Wildcats Open Season with Two-Day Home Meet

Jeffrey Julmis

Dec. 9, 2010

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State Wildcats begin their indoor track and field season this weekend when they host 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 is slated to start Saturday at 11 a.m.

K-State welcomes back a strong core of returners on the men’s side and a young but experienced group on the women’s side of things as both squads look to move up in the Big 12 Conference in 2011 and make their presence felt on the national level again as well.

The men’s team will be led by the trio of Moritz Cleve, Jeffrey Julmis and Erik Kynard. Cleve looks to return to form in his final season as a Wildcat after winning the Big 12 title and earning All-America honors as a sophomore two years ago in the heptathlon. Julmis has his eyes set on the school record in the 60-meter hurdles and another All-America certificate. He broke the outdoor 110-meter hurdles record this spring. Kynard earned All-America status as a true freshman in the high jump helping to keep K-State’s reputation as one of the top high jumping programs in the nation alive and well. After finishing second at the Big 12 Championship last season, Kynard hopes to bring the high jump title back to Manhattan.

This trio will not be alone as the main contributors for K-State’s success in 2011, however. Martynas Jurgilas debuted at the Big 12 Indoor Championships last season for K-State and now has all season to run sprints for the Wildcats after setting the Lithuanian outdoor national record in the 100 meters this spring. Two more Lithuanians will be factors for the men’s team with junior Mantas Silkauskas competing alongside Cleve in the heptathlon. Silkauskas also could see competition in the sprints and hurdles. Sophomore Tomas Kirielius will be the third horse in K-State’s stable of combined events specialists and after a year of training with coach Cliff Rovelto, Kirielius could make an impact in the heptathlon as well. Sophomore Isaac Mallory has improved from a year ago and could be a fourth impact player for K-State in the combined events.

On the women’s side, the pair of TiAra Walpool and Nina Kokot has been consistent scorers at the Big 12 Championship throughout their careers. Last season, Kokot finished second while breaking the school record in the long jump. Walpool battled injury and looks to again score in the triple jump as she did last year.

The throwers have depth working to their advantage with Chelsie Bonds and Amanda Boor each scoring at last year’s Big 12 Championship. The addition of Jessica Carter and Ammina AgBoga give K-State the opportunity to have three and possibly four Wildcats on the podium at this year’s Big 12 meet in Lincoln, Neb. The men’s throwers also have some strong depth with Jordan Bauer and transfer Tomaz Bogovic each with the potential to score at the conference meet.

After the success of the K-State’s women’s cross country team, the coaching staff is hoping that can translate into success for the mid-distance and distance events during the indoor season as well. The Wildcats went to the NCAA Cross Country Championship as a team for the first time since 2000 finishing 25th, and senior Sydney Messick and sophomore Martina Tresch were named All-Region. They will be joined by a solid group of young runners as well with freshman Avery Clifton expected to contribute. Sophomore Sara Stoakes claimed the Big 12 Outdoor 800M title as a freshman last spring and is back to improve on her 11-place finish at the indoor meet last year. Junior Boglarka Bozzay looks to score again in the 1,000M after finishing fourth last season in the Big 12.

One of the big additions for the women’s team is combined events athlete Ryann Krais. Krais transferred from UCLA to help the Wildcats in the pentathlon and heptathlon. She was an All-American at UCLA and has seen success on the international level as well.
 
The annual combined events pentathlon on Friday will feature four of K-State’s younger combined events women as sophomores Lauren Garrott and Cenarda Jackson will compete along with freshmen Erica Twiss and Julia Zeiner.

Saturday will draw athletes from across the region 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. The Wildcats will have a large group of athletes competing on Saturday with the coaching staff getting its first look at the newcomers in a competitive setting.

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

Bellinder Wins Elite 88 Award
Senior Alyssa Bellinder became the latest Wildcat to be recognized for her hard work in the classroom at the NCAA cross country national championship banquet receiving the NCAA Elite 88 Award as the top student-athlete in her sport with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The Elite 88 Award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 88 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 88 championships.

“I was always taught to do everything to the best of my ability, and I carried that over to college,” Bellinder said. “I never let myself not do my best in anything whether it’s running or grades. This is something I’ve been working so hard at, and it’s paid off. It’s been a great season and I’m so happy to be here with a great team and, I’m glad I made the decision to join the team because I didn’t think I could do it.”

Eligible student-athletes are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. All ties are broken by the number of credits completed.

Bellinder won the award on the credit hours tie-breaker rule as four other student-athletes had perfect 4.0 GPA’s. She has completed 122 credit hours double-majoring and will begin her student teaching in the spring and look to become a teacher in the fall.