LINCOLN, Neb. — Kansas State’s track and field team sent a large group of Wildcats to Lincoln for the Nebraska Invitational on Saturday as a final tune up before this week’s Big 12 Championships.
The Wildcats posted three wins and saw 11 improve their personal-best marks just in time as the schedule shifts to championship season.
Sophomore Ryan Hershberger has been performing consistently of late for the Wildcats and opened the day claiming his fourth win of the outdoor season in the shot put. He posted a mark of 55-05.75, but was short of his best mark from last week’s ESU Mid-Week Open.
The first running event of the day for the Wildcats was the men’s 4x100 relay and K-State came away with that win as well. The tandem of Mantas Silkauskas, Carlos Rodriguez, Dane Steen and Martynas Jurgilas combined to run 39.83 seconds and defeat the hosting Cornhuskers by more than half a second.
All four runners in the 4x100 also faced the field in the open 100 meters. Rodriguez claimed the victory, crossing the finish line in just 10.31 seconds. Jurgilas was close at his heels finishing second in 10.33. Silkauskas took fourth at 10.39 seconds, and Steen was 10th at 10.88.
On the women’s side in the 100 meters, Samantha McKnight kept her steady pace of improvement going as she finished third and clocked in at 11.81 seconds. It marked the third time this season she has posted a personal-best time.
Some of K-State’s distance runners were in action in mid-distance events to stay loose for the Big 12 meet. Freshman Erika Schiller took fifth in the 1,500 meters with Sarah Swenson taking ninth and Annelle Chestnut 11th.
For the men in distance events, Kyle Hanson came in third in the 800 meters with his time of 1:51.05, shaving almost a full second of his personal-best time. Freshman Logan Smith also ran a new PR in the 800, as he finished fourth in 1:52.78. Fernando Ramon finished fifth in the 1,500, as he is readying to run the steeplechase at the Big 12 meet.
Two of K-State’s heptathletes ran their way to top-10 finishes in the 100-meter hurdles. Sophomore Julia Zeiner took ninth and freshman Joslyn Barnes finished 10th. In the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Angela Hart finished fifth, while Avery Loyd was ninth.
Barnes also was in action in the high jump, finishing third with her leap of 5-08.00 (1.73m). Sophomore Brooke Sharp posted a new personal best, as a Wildcat clearing 5-06.00 and taking fifth. Also jumping 5-06.00 to finish sixth by tiebreaker and making her K-State track and field debut was former volleyball star and women’s basketball player JuliAnne Chisholm.
The men’s team also had two decathletes in the field in some events to prepare for next week’s conference championship multi-event. Transfer Devin Dick took seventh in the 400 meters, and Tomas Kirielius was ninth. Kirielius ran a new personal-best time of 51.35.
Juco transfer Tarique Hill was another Wildcat to post a PR. He crossed the line in 14.37 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles to finish fourth. His time takes just a few hundredths of a second off his previous fastest time as a Wildcat and moves him closer to breaking into the school’s top 10 list. In the men’s 400 hurdles, Franciso Colomar also ran a personal-best time.
Action started at the Nebraska Invitational with throwing events, and the Wildcats again saw some of their student-athletes post big numbers heading into the Big 12 Championship. After Hershberger’s win in the shot put to open the meet, some top-five finishes continued to roll in.
Senior Tomaz Bogovic claimed third in the hammer throw with juco transfer Ryan Johnson right behind him in fourth. Johnson posted his best throw of the season at 176-01.
Jessica Carter had the top throw for the women in the hammer, as she finished seventh. Hershberger backed his win in the shot put up with a third-place finish in the discus, and Alex Roe was again behind him in the standings to take fourth for K-State, as Kirielius was fifth.
Two pole vaulters were in action for the Wildcats with David Taylor clearing 15-10.00 leading the way in fifth place. His mark also was a personal best. Freshman Tommy Brady took ninth, missing his attempts at 15-10.00, which would have been a PR for him as well.
The Wildcats will host the Big 12 Championship this week at the R.V. Christian Track Complex, beginning Friday morning and running through Sunday evening.