USA Championships on Tap for Kynard, Rovelto

Cliff Rovelto

June 19, 2013

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The collegiate track and field season may be over, but the excitement is just beginning for elite athletes in the world of track and field. K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto is headed to Des Moines, Iowa for this year’s USA Championships to coach three athletes as former Wildcats Erik Kynard and Ryann Krais are eyeing their first USA titles, and volunteer assistant coach Bettie Wade also is looking to earn her first gold medal at the national championship meet.

Kynard hopes to keep Rovelto’s streak going as an athlete coached by Rovelto has won the men’s high jump title at the USATF Championships each of the last three years. Rovelto is responsible for nine of the last 12 champions with four different athletes winning. Kynard hopes to become the first Wildcat to win a USA Championship since Nathan Leeper went back-to-back in 2002 and 2001 as he is set to jump at 1:45 p.m. Sunday from Drake Stadium.

The women’s heptathlon gets started on Thursday with Krais and Wade both hoping to make Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow later this summer. Last year at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Wade finished fourth and Krais claimed 10th. Two years ago Krais finished second with a score of 6,030 points but was not selected to participate at the World Championships as her score was not the qualifying A-standard.

Wade has been to the World Championships, qualifying in 2009 following her senior year at Michigan and before she began training with Rovelto.

The top three finishers in each event are eligible for the IAAF World Championships if they all have the A-standard for their respective event. Typically, USATF will accept only one entrant to Team USA that has the B-standard and not the A. In addition, defending world champions receive an automatic spot on their respective nation’s teams with the possibility of four team members in that event.

One event where the USATF could send four athletes is the men’s high jump with Jesse Williams competing and seeking to defend his title from 2011. Williams is coached by Rovelto as well as Jamie Nieto. They along with Kynard represented all three jumpers on Team USA at the Olympics and could be three of the four in Moscow if they place high enough on Sunday.

If Krais or Wade can qualify in the heptathlon, it would be the first time a Rovelto-coached athlete has competed in that event at the IAAF World Championships since Diana Pickler in 2009. The heptathlon starts Thursday at 2:15 p.m. with the second day of action picking up at 2 p.m.

There is one future Wildcat in the field this week as high jumper Rachel Proteau is qualified and competing in both the junior (under-20) and senior high jump. She is the No. 1-ranked high school jumper in the nation this year with a clearance of 6 feet 1 inch to break the Oregon high school state record. Proteau signed her NLI in February and will join the Wildcats this fall.

The meet will be televised on multiple networks in the NBC family and online at Live coverage on begins Wednesday during the junior championships and will continue throughout the week. ESPN, Universal Sports, NBC Sports Network and NBC will have nine hours of live coverage on television. When the live broadcasts are going, will provide live coverage of field events. Check your local listings for times and channels in your area.

Fans can follow the action online via social media and live stats. Results will be available at Updates on the Wildcats and athletes coached by Rovelto can be found on Twitter by following @kstate_gameday and @USATrack_Field. Official hashtags to keep tabs on will be #KStateTF, #USATF and #ShowUsYourWings.