished in 13th place last season at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship and return three athletes who all rank in the Top 10 in their respective events. With those athletes and three more being ranked, the Wildcat women stand No. 19 in the USTFCCCA Preseason Rankings. K-State’s men are No. 33 overall.

K-State’s women boast defending NCAA champion Ryann Krais in the heptathlon. She is ranked No. 2 in the event with Oregon’s Brianne Theisen returning to action after redshirting in 2011. Krais also is ranked in the 400 meter hurdles, which she finished third at the NCAA meet last year. Her time of 55.68 seconds ranks second heading into the 2012 campaign. Krais currently ranks in the Top 50 in three other events with her marks in the 200m, 100m hurdles and high jump among the best.

Martina Tresch is one of the top distance runners in the NCAA and is seventh on the steeplechase list, and fifth-year senior TiAra Walpool is considered fifth in the triple jump. Other Wildcats receiving points toward K-State’s women’s ranking are Boglarka Bozzay (800m No. 21), Julia Zeiner (heptathlon No. 33) and Sydney Messick (10,000m No. 43).

The USTFCCCA uses marks from the 2011 NCAA season to determine the rankings with a point system basked on ranking and mark within each event. If marks from the summer were to be calculated, Tresch would stand No. 2 in the steeplechase with her time of 9:51.96 from the European Under 25 Championships. Bozzay also would move up to No. 8 with her time in the 800m at the same meet.

K-State’s men are No. 33 in the preseason rankings with two Wildcats in the Top 10 in their events. Defending NCAA champion Erik Kynard is No. 1 in the high jump and Mantas Silkauskas is No. 9 in the decathlon using his best score from 2010 after not competing in the event last season. Silkauskas also is No. 23 in the 110 meter hurdles. The men also have a number of athletes in the Top 50, including a pair of Wildcats ranked in both the 100m and 200m (Martynas Jurgilas, Carlos Rodriguez). Two athletes also are among the best in the javelin (Cory Boulanger, Ivan Hartung), while Tomaz Bogovic is ranked in the hammer throw.