Cats Part to Drake Relays, Nebraska Open

MANHATTAN, Kan. - In another week of divided participation, the Kansas State track and field teams will split to two destinations with entries at the celebrated Drake Relays and the Nebraska Open. Selected Wildcats will participate in the four-day Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, that will bring in nearly 8,000 competitors through Saturday. On Sunday, K-State will partake in the Nebraska Open in Lincoln, Neb.

The Wildcats are entered into 15 of the 111 scheduled events at the Drake Relays, which will be observing its 99th running. K-State’s first competitor in the event, which is being held at Drake Stadium, will be freshman Alexandra Gonzalez in the women’s pole vault at 10 a.m., while senior Marnyka Honeycutt will be the first competitor on the track at 12:45 p.m. The Wildcats will open Saturday’s portion with the men’s high jump with Lamar Garrett and Michael Healey at 10 a.m. and the women’s 4x1600M relay at 11:17 a.m.

Eight Wildcats will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Nebraska Open on Sunday. The meet being attended by four K-State men and four women will begin at 11 a.m. with the women’s hammer throw and men’s shot put. Running events will start at 12 p.m. with the women’s steeplechase.

Complete results of each event will be posted on at the completion of each day.

Drake Relays History
K-State’s last trip to the Drake Relays resulted in a number of successes, including the third best school mark in the women’s distance medley relay. The squad of Beverly Ramos, Shunte Thomas, Morgan Bonds and Liliani Mendez raced to a time of 11:09.43, just shy of the 11:08.99 school record.

The Wildcats left Des Moines, Iowa, with two crowns including one from current senior Donniece Parrish. The then-junior qualified for the finals with a season-best clocking of 11.86. She then grabbed the title with a wind-aided run of 11.61 on the final day in a tight race in which a photo analysis proved Parrish the victor. Also taking first was former Wildcat Kaylene Wagner, who had a season-best mark of 6-02.25 in the women’s special invitation high jump. The mark is the second best in school history and broke the previous Drake Relays record of 6-02.00 set by Olympian Amy Acuff.

Also returning to the Drake Relays scene is junior Scott Sellers, who has competed in the special invitation high jump the last two years. Competing in the same event this year, Sellers will be looking for his first title in the jumps as he took runner-up as a freshman. In 2006, rain forced the event to take place indoor and Sellers finished second to UTEP’s Mickael Hanany, who currently leads all collegiates. During last year’s competition, Sellers placed fourth with a then-personal best of 7-05.00.

Relays Hall of Fame
Up to 200 members deep, the Drake Relays Hall of Fame includes four former K-State Wildcats. Gene O’Connor (1956-58) earned the induction for his 440-yard hurdle efforts, while runners Jerome Howe (1977 inductee) and Ken Swenson (1980 inductee) each were selected for their relays performances while Howe also earned for the mile. The only female Wildcat, Pinkie Suggs (1998 inductee) was chosen for her accomplishments in the shot put and discus.

In addition to four student-athletes, K-State has two coaches listed in the Coaches Hall of Fame that celebrated its 76th member this year. Former coach and current Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds was inducted in 1988, while current Wildcat head coach Cliff Rovelto earned his nomination in 2002.

Championship Caliber Locations
Each of the two sites being visited this weekend are familiar to the K-State teams and each are also about to be witness to an event during the championship rundown.

K-State most recent trip to Des Moines and the blue track at Drake Stadium was last year’s NCAA Midwest Regionals, where seven individuals and one relay team qualified for the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Drake earned the bid for this year’s Championships and are scheduled to hold the event June 11-14.

The Wildcats last outdoor trip to Nebraska and the Ed Weir Outdoor Track was the 2007 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Scott Sellers was the lone Wildcat to walk away with a crown as he championed the men’s high jump with a school-record mark of 7-07.75. The same location will also be the site of this year’s NCAA Midwest Regionals, which is set for May 30-31.

Last Out: Kansas and Mt. SAC Relays
The Wildcats added three new qualifications during last week’s divided competition when K-State entered into the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan., and the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. At the Kansas Relays, K-State added a provisional mark in the heptathlon for freshman Annika Schoenebeck who finished fourth with 5,065 points. The 4x100M relay team also earned its first mark as they ran a time of 45.58 to take fourth in the special invitation section. At the Mt. SAC Relays, senior Morgan Bonds earned her first 800M regional mark as she finished fourth in the Olympic development running with a time of 2:09.08.

Also at the Kansas Relays, the Wildcats titled two events, including the men’s 100M where Mike Myer notched a season-best time. In the prelims, the junior ran a mark of 10.42 to qualify with the fastest clocking. He then continued his reign on the competition with a 10.43 final run to take first. Loren Groves captured a win for the women’s team with a 201-06 toss in the hammer throw.

Two Wildcats improved their regional standing with season-best marks. At the Kansas Relays, Eric Thomas recorded a distance of 170-08 to finish seventh, while Beverly Ramos ran a time of 10:28.70 in the 3000M steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays to take seventh as well.

Right at Home
Kansas State sprinter Mike Myer pulled out his best performances of the season in his own backyard when he took the 100M win at the Kansas Relays on Sat., April 19th. The junior who is a native of Lenexa, Kan., raced to a season-best 10.42 in the prelims on Thursday to qualify with the fastest time. He went on to earn only his second career outdoor win with a 10.43 in the finals. The times sit as his top-two wind legal marks this season and improve his standing to seventh in the conference and 12th in the Midwest Region. Myer’s previous top time of the year was a run of 10.48 from the Texas Relays. He notched his first regional mark at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., with a time of 10.49. In El Paso, Myer finished seventh with a sprint of 10.50. While Myer is in his “backyard”, he seems to earn his top marks as his season best and also career best (10.37, 2007 Big 12 Championships in Lincoln, Neb.) are from Midwest territories.

Bonds Registers Qualifying Mark
In her third individual race of the season, Morgan Bonds was able to capture her regional qualification in her specialty, the 800M. She finished the race with a season-best time of 2:09.08 at the Mt. SAC Relays to finish fourth. The race was her first since March 29th when she had a time of 2:11.62 at the Nike Elite Meet. Bonds also competed at the Baldy Castillo Invitational on March 22nd as she clocked a mark of 2:10.68. Bonds has qualified for the regionals each of the last two years and advanced to the NCAA Championships each time. Although her Mt. SAC Relays time falls short of one of her top marks, nine of Bonds’ fastest 10 marks occurred in May or June.

Schoenebeck Continues Multis Tradition
In her first heptathlon competition, freshman Annika Schoenebeck accomplished an NCAA provisional mark as she reached 5,065 points at the Kansas Relays. The native of Bayern, Germany, had only competed in three events at one meet prior to the Relays. She opened the meet with a wind-aided time of 14.82 in the 100M hurdles and then went on to produce two first-time marks with a leap of 5-02.50 in the high jump and a throw of 35-05.00 in the shot put. To close the day, Schoenebeck raced to a time of 25.95 in the 200M to aid in her day one total of 2,973 points. On the second day, she started with another wind-aided mark as she recorded a 17-08.00 distance in the long jump. Schoenebeck completed the event with two personal-bests as she registered a 125-01 in the javelin and 2:22.04 in the 800M. The freshman placed fourth with 5,065 points and passed Gwen Wentland on the K-State top 10 list for the fourth best mark in school history.

Groves’ Growing Title List
Prior to this season, Loren Groves’ title list was abundant in indoor competitions, as the junior had one outdoor title with a 2005 discus victory. This season has shown great improvement as the Scott City, Mo., native has added four outdoor titles including her first three hammer throw wins. Groves opened the season with a second-place toss in the hammer, but has won each competition since. She earned her first win at the Nike Elite Meet with a personal best mark of 208-04. During the ESU Relays, Groves brought home two crowns as she took the discus (169-04) and hammer (204-11) victories. During the Kansas Relays, Groves captured her third overall win in the hammer and third of the season as she launched for a distance of 201-06. The win marked the third in four years that a Wildcat has captured the crown. Groves’ three hammer throw titles have been the result of her top three career marks. Two of her top three discus marks have also been recorded this season.

Ramos’ Steeplechase Sequence
Beverly Ramos was a late addition to the squad that proved to be a key element to the women’s team as she established herself as the team’s top steeplechase competitor. During last season, Ramos dropped seconds from each of her first three times to end the year at a school-record mark of 10:21.71. She ran the following times in her first four races: 10:59.31 (Jim Click Shootout 3/24), 10:41.48 (Pepsi Invitational 4/7), 10:36.05 (Big 12 Championship 5/12) and 10:21.71 (NCAA Midwest Regional 5/25). Ramos opened her sophomore campaign with a run of 10:29.95 at the Nike Elite Meet as she captured first and placed her name in the regional pool. At the Mt. SAC Relays, she continued her tradition of improvement after racing to a mark of 10:28.70.

Walpool Tallies First Regional Mark
A hidden weapon for the Wildcats emerged at the UTEP Invitational as freshman Tiara Walpool put together a performance that qualified her for the NCAA Midwest Regionals in May. The native of Richardson, Texas, recorded a mark of 41-09.25 in her first triple jump competition as a Wildcat during outdoor season. The distance quickly put the young Cat into the KSU history books as it ties for the seventh best mark in school history. Walpool’s only other individual marks from the season come in the 200M, as she has a PR of 24.89 from the Baldy Castillo Invitational. She also has been used in relays teams including the 4x100M and 4x200M from the Texas Relays.