Wildcats Compete Strong at World University Games

Martynas Jurgilas

Aug. 22, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State had a trio of track and field athletes compete at the World University Games throughout last week in Shenzhen, China, and came away with some impressive performances. Sprinters Martynas Jurgilas and Mantas Silkauskas competed for their native Lithuania and high jumper Erik Kynard represented Team USA.

Jurgilas came away with two strong runs to finish 17th overall in the men’s 100 meters. Jurgilas qualified for the in the second round and ran 10.47 in his heat but came up just .01 of a second short of advancing to the semifinals. His time was not far off his time at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Rounds that helped him advance to the NCAA Championship this season.

Kynard finished 13th in the high jumper after entering the contest with the highest jump of the season in the field. Kynard advanced to the final with ease clearing 2.20 meters but then struggled in the final due to a mistake during the preparation stages for the competition.

K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said Kynard cleared the first two heights of the final easily but then barely brushed the bar at 2.18m. After the competition, he and Kynard saw that Kynard had inaccurately measured his approach, causing his steps and perspective while going over the bar to be out of sorts.

“There are so many variables that have to be managed and I as Erik’s coach have to do a better job of helping him control those things which are controllable,” Rovelto said following the competition. “At the same time, Erik fully appreciates that he has to grow in his ability to manage himself in competition. He did a tremendous job of that this year in domestic competition and now he needs to master the same in international competition. As he gets more experience, things will slow down for him and he will be among the very best in the world. Unfortunately, it is a hard lesson because physically he looked as good as he has ever looked. His next task is to make final in Daegu and give himself the opportunity compete with the best in the world."

As Rovelto mentioned, Kynard’s summer of international competition is not over as he will continue to wear the Red, White and Blue at the IAAF World Championships in Deagu, South Korea. He finished third at USA Championships to qualify for the team with the A Standard mark. Two of the three high jumpers for Team USA are coached by Rovelto, with USA champion Jesse Williams ranking No. 1 in the world this year. Kynard is tied for 13th in the world.

Silkauskas competed for Lithuania in the 110 meter hurdles and ran 14.19 seconds in the preliminaries to advance to the semifinals. His time was his third-fastest time this year not aided by high winds. He was unable to compete in the semis, however, and did not start.

Jurgilas closed out the competition on the final day after the Lithuanian 4x100 relay team qualified for the final running 40.05 in the prelims. Lithuania along with two other teams were disqualified in the final, however.

This was the first time since 2003 USA Track and Field has fielded a team for the World University Games. Twenty athletes were chosen to compete with 10 men and 10 women taking on the world’s best. The games include events across all athletics similar to the Olympic Games with Team USA claiming a total of 49 medals combined to finish fifth in total medal count.

The men’s track and field team helped Team USA capture four medals with Washington State’s Jeshua Anderson winning the 400 meter hurdles. Ronald Brookings from Sacramento State finished third in the 110 meter hurdles. Marquise Goodwin claimed silver in the long jump from Texas and Kansas’ Mason Finley finished third in the shot put. Team

USA’s women’s track and field team won five medals at the competition. Southern California’s Nila Ali led a pair of Americans in the 100 meter hurdles winning gold while Ohio State’s Christina Manning took bronze. Baylor’s Tiffany Townsend took silver in the 200 meters. In the 4x100 relay Townsend and Manning teamed up with South Carolina’s Lakya Brookings and Shayla Mahan to take silver, and Arizona’s Brigetta Barrett won the high jump

K-State Athletes Results
Men’s High Jump
13th: Erik Kynard, 7-00.50

Men’s 100m
17th: Martynas Jurgilas, 10.47 (0.5) Round 2
Prelims: 10.59 (0.4)

Men’s 110m Hurdles
Mantas Silkauskas, 14.19 (0.2) prelims
Did not start semifinals

Men’s 4x100 Relay
Lithuania: DQ’d in final
Prelims: 40.05