Cat Contingent Splits to El Paso and Wichita

MANHATTAN, Kan. - For the second week in a row, Kansas State will divide for competitions in Kansas and Texas with this Saturday featuring the KT Woodman Classic in Wichita and the UTEP Invitational in El Paso. The Wildcats will send 19 two hours south to Wichita, while 15 will travel nearly 1,000 miles to the Sun City of El Paso, Texas.

Events at Wichita State will begin at 10 a.m. with the women’s javelin and men’s hammer throw, while running will get underway at 11:30 a.m. with the steeplechase.

Action in El Paso will start at 11 a.m. (CST) with the men’s hammer throw. K-State’s first competitor will take to the field at 3:15 p.m. as Lindsay Grigoriev will attempt to jump in regional standings in the women’s discus. Running events will take off at 4 p.m. with the first Wildcat, Adam Fretwell, scheduled for the 110M hurdles at 4:50 p.m. Additional programs entered for the event include Houston, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Rice and host UTEP.

A complete recap of each meet will be posted at www.kstatesports.com as soon as results are available.

Last Out: Texas Relays
A small number of Wildcats traveled to the renowned Texas Relays, which was celebrating its 81st running, in Austin, Texas. K-State performed well but was plagued with gusty winds that disqualified numerous regional marks that would have improved the standing of Wildcats in national rankings. KSU, however, did add two qualifications for the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Lincoln, Neb., as Michael Healey jumped the mark for the men and the women’s 4x400M raced to a qualification.

Healey, a freshman out of Katy, Texas, cleared a height of 6-10.75 to notch his first regional mark and top outdoor clearance. Along the way, Healey finished sixth in Section B. The women’s relay opened with a mark of 3:40.38 in the preliminary heat on Friday to qualify for the Saturday final. The team of Donniece Parrish, Marnyka Honeycutt, Lauren Fisher and Morgan Bonds captured the fifth best mark in KSU history during the finals when the finished fourth with a time of 3:39.06.

Coming away with a runner-up finish was junior Scott Sellers in the men’s high jump section A. Sellers finished with the second best mark in the country at 7-06.50, which is the third-best height of Sellers’ Wildcat career. He took second to Andra Manson, who competed at Texas as a collegiate and is currently signed with Nike, as he finished out at 7-07.75.

Last Out: ESU Relays
Kansas State also entered an arrangement of Wildcats in the ESU Relays last Saturday in Emporia, Kan., and claimed eight top-three finishes along with 14 personal bests. The women walked away with four titles, including a pair for junior Loren Groves. The native of Scott City, Mo., threw a season best of 169-04 in the discus, which is the second longest throw of her career. Groves also garnered a win in the women’s hammer throw with another second-best after letting loose for 204-11.

Freshman Ali Pistora recorded a 13-feet personal best of 164-00 in the women’s javelin to take her second career title. She previously sat at 31st in the country with her mark of 151-00 from the Baldy Castillo Invitational, but improved to 11th with her toss from the ESU Relays. Also taking gold for the women was Megan-Anne Perrin, who was competing in her first event of the outdoor season. The sophomore took the win with a time of 11:36.09.

For the men, sophomore Eric Thomas captured the only title with a win in the discus. Thomas threw for his first regional mark of the year with a launch of 170-01.

On the Edge of Texas
K-State will travel to the far western tip of Texas for the fourth-consecutive year to take part in an event hosted by UTEP. Eight Wildcats will be making a return trip after competing at last year’s UTEP Invitational. Lindsay Grigoriev returns as the only to have won an event last year, as she took the shot put win. She paired that with a third-place finish in the discus with a regional toss of 157-08. She will again compete in both this season.

Donniece Parrish, running in the 100M and 200M on Saturday, took second in the 200M in 2007 with a regional run of 23.88. She also aided in the 4x100M relay’s third-place time of 45.39. An additional third-place finish came from then-junior Thomaida Polydorou who had her second-best career mark of 41-02.50 in the triple jump.

Topping the list of men’s finishes was then-sophomore Scott Sellers, who took second in the men’s high jump. He finished with a mark of 7-03.00 and will again be entered in the event this week. Junior Mike Myer will also be suited up for identical races this year after placing fourth and fifth in the 100M and 200M, respectively, in 2007.

The previous two years (2006 and 2005) Kansas State pulled in 16 total event victories, including a number from current Cats. In 2006, Candice Mills won the 200M while Morgan Bonds titled the 800M and Bryce Bergman won the pole vault for the men. In 2005, Mills won the long jump, Grigoriev captured the discus crown and Laci Heller earned the hammer throw win. Also to note, former K-State All-America high jumper Kyle Lancaster leapt to the then-school record and top career mark with the Cats as he finished at 7-07.00.

Runnin’ Relay
The women’s team has had tremendous luck in inking sprinters that are great individually, but even more spectacular as part of a relay. Prior to this season, the Wildcats had five 4x400M relay teams since 2005 notch top-10 school times and six in the 4x100M. The women continued the trend of top-10 marks this season as the Wildcat quartet ran a time of 3:40.48 in the preliminary heat of the 4x400M at the Texas Relays. Despite falling as the 10th best in school history, the mark was wiped off the following day when it slipped to 11th and the team of Donniece Parrish, Marnyka Honeycutt, Lauren Fisher and Morgan Bonds earned the school’s fifth best run. The four combined for a time of 3:39.06, a NCAA regional mark, and finished fourth in the finals.

Review of the Rankings
With the release of the first outdoor rankings of the year, the Kansas State women are just outside of the top 25 with a debut of No. 28. They sit back from No. 25 Penn State by 5.28 points. The Wildcat women are ranked as the second highest Big 12 north school, with only Nebraska sitting higher at No. 20. Additional conference members in the top 25 are No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 9 Baylor, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Texas Tech and No. 18 Oklahoma. Indoor champions Arizona State lead the pack while LSU closely follows at second.

The K-State men are also just outside of the top 25 in 35th place. The Texas A&M men are ranked as the No. 1 team in the country, while four south conference members join them in the top 25. The remaining Big 12 teams are No. 15 Baylor, No. 19 Texas Tech, No. 22 Texas and No. 25 Oklahoma. Florida and UCLA round out the top three, respectively, for the men.

Sellers Re-Establishes Form
After storming through the outdoor season last year and capturing numerous records and honors along the way, junior Scott Sellers had a lot to live up to in his third year at Kansas State. The native of Katy, Texas, opened his 2008 outdoor campaign with a regional mark, but finished out at 7-02.50. The mark, as impressive as it is to reach the 7-foot mark, was well below his school-record height of 7-07.75. The next week Sellers was able to return to form as he cleared the third-best mark of his career at 7-06.50 to finish second at the Texas Relays. Although finishing second marked the end to a string of four outdoor wins, he did so to Nike’s Andra Manson who cleared the bar at 7-07.75.

Heller Returns with Her Hammer
Senior Laci Heller finished last outdoor season in the same fashion she has in the past - with a trip to nationals in the hammer throw. She looks determined to close her final campaign in the same manner after launching a personal-best throw in her first hammer competition of the year at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The Meriden, Kan., native finished with a meet record throw of 208-03 and improved her career mark of 202-01 from the 2006 Texas Relays. The senior currently ranks eighth in the nation with the throw and is second in the Midwest and Big 12 Conference.

Heller has appeared in three-consecutive NCAA Championships in the hammer throw. As a freshman she earned her All-America designation when she placed eighth with a throw of 199-09. During her sophomore year she placed 22nd and followed that with a 15th-place finish last season. Her top throw of 2008 is more than two feet better than her 2007 best of 201-01 from the Nebraska Invitational.

Groves Aiming for an Outdoor Groove
Junior Loren Groves established a groove during the indoor season of throwing qualifying marks and increasing her season and personal bests. The Scott City, Mo., native will look to maintain the consistent improvement during the outdoor season and qualify for her first outdoor national meet. Groves has earned two All-America awards during indoor action, including after a sixth-place finish at this year’s weight throw. She will look to capture an outdoor honor in either the discus or hammer throw. Groves looks determined to earn the award in the hammer after throwing a personal-best of 208-04 at the Nike Elite Meet in Sacramento, Calif. The distance was one foot shy of the school record and is currently seventh in the country and leads the Midwest Region and the Big 12 Conference. Groves also finished the Nike Meet with a regional toss in the discus as she threw for 167-06 to finish second. Out of three throws in the discus and the hammer, Groves has met the regional mark in all but one competition - her first discus throws at the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

Partial to Parrish
After having a phenomenal indoor season, senior Donniece Parrish remains a force to be reckoned with for the Wildcat women on the track. The odds have been in her favor since qualifying for her first NCAA Indoor Championships, as Parrish has placed her name among the contenders for the outdoor sprints. Parrish opened the season with a first-place finish at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in the 100M after crossing the line in 11.87. She then followed the performance up with a personal best in the 200M at the Nike Elite Meet. She ran a regional-qualifying time of 23.66, which ties for top in the conference and the region and sits at eighth in the nation. She had a previous career mark of 23.67 from the Big 12 Championships last season. During the 2007 season, Parrish qualified for regionals on two occasions, including her first career regional time of 23.88 at the UTEP Invitational.

A Break from the Wind
Junior Mike Myer will be hoping to be rid of the wind in order to not face the disqualification of his marks. Myer opened the season with a regional run in the 100M after clocking a 10.49 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational. The Texas Relays posed a windy threat as Myer raced to a 10.41 time to qualify for the finals on Saturday, but the wind instrument recorded a 4.9 meters per second gust. In the finals, Myer finished eighth with his top time of the season with a 10.48 run.