K-State Set to Host Ward Haylett Invite Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State track and field will host their lone outdoor competition of the year on Sat., May 3rd, as the Wildcats welcome competitors for the Ward Haylett Invitational. The meet, which starts at 11 a.m. with the women’s hammer throw, will take place at the R.V. Christian Track.

The Wildcats are coming off of an action-packed weekend that saw the team travel to two locations over the course of three days. While many competed in only one meet, several actually participated in both the Drake Relays as well as the Nebraska Open. While K-State finished with a few top-three finishes at the distinguished Relays, five individuals earned titles in Lincoln, Neb.

Without any new additions to the regionally-qualified lists, K-State will be aiming to add a few new names before the May 30th start of the Midwest Regionals. To read  a complete recap of the K-State results from the Ward Haylett Invitational, please visit www.kstatesports.com.

Last Time Out
After battling some of the nation’s top competitors at the Drake Relays, the Wildcats capped off the extended weekend with five event victories at the Nebraska Open on Sunday. K-State entered the weekend with limited involvement on Friday of the Relays as only five competed in the cold and windy weather. Top performers of day one included Mike Myer, who continues to tally regional marks on his way to top finishes versus elite runners. The junior qualified for the finals during Friday’s preliminaries with a time of 10.43. The women posted two top-three placings as Alexandra Gonzalez took the silver in the women’s pole vault with a vault of 12-07.75. The women’s distance medley relay captured third place in their first running of the event this season; the foursome finished with a run of 11:36.19.

On Saturday, Myer completed his run through the Drake Relays as he took home third place during the finals with a time of 10.47. Scott Sellers was K-State’s only other top-five finisher as he captured fifth in the special invitation high jump with a mark of 7-02.50.

The following day, K-State senior Marnyka Honeycutt raced to two first-place finishes, including her first career win in the 200M. Honeycutt earned a mark of 24.16 in the race, which marked her second-best non-wind aided career time. Honeycutt added that to the win in the 100M, her second victory in the event, as she posted a time of 11.93. Freshmen Gonzalez and Tiara Walpool each placed first in their field events, as Gonzalez won the pole vault with a height of 12-01.50 and Walpool had a regional jump of 40-05.00 in the triple jump.

2006 Ward Haylett Invitational Recap
Kansas State last hosted the Ward Haylett Invitational during the 2006 season, as the event marked the regular season finale. After the completion of the day, K-State had captured seven event titles, including six by the women’s team.

Two current Wildcats won their respective events as seniors Morgan Bonds and Candice Mills each took first. Bonds ran a then-personal best in the 800M with a time of 2:06.45. The mark still sits as one of Bonds’ top times as it is second to her PR of 2:06.07 from the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regionals. Mills won the women’s long jump with a then-season best of 20-03.75. She eventually bettered that mark four times with each occurring at the championship events (conference, regional and national).

Additional wins came from former Wildcats, including Lisi Maurer who clocked a then-school record of 13.24 in the women’s 100M hurdles. The time matched her mark from the Euro Under-23 Championships, but fell to her run of 13.12 at the Big 12 Championships that season. Monique Coleman titled the women’s 100M with a season-best of 11.75. In the 200M, Shunte Thomas captured first with a sprint of 23.81. Breanna Eveland, a two-time outdoor school record holder, earned the pole vault win with a clearance of 13-07.25.

For the men, then-senior Christian Smith won his final event as a Wildcat at home after taking the 1500M run. Smith finished with a then-personal-best of 3:43.00, which then ranked third in the all-time school history books. He eventually mastered that time with a run of 3:38.10 in Belgium in 2006.

Also Showing this Weekend
For the second this time season, K-State will travel three members to a meet in California while the rest of the team performs in a different location. The mid-distance and distance crew of Morgan Bonds, Liliani Mendez and Beverly Ramos will take part in the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational hosted by Stanford University at the Cobb Track and Angell Field on May 4th.

Mendez will compete first for the Cats as she will race at 7:19 p.m. CST in the women’s 1500M section 3. At approximately 8:40 p.m., Ramos will race in the women’s 3000M steeplechase. Bonds is entered into the women’s 800M section 2 which will take place at 9:13 p.m. In her second event of the day, Ramos will run in the 5000M section 2 at 11:35 p.m.

Bonds has a top time this season of 2:09.08 in the 800M, as she clocked the time at the Mt. SAC Relays for her first regional mark of the year. Mendez has two regional qualifications in the 1500M, including a season-best 4:23.90 when she took first at the Baldy Castillo Invitational March 22nd. Also with two regional marks, Ramos posted her top time this season in the 3000M steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays as well. The sophomore placed seventh with a time of 10:28.70. Ramos has not competed in the 5000M in her two-year Wildcat career thus far.

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 continued a streak of top finishes with his third-place effort at the Drake Relays. Myer qualified for the final with a prelim run of 10.43 and dashed to a time of 10.47 in the finals. 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.

Walpool Making a Name for Herself
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. Two weeks later, Walpool earned her first event victory as she captured the triple jump win at the Nebraska Open April 27th. The freshman earned her second regional mark with a skip of 40-05.00. Walpool also put together her first run in the 100M with a second-place time of 12.35.

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.

DMR’s First Run
Kansas State raced its distance medley relay team for the first time this season at the Drake Relays and completed the event in third place. The quartet of Liliani Mendez, Donniece Parrish, Morgan Bonds and Beverly Ramos clocked a time of 11:36.19. The mark sits as the fifth best time in school history. All top five times are now from the Drake Relays that range from 2000 to present.

Gonzalez Vaults to First
After completing a solid indoor campaign, freshman Alexandra Gonzalez opened the outdoor season with a regional qualification in the first meet. The Puerto Rico native passed over the height of 12-07.50 at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., to take fourth. During a busy weekend, Gonzalez competed at both the Drake Relays and Nebraska Open and finished with another regional mark and her first career win. At the Drake Relays, she tied her career best of 12-07.50 to finish second in a windy, chilly competition on Fri., April 25th. Two days later, Gonzalez captured her first event victory at the Nebraska Open as she finished at a height of 12-01.50.

First-Time Winners
During Kansas State’s run to five wins at the Nebraska Open, two of the Wildcat runners were in the process of picking up their first wins. Senior Marnyka Honeycutt opened the meet with her second career win in the 100M after sprinting to a time of 11.93. She followed up that performance with her first 200M victory as she posted a 24.16 to mark her second-best non-wind-aided mark. The run was only her second 200M of the year, as she finished in 24.02, a personal best, during the UTEP Invitational on April 12th. Also notching a first-career win was junior Danny Schneider. The Lawrence, Kan., native clocked a run of 3:57.69 in the 1500M to win his first outdoor race; the time sits as Schneider’s third best effort in the 1500M.

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.