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Wildcats shine in Big 12 track tune-up

By The Mercury

The impressive performances were not limited to Erik Kynard on Saturday at the KSU Open, as eight other individuals improved Big 12 rankings in their respective events heading into next week’s league meet.

The Kansas State women’s 4x400 relay moved up the league rankings on Saturday at Ahearn Fieldhouse, while the throwers and jumpers shined across the board.

Freshman Dani Winters posting a new personal record on her first toss in the weight throw and then again later in the competition to finish fourth. Jessica Carter followed shortly with a PR on her first toss. She too would post another PR during the competition on her last throw, which was needed after another competitor moved ahead of her during the fifth round.

Carter had a winning throw of 18.70 meters (61-04.25) to move into fourth in the Big 12 this season and seventh in school history.

Freshman Sara Savatovic took third at 17.54 meters (57-06.50). Alex Roe also posted a PR for the men in winning with a toss of 17.97 meters (58-11.50). Roe already ranked fifth in the Big 12 and that mark widened the gap between he and the sixth-ranked thrower.

Before Kynard put on his show in winning the high jump, sophomore Joslyn Barnes had her best performance of the season as she won the women’s high jump at 1.73 meters (5-08.00). That mark moves her into fifth on the conference list where she is expected to compete in the high jump and pentathlon next week at the conference meet.

The Wildcats also dominated the long jump with newcomers Jharyl Bowry, Tyris Jefferson and Devin Field finishing 1-2-3 in the men’s competition.

Jasmine Gibbs and Cenarda Jackson took the top two spots in the women’s long jump as well with Jackson posting a new PR.

Bowry earned the win with a mark just short of his season best, as he still ranks No. 1 in the Big 12. Jefferson took second place in 7.12 meters (23-04.50) to move into fourth in the conference and Field made his long jump debut as a Wildcat with a jump of 7.01 meters (23-00.00) to rank ninth in the conference.

K-State ran away from the competition on the track with victories in nearly every event the Wildcats were entered.

Senior Samantha McKnight posted a PR in the 60 meters for the second straight week. McKnight ran the fastest time in the preliminaries and backed it up with a winning time of 7.52 seconds in the final. That time moves her into the top 10 in the conference and into fifth in school history.

Freshman Magnus Scott posted two PRs in the men’s 60 meters, as he ran 6.91 in the prelims and then 6.84 to finish second in the final.

K-State won all three distance events the team entered with Fernando Roman putting together the best performance. Roman ran the 3,000 meters in 8:41.32 to claim victory and shave more than 20 seconds off her previous best time in the event from last season.

The Wildcats closed the meet with a K-State vs. K-State battle in the women’s 4x400 relay and the top squad accomplished its goal for the meet.

K-State entered the meet ranked sixth in the Big 12 in the 4x400 and wanted to run a fast enough time to move into the fastest heat at the conference championship.

With a time of 3:42.64, the team of Sonia Gaskin, Ashley Williams, Merryl Mbeng and Tia Gamble won the event.

After using a conversion rate for the event, which K-State ran on a flat 200-meter track, the time of 3:39.73 does move K-State into fourth in the Big 12. The No. 2 team of Jordan Matthews, Sarah Kolmer, Erica Twiss and Angela Hart ran a time of 3:46.12.

  The Wildcats will battle the rest of the league at the Big 12 Championship next week in Ames, Iowa. Action starts on Friday for the two-day meet with the Wildcat men among one of four teams in the league ranked in the Top 25.

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