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History & Tradition

 
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
  • K-State Track & Field
 

33 NCAA Champions, including Erik Kynard in 2012 (High Jump)
 
 

24 Olympians, including 7 in 2012
 
 

345 All-Americans all time, including 47 since 2009
 
 

97 Big 12 Event Championships, plus back to back team titles 
 
 

29 Academic All-Americans, 12 since 2005 
 
 
 
 NCAA CHAMPIONS

  By The Numbers
  33 NCAA Championships 
  29 Individual Champions 
  8 High Jump Titles 
  4 NCAA Relay Titles 
 
4 Mile Titles
 
3 Heptathlon Titles

Kansas State has established itself as an elite program at the national level thanks to the successes of its athletes at the NCAA Championships. K-State has 33 NCAA Championships in its history with three of those coming in the last two years.

In 2011, the program accomplished something it had yet to do in its storied history. Both the men's and women's teams finished in the Top 20 at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet. The women led the way with their 13th-place finish while the men tied for 19th. The Wildcats also were one of only 10 programs in the nation to have both their men and women finish in the Top 25.

K-State again showed its prowess in the high jump and the combined events. Erik Kynard won the seventh high jump title in school history as he flew higher than the rest of the competition to claim his first NCAA crown as just a sophomore.

Ryann Krais dominated the women's heptathlon to win the third in the program's history and her first after transferring to K-State. Krais led the event after the second event and never looked back. She was just two seconds away in the 800 meters from cracking the prestigious 6,000-point mark as she finished with 5,961.

In 2012, Kynard successfully defended his title outdoors as he cleared a new school record of 2.34 meters (7-08.00) and won the program's eighth high jump crown. He battled with three-time NCAA champion Derek Drouin from Indiana, in what was one of the most exciting NCAA high jump competitions in history. Kynard and Drouin both cleared 2.31m (7-07.00) on their first attempts, and Kynard cleared 2.34 on his first. After securing the win, Kynard then made an attempt at tying the collegiate record.

During coach Cliff Rovelto's time leading the program, the men and women have combined to win 10 individual NCAA crowns. Six of those titles came in the high jump as Rovelto has become one of the nation's top coaches for the event. Two NCAA titles were won by Austra Skyjute in the women's heptathlon, as Rovelto has seen great success by his athletes in combined events as well.

Before emerging as a top high jumping and combined events program, K-State was dominant in the distance medley relay and mile run in the1960's and 70's. The Wildcat men claimed the indoor DMR title in 1967 and 1975. In 1969 the men won the 4X800 relay, and the women's 4X800 relay claimed the 1976 outdoor title.

After showing strength in the mile in the 60's and 70's with three titles, Christian Smith showed K-State is still competing every year in the distance events winning the 2006 indoor mile.

 OLYMPIANS

  By The Numbers
  24 Olympians 
  14 Olympic Games
  8 Medal Winners
  2 Gold Medals
 
4 Silver Medals
Kansas State has a long standing tradition of training athletes to go on and compete for the highest honor in sports -- a gold medal at the Olympics.

Throughout its history 24 Wildcats have gone on to represent their homeland at the Olympic Games. That tradition spans 14 Olympic Games since 1920 when Ray Watson finished seventh in the steeplechase in Antwerp, Belgium. Since then, former Wildcats have won a total of eight medals in competition on the world's biggest stage.

Thane Baker is K-State's most decorated Olympian as he won the silver medal in the 200 meters in the 1952 Olympics in Finland. He followed that with three medals four years later in Melbourne, Australia. Baker won silver in the 100 meters and bronze in the 200 meters and ran a leg of the 4X100 relay team that brought gold back to the United States.

K-State's most recent Olympic success came in 2012 when high jumper Erik Kynard, Jr. won the silver medal. He became the first Wildcat to win a medal with remaining eligibility since Baker in 1950.

The London 2012 Olympic Games also were the best in K-State history with seven former Wildcats competing in track and field. Joining Kynard at the Games were his former teammates Jeffrey Julmis (Haiti), Beverly Ramos (Puerto Rico) and Balazs Baji (Hungary). Also competing were Korene Hines (Jamaica), Austra Skujyte (Lithuania) and Darius Draudvila (Lithuania).

In 2004, two-time NCAA champion Austra Skujyte won the silver medal in the heptathlon, becoming K-State's first medalist since Kenny Harrison's gold medal in the 1996 triple jump. Skujyte would finish fifth in 2012 in the heptathlon, becoming the first woman in history to compete in four different Olympic Games in the heptathlon.

Harrison's victorious mark in the triple jump in Atlanta in 1996 remains an Olympic record as well.

Olympic experience can be seen even on K-State's coaching staff with former assistant coaches Steve Fritz and Tom Pappas representing USA in the decathlon a total of four times.


 ALL-AMERICANS

  By The Numbers
  47 All-Americans Since 2009 
  345 All-Americans All Time
  175 All-Americans under Coach Rovelto
  86 in High Jump / Combined Events
 
At Least 1 in High Jump 12 Straight Years
Kansas State is a program with a rich tradition of developing elite student-athletes. That is shown at the NCAA Championships with Wildcats consistently earning All-America honors. You have to go back to the year 2000 to find a year when the men's team did not have an indoor All-American and 1980 in outdoor. The women have only missed out on All-America honors twice in the history of the program both coming indoors.

Under the leadership of Coach Cliff Rovelto, the Wildcats have garnered 175 All- America honors, including 47 in the last five years for an average of nine per year.

In 2009, K-State saw Scott Sellers become the first eight-time All-American in one event as he closed his career winning both indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in the high jump. Moritz Cleve was a two-time All-American standing on the podium during indoors in the heptathlon and outdoors in the decathlon. Jason Collett closed his career as an All-American in the first NCAA Championship meet he qualified for in his career. Loren Groves also finished as an All-American in the women's hammer throw for her fourth career certificate.

Following the 2011 outdoor season the Wildcats had six All-Americans led by Ryann Krais as she won the women's heptathlon and finished third in the 400 meter hurdles, a feat rarely attempted. Erik Kynard earned the fourth All-America certificate of his career winning the men's high jump, and Cleve closed his career as an All-American again finishing eighth in the decathlon. Jeffrey Julmis finished fourth in the men's 110 meter hurdles to earn back-to-back outdoor All-America honors. Julmis also garnered indoor recognition in the 60 meter hurdles. Nina Kokot was the final All-American for outdoor finishing sixth in the women's long jump. Mantas Silkauskas gave the Wildcats four All-Americans in combined events for the indoor and outdoor season as he finished seventh in the heptathlon during indoor.

With Rovelto at the helm, K-State has proven to be a place where the best-of-the-best compete to raise the bar in the track and field world. The Wildcats continue to produce some of the nation's top collegiate athletes with the performances on the biggest stage to prove it.


 BIG 12 CHAMPIONS

 
  By The Numbers
  Back to Back Women's Titles 
  97 Event Championships
  13 Women's Weight / Hammer Throw Titles
  12 Combined Events Titles
 
14 High Jump Titles
Kansas State made its presence known in the Big 12 Conference when the women's team won back-to-back outdoor championships in 2001 and 2002. Since then, the men's and women's teams have continued to produce teams that garnish individual titles and compete for team championships.

Only once has the men's team gone a season without winning at least one individual Big 12 title in either indoor or outdoor. The women on the other side have won at least one individual event every year at the Big 12 Indoor Championship but three and missed out on outdoors just three times as well in the league's 17-year history.

The Wildcats have become the dominant team in the Big 12 when it comes to women's weight and hammer throw, high jump and the combined events are also K-State's specialty among conference foes. K-State has won a total of 13 women's weight and hammer throw titles at the Big 12 Championships and have had two women win three consecutive weight throw crowns. A total of 14 high jump championships have gone to the Purple and White in the Big 12 era, and 12 combined event titles are claimed by K-State as well.

In 2012, the men's team finished fourth for their highest finish at the Big 12 Outdoor Championship since the first year of the league in 1997. Erik Kynard (high jump) and Kyle Wait (pole vault) gave the Wildcats two conference champions outdoors for the first time since 2001.

The momentum carried over into 2013 with the men winning two titles again this time in high jump and long jump. The combination of Erik Kynard and Zach Riley became the first teammates to finish in first and second place in the men's high jump indoors in Big 12 history. The pair of Jharyl Bowry and Ifeanyi Otuonye also finished 1-2 in the long jump. K-State's men would score a total of 96 points at the indoor championship for the most in school history.

The women's team joins the ranks of Big 12 powers Texas, Texas A&M and Nebraska as the only teams to win multiple outdoor conference titles. At the outdoor conference championship, the women's team boasts an average finish of fifth. At the indoor championship, the women finished in the top five for nine straight years from 1997-2005.

K-State also holds five Big 12 Championship meet records to go with Cliff Rovelto's two Women's Coach of the Year awards.


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