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K-State men finish 3rd at Big 12

By The Mercury

AMES, Iowa — The Kansas State men’s track and field team finished third at the Big 12 Indoor Championships on Saturday for the second straight season.

K-State’s women were fifth.

“In terms of the team placing, we far surpassed really what I thought we would do and, individually, there were a lot of really good performances,” K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “It’s really hard for me to find much of anything wrong.

“It was good.”

Devin Dick makes history in the heptathlon on Saturday, as he completed a career-best effort, placing first with 5,678 points. The total bested last season’s conference championship effort of 5,603 points and moved him to fourth-place in school history.

The heptathlon victory, along with Erica Twiss’ pentathlon title on Friday, marked the first time in K-State history that the Wildcats have swept the multi-events at the Big 12 Indoor Championships and the first time in the Big 12 since Nebraska in 2011.

For Dick, his overall performance was dominant, as he won four of the seven events, including setting a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles and tying another personal best in the pole vault in the second day of competition. His time of 8.26 seconds in hurdles put him at sixth-best in K-State’s multi-event history, while his vault of 15-07.00 tied him for second all-time.

Saturday’s action followed a busy Friday for the Wildcats, who captured four individual titles on the opening day — including Twiss (pentathlon), Kyle Wait (pole vault), Sara Savatovic (weight throw) and Jharyl Bowry (long jump).

Also putting a career-best performance on Saturday was Reinis Kregers, who finished second in the heptathlon with a personal-best score of 5,534 points. His runner-up effort marked a three-spot improvement from last season’s conference meet finish of fifth.

Twiss won her first Big 12 championship in the pentathlon on Friday, winning the multi-even with a personal-best score of 4,074 points.

The senior from Carrollton, Texas, became the first Wildcat to win the penathlon since Ryann Krais won it during the 2012 indoor season in College Station, Texas.

Twiss’ final point total moved her to sixth in Division I this season and seventh-best in school history. She also finished third in the 60-meter hurdles on Saturday with a time of 8.42 seconds and eighth on Friday in the long jump to earn points for the K-State women.

“Erica was phenomenal,” Rovelto said. “To get third in hurdles, to score in three events in one of the best conferences in the country… that’s not easy to do.

The men’s 4x400 team finished third in the final event of the Big 12 meet, registering a time of 3:10.06. It marked an improvement from last season’s fourth-place finish, as the foursome of Christopher Campbell, Carlos Rodriguez, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye and Tyris Jefferson picked up six points.

Finishing behind Texas and Baylor, K-State led the relay after the first two legs, but could not hold on.

K-State got third-place finishes in both the men’s and women’s 600-yard runs from Campbell and Tia’ Gamble, as well as a fifth-place scoring effort from Jordan Matthews.

Alyx Treasure was second in the high jump, clearing a height of 5-08.75. Her final mark was tied with four other jumpers, but Treasure reached the mark in fewer attempts.

Devin Field and Bowry made their second visit to the top-five at this season’s championship, as the duo finished third and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump.

Bowry made it back-to-back victories in the long jump on Friday, finishing with a final winning mark of 24-05.00. The senior is the first Wildcat to win consecutive conference long jump titles since Olympic gold medalist Kenny Harrison won four long jump titles in a row from 1985-1988.

Field and Tyris Jefferson finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

In the shot put, Ryan Hershberger and Dani Winters both picked up points, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively.

On the track, Logan Smith, Kyle Hanson, Marija Stambolic, Sonia Gaskin and the women’s 4x400 women’s team all recorded points for the Wildcats.

Hanson notched a fourth-place finish in the 800 meters, while Smith was seventh. In the 1,000 meters, Stambolic finished seventh in a time of 2:52.26.

Gaskin rounded out the scoring performances on the track with a sixth-place finish in the 800 meters and then as a member of the fifth-place 4x400 team that included Gamble, Matthews and Sarah Kolmer.

Lastly, in the field, Zack Riley recorded a season-best jump 7-01.00 to finish fourth and Alyssa Kelly scored in the triple jump with a seventh-place finish.

K-State’s Merryl Mbeng finished third in the pentathlon on Friday, while Kolmer was fifth.

Wait picked up his first-ever Big 12 title in the indoor pole vault on Friday, tying his own school record of 17-feet-10.50-inches.

For Wait, he is the first Wildcat to claim an indoor conference title in the event since Doug Lytle won a Big Eight title in 1981 in Lincoln, Neb.

Savatovic completed a dominant 2014 Big 12 indoor season with a first-place finish in the weight throw, winning the event with a mark of 63-03.50. It’s the Wildcats’ first Big 12 title in the even since Loren Groves completed her three-peat in 2009.

The K-State sophomore won the outdoor hammer throw last season.

Wildcat teammate Dani Winters also found her way onto the medal stand, as she took sixth in the event final with a mark of 59-05.50.

Alex Roe and Hershberger delivered scoring performances in men’s weight throw with Roe finishing fifth and Hershberger taking seventh.

Senior Martina Tresch was eighth in the 5,000-meter run in a time of 16:52.35.

The Wildcats now shift their attention to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., in two weeks.

Currently, K-State has four athletes ranked in the qualifying top 16 — Treasure in the high jump, Twiss in the pentathlon, Dick in the heptathlon and Wait in the pole vault.

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