Groves Wins Regional Hammer Title

LINCOLN, Neb. With her seventh-consecutive hammer throw win, junior Loren Groves took the title during Friday’s NCAA Midwest Regionals in Lincoln, Neb., to earn her first trip to the outdoor national meet. In addition to Groves, K-State automatically qualified two student-athletes to the premier event, the NCAA Championships, set for June 11-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.


Groves, who earned her first outdoor Big 12 crown two weeks ago in Boulder, Colo., continued her winning pace after tossing to a distance of 207-04, finishing nearly five feet better than second-place Kate Burton of Wyoming. The Scott City, Mo., native earned the mark on her first attempt and passed on her final three attempts in order to prep for discus finals set for four hours later.


“I am really excited because this is my first trip to outdoor nationals,” Groves said. “I knew going in that I had to throw decent. I couldn’t use all of my energy on the competition though because I had to throw the discus as well.”


Groves finished ninth in the late afternoon discus competition. She reached a mark of 160-01, but will likely earn an at-large bid after throwing a PR of 180-06 this season. The top throw sits as the ninth best among collegiates as at least seven additional marks will be selected from the pool of potential student-athletes.


Also successfully nabbing a position in the hammer throw field at the national meet, senior Laci Heller qualified for her fourth and final time in the event after placing fourth on Friday. The Meriden, Kan., product also pitched her top distance on her opening toss as she recorded a top throw of 195-06.


Groves is already a two-time indoor All-American in the weight throw, while Heller has advanced to the outdoor championships each of her years as a Wildcat. Heller earned her All-America accolade as a freshman when she finished eighth at the NCAA Championships.


For the men, 2007 high jump national champion Scott Sellers will attempt to defend his title in Drake as he finished third and punched his ticket to nationals after clearing 7-03.25. The junior from Katy, Texas, passed on the opening height of 6-09.00 and cleared the 6-11.00 and 7-01.00 bars on his initial attempt. After using two attempts to reach the 7-02.25 height, Sellers passed over his final mark of 7-03.25 on his first try.


Completing their season in the high jump, senior Lamar Garrett and freshman Michael Healey placed 17th and 18th, respectively. Garrett closes his Wildcat career finishing at a height of 6-11.00, two weeks after reaching a personal best of 7-00.50 at the Big 12 Championships. Healey finished the competition with a mark of 6-09.00.


The Wildcat women qualified three for Saturday finals, including the 4x100M relay team that placed eighth in the prelims. The squad of Marnyka Honeycutt, Candice Mills, Tiara Walpool and Donniece Parrish raced to a time of 45.32 to earn the final place over Sam Houston State who clocked a time of 45.64. The quartet will run at 4 p.m. in the finals to aim for a return trip to the national meet.


Parrish also advanced to a final as an individual after she crossed the line in 23.36 in the women’s 200M. The time marks a personal best for the senior and sits as the third best 200M run in school history. Parrish only competed in the event on two other occasions this season, including her previous PR run in her last 200M competition when she clocked a 23.50 at the UTEP Invitational on April 12th. Senior Honeycutt finished 20th in the prelims with a time of 24.57.


Prior to qualifying for the 200M finals, Parrish missed finishing in the top eight in the 400M after placing 11th in the prelims. She finished with the third-best time of the third heat with a mark of 54.60. Due to placing in the top 12 at regionals, Parrish will be placed in the pool for an at-large bid to the national meet. She has a top time this season of 52.51 (52.62 altitude adjusted) which sits as the 11th best mark in the nation.


Qualifying for the women’s 800M finals set for 5:25 p.m. Saturday, senior Morgan Bonds raced to the field’s third-fastest mark with a time of 2:08.78. She finished second in heat two of the event with the season-best effort. She had previously reached her top time this year at the Mt. SAC Relays after finishing in 2:09.08.


Senior Candice Mills, who won her first Big 12 title two weeks ago, finished just outside of the automatic qualifying position after placing sixth in the women’s long jump. She recorded a top leap of 20-04.25 which she notched on her first jump of the afternoon. Freshman Nina Kokot placed 12th in the region with a mark of 19-06.25. Mills will await the announcement of the at-large bids as her top jump of 20-10.00 is 21st in the country.


Freshman Alexandra Gonzalez finished outside of automatic qualification as she took seventh in the women’s pole vault with a career best of 12-11.75. She was able to pass over 12-00.00 on her first attempt then reached 12-06.00 on her third. She cleared 12-11.75 on her first try but was unable to vault over at 13-03.75. Gonzalez had a previous best of 12-07.50, the regional minimum, which she achieved twice during the season but not since the Drake Relays in late April. Teammate Nancy Harrington missed the opening height on each attempt and ends the season with a top mark of 12-07.50.


In the men’s javelin, Cameron Traxson inched towards a career mark but fell short with an eighth-place finish and a throw of 209-05. He finishes the year with a PR of 210-02. Junior Adam Hoffman, competing in his first regional competition, finished 17th with a mark of 199-09. Hoffman had a season best throw of 209-01 from the ESU Twilight Qualifier in early May, his lone regional toss of the year.


Junior Mike Myer finished the season after missing the finals of the 100M and 200M on Friday. He was shy of the finals in the 100M by 0.05 of a second after clocking a 10.50. In the 200M, Myer placed 16th in the prelims with a run of 21.26. He finishes the year with a personal best in the 100M with a time of 10.35 from the Big 12 Championship prelims and raced to a mark of 20.93 in the 200M the same day.


Also in running events, sophomore Sam James raced in his first regional meet as he finished 13th in the men’s 800M. He raced to a time of 1:51.84 and placed fifth in the heat three preliminary.


In men’s field events, freshman Rok Derzanic tied for 12th with a jump of 22-11.75. He earned the mark on his second attempt, but missed qualifying for the finals. Derzanic finishes the year with a top jump of 25-02.50 from the decathlon competition at the Big 12 Championships.


Kansas State will wrap up action at the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Saturday, with Wildcats in four field events as well as five running event finals. For a complete recap of K-State events, please visit Live results can be found at as well as at host Nebraska’s website,