LOOKING AHEAD

Kansas State track and field director Cliff Rovelto watches his team compete during an event in May 2018. The Wildcats signed 25 athletes to National Letters of Intent for the upcoming season. The signing class comprises of 14 women and 11 men from seven different event groups. There are 11 Kansas natives in the group while nine are international. There also are three athletes from Texas and one each from Illinois and Iowa. See full capsules of every signee at themercury.com.

The Kansas State track and field program officially signed 25 athletes to National Letters of Intent for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

“We are very excited about this year’s signing class. We feel that every event group in our program has been enhanced significantly,” Rovelto said in a release Friday. “There are a number of student-athletes in this class who will contribute significantly at both the conference and national meets.”

The signing class is comprised of 14 women and 11 men from seven different event groups. There are 11 Kansas natives in the group while nine are international. There also are three athletes from Texas and one each from Illinois and Iowa. 


Included below are bios of each signee, courtesy of K-State Athletics.

Kyle Alcine – Nassau, Bahamas (Cloud County Community College) – High Jump

Transfer from Cloud County Community College, where he placed third in the NJCAA DI Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the men’s high jump. Four-time NJCAA Championship qualifier between indoor and outdoor.

Personal Bests:

High Jump – 2.19m/7-02.25

Urté Baĉianskaité – Panevezys, Lithuania – Combined Events

2017 World Youth Championships bronze medalist in the heptathlon, where she scored 5,467 points. 2017 Baltic Combined Events Champion in the U18 Heptathlon, scoring 5,469 points.

Personal Bests:

Heptathlon (senior) - 5,404

Edgaras Benkunskas – Kaunas, Lithuania – Combined Events

Placed fourth at the 2017 Baltic Combined Events Championship in the U20 Decathlon, scoring 7,333 points.

Personal Bests:

U20 Decathlon: 7,333

Decathlon: 6,936

Sydney Burton – Abilene, Kan. (Abilene High School) – Distance

Was a four-time Cross Country State Qualifier at Abilene High School. Two-time Class 4A KSHSAA State Champion in the 800 meters, winning the event in 2019 and 2018. Also won the women’s 4x800 meter relay at the KSHSAA State Championships. Owns the Abilene School Record in the 800 meters.

Personal Bests:

800 meters – 2:17.03

1,600 meters – 5:11.65

Janique Burgher – Clarendon, Jamaica – High Jump

Won the 2019 CARIFTA Games girl’s high jump. Placed fourth at the 2019 Penn Relays in the high jump. Holds a personal best clearance of 1.85m/6-00.75, which won her the event at the Milo Western Relays in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Personal Bests:

High jump - 1.85m/6-00.75

Pippa Earley – London, England – Combined Events

Is the under-17 British Record holder in the pentathlon and indoor and outdoor hurdles, while also winning the British U17 indoor and outdoor hurdles National Championships in 2017.

Personal Bests:

Pentathlon: 3,840 points

Heptathlon: 5,123 points

Kyle Gale – Barbados – 400 Meters

2019 Barbados U20 Champion in the 400 Meters, running a personal best 47.06. Was a part of the Barbados 4x400 meter relay team that placed second at the CARIFTA games in 2019.

Personal Bests:

400 Meters: 47.06

Helen Giefer – Wakeeney, Kan. (Trego Community High School) – Distance

Named to the 2018 All-State Academic Cross Country Team. Is the 2018 2A KSHSAA Cross Country State Champion and Led the team to a runner-up finish. 2018 Class 2A KSHSAA State Champion at 3,200 meters, finishing the season undefeated in the event. 2019 Class 2A State Champion in the 1,600 meters and runner-up at 3,2000 meters.

Personal Bests:

1,600 meters – 5:18.36

3,200 meters – 11:13.24

Delaney Kemp – Shawnee, Kan. (Mill Valley High School) – Distance

2019 KSHSAA Class 6A State Champion in the girls 4x800 meter relay, while placing runner-up in the girl’s 1,600 meters. Placed fifth at the 2017 KSHSAA Class 5A Cross Country State Championships.

Personal Bests:

800 meters – 2:17.33

Mile – 4:59.44

3,200 meters – 11:12.73

Tim Lambert – Lindsborg, Kan. (Smoky Valley High School) - Sprints

Kansas 3A State record holder in the boy’s 300 meter hurdles (37.85), 100 meters (10.55) and 200 meters (21.55).

Six-time KSHSAA State Champion, including taking the 3A State title in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 meter relay in 2019. 2019 KSHSAA runner-up in the 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. Broke Jordy Nelson’s boys 3A State record in the 100 meters, running a 10.55 at the meet.

Personal Bests:

100 meters – 10.55

200 meters – 21.55

300 meter hurdles – 37.85

Gabriel Louw – South Africa – 400 Meters

Qualified for the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships in the 400 meters and 4x400 meter relay, where he represented South Africa.

Personal Bests:

400 meters – 46.62

400 meter hurdles – 50.89

Briana Lowe – Overland Park, Kan. (Blue Valley Southwest High School) – Throws

2019 KSHSAA Class 5A State Champion in the girl’s javelin for Blue Valley Southwest High School, throwing 39.24m/128-09 and also placed fifth in the girls pole vault at the meet. Was the 2018 KSHSAA 5A runner-up in the javelin.

Personal Bests:

Javelin – 41.91m/137-06

Emma Lucas – Bedord, Iowa (Bedord High School) – Distance

2018 Iowa High School 1A Cross Country Champion. 2019 Iowa High School State Champion in both the 3,000 and 800 meters, where she successfully defended her 3,000 meter title from 2018.

Personal Bests:

800 meters – 2:18.55

1,500 meters – 4:45.80

3,000 meters – 10:04.31

Fredricka McKenzie – Manchester, Jamaica - Sprints

Penn Relays high school Champion in the 4x100 meter relay, where the Edwin Allen high school team finished in 44.21. Won the GC Foster Classics, Spanish Town in the 100 meters, where she ran a 11.78. Sister of Ranae and Shanae McKenzie, who compete on the K-State Track and Field team.

Personal Bests:

100 meters – 11.70

200 meters – 23.81

Jack Moore – Lenexa, Kan. (St. James Academy High School) - Distance

Placed third in both the boy’s 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters at the KSHSAA Class 5A State Championships. Placed third in the 2018 KSHSAA 5A Cross Country Country Championships in 15:55.0.

Personal Bests:

800 meters – 2:01.80

1,600 meters – 4:20.56

3,200 meters – 9:27.45

Kindel Nordhus – Wichita, Kan. (Bishop Carroll High School) – Combined Events/400-Meter Hurdles

2019 KSHSAA 5A State Champion in the girls 400 meters and runner-up in the 300 meter hurdles and 100 meter hurdles. 2018 KSHSAA 5A State Champion in the girls 300 meter hurdles.

Personal Bests:

100 meter hurdles – 14.82

300 meter hurdles – 43.55

400 meters – 57.49

Andrew Ott – Harlingen, Texas (Harlingen South High School) – Throws

Placed seventh at the Texas UIL 6A State Championships for Harlingen South in the shot put, throwing 17.08m/56-00.50. Threw a season-best 18.28m/60-00 at the Texas UIL 6A Region IV meet, which placed him second overall.

Personal Bests:

Shot put – 18.34m/60-02.25

Maddie Righter – Olathe, Kan. (Olathe Northwest High School) – Combined Events

Two-time KSHSAA 6A State Champion in the girls high jump, winning the event in 2017 and 2019. Runner-up in both the 100 meter hurdles and long jump at the meet in 2019.

Personal Bests:

High Jump – 1.78m/5-10

Long Jump – 5.92m/19-05.25

Jaybe Shufelberger – Topeka, Kan. (Washburn Rural High School) - Distance

2019 KSHSAA 6A State Champion in the girls 800 meters and 3,200 meters. Named the Gatorade Kansas girls cross country runner of the year. Qualified for the New Balance Nationals Cross Country meet, after placing fifth in the Heartland regional.

Personal Bests:

800 Meters – 2:16.87

1,600 Meters – 4:54.76

Mile – 4:57.28

3,200 Meters – 10:41.63

5,000 Meters (Cross Country) – 17:31.10

Hadley Splechter – Yates Center, Kan. (Yates Center High School) – Distance

Swept the KSHSAA 2A boy’s 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters in both 2018 and 2019, while also winning the 3,200 and 1,600 in 2017. Was also part of the 4x800 meter relay that won the 2A State Championship in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Holds the KSHSAA 2A State 1,600 meter record. Is a two-time KSHSAA 2A Cross Country State Champion.

Personal Bests:

800 meters – 1:57.43

1,600 meters – 4:18.99

3.200 meters – 9:10.68

5,000 meters (Cross Country) – 15:18.7

Oscar Smith – Nassau, Bahamas (Saint Augustine’s College) – Hurdles

Member of the 2018 IAAF Bahamas U20 team where he ran the 100 meter hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay. BAISS Champion in the 110 meter hurdles and 400 meter hurdles. Member of the Bahamas CARIFTA team.

Personal Bests:

110 meter hurdles – 13.71

400 meter hurdles – 53.90

Jordan Tauscher – Tyler, Texas (Grace Community High School) – Throws

2019 TAPPS 5A State Champion in both the girls shot put and discus and four-time state qualifier. Holds both the shot put and discus school records at Grace Community School. Was also named second team All-State in girl’s basketball and helped the Grace Community School to the TAPPS 5A State Championship in 2018.

Personal Bests:

Discus – 38.27m/125-07

Shot Put – 11.46m/37-07.25

Donovan Turner – Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley High School) – Hurdles

Is the 2018 IHSA 3A runner-up in the 110-meter hurdles out of Neuqua Valley High School. Placed in the top-nine of both the 110 and 300 hurdles at the 2019 IHSA 3A State Championships.

Personal Bests:

110 meter hurdles – 14.04

300 meter hurdles – 38.52

Baylee Unruh – Lawrence, Kan. (Lawrence High School) - Throws

2018 KSHSAA 6A State runner-up in the javelin throw. Owns the Lawrence High School record in the event.

Personal Bests:

Javelin – 43.38m/142-04

Sean Wilson – Arlington, Texas (Mansfield Timberview High School) – 400 Meters

Ran a personal best 48.23 in the 400 meters for Mansfield Timberview at the UIL 5A District 5 Championships, winning him the event. Owns the Mansfield Timberview school records in both the 200 meters (21.83) and 400 meters (48.23).

Personal Bests:

200 Meters – 21.83

400 Meters – 48.23

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