WACO, Texas — Kansas State head track and field coach Cliff Rovelto believed his men’s track and field team would be in a tight battle at this weekend’s Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The Wildcats did just that, coming away fourth with the best combined effort in conference history. The women also had a number of solid performances to finish seventh at Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex.
The men’s team had two champions at the Big 12 championship meet and scored 96 points in the 21 events. Those 96 points are the most ever scored by the men’s team at the Big 12 championships.
“I think the men had a very solid meet,” Rovelto said. “We were within six points of what I thought would be a great meet for us. Our top guys took care of business as expected and we had solid performances from the majority of the team.”
After Erik Kynard won his third straight high jump title Saturday, pole vaulter Kyle Wait successfully defended his conference title Sunday.
Wait claimed his second pole vault crown with a clearance of 5.34 meters (17-06.75) as the final three competitors were eliminated at that height.
The Wildcats tallied one more title Sunday, this one going to Martina Tresch, who became the first Wildcat to win a women’s steeplechase title (10:10.82).
With the 10 points scored by Tresch in her win, she and her teammates combined to score 66 points for seventh. It was the most points K-State’s women have scored at the Big 12 championship since 2008.
The men’s fourth-place finish ties last year’s and is the second-best mark in the Big 12 era, behind only the third-place finish in 1997.
K-State’s leading scorer at the meet was sprinter Carlos Rodriguez. He finished third in the 100 meters with a time of 10.48 seconds to earn six points. He then added five more to K-State’s total with a clocking of 20.91 in the final of the 200 meters to finish fourth. Then, he came back to close the night for the Wildcats by running the third leg of the 4x400 relay that finished third.
Also performing well for the men was hurdler Tarique Hill. He raced to a second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing in 13.88 seconds.
Jessica Carter finished third in the discus throw.
Throwing events were a strong area for the Wildcats on both the men’s and women’s side of the meet. The Wildcats opened the final day of the meet with three men in the javelin and walked away with 15 points.
Ivan Hartung was second in the javelin with his throw of 63.74 meters (209-01). Tomas Kirielius came back to throw the javelin after finishing third in the decathlon, finishing fifth at 62.73 meters (205-10). Jake Darrington was sixth.
Ryan Hershberger was also seventh for the men’s team in the shot put later in the day with his mark of 17.17 meters (56-04.00).
Freshmen made a significant impact on the meet for the Wildcats, as three ran on the men’s 4x100 relay that finished eighth — Jordan Oakry, Tyris Jefferson, Ifeanyi Otuonye and Grant Loescher.
Three freshmen ran on the women’s 4x400 relay that was fifth — Sonia Gaskin, Ashley Williams, Tia Gamble ran and sophomore Sarah Kolmer.
Gibbs would later take sixth in the 100 meters. Gaskin ran to a seventh-place finish in the 800, and freshman Alyssa Kelly was seventh in the triple jump.
Otuonye and Jefferson would run with sophomores Rodriguez and Chris Campbell in the men’s 4x400 for third.
After competing in the heptathlon Friday and Saturday, Twiss ran the 400-meter hurdles in 58.97 seconds to finish in fourth.
Angela Hart was sixth in 1:00.30.
With the conclusion of the Big 12 championships, the Wildcats will prepare to host the Ward Haylett Invitational this weekend.