Wildcats to Test Training in Track Opener

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After weeks of readying themselves for the start of the 2008 season, the Kansas State track and field teams will showcase their abilities opening weekend, Fri.-Sat., Dec. 7-8, in Ahearn Field House. Friday will feature the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon with both men’s and women’s starting in the early morning hours. The men will begin competition at 10 a.m., while the women start 30 minutes later at 10:30 a.m. with each appearing first in the 60M hurdles.

With the combined events being held on Friday, Saturday will feature a full slate of competition as K-State hosts the KSU All-Comers with a 10 a.m. start in field events. The men’s weight throw will get the meet underway, while the first track event will be the women’s mile run at 3:15 p.m.

A complete recap of Wildcat results will be posted on www.kstatesports.com following the conclusion of the events each day.

The K-State teams will have plenty of experience returning for them on the track and a large number of field competitors back for the 2008 season. The women will return 10 of 17 individual regional qualifiers from 2007 and half of the 4x100M and 4x400M relay teams. Included in those returning to don the purple and white this season are 2007 outdoor national qualifiers Morgan Bonds, Laci Heller, Marnyka Honeycutt, Donniece Parrish, Beverly Ramos and Ashleigh Reider.

Bonds, Honeycutt and Parrish will all look to contribute to the KSU squad in sprint and mid-distance events. Each finished as a member of one of K-State’s two NCAA qualifying relays, while Bonds also participated in the 800M last June in Sacramento, Calif. Heller will compete along with 2007 indoor national qualifier and All-American Loren Groves as the two most experienced field event competitors for the indoor season as Reider waits for javelin competition outdoors.

The men will look to seven individuals who regionally qualified during last outdoor season, while the Cats also return Scott Sellers who was the only Wildcat on the men’s side to compete in the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. The junior high jumper tops the list as a returning national champion and four-time All-American. Alongside Sellers, field performers Lamar Garrett, Bryce Bergman, Eric Thomas and Kyle Seiler return for 2008. Mike Myer will again be a visible fixture on the track for the Wildcats as the lone regionally-qualifying runner returning. Multi-competitor Adam Fretwell, who finished his sophomore year with a trip to nationals, will look for similar success during the upcoming indoor season.

The Wildcats will look for leadership from eight individuals who were voted as 2008 team captains. For the men, Bryce Bergman (pole vault), Lamar Garrett (high jump), Kyle Seiler (javelin) and Colin Swaney (distance) earned the vote of their peers. Seniors Morgan Bonds (mid-distance), Laci Heller (throws), Candice Mills (jumps) and Donniece Parrish (sprints) were all named captains on the women’s side.

Both the Wildcat men and women will be looking to carry on with the new season in hopes of picking up where they left off. The K-State men closed the 2007 season with a 17th-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships after tallying 15 points. Ten of those points return as Scott Sellers titled the high jump to earn two-thirds of K-State’s points, while graduated Kyle Lancaster scored the final five.

The last indoor competition found the Wildcats placing 32nd at the indoor national meet with six points from Sellers’ third-place All-America performance. The then-sophomore cleared a height of 7-03.25.

The women placed 50th at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a total of four points and bring back three of those in thrower Loren Groves. The 2007 Big 12 weight throw champion recorded a sixth-place finish in March with a throw of 67-0.6.75 to earn her first All-America accolade.

The 2007 season saw the falling of four school records, including three in the outdoor season alone. Both indoor and outdoor men’s high jump records were replaced by marks from outdoor champion Scott Sellers. The indoor record of 7-05.75 at the ISU Classic was the lone indoor mark to be replaced. The then-sophomore from Katy, Texas, also captured the outdoor record with a clearance of 7-07.75 to capture the Big 12 crown.

The remaining records to fall sit on the women’s side and include one relay marks. The 4x400M team (Shunte Thomas, Donniece Parrish, Monique Coleman, Morgan Bonds) ran a pace of 3:33.34 at the NCAA Midwest Regionals to break the old mark of 3:33.45 set in 2006 at the Texas Relays. Beverly Ramos etched her name into the books for the 3000M steeplechase as she finished the NCAA Midwest Regionals in a time of 10:21.71 to erase the mark of Amanda Crouse-Behnke from the 2001 Big 12 Championships (10:49.65).

Kansas State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto wrapped up his 15th season with the Wildcats in 2007 with All-America resume additions - make that three additions and all in the event of high jump. Rovelto coached his Cats through the NCAA Outdoor Championships and walked away with three All-Americans, including one national title holder. Scott Sellers finished with gold in the high jump to mark the fifth athlete under Rovelto to earn an NCAA title and sixth overall first-place finish. Kyle Lancaster finished fourth with his seventh All-America honor, while Kaylene Wagner took eighth to earn her first All-America accolade as a Wildcat.

Now entering his 16th season, Rovelto has guided 42 individuals to 94 All-America certificates and 47 Wildcats who won 66 conference titles. The list includes five to win six NCAA Championships, while Rovelto has coached 15 NCAA runner-ups and 11 NCAA bronze-finishers.

Kansas State not only added student-athlete newcomers during the offseason, but the Wildcats will also have a new face alongside the track in assistant coach Tom Pappas. The native of Azalea, Ore., has won two-consecutive USA Outdoor championships after titling the decathlon in 2006 (8,319 points) and 2007 (8,352). The 2000 and 2004 Olympian won the Olympic Trials in 2000 with a then-personal best mark of 8,467 and earned a No. 2 ranking in the United States from Track and Field News. Pappas placed fifth at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, with 8,425 points.

Pappas had his strongest year in 2003 when he set a new career mark and scored over 8,700 on two occasions. He captured his second of four USA Outdoor titles with his all-time top mark of 8,784 points. Paired with a title at the 2003 World Outdoors (8,750), Pappas earned his first ranking of No. 1 in the world by Track and Field News.

The 1999 graduate of the University of Tennessee took the decathlon crown at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the same year that he held the NCAA record with 8,463 points set in Tempe, Ariz. His early successes include winning the USA Junior and Pan Am Junior combined titles in 1995.

Pappas joins the Cats for his first season as an assistant coach and will work with jumps and combined events.

During last year’s Carol Robinson event, the Kansas State women took control of the pentathlon competition as senior Marianne Schlachter took the title. She earned her second career pentathlon victory with a then-personal best of 3,482 points. Current Wildcat Stephanie Hejde finished fourth while graduated senior Tasha Harvey rounded out the K-State entries in fifth.

On the men’s side, former K-Stater James Ball took the top spot to mark two straight victories at the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon. Current junior Adam Fretwell took third with a point total of 3,746.

In the 2006 KSU All-Comers the Kansas State track and field team finished with two members earning automatic bids to the NCAA Indoor Championships. Kaylene Wagner earned the first qualification for the Wildcats as she titled the high jump with a mark of 6-00.50, while Scott Sellers tied a then-career best of 7-04.25 to also earn a place after the first meet.

After the event was through, K-State had captured eight event titles, including both men’s and women’s high jump with Wagner and Sellers. In addition, sophomore Loren Groves threw for a provisional mark with a then-PR of 64-02.50 in the women’s weight throw. Graduated Monique Coleman set an All-Comers meet record in the 60M with a run of 7.53 while Joe Moore also captured an event record of 8:39.61 in the men’s 3000M. Current Wildcats Candice Mills (only eligible for the outdoor season in 2008), Lauren Fisher and Morgan Bonds all titled events at the 2006 KSU All-Comers.