K-State Track Ready for NCAA West Regional Action

Martynas Jurgilas

May 24, 2011

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EUGENE, Ore. –
The road to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship begins this weekend with the NCAA West and East Regionals, and the Kansas State Wildcats are headed to Eugene, Ore., for three days of action at Hayward Field.

The West Regional is slated to start on Thursday at 10 a.m. with field events. Running events start at 3:30 p.m. at legendary Track Town. K-State will have 18 athletes in action over the three days with their eyes set on advancing through to the NCAA Championship in Des Moines, Iowa.

Last season, the NCAA changed its format for the regionals cutting from four down to two. The top 48 athletes in each event compete at the regional meets with the top 12 finishers advancing to the NCAA Championship for a field of 24 athletes in the events there.

The Wildcats are ranked in the top 10 in seven events with another ranked 11th. Athletes in running events, other than distance events, will have to get through two rounds at the West Regional to move on to the NCAA Championship. Runners in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and 3,000 meter steeplechase must finish in the top 12 of one race. The 4x100 relay also will only have one round of competition at the regional.

Senior thrower Ali Pistora will start the action for K-State in the first event of the meet competing in the women’s javelin. Pistora currently ranks seventh in the regional as well as the nation. Nina Kokot will also compete in field events on Thursday for K-State as she looks to advance in the long jump. Kokot stands sixth in the region and 10th in the NCAA this season.

Seven Wildcats will be on the track on Thursday beginning with Ryann Krais in the 400 meter hurdles. Krais has broken the school record four times this season in the event and won the Big 12 Championship last week. Meghan Heuer qualified for the regional with her time in the preliminaries at the Big 12 Championship in the 1,500 meters, and three Wildcats will run in the 800 meters to give K-State a strong presence in the mid-distance events. Boglarka Bozzay and Sara Stoakes will run for the women, and Sam James will compete for the men. Sydney Messick will also run in the 10,000 meters after her impressive showing at the Big 12 meet. Martynas Jurgilas will run in the 100 meters for the Wildcats and look to be the first sprinter to advance to the NCAA Championship for K-State in the event since Mike Myer did so in 2009.

On Friday, senior TiAra Walpool will be in the field for the women’s triple jump after shattering her personal best mark by 7.5 inches at the Big 12 Championship a week ago. She catapulted herself up 10 spots to No. 4 in the region with jump. Walpool also now ranks eighth in the NCAA. Sophomore high jumper Erik Kynard looks to continue his strong season at the West Regional as he is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA so far this season with his clearance of 7-07.00. He will face No. 3 Edgar Morales-Rivera from Arizona, who has jumped 7-05.75.

Five Wildcats will be jumping hurdles on Friday with Krais joining senior Denise Baker in the 100 meter hurdles. The group of Jeffrey Julmis, Mantas Silkauskas and Moritz Cleve will run in the men’s 110 meter hurdles for the Wildcats as well. Julmis is ranked eighth in the region and 10th in the NCAA after breaking the school record at the Big 12 Championship. Martina Tresch will look to move on in the women’s 3,000 meter steeple chase for the Wildcats after finishing third at the Big 12 Championship two years in a row. Tresch is ranked 11th in the region and 19th in the NCAA this season with her fastest time of 10:14.96.

Krais and Cleve are among the NCAA’s top combined events athletes and will compete in the heptathlon and decathlon, respectively, at the NCAA Championship as the regional rounds do not have combined events competitions. They instead will be attempting to represent K-State in more than one event by competing this weekend at the West Regional.

Tickets are on sale now through goducks.com with three-day tickets and single-day tickets available. There are multiple options with reserved seats and general admission as well as discounted prices for youth, students and seniors age 55 and up.

Fans unable to attend the meet can follow the action online in a number of ways. Updates will be posted on the Twitter feed @kstate_gameday throughout the competition. Live results will also be provided by flashresults.com, and a free webcast will be at goducks.com. The live webcast begins at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Both K-State Teams Ranked Among Top 30
Heading into the postseason Kansas State has both its teams among the elite in the nation with the women coming in at No. 17 in the latest USTFCCCA Rankings, while the Wildcat men moved up a few places to No. 26. The latest rankings take into account only athletes competing at regional meets this weekend and combined events athletes already declared for the NCAA Championship in two weeks.

K-State’s women began climbing up the rankings midway through the outdoor season when they jumped 17 spots over a span of two weeks to crack the Top 25 and eventually move all the way up to No. 16. This week they stand at No. 17. The women are led by heptathlete Ryann Krais, who ranks third in the heptathlon and also fifth in the 400 hurdles. Ali Pistora is ranked seventh in the women’s javelin with her toss of 170-11 at the Kansas Relays. Nina Kokot also is ranked in the Top 10 in her event standing in 10th in the long jump with her leap of 21-02.50 at the Drake Relays. TiAra Walpool is tied for eighth in the triple jump to give the women five Top 10 event rankings. Boglarka Bozzay (800m) and Denise Baker (100H) are both among the best in their events, and Martina Tresch is one of the elite runners in the steeplechase. Sydney Messick (10,000m) and Denise Baker (100H) also are ranked.

The men’s squad jumps two spots to No. 26 in this week’s rankings with the Wildcats ranked in the Top 10 in three events. Erik Kynard remains No. 1 in the high jump, and Jeffrey Julmis stands 10th in the 110 hurdles. The men’s 4x100 tandem of Mantas Silkauskas, Julmis, Jason Coniglio and Martynas Jurgilas is ninth in the NCAA as well. Jurgilas is 44th in the 100 meters, and Silkauskas is 28th in the 110 hurdles. Moritz Cleve stands 18th in the decathlon after his third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship. Sam James is ranked in the 800m and Moritz Cleve stands 18th in the decathlon.

The Big 12 is still the top conference with seven teams ranked in the Top 25 on the men’s side. Texas A&M (1), Texas Tech (5), Texas (8) and Nebraska (10) give the men four teams in the Top 10. Baylor (12), Kansas (15) and Oklahoma (17) round out the rest for the Big 12 in the Top 25.

On the women’s side, an impressive nine teams are in the Top 25, with all of them in the Top 20. Texas A&M (1) is still on top this week with Oklahoma (6) and Baylor (9) giving the conference three in the Top 10. Texas (11), Nebraska (13), Kansas (16), Texas Tech (18) and Colorado (24) and  join K-State (17) on the list of the elite teams.

Krais, Kynard Claim Big 12 Titles
Both the men and women for K-State saw some impressive performances at the Big 12 Championship hosted by Oklahoma. Ryann Krais and Erik Kynard came home with conference titles under their belts, and Jeffrey Julmis finished second for the Wildcats. Moritz Cleve also added a bronze to the mix for the Purple and White.

Krais dominated the women’s 400 meter hurdles breaking the school record in the prelims and in the final, clocking in at 56.06 to win her first Big 12 crown. Kynard flew higher than the competition in the high jump with his leap of 7-05.25 to sweep the event both indoor and out.

Julmis broke his own school record in the 110 hurdles in the final for the men finishing second behind Texas Tech’s Omo Osaghae. Julmis clocked in at 13.53 seconds to hold off a charge down the stretch over the last hurdle. Cleve charged up the leaderboard in the decathlon on the second day of action to jump over some competitors and finish third with his score of 7,543 points. He finished just 40 points behind Kenny Greaves of Texas for a narrow miss at second. It was Cleve’s first decathlon of the season and puts him 18th in the NCAA, good enough to qualify for the NCAA Championship.

In addition to Krais’ win in the 400 hurdles, she also finished fifth in the high jump. Martina Tresch crossed the line third in the steeplechase, and Boglarka Bozzay finished fourth in the 800. TiAra Walpool leapt to a fourth-place finish in the triple jump while Nina Kokot came in fifth in the long jump.

Ali Pistora came in seventh in the javelin as well as Jacquelyne Leffler in the hammer throw. Freshman Julia Zeiner finished sixth in the heptathlon with strong showings in all seven events. Her total score of 5,142 ranks fifth in school history. The women’s team finished eighth overall with a total of 48 points.

4x100 Named Big 12 Athletes of the Week
The 4x100 relay tandem of Mantas Silkauskas, Jeffrey Julmis, Jason Coniglio and Martynas Jurgilas have been recognized as the Big 12 Athletes of the Week for their impressive win at the Ward Haylett Invitational. The Wildcats opened the running events of the meet with a bang that got the home crowd on its feet as the 4x100 relay team blew by Nebraska on its way to shattering the school and facility records at K-State clocking in at 39.46 seconds. Julmis and Coniglio ran key second and third legs for the Wildcats to give K-State the lead heading into the anchor leg. Jurgilas took the baton with a slight lead and pulled away from Nebraska to win by a full second over the Huskers.

The time broke the previous school record of 39.79 set in 1991. The previous R.V. Christian Track Complex facility record was held by Nebraska and set at the 2005 Big 12 Championship at 39.59. K-State’s time ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 13th on the NCAA list this season, however, three schools have multiple times on the list ahead of K-State due to different running orders, and K-State ranks as the No. 9 team when taking that into account.