Wildcats Split for Two Meets this Weekend

Kyle Wait

March 28, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State track and field will head to two different meets this weekend with a small group headed to one of the biggest meets in the nation this week. The trio of Erik Kynard, Jharyl Bowry and Kyle Wait will travel south for the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin. They will take on some of the strongest fields assembled so far outdoors in their respective events Friday and Saturday. The rest of the Wildcats are headed to Emporia for the ESU Spring Open on Saturday.

Action at the Texas Relays began on Wednesday with combined events. Other college and high school events begin on Thursday. Last year’s Texas Relays welcomed athletes from more than 200 colleges and universities and 625 high schools. The schedule has been altered this year to highlight certain disciplines for fans with Friday evening showcasing some of the top collegiate field events and exciting high school relays. Saturday morning will highlight the top high school distance events, along with the men’s college/university high jump.

For the Wildcats competing at the ESU Spring Open, action starts at noon from Fran Welch Stadium in Emporia for a full slate of events. K-State will have 10 men and 11 women in action at the meet. The women’s team is sending a group of mostly throwers with the men’s team competing in a good mix of events.

Kynard, Bowry and Wait will take on an incredible field with some of the nation’s top athletes competing. The men’s high jump will have six athletes from the NCAA Indoor Championship, including four of the top six finishers. Kynard will battle with Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Mississippi State’s Marcus Jackson pitting the top three finishers at the NCAA meet against each other again. Florida State’s James Harrison and Clemson’s Torian Ware are also in the field along with the No. 1 jumper in the NCAA Division II ranks in Jeron Robinson from Texas A&M-Kingsville.

Bowry will face three of the top six finishers at the NCAA Indoor Championship as well along with a host of other strong competitors in the long jump. Indoor champion Marcus Dendy from Florida will be in action along with runner-up Damar Forbes from LSU. In the pole vault, Wait is up against the entire field from the NCAA indoor meet, except for the champion.

The Texas Relays will be televised on the Longhorn Network with live coverage each day. Fans can catch K-State competing during the broadcast on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday’s broadcast will be from 1:30-5:30 p.m. Longhorn Network is only available through providers distributing the network. It is available in the state of Kansas on Cox Communications (Ch. 272) and AT&T U-Verse (Ch. 609). It also can be found on Verizon FiOS TV, Grande Communications, Consolidated Communications, En-Touch Systems, E-Tex Communications, Bay City Cablevision, Mid-Coast Cablevision and Texas Mid-Gulf Cablevision.

Live results from the Texas Relays will be available at texassports.com and kstatesports.com. Fans can also get updates on Twitter by following K-State’s live event handle @kstate_gameday. The official team hashtag is #KStateTF and the meet is also using the hashtag #TXRelays13. Live results from the ESU Spring Open will not be available.

Spring Break Trip Brings Top Performances
K-State track and field spent spring break in Arizona for a pair of meets hosted by the Arizona State Sun Devils and a week of training, the trip paid off this weekend as the Wildcats tallied seven victories at the ASU Invitational and four runner-up finishes as well to close the trip.

The Wildcats saw great performances across the board and the majority of the wins came in the sprints and distance events. Carlos Rodriguez posted his first win of the outdoor season in the 200 meters clocking in at 21.29 seconds. He also ran a leg of the 4x100 relay that won in 40.49 seconds. K-State’s women also won the 4x100 relay with the team of Samantha McKnight, Richelle Farley, Ashley Williams and Jasmine Gibbs running 45.51 seconds.

Three wins came in the distance events with Fernando Roman and Erika Schiller both winning the 3,000 meter steeplechase and Martina Tresch claiming the 5,000 meters. Roman ran a time of 9:23.23 and winning by more than three seconds. Schiller was more than 10 seconds ahead of the field in her race and approximately six seconds off her best time. Tresch dominated the competition winning by more than 40 seconds in her first competition of the outdoor season.

K-State’s other victory came in the men’s javelin with Ivan Hartung posting a new personal best throw of 67.20 meters (220-06). His toss was seven feet farther than second place and ranks just outside the top 10 in school history.

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 ran 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.

Men’s Track & Field Ranked in Preseason
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. 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.

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.