K-State Inks Five to NLIs

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State track and field has signed five athletes, three female and two male, to National Letters of Intent in the early signing period. The new additions are Aiga Grabuste (EYE-ga Grah-BOO-stee), Michael Healey, Boaz (BO-azz) Lalang, Lauren Lucas and Sydney Messick.


“Overall in terms of the quality and the impact of this class, they will have a significant impact on our team right away,” said head coach Cliff Rovelto about the five signees.


Grabuste is a combined events athlete with international experience, finishing ninth in the heptathlon at the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, China. The product of Rezekne, Latvia has personal-bests of 5,443 points in the heptathon, 3,935 points in the pentathlon, a distance of 19-09.50 in the long jump and a time of 14.06 in the 100-meter hurdles.


“She is a very good athlete. Outside of Austra (Skujyte), she is the best combined athlete that we have ever signed,” stated Rovelto about Grabuste. “She has proven herself head-to-head to be one of the best in the world in that event.”


Healey joins the Wildcats from Katy, Texas and Cinco Ranch High School. He is the third Cougar to sign with K-State in the last three years, joining Scott Sellers and Denise Baker. Healey has a personal best clearance in the high jump of 7-00.00.


“He jumped seven foot as a junior, which is a quality mark,” said Rovelto. “He is a great kid, who is extremely intelligent and has a very good work ethic. He is a kid who is probably going to improve a great deal over the next few years.


Lalang is an accomplished distance runner from Timboroa, Kenya, who finished third at the 2006 Kenyan Junior Championships in the 1,500-meter run with a clocking of 3:42.20. He is also currently ranked 18th on the World Junior rankings in the event.


“Boaz is absolutely one of the best middle distance runners in the world for his age,” said Rovelto about Lalang. “He has placed very high in the Kenyan national meets at the junior level, which some of those kids make the finals at the world championships. From the standpoint of where he is at coming in with his credentials, he is far and away the best kid who has committed to Kansas State at that age.”


Lucas is a native of Round Rock, Texas who competes in the pole vault. She has registered a personal-best clearance of 12-01.00.


“I first saw her jump at the Texas Relays and my initial impression of her was that she reminded me a great deal of Erin Anderson, just in the way she moved and carried herself and ran down the runway,” said Rovelto. “She has really good coaching and is a really good kid. She loves the sport and we think she has a pretty good upside.”


Messick, a product of Topeka Seaman High School, was the 2006 Kansas 5A State Cross Country champion. She notched a time of 14:59 on the 4K track at Rim Rock Farm.


K-State will open the 2007 indoor track and field season on Dec. 8-9 with the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon and KSU All-Comers meet in Ahearn Field House.