Groves, Heller Among Advancing Throwers

DES MOINES, Iowa Kansas State completed the first day of the 2008 NCAA Track and Field Championships with a number of Wildcats advancing, including Loren Groves and Laci Heller in the women’s hammer throw. The pair sits in the top four in the field after the qualifying round from Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on a day that included delays from the rain-drenched area.

 

Wildcat junior Groves, out of Scott City, Mo., placed third in the hammer throw qualifying round (three attempts) after recording a second attempt of 206-07. Heller, a senior from Meriden, Kan., finished a foot back from Groves in fourth with an effort of 205-05. The toss is Heller’s second-best career mark, her top throw since reaching her PR of 208-08 in the season opening Baldy Castillo Invitational. Heller, competing in her fourth outdoor nationals, reached the mark on her first try and threw for nearly six feet better than her previous top NCAA Championships throw; Heller reached 199-09 at the 2005 Championships when the then-freshman earned her lone outdoor All-America honor.

 

Southern Illinois’ Brittany Riley led the field with a throw of 211-07, while Eva Orban of USC was second after tossing 210-11. The duo each only used one attempt and passed on their final two tries. The field of 12 advancers, who will compete in the finals at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, all threw a top mark of over 200 feet in the qualifying round.

 

Groves, the two-time indoor All-American competing in her first outdoor nationals, also found herself among those advancing to the finals of the women’s discus. She finished with the fifth-best qualifying throw of 169-00 on her second attempt. The group of 12 finalists will compete for All-America accolades at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Washington State’s McKenzie Garberg out-threw the field of 29 by seven feet as she recorded a top distance of 177-03, while second-place Tai Battle of Arizona State posted a mark of 170-11.

 

On the track, the No. 28-ranked Wildcat women qualified two runners for further rounds, including senior Donniece Parrish in the 400M. During the first round, the Florissant, Mo., native clocked a time of 53.71, her second-best career mark, to earn the final qualifying spot. After advancing in her first individual race at the national level, Parrish moves on to the Friday 8:15 p.m. semifinals.

 

In the 3000M steeplechase, sophomore Beverly Ramos earned a position in the finals with the field’s 11th best mark. She raced to a time of 10:22.21, which sits as her third-best mark in the race. Ramos, the Puerto Rico native who finished 25th in the semifinals a year ago, will race in the field of 14 during Friday’s final at 7:25 p.m. Colorado’s Jenny Barringer led the field by 13 seconds with a top time of 10:00.56.

 

For the men, K-State junior Scott Sellers advanced out of the qualifying round in the men’s high jump. The 2007 national champion of the event was among nine qualifiers that finished Wednesday night with a height of 7-00.25. An additional six jumpers will move on to the finals after clearing the bar at 6-10.75. Sellers will look to defend his title as the finals will be contested at 7 p.m. on Friday.

 

Freshman Moritz Cleve sits in 12th after the first day of the decathlon, which found the Brochum, Germany, native with 3,721 points. Out of the five events, Cleve posted three personal bests including one in the opening event, the 100M, when he raced to a mark of 11.27. Cleve also recorded career bests in the shot put (45-04.25) and the 400M (49.85) and finished with the eighth best effort of the field in each. In the long jump, he registered a leap of 22-04.50 and added a height of 5-10.00 in the high jump. Oregon’s Ashton Eaton paces the 26-man field with 4,289 points. Day two will begin at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday with the 110M hurdles.

 

K-State’s women’s 4x100M relay closed the season on Wednesday despite racing to the squad’s second-best performance of the season in the semifinals. The team finished 16th with a time of 45.14 using sprinters Marnyka Honeycutt, Candice Mills, Tiara Walpool and Parrish. Mills also competed individually in her final long jump competition as a Wildcat as she placed 23rd in the qualifying round. After fouling on her first two attempts, the 2006 All-American recorded a wind-aided third try of 20-00.25. Also finishing a remarkable four-year career at K-State was Morgan Bonds. The senior from Hutchinson, Kan., crossed the line at 2:09.25 in the first round of the women’s 800M, where the fast field had 13 qualifiers race under 2:07.00.

 

For complete coverage of the NCAA Championships, visit www.ncaasports.com or host Drake’s website at www.drakebulldogs.org. Live results can be followed each day at www.flashresults.com.