K-State's Alyx Treasure competes in the women's high jump during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminaries at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas on May 31, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State Track and Field closes out its 2014 campaign in Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, set to run from June 11-14. In all, the Wildcats enter the meet with 13 total entries, seven for the men and six for the women – the most since 2007 when K-State also had 13 entries.
Head coach Cliff Rovelto said he expects a strong effort from both the men and women squads, who come into the final meet of year ranked No. 18 and 24, respectively, in the latest USTFCCCA Division I rankings – the first time both groups have been ranked in the top-25 at the same time since 2011.
“The way I look at it when you get to this stage, and it’s virtually impossible to predict where we’ll end up, is the number of scoring opportunities we have here and what are our best shots [in placing],” Rovelto said. “And I think if we were to max out, and I emphasize max out, everything we are capable of doing then I think both teams could be in the top-20, top-15.
“For us, in our situation and with our program, if we can come into a national meet every year with a shot of doing that then that’s pretty good for us. And I feel good about us being able to accomplish that this week.”
The Wildcats come to Eugene with one of the more well-rounded teams in the country, as K-State is only one of 15 DI schools to have both its men’s and women’s squads in the national top-25. In fact, the Big 12 conference, as a whole, has four of those 15 teams with only the SEC holding more at seven.
For the men, their seven scoring opportunities rank 12th out of the 145 schools set to compete this week, as they will look to continue a stretch that has seen them place in the top-25 the past two national meets. On the women’s side, their six entries are 19th out of 139 women’s squads. They will look to record a scoring performance for the first time since 2011 – also the last time both the K-State men and women recorded top-20 finishes.
Rovelto said that he and the coaches aim to field both competitive men’s and women’s teams each year, but it is not an easy task to accomplish.
“It’s kind of difficult, and history has borne this out, for both teams to be good at the same time,” Rovelto said. “Part of that is as soon as one begins to outshine the other, the focus can shift and you see that happen a lot. For us, historically, we’ve never had one good and one lousy, but there’s certainly has been a difference between one and the other. Now you’re looking at teams that are almost identically ranked, have very similar numbers and that’s hard to do.
“So I think it has been a very good outdoor season, regardless of what happens here, but I do think we have an opportunity to do some good stuff here.”
Action is set to get started tomorrow for the Wildcats at 11:30 a.m., PT with the men’s decathlon 100 meter dash. A full list of the times and events for K-State athletes is provided below. Live results will be available and can be found either by visiting NCAA.com or the K-State Track and Field schedule page and clicking on the meet’s respective tab. Up-to-the-minute K-State updates can also be found @kstate_gameday under #KStateTF. For more information, including heat sheets, a full meet schedule and link to the NCAA Meet Central page, visit www.k-statesports.com.
Competing for the Men…
· Devin Dick | Decathlon | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m. PT
o Senior Devin Dick makes his second-straight NCAA appearance this season and his first-ever in the decathlon. The Hutchinson, Kansas, native secured his bid in the multi-event at the Big 12 Championships where he won the conference title. He enters competition with a personal best and the fifth-best mark in Division I of 7,792 points. Dick is one of 10 conference champions in the field of 24 and will look to be the first Wildcat men’s combined events athlete since Moritz Cleve in 2011 to secure indoor and outdoor All-American honors.
· Devin Field | Long Jump / Triple Jump | LJ : Thurs., June 12, at 4:30 p.m. PT / TJ: Sat., June 14 at 12:30 p.m. PT
o Sophomore Devin Field will look to close out a dominant outdoor campaign with scoring performances in both the long jump and triple jump. The Port Author, Texas, native is the first Wildcat to qualify in both events outdoors since Kenny Harrison in 1986. One of five men’s jumpers in Division I to have qualified in both events, Field enters competition with the 11th-best mark in the long jump (7.81m/25-07.50) and No. 3 mark in the triple jump (16.30m/53-05.75) – both personal bests.
· Ivan Hartung | Javelin | Starts Saturday, June 14, at 12:35 p.m. PT
o Junior Ivan Hartung makes his first career appearance on the national stage. Hartung earned the trip to Oregon with a ninth-place finish at the West Prelims and is the first Wildcat men’s javelin thrower since Adam Fretwell in 2007 to reach NCAAs. The Manhattan, Kansas, native is one of four throwers competing for K-State this week. His season-best throw of 65.70m/215-07.00 is 22nd-best out of the field of 24.
· Ryan Hershberger | Shot Put | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. PT
o Senior Ryan Hershberger enters this week competing in his first career national championship meet. The Clay Center, Kansas, native has performed exceptionally well as of late, with marks of 60 feet or better in three-straight meets. He finished seventh overall at the West Prelims and his PR throw of 18.86m/61-10.50 is 20th in the field of 24. Hershberger is the first Wildcat since T.J. Staab to compete nationally in the event outdoors.
· Reinis Kregers | Decathlon | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m. PT
o The second part of the K-State decathlon duo, sophomore Reinis Kregers makes his second-straight appearance nationally in the decathlon. It marks the second-straight year K-State will have multiple athletes competing in the multi-event, as Kregers earned his bid with a runner-up performance at Big 12s. His personal best score of 7,618 points ranks him ninth out of the field of 24 athletes.
· Zack Riley | High Jump | Starts Friday, June 13, at 3:20 p.m. PT
o Rounding out the list of qualifiers for the Wildcat men is junior Zack Riley. The Herrin, Illinois, native makes his first appearance on the national stage, as he qualified in the high jump at last month’s West Prelims. His current season-best of 2.16m/7-01.00 slots him at tied for 18th among the field of 24 qualifiers. Riley’s entry has now made it 12-straight seasons that the Wildcat men have had a high jump compete at the NCAAs outdoors.
Competing for the Women…
· Sonia Gaskin | 800 meter / 4x400 | 800m: Wed., June 11, at 4:45 p.m. / 4x400: Thurs., June 12, at 6:40 p.m. PT
o Sophomore Sonia Gaskin makes her first career appearance at the NCAAs and will compete in both the 800 meter run and 4x400 meter relay. In the 800m, Gaskin’s clocked in at a personal best time of 2:04.79 to earn a trip to Eugene and will look to advance to the NCAA final starting Wednesday with the event semifinal at 4:45 p.m. She is the first Wildcat since Boglarka Bozzay in 2012 to qualify for the event outdoors and currently sits with the 18th-fastest time in her field.
· Gaskin, Tia’ Gamble, Merryl Mbeng and Sarah Kolmer | 4x400 | Semis on Thurs., June 12, at 6:40 p.m. PT
o Joining Gaskin on the track will be Tia’ Gamble, Merryl Mbeng and Sarah Kolmer, who helped K-State nab a qualifying bid in the 4x400. The group, running together for only the second time all season, took 10th overall at the West Prelims, clocking in at 3:34.12. The time was good enough for third-best in school history, as this is the first Wildcat women’s 4x400 since 2006 to qualify for NCAAs.
· Danie Plank | Javelin | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 5:15 p.m. PT
o The lone freshman of the group for K-State, Danie Plank is the first Wildcat women’s thrower since Ali Pistora in 2009 to qualify nationally in the javelin. Plank punched her ticket to Eugene with a ninth-place finish at the West Prelims and her season-best chuck of 51.00m/167-04 is 16th-best out of the field of 24 athletes. The Gardner, Kansas, native is also only one of three freshmen competing in the event for the women this week.
· Sara Savatovic | Hammer Throw | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 1:30 p.m., PT
o The last of the four throwers competing for K-State, sophomore Sara Savatovic is making her first career appearance at NCAAs. The Crvenka, Serbia, native has had a sensational sophomore campaign that has included two Big 12 titles, as she will be the first Wildcat since Loren Groves in 2009 to compete in the hammer throw nationally. Her season-best mark of 65.19m/213-10 ranks a close second in school history and is the 7th-best mark in all of Division I. Savatovic will be one of five underclassmen competing in the event this week.
· Alyx Treasure | High Jump | Starts Saturday, June 14, at 12:45 p.m., PT
o Junior Alyx Treasure makes her third career appearance, and first outdoors, in the high jump on the national stage. Treasure’s personal best height cleared of 1.85m/6-00.75 is tied for fifth-best in the event’s field of 24, as she is the first women’s Wildcat high jumper since Kaylene Wagner in 2007 to qualify in the event outdoors. The Prince George, B.C., Canada, native enters the meet as one of only nine jumpers in her field to have cleared a height of six feet or higher this season.
· Erica Twiss | Long Jump | Starts Wednesday, June 11, at 4:15 p.m., PT
o Lastly for the Wildcat women, senior Erica Twiss makes a second-straight appearance at the NCAAs this season and third career appearance overall. The Big 12 Champion in the long jump, Twiss qualified for the national meet with an 11th-place finish at the West Prelims. Her personal best, and second-best in school history, leap of 6.37m/20-10.75 is tied for 7th-best out of the qualifying 24 in the event. Twiss will look to become the first Wildcat since Nina Kokot in 2011 to earn first team All-American honors in the event outdoors.