TEMPE, Ariz. — The Kansas State track and field team spent spring break in Arizona for a pair of meets hosted by the Arizona State Sun Devils and a week of training.
The trip paid off this weekend, as the Wildcats tallied seven victories at the ASU Invitational and four runner-up finishes.
“We had a number of solid early season marks this week,” K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “What I am particularly pleased with is that we had a pretty tough week of practice leading up to this weekend. I think we were able to get a lot accomplished with this trip.”
The Wildcats saw great performances across the board and the majority of the wins came in the sprints and distance events.
Carlos Rodriguez posted his first win of the outdoor season in the 200 meters, clocking in at 21.29 seconds. He also ran a leg of the 4x100 relay that won in 40.49 seconds. K-State’s women also won the 4x100 relay with the team of Samantha McKnight, Richelle Farley, Ashley Williams and Jasmine Gibbs running 45.51 seconds.
Three wins came in the distance events with Fernando Roman and Erika Schiller both winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Martina Tresch claiming the 5,000 meters.
Roman ran a time of 9:23.23 and winning by more than 3 seconds. Schiller was more than 10 seconds ahead of the field in her race and approximately 6 seconds off her best time.
Tresch dominated the competition winning by more than 40 seconds in her first competition of the outdoor season.
K-State’s other victory came in the men’s javelin with Ivan Hartung posting a new personal-best throw of 67.20 meters (220-06). His toss was 7 feet further than second place and ranks just outside the Top 10 in school history.
Decathlete Tomas Kirielius also had a strong throw of 62.87 meters (206-03) to finish fifth.
Throwers had a good showing during Friday’s hammer throw competition at the ASU Invitational with Alex Roe again improving his personal-best mark with a throw of 54.99 meters (180-05). His throw also cracks the Top 10 list in school history at No. 10.
Sara Savatovic continued her strong freshman season as a Wildcat with a throw of 60.48 meters (198-05) to finish third behind Arizona State’s Chelsea Cassulo, who set a school and meet record at 69.80 meters (229-00).
Savatovic’s throw was about 10 feet short of her personal best, but it did move her up the K-State rankings again, placing her fourth in school history.
Even Wildcats who did not win their respective events still posted good marks for K-State with a handful of personal bests over the weekend.
All four of K-State’s decathletes competed in a number of events on Saturday and three of them came away with PRs in the 110-meter hurdles.
Kirielius, Tony Granillo and Reinis Kregers all ran strong. Erica Twiss also ran a personal record in the women’s 100-meter hurdles to finish fourth behind fellow Richelle Farley.
Twiss posted two PRs on the day as she also finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 5.88 meters (19-03.50). She improved by more than a foot and finished only one centimeter behind freshman Jasmine Gibbs.
Posting second-place finishes for the Wildcats were freshman Tyris Jefferson, hurdler Tarique Hill, sprinter/jumper Alyssa Kelly and the women’s 4x400.
Jefferson posted a jump of 7.08 meters (23-02.75) in the long jump and Kelly leapt 11.95 meters (39-02.50) in the triple jump.
Fellow freshman Jordan Matthews took third in the triple jump behind Kelly. Williams and Matthews ran the first two legs of the women’s 4x400 with Joslyn Barnes and Angela Hart closing it out to finish second in 345.12.
Hill finished second in 14.36 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles in a tight race. Iowa State’s Ryan Sander won in 14.33 and Northern Arizona’s Vernon Jamison was right with Hill finishing in 14.37.
After the 10-day trip to Arizona, the Wildcats will return to Manhattan to continue training for outdoor season and getting ready for their next meet.
K-State will split up with some Wildcats headed to the Texas Relays and another group going to the Emporia State Open.