Unique Meet Provides Exciting Atmosphere
K-State track and field is hosting the KSU-KU-WSU Triangular, a unique meet where the top track and field programs in the state will bring their best athletes to compete with each school being scored individually to determine a champion at the conclusion of Saturday's competition.
A completely different format than most track meets, at this weekend's triangular, K-State, Kansas and Wichita State are limited in how many athletes will compete, and only the top two entries from each school in each event will be scored.
"The format and scoring is such that it keeps the competition close," explained K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto. "Since each school overall is limited to 26 athletes per gender, when you consider the number of events, 26 doesn't go far. So kids are going to have to double - you'll even see some kids who will compete in three or four events. That's unique at this time of the year. If you're going to try to be competitive in the meet, that forces you to have to play."
Though the individual performances will be some of the best Ahearn Field House has seen this season, the tactic of setting up those performances is, perhaps, the most important thing going into this meet.
"There is a lot of strategy in how you enter with this meet," Rovelto said. "You can lose the meet by just not entering properly. Of course, you have to perform, but you could have already made it pretty difficult on yourself just by how you enter."
And while Rovelto may know who he will have competing in each event tomorrow, he didn't give up any of his game plan.
"In a lot of meets, you have to enter maybe two weeks in advance, so everybody kind of knows who's doing what ahead of time," he explained. "In this one, the head coaches get together on Friday night and we do our entries. That prevents a school from changing its entry to work to its advantage."
With the limited number of competitors, not knowing who will be competing in what event ahead of time means each team will put their best competitors forward, and that will make for one intense, exciting atmosphere.
While this meet is unique, Rovelto is no stranger to its setup. From 1989 to 2006, K-State, Kansas and the University of Missouri competed together in a similar meet.
"We used to do this meet, same format and same scoring, with the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas, and it was a fun meet for us," said Rovelto with a smile, "Part of the reason it was fun was because we won 15 out of the 17 years."
This year's K-State track and field team has potential to be the strongest team the Wildcats have seen in quite some time. On the women's side, newcomers, such as junior transfer Akela Jones and freshman A'keyla Mitchell along with returners in the likes of juniors Sonia Gaskin, Tia' Gamble and senior Erica Twiss, have all come together creating one of the best female rosters in the history of the program. On the men's side, the talent is also strong as freshman Terrell Smith and senior Carlos Rodriguez in the sprints have already proven competitive in this 2014-15 indoor season.
"We want to do well in this meet, and we're entering with that in mind," Rovelto said. "We have kids that this meet will be their first meet that they've competed in this year, so there's a little bit of an unknown there, but it appears on paper that our women are probably the stronger of the three schools. However, with the men, it appears that the competition is relatively close between all three schools."
Tomorrow's meet begins at 11 a.m., in Ahearn Field House. To check out a complete list of times and events, please click here.