K-State track opens postseason strong

By The Mercury

AUSTIN, Texas — The Kansas State track and field team sent 30 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds this week in Texas and eight of them were in action Thursday.

No other team had as many women running in the 400-meter hurdles to highlight the day for the Wildcats, and senior high jumper Erik Kynard advanced to the NCAA Championship with ease.

The top 48 athletes in the West Region qualified for the preliminary rounds meet this week with the top-12 finishers advancing to next month’s NCAA Championship in Oregon.

Kynard will look to defend his back-to-back titles in the high jump, as he cleared 2.16 meters (7-01.00) and qualify with the field, electing to stop jumping once 12 jumpers remained.

K-State started off the running events with three Wildcats in action in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. Erica Twiss was in the fastest heat of the day and finished fourth with a time of 58.95 seconds. Her time was a new PR, shaving .02 off her previous best time, and it was enough to grab the second of six at-large bids for today’s quarterfinals. The top three finishers in each heat received automatic bids to the next round.

Freshman Tia Gamble ran a time of 1:01.51 to take 39th overall and Angela Hart crossed the line in 1:02.68 to take 45th in her first appearance in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.

The Wildcats got their first advancement to the NCAA Championships of the meet with Jharyl Bowry finishing eighth in the men’s long jump. Bowry popped a jump of 7.70 meters (25-03.25) on his third attempt to put himself in seventh place heading into the final. One jumper moved ahead of him during the final three attempts, but he still advanced to the NCAA Championship by placing at least 12th.

Freshman Jasmine Gibbs was competing in two events on Thursday, starting her day in the long jump. She jumped 5.96 meters (19-06.75), but it was not enough to advance, finishing 26th. She then went on to run 11.60 in her heat of the 100 meters. Gibbs took third in her heat to grab an automatic spot in today’s quarterfinals.

Big 12 champion Sara Savatovic was unable to advance through the West Preliminaries in the women’s hammer throw, finishing 17th. The freshman had a toss of 58.95 meters (193-05) to miss making the final on Thursday by just 5 centimeters. If she had qualified for the final, she would have had three more attempts to move up into the top 12 and advance to the NCAAs.

Freshman Sonia Gaskin closed the night for the Wildcats in the 800 meters. The Barbadian ran a time of 2:08.64 to finish fourth in her heat. Her time also was fast enough to grab the final spot in today’s quarters.

K-State was set for more action Friday, with 10 Wildcats to compete with action starting at noon in the women’s disucs.

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