Twiss Finds Early Success with K-State Track and Field

Though early in the 2014-15 indoor season, the senior's score of 4,144 points at the Carol Robinson Pentathlon in Ahearn Field House last weekend is currently the best pentathlon score in the nation. It's a score good enough to qualify her for the Indoor Track and Field NCAA Championship meet in the spring - a feat that was, in fact, her goal going into the season-opening event.
"I came into this meet of just wanting to do what I had to do to get a solid score that would qualify me for Nationals," explained Twiss after the meet. "I was pretty solid across the board, no super-great performances, but everything was where it needed to be, and I ended up with a really great score in the end."
Placing first in four of the pentathlon's five events (60 meter hurdles, long jump, high jump and 800m) at the meet, Twiss' score was only 37 points shy of her career-best 4,151 points set at last season's NCAA Championships. 
"It felt great to start off on the right foot and pick up where I started off last season," said Twiss. "I'm still shaking the rust off a little bit, but seeing that I'm in the right place and on the right track, it's encouraging for the rest of the season."
Now with one goal out of the way, Twiss can focus on perfecting her individual events - especially her hurdles and long jump, two events she hopes to also qualify in for the NCAA Championship meet.
"It's so relieving because, now that I have that pentathlon score out of the way, I can focus on my individual events and get better in those," said Twiss. "I'm going to be competing in the hurdles and long jump mostly this season, and then when it comes time for the Big 12 Championship and Nationals, I'm going to take a step back and see where I think my strengths are."
Not far from her reach, Twiss has competed at the Outdoor NCAA Championship meet two times (2013, 2014), and, last summer, finished 16th with a leap of 6.14m/20-01.75 in the long jump. The summer before she placed 20th in the 400m hurdles with a time of 59.65. 
Last spring marked Twiss' first time competing at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet, finishing 10th in the pentathlon with her career-best score of 4,151. 
She hopes to carry her skills in all three events to the national level this year and, after a solid start to the year, the opportunity has never looked brighter. 
"Erica was very solid," said head coach Cliff Rovelto after her pentathlon performance. "The hurdles, I thought, were fifteen-hundredths to two-tenths off what she is capable of running right now. The high jump was very solid... the long jump was good and she ran very solid in the 800 (meter), especially for December. It was very good."
Heading into her final season of competition with the Wildcats, Twiss knows she has one last shot to achieve her goals, and she's using that as motivation to push her forward every leap, step and stride of the way. 
"It hasn't really hit me yet, but on Friday some people were like, 'Oh, this is your last first meet, how do you feel?' but it hasn't really hit me," she said. "I know it will towards the end. So it's going to be weird, but I do want to continue training after college, so that helps knowing that this wasn't my last first meet. I'm going to have another one next year, I just won't be in purple."
Here's a look at Twiss' scores in each event:
60H: 8.47 - 1,024 pts.
HJ: 1.71m/5-07.25 - 867 pts.
SP: 9.16m/30-00.75 - 475 pts.
LJ: 5.99m/19-08.00 - 846 pts.
800m: 2:14.32 - 902 pts.

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