Wildcats Send 23 to NCAA Preliminary Rounds
Wildcats Send 23 to NCAA Preliminary Rounds
May 22, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The journey to the NCAA Championship begins this week for the Kansas State track and field teams. The Wildcats are off to Austin, Texas, for the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds of the NCAA Championship with the meet set to start on Thursday. K-State qualified in 11 events on the men’s side with a total of 12 entries, and the women have 11 entries in eight events. In addition to those entries, the Wildcats have three student-athletes who will compete in the combined events at the NCAA Championship in two weeks, as the regional preliminary rounds do not have combined events.
NCAA Preliminary Rounds take the top 48 in every individual event and the top 24 in relays. Following the first round of action at the East and West sites, 27 athletes will advance to the quarterfinals where the top 12 will move on to the NCAA Championship semifinals in Des Moines, Iowa, in two weeks. Some distance events will start with quarterfinals and semifinals at the preliminary round sites.
K-State’s men have an entry in every discipline area but long distance and feature two entries in the 100 meters. Martynas Jurgilas and Carlos Rodriguez look to represent K-State in the sprints and will be half of the 4x100 relay team that looks for a repeat appearance at the NCAA Championship semifinals. Last year was the first time since 1973 the Wildcats had a men’s 4x100 team at the NCAA Championship. The women’s 4x400 relay team also is in the West Preliminary Rounds looking to become the first All-American 4x400 team since 1974 during the pre-NCAA era for women.
Six Wildcats will compete in hurdle events this week with the women claiming four of those spots. Heptathletes Richelle Farley, Ryann Krais and Mairead Murphy will look to advance in the 100 meter hurdles. Krais and Murphy are already guaranteed a spot in the field at Drake University in two weeks in the heptathlon. Sophomore heptathlete Erica Twiss will be running in the 400 meter hurdles, running fast enough to qualify in her only 400 hurdle race of the season at 59.97 seconds. For the men, juco transfer Tarique Hill is set to run in the 110 meter hurdles and senior Franciso Colomar will be in the 400 hurdles for the second straight year.
After earning All-America status during indoors in her senior season, Boglarka Bozzay will be eyeing another certificate for the outdoor season in the 800 meters. She will be joined by fellow senior Armando Del Valle in the event on the men’s side for K-State.
A good number of K-State’s entries are in the field events with defending NCAA champion Erik Kynard highlighting the group. Freshman Alyx Treasure will wear purple for K-State in the women’s high jump and look to finish in the top 12 and move onto the finals at the NCAA Championship. The Wildcats have not had a female high jump All-American outdoors since 2007. Another Wildcat will be jumping as senior Kim Haberman currently ranks 15th in the West region. Senior Mantas Silkauskas will be in the men’s long jump as well after finishing second at both the Big 12 indoor and outdoor meets this season. His jump of 25-08.75 ranks 13th in the nation this season and sixth in the region.
After winning the first-ever Big 12 men’s pole vault title for K-State, sophomore Kyle Wait hopes to keep his successful sophomore season going by advancing through the preliminary rounds this week. His vault of 17-05.00 ranks 17th in the region with the top 12 finishers in Austin moving on. The last time K-State had an All-American in the men’s pole vault was 1982 when Doug Lytle finished second.
Rounding out K-State’s entries are the throwing events with a total of six. Jacquelyne Leffler is doubling up for the women’s team competing in the discus and shot put. Joining her in the discus is Jessica Carter, each making her first appearance in the NCAA Preliminary Rounds. Ryan Hershberger also is making his first NCAA appearance in the shot put, Tomaz Bogovic is making his first appearance in purple in the hammer throw.
Senior Cory Boulanger is the most experienced thrower headed to Texas for the Wildcats. He will be making his third appearance in the postseason after finishing 14th at the West Preliminary Rounds two years ago in Austin and claiming 18th at the 2009 Midwest Regional.
Fans can follow the meet online with ustfccca.org providing a championship central page on its website. The site has links to heat sheets, “brackets”, ticket sales, live results and breakdowns of entries by teams and conferences for both the West and East Preliminary Rounds. A live results link is also available at texassports.com with the Longhorns serving as the host for this year’s West Preliminary Rounds. Updates from both meets can be found by following @USTFCCCA on Twitter. The handle @kstate_gameday will also have updates for the Wildcats competing over the three days of action. Also providing coverage from the meets will be track and field blog sites FloTrack.org and RunnerSpace.com. Check those sites for video highlights, interviews and more.
Some Wildcats Among Best in USTFCCCA Rankings
Heading into the NCAA Preliminary Rounds this week, the latest USTFCCCA Rankings have been updated to take into account only athletes competing in the NCAA Championship meet. The Kansas State women drop three spots this week to No. 42 in the nation while the men fell six places to No. 66.
The Wildcat women opened the outdoor season at No. 19 on the preseason list with senior Ryann Krais ranked among the nation’s best in a number of events. This week she is only ranked in the heptathlon, where she is the defending NCAA champion. Freshman high jumper Alyx Treasure is the only other female Wildcat ranked in the top 10 in her respective event coming in at No. 7 with Krais at No. 8. K-State has one other women poised to make an impact on the postseason with their standing just outside the top 10.
Four other Wildcats and one relay team are ranked in the top 50. Mairead Murphy is 24th on the list in the heptathlon and Jacquelyne Leffler is No. 27 in the shot put. Kim Haberman comes in at No. 31 in the long jump, and Richelle Farley is 43rd in the 100 meter hurdles. The women’s 4x400 team also is ranked at No. 47.
The men’s team fell six spots to No. 66 this week. Erik Kynard dropped to No. 13 in the high jump, but the defending NCAA champion has only jumped three times outdoors this season, and in poor weather conditions at least once. Mantas Silkauskas also is ranked No. 13 in the long jump. He is one-fourth of the men’s 4x100 team that is ranked No. 17 heading into the postseason. Joining Silkauskas on the relay team are Martynas Jurgilas, Carlos Rodriguez and Dane Steen. Jurgilas is 28th in the 100 meters and Rodriguez is 36th. Armando Del Valle is 43rd in the 800 meters, and Tomas Kirielius is 22nd in the decathlon.
In other field events, Kyle Wait is 26th in the pole vault, with Ryan Hershberger and Tomaz Bogovic ranking No. 41 each in the shot put and hammer throw, respectively.
Big 12 Best Track Conference in Nation
The Big 12 Conference is known across the country as one of the top leagues in the nation with its exposure in football and basketball, but track and field is yet another sport the Big 12 can hang with the best. In this week’s USTFCCCA Rankings six men’s teams and seven women’s teams are ranked in the Top 25. Three of those men’s teams are in the Top 10 while the women boast an impressive five of the Top 16 and four in three Top 10.
Two schools (Texas, Texas A&M) have both their men’s and women’s programs in the Top 10 with Texas Tech almost threatening the double-dip at No. 9 and No. 11. Baylor (24/21), Kansas (20/2) and Oklahoma (22/16) give the conference six teams with both their men and women ranked in the Top 25.
The SEC and Big Ten also each have six men’s teams in the Top 25 while the Pac-12 has five of the top teams in the nation. Three of those SEC teams are in the Top 10. No other conference has more teams in the Top 25 than the Big 12 women. The SEC and Pac-12 are next with five apiece.
While the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten may stack up with the Big 12 when it comes to teams in the Top 25, it is not even close when examining the depth of the Big 12. Taking every team in the Big 12 into account as the USTFCCCA ranks every team, the Big 12 men’s average ranking is 28.6. The Big 12 women combine to average an impressive 21.5. The lowest ranked team in the conference for the women is Missouri at No. 52. The average ranking fo the SEC men is 32.1 with the Big Ten coming in at 36.9 and the Pac-12 at 50.4. The Pac-12 women combine to average 49.2. The SEC women’s average is 53.7, and the highest ranked women’s team in the Big Ten is Illinois at No. 19.