DES MOINES, Iowa – Scott Sellers and Kyle Lancaster continued to soar in the high jump and the women’s 4x400-meter relay team broke the school record, as Kansas State qualified five athletes and one relay for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Drake Stadium. For the weekend, K-State qualified seven athletes and one relay squad for the NCAA meet on June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.
In the team standings, the K-State women finished seventh with 38 points while the men finished 13th with 24 points. The team titles for the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships went to the Texas A&M women with 99 points and the Oklahoma men with 75.33 points.
Athletes who register an individual top-five finish or relay teams that card a top-three spot this weekend are automatically placed into the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship field. Athletes finishing in sixth, seventh or eighth are entered into an at-large pool and are judged by their season-best to determine the final qualifiers.
Sellers won his first career regional title in the high jump with a meet record-tying clearance of 7-04.50, while Lancaster qualified for his fourth career NCAA Outdoor Championships with second-place finish and a personal season-best mark of 7-03.25.
Sellers, a sophomore from Katy, Texas and the reigning Big 12 champion in the event, tied Lancaster and Texas’ Andra Manson in the Midwest Regional record books and reached his second straight NCAA Outdoor Championship. Lancaster is a two-time meet champion, winning in 2004 and 2005.
The competition opened with 20 of the 22 competitors at the starting height of 6-09.00. Both Sellers and Lancaster cleared the first two heights on their first attempts. Each then missed on their first attempts at 7-01.00, but both cleared on their first attempts at 7-02.25.
The dual then heated up as Lancaster went over the bar on his first try at 7-03.25, while Sellers was pushed to the brink with a clearance on his third attempt. Sellers sealed the victory on his first attempt at 7-04.50, while Lancaster was unsuccessful on his three attempts.
Sellers is ranked 32nd on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). He also holds the school record with his effort from the 2007 Big 12 Outdoor Championships at 7-07.75. In his previous visit to Drake Stadium, Sellers finished third in the men’s special invitational high jump with a height of 7-05.00.
Lancaster is a three-time NCAA Outdoor All-American and will attempt to become just the third athlete in school history to earn four outdoor All-America citations, joining Rollin Prather (1948 and 1949 – shot put and discus) and Kenny Harrison (1986, 1987 and 1988 – long jump and triple jump). Lancaster is the only Wildcat male athlete to earn three consecutive All-America designations (2003, 2004 and 2005).
Joining Sellers and Lancaster on the men’s side will be TJ Staab in the men’s shot put. The senior from Plainville, Kan., entered the weekend ranked ninth in the region with a season-best of 57-05.00, but surpassed that expectation with a fifth-place finish of 56-09.25. This will be Staab’s second appearance at the NCAA Championships and first since the 2005 season.
On the women’s side, Laci Heller punched her ticket to Sacramento for the third straight year with a third-place finish in the hammer throw. The junior from Meriden, Kan., registered a distance of 199-07, the eighth time this season she has thrown beyond 190 feet. Heller earned All-American honors in the event in 2005 with an eighth-place finish.
Beverly Ramos continued to lower her own school record in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a fourth-place finish of 10:21.71. The freshman from Trujillo, Puerto Rico has now lowered the school record in her last three steeplechase efforts and qualified for her first NCAA Outdoor Championship.
The women’s 4x400-meter relay squad of Shunte Thomas, Donniece Parrish, Monique Coleman and Morgan Bonds finished third with a new school record of 3:33.34. The group was narrowly edged out at the finish line for second by Texas, which finished with a time of 3:33.33.
The previous school record was set just a season ago during the Texas Relays by a team of Parrish, Thomas, Lisi Maurer and Bonds. This season’s squad entered the weekend ranked sixth in the region with a season-best of 3:36.36.
The Wildcats had three athletes register seventh-place finishes on Saturday, which slots them into the at-large pool and will be judged by their season-best. Thomas registered a time of 54.72 in the women’s 400-meter dash and has a personal season-best of 52.98. Bonds clocked a new career-best in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.07. Sophomore Mike Myer checked in with a time of 10.44 in the 100-meter dash. He has a personal season-best of 10.36.
Kansas State will have two weeks off before the delegation of athletes competes at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 6-9.
– k-statesports.com –