As the 2011 track season continues, breaking records is becoming part of Erik Kynard, Jr.’s regular routine.
The sophomore high jumper captured a first place finish at Saturday’s Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. His jump of 7-7.75 not only beat two of the nation’s best in Mississippi’s Ricky Robertson and Indiana’s Derek Drouin, but it also broke the K-State record that he set earlier this season. Kynard appeared to be in trouble after missing his first attempt at 7-6.25 and the other two jumpers cleared the height, but he made the jump on his next try and went on to win the competition.
“To me, what was most impressive about the competition is (Kynard) missed his first attempt at 24 (2.24 meters), and I think he knew during the approach that he was in trouble on that attempt,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said. “Then he came back and made the next attempt quite easily. At that point, he was down on misses and he was last in the order. He not only made it, but it was probably his best jump of the day.”
The Toledo, Ohio native’s mark not only tops the NCAA ranks this season, but it stands as the third highest jump in collegiate history – the highest since 1990 – and currently ranks fifth in the world.
Kynard wasn’t the only Wildcat to etch his name in the record book over the weekend. Junior combined athlete Mantas Silkauskas now owns the school’s top spot in the 60-meter hurdles after crossing the finish line in 7.74 seconds in Friday’s preliminary race. Silkauskas wasn’t quite as fast in the finals, but still managed a fourth-place finish with a time of 7.88.
“The thing with Mantas is that he’s run some fast races when he has been in the lead, but when he’s run with other fast people, he’s had a tendency to kind of get out of his race, get close to hurdles, hit hurdles, that kind of thing. Here, he was competing against some of the best guys in the country. Not only was he able to defeat most of them, but he ran his race.”
K-State also had several athletes in action at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa. Rovelto said several Wildcats enjoyed solid performances at the weekend meet, but none was more impressive than freshman distance runner Meghan Heuer. Heuer, an Illinois native whom also runs on the cross country team, finished 10th in the women’s one-mile run with a time of 4:49.43.
“Meghan Heuer really ran well in the mile,” Rovelto said. “From where she was in high school a year ago to what she’s running now, that’s pretty big. That was probably the highlight of the meet for us.”
The Wildcats will return home this weekend when they host the KSU Open on Friday at Ahearn Field House. Field events will start at 2:30 p.m. with the men’s and women’s weight throw, and running events will start at 4 p.m. with the men’s and women’s one-mile run.