Jan. 16, 2014
Heat Sheets | Performance List | Graphic MANHATTAN, Kan. – Fresh off a strong performance in Lawrence, Kan., K-State Track and Field returns home for the Wildcat Invitational in Ahearn Field House this Saturday. Competing against the Wildcats will be Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State for the second time this season as well as the University of Tulsa. Both the men’s and women’s teams match-ups will be scored as triangular and double dual meets between the schools. Last season’s Wildcat Invitational saw K-State sweep the meet against the returning Cowboys and Golden Hurricane, as well as UMKC’s track and field squads. In all, the Wildcats won 18 events including dominant performances in the jumps and sprints categories. This year’s invitational is set to begin with field events at noon and conclude with track events scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. Admission to the event is free. Information on the meet, including the events schedule, can be found here.
#KStateTF Quick Hits
- Along with the three schools in competition, the Wildcat Invitational will play host to several talented unattached athletes including former Wildcats Erik Kynard in the high jump and Jeffrey Julmis in the hurdles. Competing with Kynard in the high jump will be three Chinese national high jumpers that will be training with Coach Cliff Rovelto and the team for three months. Zhang Guowei and Wang Yu will compete on the men’s side and Zheng Xingjuan for the women. Zhang has competed in the last three World Championships, two outdoor and one indoor, as well the 2012 London Olympics. Wang was also at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow this past year. Zheng, who competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as well as several World Championships, has a personal best jump of 1.94m/6-04.25 in the indoor high jump.
- The 2014 USTFCCCA Indoor Preseason rankings were released this week with the Wildcat men checking in at No. 39 and the women at No. 35. For the men, this marks a seven-spot drop from last season’s final rankings. The only Big 12 schools to rank ahead of the Cats are Oklahoma State (No. 10), Texas (No. 15), Baylor (No. 18), and Iowa State (No. 36). On the women’s side, the No. 35 ranking is an 11-spot improvement. The jump is buoyed by the return of 2012 All-American Alyx Treasure as well as the continued emergence of Sara Savatovic among others. Big 12 competition looks to be just as difficult for the K-State women with Texas (No. 1), Kansas (No. 10), Baylor (No. 26) and Iowa State (No. 28) checking in ahead of them.
- Even with the season barely underway, the Wildcats already have a considerable presence in the Division I Qualifying Top 10. In all, K-State has a total of eight individuals and three relay teams holding down spots.
- The K-State men are led by sprinter Carlos Rodriguez and high jumper Zach Riley in the individual events with the 4x400 team of Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, Tyris Jefferson, Rhys Powell, and Christopher Campbell also making an appearance.
- The Wildcat women have six individuals representing their respective events. Erica Twiss holds down spots in both the 60 meter hurdles and pentathlon, while Treasure, Savatovic, Tia Gamble, Sarah Kolmer and Joslyn Barnes also appear in the Top 10. The 4x400 team of Sonia Gaskin, Twiss, Gamble and Kolmer as well as the distance medley group of Morgan Wedekind, Angela Hart, Marija Stambolic and Martina Tresch round out the women’s representatives.
- The Wildcats will look to continue their dominance in the throws and relay events. Through the first two meets of the season, K-State’s Ryan Hershberger (shot put and weight throw) and Dani Winters (shot put) have yet to lose an event, while senior Alex Roe made his season debut last week, finishing second in the weight throw (17.03m/55-10.50). In the relays, the women have swept the 4x400 so far as well as taken first in the lone DMR this season. For the men, the group of Otuonye-Jefferson-Powell-Campbell finished first at the Winter Invitational and second last week, while the DMR squad, powered by newcomers Colton Donahue, Adam Deterding, Kain Ellis as well as sophomore Blake Goodin, took first at the Bill Easton Classic.
According to Rovelto…
On the talented high jumpers competing this weekend….
“There’s four really, really fine high jumpers. Outside of the national championship, whether we are talking collegiately or the USA Championships, there may not be another meet on our soil where there are three guys of that caliber all at the same competition indoors this year.”
On the flow of the season leading up to Big 12s and Nationals…
“In any given week there are some people that are really pointing to a particular event. It is just the way their training has been structured so that week their looking to run well [etc.]. That’s going to be different, for different people at different times of the year."
“We are measuring what happens in the meet against where our expectations were in training. Everything, from our perspective, is evaluated based on where we are in training and even where we are in continuum in terms of preparation for the conference meet.”
On having the athletes compete in different events…
“We got some kids in events this weekend that they don’t normally do. We got a 400 meter guy in the 800 meter and we got a 400 meter guy in the 600 meter that’s never run a 600. We are putting some people in situations that they’re not necessarily in their comfort range. It’ll be interesting to see how that all turns out.”
His final thoughts…
“In addition to the Oklahoma State, Tulsa and K-State people, we have allowed a few elite athletes to compete as well. Even though it’s a small meet, there’s going to be some really outstanding events.”
Savatovic Continues to Dominate
- Sophomore Sara Savatovic has continued to build upon her strong freshman campaign that saw her win a Big 12 Outdoor Championship in the hammer throw. The Crvenka, Serbia, native has easily dispatched the competition in the weight throw so far this indoor season, including setting personal bests at both the Winter Invitational and Bill Easton Classic. Her final mark of 19.92m/65-04.25 in Lawrence, Kan., put her at fifth all-time in school history and is best in the Big 12 right now. Savatovic headlines a group of talented throwers for the Wildcats. Last season’s Wildcat Invitational marked not only the debut for Savatovic in K-State purple, but her first time competing in the indoor weight throw – she finished first with a throw of 17.95m/58-10.75.
(Please Note: Only marks in the Top-50 DI and Top-20 Big 12 are displayed according to TFRRS – converted marks are not used)
Athlete Spotlight: Rachel Proteau
- The freshman from Albany, Ore., has quietly been putting together one of the better starts for a freshman women’s high jumper in the past couple seasons. Her season-best mark of 1.76m/5-09.25 at the Bill Easton Classic was good enough for third place at the meet and is also third-best in the conference. In fact, of the female jumpers on the team, only Alyx Treasure (1.83m/6-00.00) and Joslyn Barnes (1.77m/5-09.75) had better high jump marks as freshmen – and that was for the season as a whole. Proteau is a three-time OSAA State Champion as well as the 2013 USA National Junior National High Jump Champion. She is also the state record holder with a jump of 1.85m/6-01.00 so there may be more to come for the freshman and the Wildcats.
- Rovelto’s thoughts on Proteau for this upcoming week…
- “She is doing well for a freshman and is looking better with every day. She’ll hopefully have a good performance this week.”
- K-State continues their January home swing with the K-State Invitational next Saturday, Jan. 25. The Wildcats will play host to UMKC, Oklahoma Baptist University and Fort Hays State University. The festivities are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., with the women’s weight throw. For more information on the meet, visit www.k-statesports.com.