March 1, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Three Wildcats traveled to Fayetteville to compete at the Arkansas Final Qualifier in an attempt to move up the NCAA rankings and qualify for the NCAA Championship next week, and junior pole vaulter Kyle Wait succeeded in breaking a school record and putting himself in position for an NCAA bid.
Wait broke the K-State school record with a vault of 5.45 meters (17-10.50), clearing the height on his third attempt. Entering the meet Wait was tied for 19th in the NCAA and the height of 5.45 meters was 11th. The top 16 athletes will go on to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Arkansas next week, and Wait’s clearance of 5.45 meters nearly solidifies his spot at the championship meet. He was eliminated attempting 5.65 meters (18-06.50) after passing two heights. If he had cleared 5.65 meters, Wait would have been No. 1 in the NCAA this season.
“Kyle had a very impressive performance,” K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said. “It is very tough to do that in these last chance type meets.”
K-State assistant coach for pole vault Kyle Hierholzer said Wait was able to enjoy the moment and did not put pressure on himself, which allowed him to break the school record and put himself into a position to qualify for his first NCAA indoor championship.
“I thought it was very special. It’s hard to come to a last chance meet and perform at a high level, especially after the stress of a conference championship the week before and considering our travel,” Hierholzer said. “Kyle stayed relaxed and had fun today. He just flat out enjoyed himself out there. I think he took three really good attempts at 5.65 and should be confident heading into the NCAA meet.”
High jumper Zack Riley opened the action for K-State on Friday afternoon and quickly cleared his first two bars on first attempts. He jumped 2.07meters (6-09.50) and 2.12 meters (6-11.50) but then struggled to clear 2.17 meters (7-01.50), a height he had cleared at his previous five competitions. By not improving his highest jump of the season, Riley will remain just outside the top 16 necessary to go to the NCAA Championship. Riley did win the competition Friday by clearing his two bars on first attempts, tallying his second victory of the season.
After winning K-State’s first men’s long jump conference championship since 1989, juco transfer Jharyl Bowry said it was bittersweet because he was not ranked high enough to go to the NCAA meet. On Friday, Bowry tried to change that but was unable to. Bowry fouled on his first three jumps before posting a mark of 7.10 meters (23-03.50) on his fourth jump. On his sixth and final attempt, Bowry leapt 7.34 meters (24-01.00) to finish in third place but did not improve on his season best jump of 7.54 meters as he will not be ranked high enough to go to his first NCAA Championship.
The NCAA will announce the field for the championship meet on Monday. Based on the current descending order list, the Wildcats should have four student-athletes competing for titles next week at the Tyson Randal Track Center in Arkansas.