Wildcats Prepared for NCAA Preliminaries in Texas

Kyle Wait

May 21, 2013

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AUSTIN, Texas – This week marks the beginning of the postseason for the Kansas State track and field team as a group of Wildcats are headed to Austin, Texas, for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. The top 48 individuals and top 24 relays in the region will compete over three days of action from Mike A. Myers Stadium with 12 spots on the line to advance to the NCAA Championship next month.

K-State has nine individuals set to compete for the men along with both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The women’s team has 12 individuals in a total of 14 entries, plus both relays. The combined events are not held at the regional meets, and K-State’s men already have two Wildcats qualified for the championship site in the decathlon.

Action starts Thursday at noon with field events. Prelims in running events are slated to start at     4:30 p.m. with the Wildcats entered in the women’s 400 meter hurdles to start the day. The Wildcats will compete in four of the five field events on Thursday and run in three track events. Friday will see more Wildcats in action with a large number running in preliminaries. The meet will close Saturday to see who will advance to the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore.

With the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to the NCAA Championship, there will be a number of high profile events to keep an eye on during the NCAA West and East Preliminary Rounds. In the West, the men’s pole vault will be highly contested to grab the top 12 spots. Going down the regional performance list the No. 12-ranked pole vaulter in the West is ranked No. 16 in the NCAA, making that one of the events with the tightest competition.

Both men’s and women’s 4x400 relays will also be among the high profile events at the meet in Austin. Women’s hammer throw will also feature a number of the top throwers in the nation, and the men’s 110 meter hurdles also will be stacked. K-State will have competitors in each of those events as well.

The women’s steeplechase also is a loaded event with K-State’s Martina Tresch ranked 10th in the region and 17th in the NCAA. Sara Savatovic in the women’s hammer throw stands No. 9 in the region and No. 14 in the NCAA, again showing the strength in that event overall.

Tickets for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds are on sale now with two options. Single-day tickets can be purchased for $10 with youth/senior tickets available for $7. Or fans can buy all-session tickets for access to all three days of action for $25 for adults or $17 for youth and senior citizens.

For fans unable to attend in person the meet will be webcast online at ulive.cbssports.com. Links will be available at kstatesports.com and texassports.com as well.

Live updates will also be available in multiple places online. Wildcat fans can get information on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday and the official team hashtag of #KStateTF. Fans can also get updates from @ncaa. Texas will have live results available online as well. A link to live results can be found at texassports.com and kstatesports.com.

Savatovic Named Big 12 Outstanding Freshman
Freshman hammer thrower Sara Savatovic won the team’s first women’s hammer throw conference championship since 2008 earlier this month, and for her effort she was named the Big 12 Conference Outstanding Freshman of the Year for the outdoor season.

Savatovic won the women’s hammer throw with a toss of 64.11 meters (210-04) to claim the school’s sixth Big 12 title in the event. Her throw was a new personal best and improved on her own Serbian national record. Her throw ranks second in school history and stands 14th in the NCAA this season.

With the award, Savatovic becomes only the second Wildcat to earn women’s freshman of the year honors from the Big 12 coaches, following Amy Mortimer’s indoor award in 2000. A member of the men’s team has never been named Big 12 Outstanding Freshman.

Seniors Shine in Home Finale
It was Senior Day at the R.V. Christian Track Complex for 18 K-State Wildcats during the Ward Haylett Invitational, and one in particular gave the fans a show.

High jumper Erik Kynard was competing for the final time for the Wildcats at a home meet, and he had his sights set on one goal for the day. He wanted to break the R.V. Christian Track Complex facility record in the men’s high jump, the only remaining K-State record he has yet to claim in his four years at K-State.

The senior did not disappoint as he sailed over the bar at 2.26 meters (7-05.00) on his second attempt to claim the new record. The previous record was 2.24 meters (7-04.50) held by former Olympian Ed Broxterman and set in 1998.

Kynard also received another honor on Saturday receiving the Heartbeat of the Team Award from the 299th Brigade Support Battalion. The track and field team’s partner unit from Fort Riley had representatives at the meet to present Kynard with the award which is given to a member of the team who has best demonstrated high moral character in keeping with the ideals of the U.S. Army: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

It was not just Kynard putting up big numbers for the Wildcats on Saturday. Big 12 champion pole vaulter Kyle Wait posted a mark of 5.38 meters (17-07.75) for the win and clearing two more bars than second place. Senior Cameron Savage was in fifth place at 5.03 meters (16-06.00).

Thrower Jessica Carter backed up her third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship in the discus with a throw that was only one centimeter short of that personal best throw a week ago. Carter claimed the win with a throw of 51.80 meters (169-11) in her final meet at home as a Wildcat.

Senior Jake Darrington was another thrower to take a victory in his final meet as he bested the field in the javelin. He won with a throw of 58.29 meters (191-03). One more win went to a senior as Richelle Farley crossed the line first in the 100 meter hurdles. She ran 13.42 seconds with a strong tail wind that would nullify the time from a record-keeping standpoint.

Men’s Track & Field Just Outside Top 25
The postseason is upon the track and field community and as the Wildcats prepare for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds, the men’s team finds itself again just outside the Top 25 in the latest USFTCCCA Rankings. Following the Big 12 Championships and Ward Haylett Invitational, the Wildcat men climbed one spot to No. 28 in the nation as the team has nine individuals competing this week in Austin and both relays.

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 six weeks ago after posting a new PR at the Texas Relays that ranks eighth in the NCAA this season.

Carlos Rodriguez is ranked in three different events. He has posted new PR’s in the 200 meters to put him on the list and he also ran a leg of the 4x100 and 4x400 relays that are currently No. 32 and No. 18, respectively.

Jharyl Bowry stands at No. 14 in the long jump with his leap of 7.79 meters (25-06.75) at the Big 12 Championship. Hurdler Tarique Hill moved up the rankings with a time of 13.88 to finish second at the conference meet and stands 28th on the USTFCCCA Rankings.

Two throwers are ranked for the men led by Ivan Hartung at No. 43 in the javelin. Ryan Hershberger stands 45th in the shot put.

The Wildcats have two ranked in the decathlon with Tomas Kirielius and Reinis Kregers both in the top 24 and already qualified for the NCAA Championship.

K-State’s women have five individuals ranked 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 five men’s and six women’s teams among the Top 25 of the latest USTFCCCA Rankings heading into the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.

The Kansas women were the preseason No. 1 for outdoors after taking second place indoors and fell from that spot briefly four weeks ago but climbed back to the top after winning its first Big 12 Championship. The Jayhawks remain at No. 1 this week but saw their lead in the rankings formula narrowed by Texas A&M, Oregon and LSU.  The Texas Longhorns held their spot at No. 11 this week while Iowa State climbed three spots to No. 14 to give the women three in the top 15. Texas Tech (20), Baylor (22) and Oklahoma (23) make it six in the Top 25.

For the men, Texas is the top team at No. 8. Texas Tech holds its spot at No. 16 and TCU slips to No. 20 while KU stays at No. 21. Oklahoma moves up one spot to No. 25 this week, and the Big 12 has a few other teams knocking on the door to crack the Top 25 with Oklahoma State’s men standing at No. 27, falling five spots from last week. K-State stands at No. 28 and Baylor is No. 31 to put eight of the nine men’s teams among the Top 40.

With six teams in the Top 25, the Big 12 women are only surpassed by the seven from the Pac-12. The SEC has five women’s teams ranked. Oklahoma State is the first women’s Big 12 team outside the Top 25 and is ranked No. 51.