Four Wildcats to compete at NCAA Indoors

By The Mercury

The Kansas State track and field team is set to finish up the 2014 indoor season this weekend, beginning today in Albuquerque, N.M., for the NCAA Division-I Indoor Championships.

Competing for the Wildcats on the men side will be Devin Dick in the heptathlon and Kyle Wait in the pole vault,  with Erica Twiss in the pentathlon and Alyx Treasure in the high jump representing the women.

It marks the fourth straight season K-State has had four or more athletes competing in the NCAA Indoors.

Last season’s national championship in Fayetteville, Ark., saw the Wildcat men tie for 32nd, while Merryl Mbeng scored three points for the women in the pentathlon.

Of the five Wildcats that competed, all five earned All-American honors with Erik Kynard in the high jump and Mbeng earning first-team nods and Wait in the pole vault, Dick in the heptathlon and Carlos Rodriguez in the 200-meter making second team.

This season’s national championships will be at the Albuquerque Convention Center and hosted by the University of New Mexico. This will be the second time the Wildcats have traveled to Lobos’ territory, with the first time coming in early February when a split squad competed at the New Mexico Classic.

Action was set to begin today with the men’s multi-events and run through Saturday, concluding with the men’s and women’s 4x400 relays.

Dick, granted a sixth-year of eligibility to compete this season, has made the most of the opportunity, nabbing career firsts as well as breaking several personal bests.

The Hutchinson native is a perfect 2-0 in the heptathlon on the season and set top-10 school multi-event marks in four of the seven total events. His latest performance in the heptathlon, which resulted in his first-career Big 12 title, totaled 5,678 points. The total was good for both a new personal best, as well as fourth all-time in school history.

Last season saw Dick score 5,386 points in the heptathlon, placing 14th at the NCAAs.

Treasure will be making her second trip to the NCAA indoors, joining the company of Wildcat high jumpers Wanita Dysktra, Gwen Wentland, Connie Teaberry and Rita Graves as the only women to qualify multiple times in the event.

The Prince George, B.C., native tied a career indoor high of 6-00.00 this season, which was the top mark in the Big 12. She is also the only Wildcat to finish the season in the Division top-10, tied for ninth in the country.

Treasure is scheduled to compete Saturday, starting with the high jump trials at 3:30 p.m.

Twiss, this season’s Big 12 Champion in the pentathlon, has had a career year. Along with her first career conference title, Twiss finished the season with three top-10 school marks, as well as top-10 marks in four of the five pentathlon events. She set school records in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.24 seconds in the individual event and 8.31 seconds in the pentathlon.

Twiss’ winning effort of 4,074 points in the pentathlon at this season’s conference championships was not only a personal best, but also the seventh-best score in school history. The junior scored 17 total points, spanning three events, to lead the Wildcats in individual scoring.

Her double-digit scoring effort was a historical one too, as she became only the 18th Wildcat to register 10-plus points at the Big 12 Championships. The 17 points tied for third-most by a K-State athlete in Big 12 competition and was the first time since Beverly Ramos’ 16-point performance in 2010 that a K-State athlete had scored 15-plus at the conference championships.

Twiss enters this weekend’s competition with the 13th-best score in Division I. She is set to compete on Saturday, beginning at 11:45 a.m. with the 60-meter hurdles.

Wait is making his fourth straight appearance on the national stage. In a nearly identical situation to last indoor season, Wait qualified for this year’s national championship in the pole vault in his final meet of the season prior to the NCAAs by hitting a school-record mark of 17-10.50.

The Gardner native enters this weekend’s meet tied for the 11th-best mark in Division I and will look to join Doug Lytle as the only Wildcats to earn multiple indoor All-American recognitions in the pole vault.

Wait will be the last to compete for K-State on Saturday, as he is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.

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