K-State track and field got its season underway on Friday with the annual Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon.
A small group of Wildcats were in action along with athletes from some other area school, and K-State came away with some strong performances to open the season.
Seniors Devin Dick and Tomas Kirielius led the way in the men’s competition and newcomer Merryl Mbeng finished second for the women with one of the best scores in school history.
Mbeng finished second behind former Wildcat Ryann Krais as she won with 4,159 points for her new personal best score in a pentathlon. Krais completed her eligibility last year and is enrolled in grad school at K-State while continuing to train with head coach Cliff Rovelto post-collegiately.
Mbeng is a junior transfer from France and put together an impressive list of numbers in her career debut as a Wildcat as her score of 4,047 points ranks sixth in school history.
Mbeng ran the 60 meter hurdles in 8.66 seconds, which ranks fifth in a pentathlon in school history. She backed that up with a high jump among the top 10 as well. Her worst mark of the day came in the shot put, but she responded with a long jump of 19-05.25 (5.92m) for third in school history in a pentathlon. Her time in the 800 meters to close the day ranked second for a pentathlon, giving her a top 10 mark in four of the five events.
“I think Merryl was exceptional,” Rovelto said. “I don’t know if we’ve had anybody other than Austra Skujyte and Ryann that could score that high that early. I think that score will get her into the NCAA meet.”
Freshman Shannon Parr also had a good day for the Wildcats in her debut finishing third in the women’s pentathlon with her score of 3,136 points. She opened the meet with her two best showings scoring more than 800 points in the hurdles and just missing that threshold in the high jump.
Rovelto said with Mbeng, Parr and the other women on the team in the multis program not competing this weekend his team could make a lot of noise in the pentathlon this year.
“The really good thing is we’ve got a couple other girls who could score as high as Merry did,” Rovelto said. “We’ve also got some that will score just below them, so we could have a really good group in that event.”
On the men’s side, Dick won with his score of 3,861 points while Kirielius was not too far behind in second place with 3,721 points. Both posted one personal record on the day with Kirielius opening the meet with his fastest time in the 60 meter hurdles at 8.47 seconds. Dick was not far off his PR in that event, but posted his big mark in the high jump clearing 6-09.00 (2.06m).
Rovelto was happy with some of their events as well. He was particularly happy with how well they all high jumped and came up just short of their PRs in the long jump. He also praised senior Tony Granillo’s third-place performance as he competed unattached. Granillo will not be able to compete for K-State until the outdoor season after exhausting his indoor eligibility last season for K-State.
The Wildcats continue their opening weekend of action on Saturday as they host the KSU All-Comers at Ahearn Field House. Field events are slated to start at 11 a.m. with running events firing off at 2 p.m.