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KSU track and field has strong showing at home invite

By The Mercury

Kansas State combined for 17 first-place finishes and set two facility records Saturday, as it put on a dominant performance in the Wildcat Invitational in Ahearn Field House.

In the final scoring, the 20th-ranked men topped Wichita State, 85-82, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 99-40, while the fourth-ranked women defeated Nebraska-Omaha, 82-35, and Arkansas Pine Bluff, 88-53, but lost to the Shockers, 102-61.

“I think we saw people who did a pretty decent job when they were home and people who did not do a decent job when they were home,” K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “That’s what we learned. That’s what this meet is all about when we come back, to find out where we are at.”

Senior Akela Jones highlighted the day with first-place finishes in the 60-meter hurdles, 4x400-meter relay and high jump. Her mark of 8.17 in the 60-meter hurdles set a new Wildcat Invitational record and facility record.

Fellow senior A’Keyla Mitchell also set a new meet and facility record during the race, winning the 300-meter dash with a time of 37.72. The previous facility record of 39.29 was set earlier this season at the K-State Winter Invitational by teammate Tia’ Gamble.

On the track, distance runners Morgan Wedekind and Lukas Koch placed first in the mile run with time of 5:03.43 and 4:18.69, respectively.

Senior Sonia Gaskin finished first in the 600 yard run with a mark of 1:22.05, while freshman Javon Robinson posted time of 1:13.67 to finish first in the same event.

Junior Kain Ellis also added a first-place effort for the distance runners, finishing the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:28.10.

Sophomore Keiteyana Parks took first place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.51, while Gamble finished first in the 400-meter dash with a mark of 56.20. Terrell Smith placed first in the 60 meters with a time of 6.77, while freshman Devie Freeman outpaced teammate Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye with a time of 22.39.

In the field, junior Miles Bearden placed first in the high jump with a leap of 2.10m/6-10.75. Fellow junior Zack Supple had a strong outing in pole vault, recording a first-place finish with a jump of 4.90m/16-00.75.

Freshman thrower Brett Neelly recorded his second win in shot put in as many meets with a throw of 16.83m/55-02.75.

“We obviously had some really outstanding performances today,” Rovelto said. “I think that is a reflection of them doing a good job over the last two or three weeks training but also a reflection that they are just pretty good.”

K-State returns to action on Jan. 15, as the Wildcats head to Lawrence to compete in the KSU-KU-WSU showdown.

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