`Cats Seek NCAA Bids at West Prelims

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- K-State Track and Field competes in Austin, Texas, this week at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds with hopes of clinching bids to the NCAA Championships later this June. Held at the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium, the Wildcats send a total of 24 entries to compete against the top athletes in the Division I West Region.

Action is set to begin Thursday, May 28, at noon and continue through Saturday, May 30. Further information, such as live results, a complete list of entries and a full meet schedule, can be found by visiting the Championships Central page at www.ustfccca.org.  

What to Watch For --

The Wildcat women and men enter competition this week with 16 and 8 entries, respectively. To qualify for NCAAs, which are held two weeks later in Eugene, Oregon, on June 10-13, athletes must finish in the top-12 out of a field of 48 competitors -- 24 for relays -- in their respective events at Prelims.

On the women's side, their 16 entries are third-most among Big 12 schools, as they will look to build off last season's qualification efforts that saw five individuals and one relay team earn a trip to Eugene. Among the highlights of this season's group, the Wildcats are the one of only two women's squads to have four entries in the high jump -- Kim Williamson, Akela Jones, Alyx Treasure and Rhizlane Siba. Williamson (1st), Jones (1st) and Treasure (7th) also make up a group of seven Wildcat women total to have top-12 marks in the West Region heading into competition this week -- joining A'Keyla Mitchell (200m), Dani Winters (Shot Put), Sara Savatovic (Hammer Throw) and Danie Plank (Javelin).

For the men, the Wildcats' eight entries consist of Terrell Smith (200m) and Kain Ellis (800m) on the track, Christoff Bryan, Nate Gipson and Zack Riley in the high jump, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye in the long jump and Ivan Hartung and Dwight Davidson in the javelin. The high jump group, in particular, is one of only three schools to have three entries in the event, while Bryan (3rd), Otuonye (4th), Gipson (6th) and Smith (11th) all rank top-12 in the West in their respective events. Last season saw four Wildcats join decathletes Devin Dick and Reinis Kregers at NCAAs by earning bids at Prelims, including returners Hartung and Riley.

#KStateTF Quick Hits --

• In the penultimate edition of USTFCCCA Team Rankings, the Wildcat women remained at No. 10 and the men at No. 22 for a second-straight week. After dropping to No. 11 prior to Big 12s, the women's jump back into the top-10 came thanks to a strong showing at the conference championships, as they have now spent six out of the eight weeks of the season so far in the national top-10.

A'Keyla Mitchell and Christoff Bryan were honored by the Big 12 last week, sweeping the Outstanding Freshman of the Year honors. Only the fifth time in Big 12 outdoor history that a program has swept the award, Mitchell and Bryan are also the first men's and women's athletes to win the Big 12 award outdoors for K-State. Mitchell, who also won indoor freshman of the year honors, is the eighth women's athlete to sweep the award in Big 12 history. For Bryan, he joined teammate and fellow high jumper Nate Gipson as the lone men's athletes to be named Freshman of the Year this season by the Big 12 -- Gipson won the accolade during the indoor season.   

Last Time Out...

The Wildcats registered a stellar showing at Big 12s in Ames, Iowa, with the women placing second and the men finishing eighth. The women, in particular, totaled a Big 12 era-best 129.50 points to finish behind only Texas, with Akela Jones snagging high-point scorer honors for a second time this season. As for individual titles, K-State tallied four with Kim Williamson in the high jump, Dani Winters in the shot put and Sara Savatovic in the hammer throw taking home titles for the women, and Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye snagging the K-State men's first-ever Big 12 outdoor long jump title.

Set to Compete...
(Please Note: First Round dates and times listed for track events | Marks displayed according to TFRRS -- converted marks are not used)

Men

AthleteEventWhen?Season-BestDI West Rank
Terrell Smith200M5/29 at 8:25 p.m.20.5112th
Kain Ellis800M5/28 at 8:35 p.m.1:50.0550th
Christoff BryanHigh Jump5/28 at 6 p.m.2.24m/7-04.253rd
Nate GipsonHigh Jump5/28 at 6 p.m.2.23m/7-03.756th
Zack RileyHigh Jump5/28 at 6 p.m.2.16m/7-0118th
Ifeanyichukwu OtuonyeLong Jump5/28 at 1:30 p.m.7.98m/26-02.254th
Ivan HartungJavelin5/30 at 12 p.m.70.02m/229-0914th
Dwight DavidsonJavelin5/30 at 12 p.m.63.33m/207-0940th


Women

AthleteEventWhen?Season-BestDI West Rank
A'Keyla Mitchell200M5/29 at 8 p.m.22.96w11th
Sonia Gaskin800M5/28 at 8:10 p.m.2:05.7416th
Laura Galvan10K5/28 at 9 p.m.34:43.4651st
Tia' Gamble400H5/28 at 4:30 p.m.59.0623rd
Morgan WedekindSteeplechase5/29 at 8:50 p.m.10:28.6134th

4x4005/30 at 9:25 p.m.3:35.1213th
Akela JonesHigh Jump5/29 at 6 p.m.1.87m/6-01.501st
Kim WilliamsonHigh Jump5/29 at 6 p.m.1.87m/6-01.501st
Alyx TreasureHigh Jump5/29 at 6 p.m.1.84m/6-00.507th
Rhizlane SibaHigh Jump5/29 at 6 p.m.1.76m/5-09.2533rd
Alyssa KellyTriple Jump5/30 at 1:30 p.m.12.63m/41-05.25w28th
Dani WintersShot Put5/30 at 6 p.m.17.75m/58-032nd
Sara SavatovicHammer Throw5/28 at 2 p.m.66.41m/217-102nd
Danie PlankJavelin5/30 at 5 p.m.50.67m/166-0310th
Haley PitkoJavelin5/30 at 5 p.m.46.02m/151-0042nd
Akela JonesHeptathlonQualified60491st


What's Next?

The 2014-15 season comes to a close with the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, on June 10-13. Held at Hayward Field for a third-straight year, K-State will look to build off of last season's performance that saw the Wildcats place both their men's and women's squads in the top-20 for the first time since 2011.