Wildcats Take on Conference in Boulder

MANHATTAN, Kan. - In the 12th running of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, the conference foes will compete for bragging rights as Colorado hosts the event for the first time beginning May 16th. The three-day event gets underway from Potts Field in Boulder, Colo., on Fri., May 16th with the combined events at 10 a.m. With preliminary heats taking place on Saturday, the finals of many of the running events will run on Sunday.

Kansas State will travel a group of 21 women and 15 men to the championships, with five combined events competitors as well as three throwers opening the meet on Friday. The Wildcats will compete in 31 events over the course of the championships. Indoor weight throw champion Loren Groves is slated to throw the hammer at noon on Friday as well as the discus at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Reigning indoor and outdoor high jump champion Scott Sellers will jump in the finals on Sunday at noon.

A daily recap of K-State events and results will be posted at www.kstatesports.com. For additional information and live results, links may be found at www.kstatesports.com, www.big12sports.com and www.cubuffs.com.

Last Time Out
Kansas State tore through the weekend of May 3rd and produced two school records, four new regional marks, nine titles and numerous personal bests. Junior Loren Groves opened the lone home outdoor meet, the Ward Haylett Invitational, with a hammer throw for the record books. The native of Scott City, Mo., finished with a school and facility record of 214-05. The toss broke the 10-year, 209-04 school mark of Renetta Seiler from the 1998 Big 12 Championships and bettered the facility record of 196-09, also from Seiler in 1998. Groves also captured the win in the discus with a personal-best throw of 173-08, fourth best in school history.

In men’s sprints, junior Mike Myer raced to two victories with season best regional marks. In the 100M, the Lenexa, Kan., native clocked a wind-aided run of 10.35 to improve his previous wind-aided PR of 10.36. In the afternoon, Myer also raced to the 200M victory with a sprint of 21.05, garnering his first win in the event.

In the women’s sprints, Marnyka Honeycutt earned her first regional mark in the 200M after she took the win with a time of 23.91. She also raced to a regional mark in the 100M with a career-best wind-aided mark of 11.48. Senior Donniece Parrish finished first in the 400M with a time of 54.54 to earn her first regional run in the event. On the track for the men, Sam James captured his second career victory in the 800M as he crossed the line in 1:51.65.

In field events, senior Candice Mills paced a group of three Wildcat women in the long jump. Mills earned her second win of the year with a jump of 20-06.50. For the men, junior Scott Sellers jumped to his seventh high jump win. He cleared the bar at 7-00.50.

At the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational, Beverly Ramos dropped more than six seconds from her school record in the 3000M steeplechase. She raced to a time of 10:15.56 to break her 2007 record of 10:21.71 from the NCAA Midwest Regionals.

2007 Big 12 Recap
The 2007 Big 12 Championships ended with a number of firsts including first-time outdoor champions with the Oklahoma men and Texas A&M women. The Sooner men scored 140 points with three individual champions, while the Aggie women tallied 110.50 points on the heels of a trio of individual titles. At the completion of the championships, over 300 NCAA regional marks were notched, while five Big 12 Championships Records were recorded.

Kansas State posted a seventh-place finish on the women’s side with 60 points, as the men finished 10th with 42 points. Then-sophomore Scott Sellers garnered K-State’s lone individual title after recording a Big 12 Championship’s record height of 7-07.75, which also broke the KSU school record.

Current senior Laci Heller captured the silver in the hammer throw with a toss of 199-08. Earning the bronze, then-freshman Beverly Ramos bettered her then-PR in the 3000M steeplechase with a run of 10:36.05. Morgan Bonds recorded a fifth-place finish in the women’s 800M after clocking a 2:11.45. Liliani Mendez earned All-Big 12 honors after placing eighth in the 5000M with a time of 17:47.74. K-State’s 4x100M women’s team took fourth with current Wildcats Marnyka Honeycutt and Donniece Parrish contributing to the 45.66 time. Bonds and Parrish were also a part of the fourth-place finishing 4x400M team that raced to a time of 3:36.29.

For the men, first-year Wildcat Mike Myer raced to fourth in the 100M with a time of 10.36. Newcomer Eric Thomas captured all-conference honors in his first year after tossing a distance of 172-03 in the discus to take sixth. Current senior captain Kyle Seiler finished fourth in the men’s javelin with a mark of 198-11, while Adam Hoffman finished seventh with a 190-00 effort. After the completion of the men’s decathlon, then-sophomore Adam Fretwell finished sixth with 7.197 points.

Cats’ Conference Title Tally
The Kansas State men have notched a total of 142 individual titles in conference championships dating back to the 1929  Big Six Conference Championships. Since the first Big 12 Championships in 1997, the Wildcat men have recorded 11 titles with at least one in each of the last four years. Junior Scott Sellers returns as the only men’s champion after capturing the high jump win in 2007 with a height of 7-07.75. He became K-State’s 14th high jump gold medal and the first since Nathan Leeper in 1998.

Since the 1974 Big Eight Championships, the K-State women have tallied 76 individual champions with 22 occuring since the first Big 12 Championships in 1997. K-State opened the current conference era with at least one title in each of the first seven championships, but have since only had titles in the 2006 event. K-State will look to gain a fifth Big 12 title in the only event that will return a champion - the hammer throw. In 2006, current senior Laci Heller captured her second Big 12 title with a throw of 193-07 in the hammer. She had earned the gold in the indoor weight throw earlier that same year.

K-State Team Successes
The Kansas State women have had a number of successes in the team standings at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, as the Wildcat women have titled the event on two occassions. After taking third in three years and fourth in one, K-State earned its first Big 12 title at the 2001 meet in College Station, Texas, with 128.25 points and three individual titles. In 2002, the Wildcats earned the title of back-to-back champions after capturing the win with 121 points in Columbia, Mo., after taking four individual victories. The top finish since was third in 2003.

The title has eluded the Wildcat men who have a top finish of third from the first Big 12 Championships in 1997, which were held in Waco, Texas. Since then, K-State has placed struggled to finish higher than fifth, which they have achieved on five occassions (1998; 2001-02; 2004-05).

Right at Home
Kansas State sprinter Mike Myer has pulled out his best performances of the season in locations closest to home. In his own backyard of Lawrence, Kan., Myer took the 100M win at the Kansas Relays on Sat., April 19th. The junior, who is a native of Lenexa, Kan., raced to a run of 10.42 in the prelims on Thursday to qualify with the fastest time. He went on to earn his then-second career outdoor win with a 10.43 in the finals. 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. At the Ward Haylett Invitational hosted by K-State, Myer posted his season-best of 10.35 in the 100M to capture his second win of the year. He added his first 200M win at the event with a sprint of 21.05 to improve his regional standing. In the 100M, Myer ranks 20th in the nation and sixth in the region. He is currently 50th in the 200M among regional qualifiers.

A Hammer to the Record
Junior Loren Groves took a hammer to the school and facility record on Saturday, May 3rd, at the Ward Haylett Invitational. On her first attempt, Groves earned both records with a throw of 214-01, breaking the school mark of 209-04 set by Renetta Seiler at the 1998 Big 12 Championships. The mark also broke Seiler’s 1998 throw of 196-09, which sat as the R.V. Christian Track record. On her second attempt, Groves earned her top mark of 214-05 which bettered her personal best by nearly six feet. At the conclusion of the event, Groves finished with five legal marks and each passed her throw of 208-04 from the Nike Elite Meet on March 29th.

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 six outdoor titles including her first four 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 then-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. She then earned her second school record (Groves owns the indoor weight record) after throwing a PR of 214-05 at the Ward Haylett Invite for her fourth win. She doubled her efforts for the second time this season after she tossed a PR in the discus with a 173-08 distance. Groves’ four hammer throw titles have been the result of her top three career marks. Three of her top four discus marks have also been recorded this season.

Ramos Resets Record
At the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on May 4th, Kansas State sophomore Beverly Ramos broke the school record in the 3000M steeplechase after finishing 13th. The field in Palo Alto, Calif., contained a number of professional athletes and found Ramos as the third finishing collegiate with a time of 10:15.56. Ramos owned the previous school record of 10:21.71, which she posted at the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regionals to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships. Ramos, a native of Trujillo, Puerto Rico, broke the Puerto Rico national record with the effort on Sunday.

As a freshman, Ramos first broke the 2001 school record of 10:49.65 by Amanda Crouse-Behnke with a time of 10:41.48 at the 2007 Pepsi Invitational in her second run of the event. She continued to lower the mark during championship rundowns with a clocking of 10:36.05 at the 2007 Big 12 Championships and finished with a season best at Regionals. Entering the Cardinal Invitational with the 25th-best collegiate mark, Ramos improves to 11th in the nation and fifth in the Midwest Region. Ramos notched a previous top-time of 10:28.70 this season at the Mt. SAC Relays to finish seventh.

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.

Partial to Parrish
After having a phenomenal indoor season, senior Donniece Parrish remains a force to be reckoned with for the Wildcat women on the track. The odds have been in her favor since qualifying for her first NCAA Indoor Championships, as Parrish has placed her name among the contenders for the outdoor sprints. Parrish opened the season with a first-place finish at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in the 100M after crossing the line in 11.87. She then followed up the performance with her first career regional qualification and PR at the UTEP Invitational with a time of 11.70. After qualifying in the 200M as well at the Nike Elite with a then-PR, Parrish dashed to a time of 23.50 at the UTEP Invitational to better her 23.66 from the Nike. She had a previous 200M career mark of 23.67 from the Big 12 Championships last season. At the Ward Haylett Invite, Parrish added a third distance to her regional resume as she raced to a career best in the 400M with a run of 54.54. During the 2007 season, Parrish qualified for regionals on two occasions with both in the 200M, including her first career regional time of 23.88 at the UTEP Invitational.

Honeycutt Earns Career Marks
Senior Marnyka Honeycutt had produced one regional mark in her career prior to this season, as she raced in the Midwest Regionals as a junior in the 100M. Before the Ward Haylett Invitational on May 3rd, Honeycutt had missed the qualifying mark on five attempts. During the home meet though, Honeycutt came through in a big way as she sprinted to her fastest wind-aided mark with a run of 11.48. She previously held a career best wind-aided mark of 11.73 from the 2007 Kansas Relays and dashed to a season-best 11.75 at the UTEP Invitational in April. Honeycutt doubled her efforts that Saturday from the R.V. Christian Track as she finished with a PR of 23.91 in the 200M. The time bettered her career mark of 24.02 from the 2008 UTEP Invitational and marked her first regional qualification in

Bergman Earns First Regional Mark of Year
Wildcat senior and 2008 team captain Bryce Bergman had been Mr. Consistent in the pole vault this season after reaching the 16-00.75 mark on three occasions during the month of April. After falling short of the regional mark four times this year, Mr. Consistent broke through at the Ward Haylett Invite and earned his ticket to the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Lincoln, Neb. Bergman cleared the bar at the 16-06.75 height to reach the regional clearance and earn third place. The vault marked his fifth regional mark and earned him a place at the meet for the fourth-consecutive year. The distance is a little less than one inch shy of Bergman’s career best of 16-07.25, which he obtained at the 2006 and 2007 Midwest Regionals.