More Kansas State Wildcats punched their ticket to the NCAA Championship on Saturday advancing through the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds from Mike A. Myers Stadium. The final day of the East and West Preliminary Rounds saw two Wildcats move on to face the best in the nation at Drake University in two weeks. Those Wildcats join six others already headed to Iowa for a total of eight going to the NCAA Championship.
Pole vaulter Kyle Wait has made marked improvement during his sophomore campaign increasing his personal record now three times this season. After winning the first Big 12 men’s pole vault title in school history two weeks ago with a new PR, Wait backed that performance up by improving his best vault by 1.50 inches and finishing 11th at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. With his 11th-place finish, Wait advances to the NCAA Championship where he will be one of 24 student-athletes competing for the NCAA crown. Wait cleared his new PR on his first attempt at that height as well.
Junior Erik Kynard will be defending his title at Drake in two weeks as he finished first at the West Preliminary Rounds. He along with four other competitors cleared 7-02.50, but he was the only one to do so on his first attempt. Kynard jumped at all five heights in the competition before the field was narrowed down until only 12 were left standing. Kynard was the only jumper to clear every bar on his first attempt.
Two of K-State’s heptathletes were in action hoping to qualify for the championship meet in the 100 meter hurdles. One of those two runners, Mairead Murphy, is already headed to Des Moines, Iowa, as she will be competing in the heptathlon. Murphy finished 25th in the hurdles on Saturday clocking in at 13.82 seconds.
Meanwhile, Richelle Farley was running one of the fastest times in school history. Farley crossed the line in 13.45 seconds, in the first legal wind of the weekend for a K-State hurdler. The time was not enough to advance to the NCAA Championship, finishing 17th overall, but it does rank second in school history and shaves nearly two-tenths off her previous best legal time.
K-State had two relay teams trying to reach the NCAA Championship. The men’s 4x100 team opened the day on the track for the Wildcats looking to make another appearance after finishing 14th last season. The Wildcats struggled to pass the baton within the exchange zone, however, before the final leg of the race, and did not finish ending their run in 2012.
On the women’s side, the 4x400 relay team ran 3:43.32 and finished eighth in its heat. The tandem of Sarah Kolmer, Boglarka Bozzay, Ryann Krais and Erica Twiss was not able to advance to Des Moines, finishing 23rd overall.
As a whole, K-State has five Wildcats advancing to the NCAA Championship through the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Those student-athletes will join three multi-event athletes already qualified in the heptathlon and decathlon. The men’s team will have three competing in field events, with Mantas Silkauskas advancing in the long jump earlier this week, and one in the decathlon. The women boast one in the 800 meters, one in the discus and two in the heptathlon.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are set for June 6-9 from Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Tickets are on sale now through the Drake ticket office and at ncaa.com. K-State’s men will be looking for its first All-American in the long jump since 1991 and in the pole vault since 1982. The women have not had an All-American in the discus since 1991.