Wildcats Eye Big 12 Championships

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Next on the agenda for the Kansas State track and field team will be the Big 12 Championships as the Wildcats travel to Columbia, Mo., to take on the field in arguably the nation's top track conference. The men's team enters the meet currently ranked No. 19 in the USTFCCCA rankings with a total of seven teams in the Top 25. A total of six women's teams are among the nation's best as well to ensure an exciting meet on both sides. Last season, the men's team finished sixth with 71 points scored, and the women came in ninth with 39 points.

The meet is slated to begin Friday morning with the 10,000 meters from Audrey J. Walton Stadium on Missouri's campus. Friday also will mark the first day of the heptathlon and decathlon. The men's and women's hammer throw will also be held Friday along with the men's javelin, which will make for a full day of action for K-State on Day One.

K-State will have a pair Wildcats competing in the decathlon as coach Cliff Rovelto has established K-State as one of the nation's top combined events programs. Sophomore Mantas Silkauskas looks to build off his second-place finish at last year's championship and Tomas Kirielius will hope to be follow as another freshman sensation at the meet.

Last season, K-State made a statement in the decathlon with three Wildcats posting NCAA automatic qualifying marks - a feat believed to have not been accomplished at a single meet by any school in history. Senior Stephanie Hejde will also be competing in the heptathlon looking to shine in her final Big 12 Championship meet.

The throwing events will be full of Purple on Friday as well with Eric Thomas competing in the men's hammer throw. Chelsie Bonds and Jacquelyne Leffler will throw for the women, and the trio of Kirielius, Cory Boulanger and Cole Zenisek throwing the javelin.

Saturday marks the preliminaries in all other running events for a full day of action across the board. K-State will have just two Wildcats competing in field events on Saturday in addition to the final events of the decathlon and heptathlon. Finals in the running events are scheduled for Sunday in addition to the remaining field events. K-State will have six Wildcats competing in Sunday's field events, including freshman high jumper Erik Kynard, Jr. who leads the Big 12 in the event and is currently ranked third in the nation.

Tickets can be purchased at Mizzou Arena Ticket Office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or at the stadium during the championship. All-Session passes can be purchased for $15. Adult single-day tickets are $7 and college students and youth tickets are available for $5.

For fans wanting to follow the action from afar, live results will be available online through www.flashresults.com. A live blog will also be provided through coveritlive.com similar to K-State sporting events in the past. For more information and to view the blog go to www.mutigers.com. K-State's official athletics Twitter page will also provide updates for Wildcat fans from the meet.

- k-statesports.com -