Cats wrap weekend with strong marks

By The Mercury

The Kansas State track and field team closed a busy weekend at two different meets with more performances that rank among the best in school history and near the top of the Big 12 so far this season on Saturday.

K-State posted five marks that would score points at the Big 12 Championship, combined at the Don Kirby Open and Iowa State Classic, and two marks that rank in the Top 10 in school history.

After a successful day at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, the Wildcats took on more competition in New Mexico at the Don Kirby Open on Saturday with strong showings again at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

The group of Tia Gamble, Ashley Williams, Merryl Mbeng and Sonia Gaskin ran late Friday night in the 4x400 relay at New Mexico to finish fourth with a time of 3:41.60. That time is good enough to rank third in school history and rank fourth in the Big 12.

Some of those Wildcats ran in the open 400 on Saturday and Gaskin came away with one of the top times in school history. Gaskin finished fourth with her time of 55.36 seconds and now ranks ninth in K-State history. Freshman Jordan Matthews finished seventh with her fastest time of the year at 56.44.

The men also had two competing in the open 400 meters with freshman Ifeanyi Otuonye taking sixth with his time of 48.82. Freshman Tyris Jefferson ran to a 14th-place finish after making his career debut Friday night in the long jump.

Otuonye also competed late Friday night in the triple jump, making his K-State debut in the event, and came in 10th place. His leap of 14.51 meters (47-07.25) ranks third in the Big 12 this season.

Jharyl Bowry also made his triple jump debut for the season on Saturday at the Don Kirby Open and finished fourth with a leap of 14.04 meters (46-00.75). His mark is tied for seventh in the Big 12 this season.

K-State’s women also had a small group in the long jump at the Don Kirby Open with Mbeng leading the way for the Wildcats in fifth place at 5.84 meters (19-02.00).

Erica Twiss competed in her first long jump of the season and finished eighth. Richelle Farley was ninth.

The Wildcats split their team up this weekend with a group going to the Iowa State Classic and after competing in non-seeded events on Friday, K-State was up against stronger fields on Saturday in seeded heats and fields and a handful of them had some of their best performances of the season as well.

After running a new PR in the mile on Friday and finishing second behind an Olympian, Martina Tresch ran her fastest time of the season in the 3,000 meters and came home with a third-place finish.

Mid-distance events were again a strong point for the Wildcats in Ames. Freshman Jay-J Parks took second for the men at 1:11.23. Sarah Kolmer ran her fastest time on an over-sized track at 1:22.50 to finish fourth.

K-State will be back in action at home next weekend when the Wildcats host the KSU Open at Ahearn Field House. Admission is free.

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