EUGENE, Ore. — The second day of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships saw more history being made by the Kansas State Wildcats.
After Kyle Wait finished seventh in the pole vault on Wednesday, junior college transfer Jharyl Bowry finished seventh in the long jump Thursday, marking the first time in school history the men’s team has scored points in the long jump in back-to-back seasons.
Senior Tomas Kirielius closed his career strong with a new personal record in the decathlon to finish 14th in what was the deepest and most competitive decathlon in NCAA history — six athletes scored at least 8,000 points.
Before both of those finishes for K-State, Martina Tresch advanced to the championship final in the 3,000-meter steeplechase chase.
Bowry made his NCAA Championship debut as a Wildcat and the junior college nation champion came up huge for the Cats to put more points on the board. Bowry posted a long jump of 7.83 meters (25-8.25) and moved into fifth place on his second attempt. He slipped down to seventh as more jumps were taken, but he managed to hold onto that No. 7 spot and score two points for the men.
The Canadian was pleased with finishing in the top eight, but believes he could have jumped further due to a sloppy landing. Despite the new season-high jump and his spot on the podium, Bowry said he will be using his seventh-place finish as a motivator for next season.
“I feel like I could have done a lot better,” he said. “It was kind of a downer that I started out fifth and got knocked down and couldn’t improve on my other jumps, but I have nothing to complain about.
“I am definitely blessed and a lot of people would love to be in my position. I guarantee that next year I will be back here, and hopefully we can bring some more people to this NCAA meet and really show people what we can do.”
Mantas Silkauskas finished seventh in the long jump for K-State as well.
“I think what is impressive about Jharyl and some of the other guys that came in mid-year is to come in at mid-year and just get to this meet is pretty remarkable,” K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “To get here and then to score is really outstanding. Jharyl has struggled with some physical issues, but he hung in there and he did well.”
Bowry’s jump also was the longest of his career by one centimeter, but it cannot count as it was wind-aided.
Kirielius entered the day in 13th after the first five events of the decathlon and posting three personal records on the first day. He continued where he left off as he posted another PR to open the second day of action in the 110-meter hurdles.
Kirielius crossed the line in 14.86 seconds to shed nearly three-tenths off his previous fastest time. That time helped his score, but it did not move him up the standings as he remained 13th heading into the discus.
In the discus, Kirielius posted a strong throw that was a little short of his PR for the event. He took sixth in the event with a toss of 45.68 meters (136-03). Despite his strong throw, he was unable to move up in the standings, remaining 13th, but he did close the gap on the athletes in the Top 10 heading into the pole vault.
Kirielius made the pole vault his fifth PR in eight events of the decathlon, as he cleared 4.40 meters (14-5.25), tying his previous best set earlier this season at the Jim Click Shootout in Arizona.
Kirielius then would post the third-best throw in the javelin with a toss of 60.64 meters (198-11). That throw moved him into 12th heading into the final event with an opportunity to move up and post a new personal-best score in the decathlon.
There was a lot on the line for the entire field of the decathlon going into the final event. Eight of the competitors were on pace to possibly score 8,000 points, a significant threshold in the event.
With so many athletes pushing for significant scores, meet officials elected to run the final event as one heat so all 21 athletes could use positioning in the race to help push their times. That decision worked, as Duke’s Curtis Beach came close the world record for a 1,500-meter run in a decathlon and six athletes finished with scores of 8,000 points or higher — the most in NCAA history.
Kirielius ran a PR time in the 1,500, as he crossed the line in 4:51.48. That shaved more than 9 seconds off his previous-best time and gave him a point total of 7,700 points for a new PR as well. His score of 7,700 points put him in 14th place for the meet and ranks sixth in school history.
“Tomas did a good job and had almost a 200-point PR, and you can’t ask for more than that,” Rovelto said. “He competed all the way through. From my perspective, I am very pleased with that because he said this is probably the last decathlon he does in his life and it is nice to end knowing you gave it your all.”
In the steeplechase, Tresch advanced to Saturday’s final with a strong run and will attempt to improve on her 10th-place finish from 2011.
Tresch was hovering behind the leaders in her heat with a pack of four runners holding onto spots No. 4-7. With approximately 900 meters to go, Tresch made her move.
Following the water jump and heading to the line with two laps to go, she charged by three runners into fourth place and held that spot while gaining ground on the top three runners. She crossed the line in 10:06.52 and finished fourth for an automatic spot in the final.
“Martina ran well,” Rovelto said. “She looked strong to me. Sometimes you qualify through and you wonder what are you going to do when you get there.
“To me, it looked like she will be OK. She looked like she will be able to come back and run well in a couple of days.”
The Wildcats was set to have only one athlete in action today, as high jumper Erik Kynard looks to defend his title. Kynard will be in a battle with Indiana’s Derek Drouin in an event being highly touted among members of the track and field media as one of the top events to watch. This was to be the last time the Olympic medalists go head-to-head as collegiate athletes.