Expectations were high for the Wildcats heading into the season, and after the first two meets of the new year the men and women’s track track teams have not disappointed.
After several impressive performances, most recently in the Wildcat Invitational last weekend, the men have taken a jump of six places to No. 16 in the country in the USTFCCCA indoor rankings.
Sprinter Carlos Rodriguez has quickly positioned himself as one of the strongest sprinters not only in the Big 12 Conference but in the country.
With a time of 21.14 seconds, the Puerto Rican junior wowed all in attendance with a dominating performance in the 200 meters. The mark puts Rodriguez in seventh place in the NCAA and third in school history.
Head coach Cliff Rovelto spoke highly of the performance, saying it captured the attention of many in their 2013 home opening meet.
“We’ve had a lot of good sprinters here, and not very many of them ran that fast,” Rovelto said, following the invitational. “To run that time on a flat 200 is something [former K-State cornerback and sprinter] Terence Newman never did. If you put that performance today on a banked 200-meter track, it’s one of the fastest times in the nation, no question.”
K-State high jumper and Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard made his return to action, jumping for the first time since the London Games in August.
Kynard jumped to an impressive 7-6.00 and the leap gives him the highest NCAA jump this season.
Richelle Farley has begun her senior campaign on good terms with two key performances in the Jayhawk Challenge. The Wildcat specialist tied for second in the long jump with a leap of 18-8.00 and also won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.51 seconds.
Farley then bested that time with a finish of 8.46 seconds, positioning her fourth in the Big 12 rankings.
A talented incoming class has stepped in and made its presence known early in events across the board.
Junior transfer Zack Riley will work closely with Kynard to form one of the best high jump tandems in the country. Riley opened up his Wildcat campaign with a victory in the Jayhawk Challenge on Jan. 11.
On the women’s side, the freshman sprinters Jasmine Gibbs and Ashley Williams have quickly earned high placements in the 60-meter dash with times of 7.45 and 7.55 seconds.
The Wildcats will hit the road with many athletes this weekend for the highly competitive Bill Bergan Invitational at Iowa State University.
In total, four men’s teams in the meet are ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 35, most notably No. 8 ranked Minnesota. The women’s side will be led by host Iowa State with a No. 9 ranking. The action gets underway Thursday and will continue through Saturday.