Kansas State track and field finished Day 2 of the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday with five qualifiers for the NCAA Championships.
Juniors Jullane Walker (men’s long jump) and Helene Ingvaldsen (women’s hammer throw) qualified in their respective events Thursday, with Ashley Petr (women’s discus), Brett Neelly (men’s discus) and Ranae McKenzie (women’s 400-meter hurdles) punching their tickets Friday.
Two more Wildcats — Tejaswin Shankar in the men’s high jump and Shardia Lawrence in the women’s triple jump — joined the fray Saturday.
Lawrence, a senior, put together a fantastic Saturday, placing second in the triple jump with a 13.44m leap. The sophomore, Shankar, jumped 2.16m to propel himself to third place and a spot in the championship round.
It was the fourth time qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championship for both Neelly and McKenzie. It will be Petr’s first appearance at this year’s NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
Petr made a massive leap from her performance at the same event last year, according to the release. She placed 42nd at the NCAA West Preliminary in 2018, where she hit a mark of 46.91m. Her performance on Friday surpassed that mark by almost 10 meters at 56.07m.
It came on her last throw.
“I’m just looking forward to being there, honestly,” Petr said in a release. “It’s a huge accomplishment to make it this far. This was one of my goals last year, and this year especially, so it’s finally coming together.”
Neelly earned his fourth NCAA qualification on the discus after Petr’s performance. His first discus attempt was a scratch. After that, he was in 27th with a mark of 53.10m going into his third and final toss. He then clutched up and threw 55.49m to put him in ninth place and receive a spot in the championships.
“It’s my first time qualifying for discus and I got it on my last throw,” Neelly said. “I’m just excited to get down to Austin and I can’t wait to get there.”
McKenzie, who already held the No. 1 mark in the West region, ran a 56.24 in the women’s 400-meter hurdles quarterfinal, the fastest time in the West Preliminary. It was McKenzie’s second-best time of the season. She will enter the NCAAs with the best mark in the country (56.11), which she set at the Michael Johnson Invitational.
Though Walker didn’t advance to the NCAAs in the men’s 200 meters, he still clocked the second-fastest in school history (20.53) in the event Friday. Walker’s time trails only Terrell Smith’s 20.49, set at the USA Track and Field Championships last year.