Wildcats Eye NCAA Championships

Martina Tresch

June 7, 2011


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DES MOINES, Iowa – The Kansas State track and field team is set to compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships this week with Wildcats competing in 10 events. The Wildcats bring some of the nation’s top talent to the meet in Des Moines, Iowa, as K-State is one of only 14 schools to have both its men’s and women’s teams ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25.

K-State goes to the NCAA Championship with the women’s squad ranked 19th in the nation and the men standing in at No. 25. Of the 14 schools with both teams ranked, six of them are from the Big 12 Conference. Texas A&M (1 men, 2 women), Texas (9/8), Baylor (15/10), Nebraska (17/12) and Kansas (20/16) join K-State among the elite programs in the nation.

Action gets underway Wednesday with the decathlon starting at noon. K-State senior Moritz Cleve enters the championship meet ranked 18th in the decathlon after finishing third at the Big 12 Championship with his score of 7,543 points. In 2009, Cleve finished third at the NCAA Championship as he looks to return to form and again finish in the top eight for the Wildcats to earn points toward the team score. He also finished 10th a year ago.

Wednesday will be a busy day for the Wildcats with Nina Kokot also set to compete in the women’s long jump. She is currently ranked ninth in the NCAA this season with her best jump of 21-2.50 at the Drake Relays in April. The women’s long jump will be a Big 12 Conference affair with five of the top 12 in the event all hail from the league.

Opening the running events for the Wildcats on Wednesday will be the men’s 4x100 relay at 5:30 p.m. The tandem of Grant Loescher, Jeffrey Julmis, Jason Coniglio and Martynas Jurgilas finished seventh at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Rounds to advance to the championship meet. This season marks the first time K-State has had a men’s 4x100 relay at the NCAA Championship meet since 1973. The Wildcats also have never had an All-America 4x100 squad. K-State’s time of 39.46 seconds ranks eighth heading into the meet.

Jurgilas will also run in the semifinal heat of the men’s 100 meters after finishing eighth at the West Regional Preliminary Rounds. His fastest time of 10.39 seconds this season ranks 23rd. Julmis will run in the semifinals of the men’s 110 meter hurdles on Thursday. In 2010, Julmis earned All-America status finishing fifth with his time of 13.61 seconds. Earlier this season he broke his own school record while claiming second at the Big 12 Championship in 13.53 seconds. He currently ranks 10th in the event coming into the championship meet.

Also in action for the women on Wednesday will be mid-distance runner Boglarka Bozzay and combined events specialist Ryann Krais. Bozzay will look to move on to the final in the 800 meters as she currently ranks 18th in the 800 with her time of 2:05.77 at the West Preliminary Rounds. Krais will be running in the semifinals of the 400 meter hurdles where she ranks fifth in the NCAA with her time of 56.06 seconds. She has broken the school record in the event four times this season, and will also be competing in the heptathlon with the first day of the seven events slated for Thursday when Cleve will be completing the decathlon. Krais ranks third in the heptathlon as well.

Semifinals for the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase are set for Thursday with Martina Tresch set to compete for a second straight year in the event. Last season, Tresch finished 16th in the event and enters the meet after running her fastest time of the season at the West Regional Preliminary Rounds finishing 10th. Her time also ranks 12th in the nation heading into the meet.

High jumper Erik Kynard is slated to jump on Friday at approximately 5:30 p.m. when he will look to claim his first NCAA title. Kynard currently ranks first in the NCAA and third in the world with his jump of 7-7.00 in the Drake Relays in April. He will be up against familiar foes in Edgar Rivera-Morales from Arizona and Ricky Robertson from Mississippi. Robertson has cleared 7-6.00 this season, and Rivera-Morales jumped 7-5.75 along with Maalik Reynolds of Penn.

Fans can purchase tickets to watch the action live at Drake Stadium with a variety of options. Reserved seating for all four days of action is available for $85. Single session reserved seating for Wednesday and Thursday are $20 and single session tickets on Friday and Saturday cost $30.

The meet will be televised by CBS and CBS College Sports. Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. the meet will broadcast on CBS College Sports, and CBS will have coverage Saturday from 12-2 p.m. Portions of the meet will be webcast at NCAA.com and GoDrakeBulldogs.com for events that will not be televised. Fans can also follow the action online with live results provided by FlashResults.com. Attempt-by-attempt updates will be provided during field events to keep fans up to date as the action is going on.

Both K-State Teams Ranked Among Top 25
Heading into the NCAA Championships Kansas State has both its teams among the elite in the nation with the women coming in at No. 19 in the latest USTFCCCA Rankings, while the Wildcat men stand at No. 25. The latest rankings take into account only athletes competing at the NCAA Championship this week, and K-State is among 14 schools with both the men’s and women’s teams ranked in the Top 25.

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. 19. The women are led by heptathlete Ryann Krais, who ranks third in the heptathlon and also fifth in the 400 hurdles. Nina Kokot also is ranked in the Top 10 in her event standing in ninth in the long jump with her leap of 21-02.50 at the Drake Relays. Boglarka Bozzay (800m) and Martina Tresch (steeplechase) also rank among the elite in their respective events.

The men’s squad jumps one spot to No. 25 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 is eighth in the NCAA as well. Jurgilas is 23rd in the 100 meters. Moritz Cleve stands 18th in the decathlon after his third-place finish at the Big 12 Championship.
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) and Texas (9) give the men three teams in the Top 10. Baylor (15), Nebraska (17) and Kansas (20) round out the rest for the Big 12 in the Top 25.

On the women’s side, seven teams also are in the Top 25, with all of them in the Top 20. Texas A&M (2), Oklahoma (5), Texas (8) and Baylor (10) give the conference four in the Top 10. Nebraska (12) and Kansas (16) join K-State (19) on the list of the elite teams.

Kynard Named Midwest Field Athlete of Year
Sophomore high jumper Erik Kynard was recognized by the USTFCCCA as the Male Midwest Field Athlete of the Year heading into the NCAA Championships. Kynard has the highest clearing among collegiate jumpers this season leaping 7-07.00 at the Drake Relays when he finished second to Olympian Dusty Jonas based on attempts. Kynard has not lost to a fellow college competitor during the outdoor season and is eyeing his first NCAA title this week in Des Moines, Iowa. His top jump also ties for the third highest jump in the world this year. Kynard sweeps the award this year as he also won the Male Midwest Field Athlete of the Year for indoor season.

Kokot Earns Academic All-District
Long jumper Nina Kokot added to her list of accomplishments at K-State as she was selected to the Capital One Academic All-District Team. Kokot was voted to the second team in District VII by the College Sports Information Directors of America to receive the award for the first time. Kokot graduated this spring with her degree in kinesiology and a 3.919 GPA.