Wildcats Close Out Competition in El Salvador

Akela Jones highlighted the final day of the NACAC U23 Championships by setting a new meet record in the long jump, while Sonia Gaskin and Ranae McKenzie each posted strong races at the Estadio Nacional Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez in El Salvador on Sunday morning.

“Over the course of the weekend, the people who you would expect to compete well did so,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said about his athletes’ performances at the competition. “The younger athletes are gaining valuable experience from international competitions like this.”

Jones, who had already set a new meet record in high jump on Friday and finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles on Saturday, recorded a leap of 6.74m/22-01.50 to finish in second place in the competition. Quanesha Burks of the United States won the competition with the same mark, edging out Jones based on her second farthest jump of 6.69m/21-11.50. 

“To jump what she did today in her third day of the competition is very good,” Rovelto said about Jones. “She had a very good series against a strong field.  The 2016 NCAA Outdoor Champion finished in fourth. The athlete that won was the 2016 NCAA Indoor Champion and runner-up during the outdoor season. Her preparations for Rio are going very well.”

Gaskin competed in her second event of the weekend on Sunday, finishing in in seventh place in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:10.63. She also finished in seventh place in Saturday’s 400 meter dash finals, posting a time of 54.86.

“I am surprised Sonia is running after having an injury flare up last week,” distance coach Ryun Godfrey said. “She missed training time and her performances this weekend are a reflection of her injury. She will bounce back fast. She is very resilient that way.”

K-State’s final competitor on Sunday was McKenzie, who competed in the 400 meter hurdles. The 2016 honorable mention All-American in the event, McKenzie finished in sixth place in the finals of the event with a time of 58.85. 

“Ranae has had a pretty good freshman year,” Rovelto added about the hurdler. “Her best performances have come at the end of the year.”

Next up for the Wildcats is the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, which kick off on August 5 with the opening ceremonies. For more information on the Olympic Games, including live streams and schedules, visit the NBC Olympic homepage here

For the latest on K-State track and field, follow @kstatesports and @KStateTFXC on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateTF or on the team’s Facebook page. 

NACAC U23 Championships
Estadio Nacional Jorge "Magico" Gonzalez
San Salvador, El Salvador

Women’s 800 Meter Run
7. Sonia Gaskin – 2:10.63

Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles
6. Ranae McKenzie – 58.85

Women’s Long Jump
2. Akela Jones – 6.74m/22-01.50 (Meet Record)