Seven Wildcats Advance to Finals

COLUMBIA, Mo. - It was a cold and rainy day in Missouri for the second day of action at the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Weather affected most of the events on Saturday from the conclusions of the heptathlon and decathlon to field events and preliminaries of running events. Kansas State still managed to see success on the day, including one of the day's fastest times.

Saturday began with the final events of the decathlon and heptathlon. Sophomore Mantas Silkauskas began the day just a few points behind Missouri's Nick Adcock in the decathlon and was a full hurdle ahead of the field in the fastest heat of the 110 meter hurdles before tripping over the sixth hurdle and not finishing. Following the event, Silkauskas had to withdraw ending his run at seeing the Wildcats win the decathlon two years in a row.

Instead, it was up to freshman Tomas Kirielius to keep K-State's name among the leaders in the decathlon. Kirielius posted personal records in all five events on the first day to put his name near the top; however, he would struggle in two events Saturday to just miss the podium finishing ninth overall with 6,129 points.

Kirielius threw just 99-05 in the discus to fall back in the field. His best throw this season in the discus was 142-07, but much of the field struggled with the weather conditions during the event. He then went on to not clear the opening height in the pole vault and not score any points in the event. Kirielius was in luck, however, because a total of three of 10 remaining athletes posted an NH in the pole vault and he went into the javelin in position to score. He went on to blow by the field in the javelin with a throw of 195-10, which ranks third in school history for a decathlon. Kirielius went into the final event in seventh place, but his time in the 1,500 meters dropped him down to ninth as

The Wildcats saw a total of seven student-athletes advance to Sunday's finals during preliminary heats in the running events. The running was highlighted by Martynas Jurgilas in the 100 meters.

Jurgilas won his heat in the 100M clocking in at 10.33 seconds to automatically advance to the final. The time was the fastest time of the day in the event and also ties for second in school history.

A trio of Wildcats advanced to finals in the hurdles. Denise Baker qualified for the 100 meter hurdles final by one-hundredth of a second getting the eighth spot based on time. She crossed the line in 13.81 seconds to beat out Texas A&M's Donique' Flemings and her time of 13.82. Baker entered this weekend ranked 11th in the conference.

Two men made the final of the 110 meter hurdles with Jeffrey Julmis winning his heat to automatically advance and Balazs Baji qualifying on time. Baji and Julmis will run next to each other in the final Sunday receiving lane assignments side-by-side.

Aside from the hurdles, K-State saw the rest of its success running on Saturday in the 800M. Sara Stoakes entered the weekend as the No. 1 runner in the event as a true freshman. She won her heat to advance to the final with the fourth-fastest time of the prelims. Lekesha Pointer-Allen ran the best race of her career, but it was not enough for the senior as she just missed out on the final. Pointer-Allen ran a personal best time of 2:11.27 to finish 10th overall, but it was not fast enough with the last spot in the final going to Texas Tech's Devin Bailey with a time of 2:10.86.

The men's squad qualified two for the final in the 800M to surprise the field for a second year in a row. Jack Sachse emerged last year at the Big 12 Championship to qualify for the final as the surprise, and he repeated the feat qualifying on time again this year as anticipated by the coaching staff. The surprise was Jacob Davies advancing to the final after entering the weekend ranked 30th in the conference in the event. Davies went on to finish second in his heat and cut 1.26 seconds off his personal best time.

Saturday also marked the final day of the heptathlon with senior Stephanie Hejde narrowly missing out on the podium as she finished ninth with 4,571 points - just 13 points behind eighth place. Hejde and the field had to battle the conditions with the heavier periods of rain falling during the heptathlon and decathlon. She climbed back into contention to finish on the podium after the long jump and javelin, which are two strong events for the senior. She was passed by in the standings in the 800M, however, by a pair of athletes trailing her as she ran the final event in 2:31.06.

Closing the day out for the Wildcats was freshman Deszo Szabo finishing eighth in the pole, which was forced indoors due to the rain. Szabo cleared 16-08.50 to score one point toward the Wildcats' total.

Heading to the final day of competition Nebraska's men and women lead the team standings with Texas in second in both as well. Finals are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. with the 4x100 relay. Field events start at 2 p.m. with the men's high jump and discus and women's triple jump. Fans can follow the action live with live results being posted at as well as live video from Audrey J. Walton Stadium on the site.