Wildcats turn in solid days

By The Mercury

Numerous Kansas State athletes turned in standout performances during the second day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at R.V. Christian Track.

Ryann Krais stole the show with a win in the women’s heptathlon, but she wasn’t the only one to shine.

Krais was joined by two teammates on the podium, as contributors to the team scoring. Senior transfer Mairead Murphy finished fourth with her total of 5,399 points, improving her fifth-place hold in the school record book. It also gave Murphy her second Ireland national record this year after breaking the pentathlon mark indoors in February.

Sophomore Erica Twiss posted PR’s in six of the seven events in the heptathlon to post a new PR overall in the heptathlon at 5,236 and finish seventh. It also puts her sixth in school history. Those performances caught much praise from Krais.

“Erica, if you look at her heptathlon, she was putting together PR after PR,” she said. “She’s pretty young to the event, so she doesn’t realize how amazing that is to put up multiple PRs in a heptathlon. I just think that’s a really great sign for her and things to come.

“Mairead has definitely come a long way. I know initially she was kind of hesitant to try the heptathlon. She just wanted to be a hurdler. When you’re invested in one event, it’s hard to change your identity sometimes, but I think this year has transformed her into a multi-eventer. She’s embracing it and look where it’s taking her.”

The Wildcats were not done making noise in the multi events, as the tandem of Tomas Kirielius and Devin Dick proved why some in the track and field community refer to K-State as Multi U.

Kirielius finished second to score eight points for the Wildcats and Dick finished third, as both posted new PRs in the decathlon, improving by nearly 1,000 points each.

Kirielius scored 7,508 points and will be around the projected score to qualify for the NCAA Championship. Dick tallied 7,425 points.

Kirielius posted PRs in six of the 10 events over two days, and Dick improved in six events as well. The pair celebrated together in the awards tent after the decathlon and praised each other rather than boasting on their own success with media.

Following the multi-events, the Wildcats grabbed attention again in the second event of the preliminary heats. A trio of heptathletes ran in the 10-meter hurdles, and all three advanced. Murphy and Twiss ran their way into today’s action along with Richelle Farley, who just missed scoring in the heptathlon by two points.

Then, in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, Mantas Silkauskas and Tarique Hill both qualified. Both events fared better than Rovelto said he had projected.

Martynas Juriglas advanced in the 100 meters, as Carlos Rodriguez just missed out in ninth place. Rodriguez, however, did advance in the 200 to give the Wildcats another chance to score points. Armando Del Valle grabbed the last spot in the final for the men’s 800 meters, and Boglarka Bozzay won her heat in the event to advance. Krais moved in the 400 hurdles as well.

In the field events, the Wildcats posted big numbers all day.

Senior Kim Haberman posted a new PR in the long jump, leaping 20-05.00 to finish fourth and earn five points for the women’s team. She entered the meet ranked fifth in the conference and had never cleared 20 feet with a legal wind in her career at K-State.

Jacquelyne Leffler also came up with a big performance when she needed it most for the Wildcats. After fouling on her first two attempts in the first flight of the shot put, she then launched the shot 53-00.25. She improved her PR by almost four feet and finished sixth in the competition with the toss after entering the meet ranked 14th in the conference.

Also, in the men’s shot put Ryan Hershberger PR’d with his toss of 59-00.75 to finish fifth. He improved by more than 10 inches and finished better than his No. 7 ranking in the league.

Silkauskas went up against two of the nation’s best in the long jump and he hung right with them. On his first attempt, Silkauskas jumped 25-08.75 to stand in second place trailing only Marquise Goodwin of Texas, who represented Team USA at the 2011 IAAF World Championships. He then shut it down to rest for the hurdles and today’s 4x100 and his mark held at second.

The K-State men currently stand in second place heading into today’s finals with 38 points. The Texas Longhorns are leading with 60. K-State’s women are in sixth with 25 points and trail Missouri and Iowa State by just three in fifth.

Today’s field events begin at 1 p.m. and running events start at 3 p.m. with the 4x100 relays.

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