Wildcats Host Back-to-Back Meets to Open Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State Wildcats begin their track and field indoor season this weekend with the annual Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon and KSU All-Comers. The pentathlon is set to begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Ahearn Field House and the All-Comers open meet slated to start at 11 a.m.

K-State is hoping to ride momentum from a strong 2009 into this season after the men's team posted its highest finish in over a decade at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. During indoor season, the men's team finished tied for seventh at the conference championship with the women finishing 10th. A number of veterans return for both squads in addition to one of the strongest incoming freshman classes in some time will build on last year to make 2010 another successful year for the Wildcats.

The annual combined events pentathlon on Friday will feature a smaller field than year's past with K-State's returning mutli athletes competing Saturday in specific individual events and not the pentathlon. The Wildcats do return a strong group of combined events athletes this season, however, as junior Moritz Cleve finished fifth in the heptathlon at last year's NCAA Championship and took third in the decathlon during outdoor season. Rok Derzanic missed much of last year's indoor season due to an injury but was an All-American his freshman year in the heptathlon. Last year's breakout freshman Manatas Silkauskas is expected to make an impact again this season, and the trio is joined by a large group of newcomers to the team the coaching staff believes will make noise in 2010 as well.

On the women's side, Stephanie Hejde returns for her senior season after earning points at the Big 12 Championship for the Wildcats. In addition to Hejde, a strong group of incoming freshmen could come up big for the women's team as well, including a pair in the pentathlon.

Saturday will draw athletes to compete in a full schedule of events in the KSU All-Comers beginning at 11 a.m. Field events will be held first on Saturday with the running events beginning at 2 p.m.

Results will be posted on www.k-statesports.com following each day's action.

Returners Provide Strength for K-State
In addition to the group of combined event athletes returning for the Wildcats this year, a strong core group will help keep the Wildcats building off momentum from last season. Assistant coach Steve Fritz has a number of returners in his group of throwers and coach Michael Smith's distance runners bring back a strong unit looking to make even more of an impact in 2010.

Ali Pistora highlights the returning throwers for the women's team after finishing eighth in the weight throw last year at the Big 12 Championship and making the podium during the outdoor season in the javelin. She qualified for the NCAA Regional in the javelin and advanced to the NCAA Championship. Amanda Boor and Chelsie Bonds also showed improvements last season with Boor scoring in the hammer throw during outdoor and Bonds placing ninth in the weight throw at Big 12's.

For the men, Eric Thomas and Cole Zenisek lead the way wth Zenisek finishing eighth in the weight throw at last year's Big 12 Championship.

The Wildcats look to be competitive in distance running events as well with one key male and female runner from last year graduating and leaving the rest of the group in tact. Beverly Ramos is the most decorated of the returners and enters her senior season riding momentum off her strongest cross country showing as a Wildcat. She is joined by a much improved Sydney Messick and Megan-Anne Perrin along with sophomore Boglarka Bozzay who finished third in the 800M in the Big 12 last year. Emilee Morris and Alyssa Bellinder also should run well for the Wildcats. The men have Jack Sachse leading the way after a good outdoor season in a group filled with young talent.

K-State will be strong in the jumps again with the return of junior TiAra Walpool in the triple jump. Walpool finished third at the Big 12 Championship last year during indoor and advanced to the NCAA Championship in the outdoor season. She also ran a leg of the distance medley relay team that advanced to nationals during indoor. She will not be alone on the sand with Kim Haberman expected to be stronger this year along with the return of Nina Kokot after an injury last year.

In the high jump, Michael Healey returns after battling an injury last season and senior Cassie Styers is back after leaping a personal best last season and scoring points at the Big 12 Championship during outdoor season.