AUSTIN, Texas – After a weather delay of more than six hours on Friday, the Kansas State track and field team was able to advance one athlete to the next round of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds and saw two punch their ticket to the NCAA Championship.
Heavy rains and lightning forced the meet to come to a halt just over an hour after starting the women’s discus. The competition was heading into the third attempts in the second flight at the time and the women’s pole vault had just raised the bar to its second height when lightning stopped the competition.
Late in the evening after the delay and a handful of events is when K-State’s big performances started coming in.
After running one of the fastest non-automatic qualifying times of the first round, Erica Twiss clocked in with another new personal best in the quarterfinals of the 400 meter hurdles. Twiss crossed the line in 58.55 seconds, to shave .40 off her previous best from Thursday night. The time was good enough for fourth in her heat and grabbed the final spot from the West for the NCAA Championship meet in Oregon.
Martina Tresch entered the weekend with her sights set on getting back to the NCAA Championship after finishing 10th as a sophomore in 2011 and 16th as a freshman before redshirting last year due to injury. She did just that. The Big 12 champion ran her fastest time of the season at 10:05.11 to finish fourth in her heat, which was fast enough to grab one of the available time-based spots outside of the top three auto-qualifiers.
K-State had two seniors competing in the women’s discus with Jacquelyne Leffler trying to make a return trip to the NCAA Championship. Leffler and fellow senior Jessica Carter were both in the first flight and were able to finish competing in preliminaries before the weather delay.
When action resumed following the rain delay, the discus was able to be concluded, and Leffler would finish 22nd with her toss of 48.57 meters (159-04) from the first flight. Carter had a mark of 45.54 meters (149-05) to finish 41st.
Running events were delayed a full three hours with the original schedule set to start at 5 p.m. prior to the weather delay.
The Wildcats were in action right away in the running events when the women’s 100 meters fired off. Richelle Farley was in lane one of the first heat and appeared to stumble following the second hurdle and could not finish the race. The men had Tarique Hill shortly after in the 110 meter hurdles. Hill ran 14.51 and finished 32nd overall to miss advancing to the quarterfinals.
Next on the track for the Wildcats was freshman Jasmine Gibbs. The Californian had a slow start out of the blocks and could not make up the ground on the field in her heat. She crossed the line in 12.13 seconds to finish 24th in the quarterfinals.
Another freshman was on the track for the women’s team vying for a spot in the NCAA Championship. Sonia Gaskin managed to grab the final spot in the quarterfinals during Thursday night’s action, but could not repeat the magic on Friday, running 2:08.39 to finish 19th.
Ryan Hershberger was up against the top throwers in the shot put as one of four men’s team members competing Friday. His mark of 16.52 meters (54-02.50) was not enough to move on as he finished in 34th place.
Looking to move to Saturday’s quarterfinals in the 200 meters was Puerto Rico native Carlos Rodriguez. The sophomore crossed the line in 21.48 seconds and came third in his heat to grab one of the automatic spots for Saturday.
Closing the night for the Wildcats was the distance pair of Tresch and Fernando Roman. Both had to wait until after midnight to run their respective races due to the weather delay earlier in the meet.
After Tresch qualified for the NCAA Championship, Roman ended the night with a time of 9:45.62 for the men’s team to finish in 48th.
The Wildcats will close the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on Saturday with seven individual athletes along with both relays for the men and women in action. K-State’s first competition is set for noon in the men’s javelin. Live results can be found online at kstatesports.com and texassports.com. Live video also is available for free with links provided at both websites as well. Fans can keep up with the Wildcats on Twitter on the @kstate_gameday account or the entire meet on the @TexasMTF and @TexasWTandF accounts. The official hashtags fans can follow are #KStateTF and #NCAATF.