K-State Sports Extra: Wildcats Run, Jump, Throw at Home

By Mark Janssen

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State track and field fans will have their only chance to watch the Wildcats perform at R.V. Christian Track on Saturday with the Ward Haylett Invitational.

While formatted as a dual between Kansas State and Nebraska in past years, this year's event will include a variety of small colleges in the state, plus community colleges and open athletes. Field events will begin at 11 a.m. and the running events at 2 p.m.

"Nebraska worked out an arrangement with Texas Tech to swap dual meets indoors and outdoors, and this is the weekend it fell," said K-State coach Cliff Rovelto in explaining the change of format.

While much of the competition for wins will be Wildcat vs. Wildcat, Rovelto says the athletes are also competing against the clock and tape measure to better their times and distances in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Regionals next month, and to make the K-State travel team for the Big 12 championships in Columbia, Mo., in two weeks.

"A lot of our kids have a lot to prove," Rovelto said. "We don't take kids to championship events just to take them. We want them to have a realistic chance of making the finals, or having a shot to score. If they rank 20th or 25th on the Big 12 list, honestly, they don't have much of a chance to be in the top eight. Taking kids like that I think is nonsense."

Ranking on the Big 12 charts among the top eight in individual events this year are:
Martynas Jurgilas, 100M, 8th, 10:48
Jeffrey Julmis, 110 Hurdles, 5th, 13.76
Armando Del Valle, 800M, 6th, 1:49.97
Erik Kynard, high jump, 1st, 7-4 ½
Deszo Szabo, pole vault, 2nd, 16-11 ½
Eric Thomas, discus, 8th, 179-1
Sara Stoakes, 800M, 1st, 2:06.75
Beverly Ramos, 5000M, 1st, 15:51.72
Beverly Ramos, steeplechase, 3rd, 10:15.43
Martina Tresch, steeplechase, 4th, 10:20.82
Nina Kokot, long jump, 1st, 20-10 ¾
Jacquelyn Leffler, hammer, 8th, 178-6

Senior Beverly Ramos returned to the 3000M Steeplechase at the 101st Drake Relays last week and broke her own school record en route to a win. Ramos dominated the field to get the victory with her time of 10:15.43 cutting a few hundredths of a second off her school-record time. She was followed by freshman Martina Tresch, who was five seconds behind. The next closest competitor was 20 seconds behind Ramos.

"All in all, it's been a good year. Both of our teams are very young," said Rovelto. "In fact, the vast majority of the kids that will go to championship meets are not seniors."

Rovelto adds that it's difficult to define how K-State ranks as a team.

"We're No. 19 in the national power rankings, but in looking toward the Big 12 Championships, we could very well score only in the 40s, which will not be in the top half," he said. "Here we are the No. 19 team in the nation, but may be in the bottom half of our conference."

The K-State women's team is ranked No. 32nd nationally.

Of competing at home for the only time this season, Rovelto said, "Particularly with our throwers and field event athletes, there's a great comfort level to be in their home ring or home runway. But for all of our athletes, confidence always goes up on your home track."