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K-State track and field closes weekend road meets

By The Mercury

The Kansas State track and field team finished up a long weekend of competition with its final days of action at the Mt. SAC and Kansas Relays, as well as competing in the Beach Track and Field Invitational.

Erica Twiss and Sonia Gaskin headlined the individual performances with first-place performances on Saturday, while Twiss, Ryan Hershner and Dane Steen set new personal bests.

At the Beach Track and Field Invitational, Twiss closed out a strong weekend of competition with another career-best performance, this time in the 400-meter hurdles.

Twiss, competing in the event for the first time this season, clocked in at a time of 58.28 seconds, defeating the field of seven by more than half a second. The time was a new personal best for the senior, eclipsing her previous career high mark of 58.55 set at last season’s NCAA West Prelims.

Twiss competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year in the event, earning All-American Honorable Mention.

Gaskin placed first in the 400 meters, the first victory in the event by a K-State women’s athlete this season. Gaskin, who competed in the event for only the second time this season, cruised to victory, winning the race by more than a second. The sophomore’s time of 53.94 was a season-best for the Wildcat women and narrowly missed besting her career high mark of 53.89 seconds.

In the 800 meters, Hershner and Kain Ellis finished eighth and ninth, respectively, out of a field of 132 runners. Hershner, in particular, finished in a time of 1:51.07, setting a new personal best. The time easily surpassed his previous high of 1:53.42 set at this season’s Stanford Invitational in early April. Both Hershner’s time and Ellis’ time, 1:51.22, were top-three times for the Wildcat men this season.

Marija Stambolic led the Wildcat women in the 800, placing fifth in a time of 2:09.88. Stambolic’s latest effort was just another impressive performance for the Belgrade, Serbia native, who has finished in the Top 10 in three of the four 800-meter runs she has competed in this season.

Steen ended his weekend with a personal-best performance in the 200-meter dash. Finishing in a time of 21.69 seconds, Steen placed sixth. A new personal best for the senior, Steen won his respective section by nearly half a second. It is the fastest time for Steen since he clocked in at 21.76 seconds at last season’s ESU Spring Open.

Rounding out the notable performances for the Wildcats at the Beach Invite were Mary Frances Donnelly, Merryl Mbeng and Sarah Kolmer.

Donnelly, competing in the 1,500 meters, took seventh with a time of 4:31.4. It was a season-best, as well as a Wildcat women season-best finish for Donnelly, who has yet to finish outside the Top 10 in 1,500 meters competition this season.

In the women’s collegiate 400-meter hurdles, Mbeng picked up a Top-10 finish in the event. It was the first 400 hurdles event for Mbeng this season, as she placed seventh, clocking in at a time of 1:01.54.

Kolmer, meanwhile, tied for 16th in the women’s long jump out of a field of 74. Kolmer’s mark of 5.50m/18-00.50 was a season best.

At the Kansas Relays, Ryan Hershberger, Dani Winters and Danie Plank all earned Top-10 finishes in their respective throws events.

Hershberger was fourth in the men’s shot put, with a season-best mark of 17.75m/58-03.00. It was the best outdoor mark by the senior since he chucked 17.87m/58-07.50 at last season’s KU Relays.

In the women’s shot put, Winters finished eighth. Her final mark of 14.96m/49-01.00 came in her final attempt of the afternoon at Rock Chalk Park.

Lastly, Plank, coming off a career-best and K-State Top-10 performance last weekend, finished third in a tightly-contested javelin event. The freshman ended the day with a throw of 44.66m/146-06.00.

At the Mt. SAC Relays, Alyx Treasure was the lone Wildcat to compete in the field at Walnut, Calif., on Saturday, while Carlos Rodriguez, Christopher Campbell, Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye and Tyris Jefferson raced in the 4x400. The latter group did not finish the relay, while Treasure tied for seventh in the women’s high jump.

With split-squad competition complete for the outdoor season, the Wildcats shift their focus to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, next weekend, before back-to-back home meets to start off May.

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