K-State track and field: Women 18th, men 30th

By The Mercury

The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) has ranked Kansas State’s women’s track team No. 18 with 46.93 points and the men’s team No. 30 with 29.35 points in the indoor preseason poll, the organization announced on Monday.

K-State’s 18th-place ranking marks the third-straight season that the Wildcat women have been ranked in the top 25 in the preseason poll after being ranked fourth to open the 2016 season and tied for 19th to open the 2015 season. The men also made a sizable jump in the polls after finishing ranked No. 50 in the final indoor poll of the 2016 season, which was released on March 7, 2016.

K-State joins four other Big 12 schools in the women’s top 25, including Texas (No. 5), Oklahoma State (No. 11), Baylor (No. 13) and Oklahoma (No. 25). The Big 12 also has four men’s programs in the top 25, including Texas (No. 7), Texas Tech (No. 12), Oklahoma State (No. 14) and Oklahoma (No. 24).

Last season, the women finished eighth at the NCAA Championship meet in Birmingham, Alabama, with 26 points on the back of national champions Akela Jones (high jump) and Dani Winters (shot put). The men finished in 40th with 5.50 points.

At the conference level, the Wildcats took home seven conference championships en route to both the men and women finishing in third place at the Big 12 Championship in Ames, Iowa, with scores of 107.42 and 9.50, respectively.

Senior Brady Grunder and junior All-American Christoff Bryan are the lone 2016 conference champions returning to the team this season, while All-American high jumper Kim Williamson also returns to the Wildcats for her final indoor season after tying for third place at last season’s NCAA meet in the event and winning the National Championship in the event outdoors. The Wildcats continue their in-state road trip on Jan. 12 as the team heads to Wichita to compete in the KSUKU- WSU Triangular meet at the Heskett Center. Field events at the meet are set to begin at noon, while track events are slated to begin at 5 p.m.

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