COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Coming into this year’s Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships, Kansas State head coach Cliff Rovelto believed his men’s and women’s teams had the opportunity to score significant points and put together their best performances in a while.
Rovelto was correct in his projection with the women’s team, posting its best finish in three years, while the men had their best showing seven years.
K-State’s men finished fourth in the team standings with 64 points. The fourth-place finish was the best for the men since taking third in 2005. The last time the women finished seventh or better was 2009.
K-State came away from the conference championship meet with a combined total of five titles, as the Wildcats continued to show their dominance in the combined events and the high jump. This year was the first time since 2005 the men had multiple champions and the first time for the women since 2007.
After Ryann Krais won the women’s pentathlon on Friday to mark the fourth Big 12 title in the event, the Cats bested the field in the high jump on both sides.
The Wildcats helped solidify their chance to claim K-State as “High Jump U” with a sweep of the men’s and women’s titles, along with adding another scorer in the event.
Erik Kynard successfully defended his title, clearing 2.27 meters (7-05.25) with no other competitor clearing seven feet. He failed his attempts at clearing 2.34 meters (7-08.00), which would have tied for the second-best mark in NCAA history.
Freshman Alyx Treasure won the women’s high jump with her clearance of 1.83 meters (6-00.00). The mark puts her in fourth on the NCAA list this season. Fellow freshman Joslyn Barnes finished fifth, jumping 1.75 meters (5-08.75).
Treasure came in with the top jump in the conference, but was up against an experienced crew of jumpers from Texas that finished 2-3-6-7 on Saturday.
The Wildcats remain one of only two schools with a men’s and women’s high jumper ranked in the Top 10 of the NCAA this season.
The running finals had a bit of a delay after an electrical malfunction with the timing equipment. The delay forced the men’s 60-meter hurdles runners back to the warm up area until the problem could be corrected. When the malfunction was fixed, it was senior Jeffrey Julmis who came out of the blocks to get the win for K-State.
Julmis was neck and neck with defending champion Keiron Stewart of Texas midway through the race. With the two even with two hurdles to go it would be the final sprint after the last hurdle that would determine the winner. Julmis pulled away to get the win in 7.75 seconds.
Julmis is the first Wildcat to win the 60-meter hurdle title in the Big 12 era, with the last hurdle champion coming in 1993 when Travis Livingston won the 55-meter hurdles.
Mantas Silkauskas also ran in the final for the Wildcats, placing sixth with his time of 7.96 seconds to give the men 13 points in the event. Redshirt freshman Erica Twiss also ran in the women’s final, finishing sixth.
Carlos Rodriguez came away with a sixth-place finish for the men in the 60 meters to make it a successful day for the Wildcats in the sprint events.
Then the success started rolling in for K-State in the mid-distance events, including another title. Senior Boglarka Bozzay continued her undefeated season, crossing the finish line first in the 1,000 meters in 2:47.02.
The men’s team had a pair of Wildcats score in the mid-distance events as well, with Kyle Hanson claiming sixth in the 1,000 and Jacob Davies also taking sixth in the 800. Hanson clocked in at 2:26.28, and Davies finished in 1:49.93 for a new PR and is tied for third in school history.
In long distance events, Laura Galavan cut a chunk of time off her personal best in the 3,000 meters. She finished in 9:48.72, taking 13th place.
After the women’s team had made a significant impact in the multi-event on Friday, the men’s team did the same thing with two Wildcats placing in the top eight to score a total of nine points toward the team total.
Tomas Kirielius posted a new personal record in the heptathlon with his total of 5,221 to finish third and earn six points for the team. Transfer Tony Granillo also had his best performance, scoring 5,132 points over the seven events. Devin Dick finished 12th with his total of 4,586 points after posting no-height in the pole as he was battling sickness throughout the day.
In K-State’s other field event action on the day, Ryan Hershberger placed seventh in the shot put. Jacquelyne Leffler took 10th place with her toss of 14.31 meters (46-11.50).
Entering the final event, the women were in a tight battle in the team standings for spots six through eight. The tandem of Sarah Kolmer, Twiss, Ryann Krais and Sophia Alonso combined to break the school record in the 4x400 relay, clocking in at 3:40.38 and finishing seventh. With those two points and only one point going to Oklahoma in eighth place, the Wildcats jumped over the Sooners in the team standings to finish seventh overall with 56 points.
The men’s team was locked in at fourth place with the 4x400 not having an impact on their standings. The team of Chris Campbell, Blaine Cash, Davies and Luke Hibbeler finished eighth.