Wildcats Host Ward Haylett Invitational on Saturday

Erik Kynard will jump one last time as a Wildcat at home on Saturday.

May 10, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Before the K-State track and field team prepares for the postseason, the Wildcats will host the Ward Haylett Invitational on Saturday. Action begins at 10 a.m. with running events starting at 1 p.m. Fans will not want to miss the only outdoor home meet of the season as all four of K-State’s Big 12 champions will be in action.

Senior high jumper Erik Kynard will be in action for one last time at home as a Wildcat with the men’s high jump to follow the women’s, which starts at 11: 45 a.m. Back-to-back pole vault champion Kyle Wait and his fellow pole vaulters will be in action as well. Freshman thrower and Serbian national record holder Sara Savatovic is scheduled to compete at 10 a.m. in the first event of the day, and steeplechase champion Martina Tresch will run in the 1,500 and 800 meters on Saturday afternoon.

K-State will welcome members of the 299th Brigade Support Battlion to the meet as the track and field team’s partner unit will be there to support the Wildcats. The 299th will also be presenting the second annual Heartbeat of the Team Award during the meet. The award is presented to a member of the track and field team who strives to be the best they can be in all areas of life. The recipient demonstrates high moral character in keeping with the ideals of the U.S. Army -- Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. These values characterize the Army culture and describe the ethical standards expected of all Soldiers.

Saturday’s meet will serve as a last chance meet in a way with the Big 12 Conference Championships moved up on the schedule this year. The meet will be an opportunity for athletes to move up the rankings within their respective events in an effort to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds and the NCAA Division II Championship with athletes from various schools across the area expected to participate.

Prior to the announcement of the Heartbeat of the Team Award, K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto will recognize the senior members of the team. Admission to the Ward Haylett Invitational is free for fans wanting to attend. Fans unable to attend can get updates on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday and the official team hashtag #KStateTF.

K-State Claims Four Big 12 Championships
At the 2013 Big 12 Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the K-State Wildcats put on a show in four events claiming titles. The men’s and women’s teams each won two Big 12 titles in Waco, Texas, including one who became the best ever in Big 12 history.

Senior Erik Kynard won his third straight Big 12 outdoor crown with his leap of 2.30 meters (7-06.50). He became the first athlete to win three Big 12 outdoor titles in men’s high jump. After dominating the field, Kynard took three attempts at breaking the Big 12 meet record but just missed.

In the men’s pole vault, Kyle Wait became a back-to-back champion with his clearance of 5.35 meters (17-06.75) and he attempted to break the Big 12 Championship record but came up short as well.

For the women, Martina Tresch won her first steeplechase title. She held the lead the entire race until a runner from West Virginia passed her with 250 meters to go. Trailing by three steps at the final water jump, Tresch edged closer and pulled even at the final barrier and won the sprint to the finish with a time of 10:10.82. Tresch is the first woman to win a steeplechase conference title in school history.

Hammer thrower Sara Savatovic became the latest Wildcat to win the event at the Big 12 Championship with a total of six women’s titles. Savatovic struggled with weather conditions early, but qualified for the final on her third throw and then proceeded to break her own Serbian national record with a throw of 64.11 meters (210-04) on her fifth throw. She is the third different woman to win a Big 12 title in the hammer throw.

The men’s team had a strong meet finishing in fourth place, matching last year’s result. It was the 96 points scored by the men’s team that was most impressive. The point total is the highest  the men have scored in Big 12 history and more than the 84 points scored in 1997 when the Wildcats had their best finish of third place. The women finished seventh with 66 points.

K-State’s men were aided by second-place finishes by Ivan Hartung (javelin), Tarique Hill (110m hurdles), Jharyl Bowry (long jump) and Reinis Kregers (decathlon). The Wildcats score a total of 19 points in the decathlon with Tomas Kirielius (3rd), Tony Granillo (6th) and Devin Dick (7th) all making their way to the podium.

Men’s Track & Field Just Outside Top 25
The outdoor track and field season is starting to heat up with championship season on the horizon and the K-State men are not far outside of the Top 25 after falling out for the first time last week. Following the Big 12 Championships, the Wildcat men climb one spot to No. 29 in the nation. This week saw some even more major shifts in the rankings with four teams climbing into the Top 25, and all four were Big 12 Conference teams.

Senior high jumper Erik Kynard leads the way with the No. 1 ranking in his event after he posted the No. 1 jump in the world so far this outdoor season to win the Mt. SAC Relays. He cleared 2.34 meters (7-08.00) to defeat a field the included multiple Olympians. Big 12 champion pole vaulter Kyle Wait entered the outdoor season ranked No. 18 but he shot up the rankings five weeks ago after posting a new PR at the Texas Relays that ranks eighth in the NCAA this season.

Carlos Rodriguez is ranked in four different events. He has posted new PR’s in the 100 and 200 meters to put him on the list in those events and he also ran a leg of the 4x100 and 4x400 relays that are currently No. 26 and No. 18, respectively.

The Wildcats have three rankings in the decathlon led by Tomas Kirielius at No. 21. Devin Dick and freshman Reinis Kregers also are among the best to give K-State three Wildcats ranked 29th or higher in the decathlon.

Jharyl Bowry shoots up the rankings in the long jump this week with his leap of 7.79 meters (25-06.75) at the Big 12 Championship and he currently stands 14th. Hurdler Tarique Hill cracks the rankings with a time of 13.88 to finish second at the conference meet and stand 18th on the USTFCCCA Rankings.

K-State’s women have seven individuals ranked in a total of eight events and both relays are ranked in the top 50.

Big 12 Presence Felt in Top 25
The Big 12 Conference has long been a force in track and field, and the league is again making an impact on the national rankings with six men’s and women’s teams among the Top 25 of the latest USTFCCCA Rankings following the conference championship.

The Kansas women were the preseason No. 1 for outdoors after taking second place indoors and fell from that spot for three weeks ago but climb back to the top after winning its first Big 12 Championship.  The Texas Longhorns moved up to No. 8 to give the women two in the top 10. Iowa State (15), Texas Tech (17), Baylor (19) and Oklahoma (23) make it six in the Top 25.

After taking a of a hit last week with two teams falling out of the Top 25, the men put on a show at the Big 12 Champion and four teams moved into the Top 25 to make it six total among the elite teams. Texas is leading the conference at No. 6. Texas Tech is the only other men’s team that was ranked last week and comes in at No. 14.

TCU (17), Oklahoma (21), Kansas (22) and Baylor (24) all made the jump into the Top 25 after stellar performances at the conference meet. TCU jumped 18 spots in the rankings, and Kansas made a big leap of 20 spots. Baylor moved up 12 spots on the list, and Oklahoma made the smallest jump of seven spots.

The strength of the league is shown by looking just outside the Top 25 as Oklahoma State (27) and K-State (29) put the entire league in the top 30 for the men.

Kynard Remains on Bowerman Watch List
The USTFCCCA announced its updated Bowerman Watch List for May and the list of 10 student-athletes up for college track and field’s biggest award still includes Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard. Kynard was on the initial Preseason Watch List and again in each update throughout indoor season and now on the third outdoor update. He posted a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championship and had an indoor season-high jump of 2.33 meters (7-07.75) at the KSU Open. Outdoors he has continued to jump high with a best of 2.34 meters (7-08.00), which is the highest jump in the world outdoors this season. He also has jumped 2.27 meters (7-05.25) and 2.30 meters (7-06.50) for an average outdoor jump of 2.30 meters.

13 Wildcats Named Academic All-Big 12
The Big 12 Conference announced its 2013 Academic All-Big 12 Track and Field Teams with 13 Kansas State Wildcats making the grade. K-State had 12 earn first team accolades and one was on the second team.

The women’s team had six student-athletes named to the first team with at least at 3.20 GPA and the men added six as well. The Big 12 honored a total of 214 student-athletes on the Academic All-Big 12 Team with 165 on the first team.

All six women on the first team receive the academic honor for the first time in their careers with Richelle Farley, Cenarda Jackson, Sarah Kolmer, Annelle Chestnut-Meals, Erika Schiller and Dani Winters being named to the list. Erica Twiss received second team honors. Chestnut-Meals and Schiller were among the 11 women honored with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

For the men Kyle Hanson and Kyle Wait both received first team honors for the second time in their careers and Ryan Hershberger made the list for a third straight year. Tommy Brady, Cameron Savage and David Taylor all received their first Academic All-Big 12 awards of their careers.

To qualify student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher either cumulative or the two previous semesters and must have participated in 60 percent of their team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated in a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation are also eligible.