It was another successful day at Ahearn Field House for the K-State track and field teams as the home team dominated the Wildcat Invitational winning all six dual meets against Oklahoma State, Tulsa and UMKC.
K-State tallied 18 total victories on the afternoon and three meet records that included some of the top marks of the season in the NCAA.
The Wildcat Invitational was highlighted by the return of Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard to completion as he jumped for the first time since London.
The senior did not disappoint as he urged the large crowd to help him with the slow clap as he jumped. Kynard went on to clear 7-feet-6-inches to set a new meet record as well as set the standard for the NCAA this season as it is the highest jump so far. Kynard’s jump also breaks a collegiate dual meet record.
K-State head coach Cliff Rovelto said he was impressed with Kynard’s performance, especially considering it is only the third time Kynard has jumped, counting practices since the Olympics in August.
However, Rovelto was most impressed with one of his sprinters on Saturday.
Carlos Rodriguez crushed the field in the 200 meters with his time of 21.14 seconds. The time ranks third in school history and was the third meet record of the day to fall by way of the Wildcats.
But more impressive is he did it on a flat 200-meter track. Taking a conversion rate into affect used to compare flat track times to banked track times, Rodriguez time converts to 20.87 seconds and currently ranks fifth in the NCAA this season.
“I think Carlos in the 200 was the most impressive thing all day,” Rovelto said. “That’s saying something when you’re at a meet where a guy breaks the dual meet record in the high jump and another guy goes 17-8 in the pole vault.
“We’ve had a lot of really good sprinters here, and not very many of them ran that fast. To run that time on a flat 200 is something Terence Newman never did. If you put that performance today on a banked 200-meter track, it’s one of the fastest times in the nation, no question.”
The pole mark Rovelto mentioned is another event K-State’s men shined in.
Junior Kyle Wait moved his way up to No. 2 in K-State history, as he cleared 5.40 meters (17-08.75). His mark also is tied for No. 6 on the NCAA list this season and is a new Wildcat Invitational record.
Wait and his teammates had great performances with senior Cameron Savage finishing second at 4.95 meters (16-02.75), and sophomore Tommy Brady posted a new personal best at 4.80 meters (15-09.00). Freshman Hannah Rubin won the women’s pole vault with her mark of 3.35 meters (10-11.75).
The Wildcat Invitational was scored as a triple dual meet with the men and women all taking on each other from each school. K-State easily bested both sides of Oklahoma State, Tulsa and UMKC on the day.
K-State’s men bested Oklahoma State 75-47, UMKC 86-51 and Tulsa 70-59, while the women were victorious over Oklahoma State 81-57, UMKC 86-45 and Tulsa 85-47.
The men and women combined to win 18 events on Saturday with the women’s team dominating the sprints.
Freshman Ashley Williams won the 60 meters with her time of 7.55 seconds to rank eighth in school history. Senior Samantha McKnight was close behind in second and won the 200 meters herself with a new personal best time of 25.40.
Combined events specialist Richelle Farley left the field in the dust in the 60-meter hurdles, as she crossed the line in 8.46 seconds to move into third place in school history and fourth in the Big 12 this year. Tarique Hill was just of his PR of 8.01, as he won the men’s hurdles in 8.02 for his third victory of the season in as many meets.
K-State’s women and men both won the 4x400 relay, and Chris Campbell ran his way to a win in the 400 meters individually with a new PR of 49.38. Freshman Jay-J Parks won the 600 yards, an event he had not run yet as a Wildcat, clocking in at 1:12.13. The women’s 600 yards also went to K-State with freshman Tia Gamble winning at 1:23.84.
Freshman Sonia Gaskin won the women’s 800 for K-State after running the 600 yards the last two meets. She crossed the line in 2:14.19.
In addition to Kynard, Wait and Rubin winning their events, the jumps were a strong area for the Wildcats on Saturday.
Newcomer Jharyl Bowry won the men’s long jump for K-State with a leap of 7.53 meters (24-08.50), which ranks ninth in school history and is currently No. 1 in the Big 12 this season.
Freshman Ifeanyi Otuonye finished second with his mark of 7.29 meters (23-11.00), which is one centimeter better than his outdoor PR in the event from high school and stands right behind Bowry on the Big 12 list. Bowry’s mark also stands No. 9 on the NCAA list.
Freshman Jordan Matthews won the women’s triple jump as she leapt 11.37 meters (37-03.75) on a short approach and with limited practice on certain aspects of the event.
One more victory came in the women’s weight throw as freshman Sara Savatovic made her debut as a Wildcat. Savatovic just got to K-State last week from Serbia, where she had never competed in the indoor weight throw, instead specializing outdoors in the hammer throw.
Savatovic posted a mark of 17.95 meters (58-10.75), just missing the K-State top 10 list in her first meet.
K-State went 1-2-3 in the women’s weight throw with Jessica Carter taking second at 17.89 meters (58-08.50) and redshirt freshman Dani Winters third at 16.32 meters (53-06.50). Winters also took second in the shot put.
Alex Roe finished third in the men’s weight throw with a new PR mark of 17.12 meters (56-02.00).
“From a team perspective today was pretty good, and we had a lot of good athletes who didn’t compete,” Rovelto said. “I think if you take all the people who didn’t compete today and have already showed they’re pretty competitive, the scores could have been even bigger for us today. It was a good day today and looking forward I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
The Wildcats will send a large group to Iowa State next week for the Bill Bergan Invitational, which also is a team-scored meet. Six athletes will compete in the combined events with two in the men’s heptathlon and four in the women’s pentathlon to start the meet off Thursday and Friday before a full slate of events culminating on Saturday.