K-State track, field looks to continue history of success in season opener

K-State men's cross country team warms up on a trail during an early morning practice at Frank Anneberg Park on Oct. 8, 2015. (File Photo by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

K-State indoor track opens up the 2015-16 season with the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon today and the K-State Winter Invitational on Saturday.

The Wildcats are coming off of a very successful outdoor season last summer, with the K-State women finishing ninth in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

It was their first top 10 finish as a team since 2002.

Now all of the major players are back once again, including seniors Akela Jones, Sara Savatovic, Dani Winters and junior Kim Williamson who are all defending their Big 12 Indoor Titles.

Jones is fresh off of a outdoor heptathlon national championship, posting the fourth largest heptathlon mark in Collegiate history in only her second heptathlon ever.

“I’m always trying to break some record, create some history,” Jones said last summer. “That’s what I do. I want to leave a legacy. That’s all I come to do when I step on the track. That time (in the 800 meter) was out of the reach today, but it will definitely be in reach sometime in the future.”

Winters and Williamson had top three finishes in shot-put and high jump, respectively.

Meanwhile, sophomore A’keyla Mitchell looks to build off a successful freshman season where she, along with fellow freshman Nate Gipson, were named Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Mitchell was named first team All-American in the 200 meter and second team All-American in the 4×400 meter.

Head coach Cliff Rovelto had high praise for his women before the Championship and they lost only one senior to graduation coming into this season.

“With the women, I think that you could make the argument, pretty effectively, that this is the greatest team ever in school history,” Rovelto said last summer. “It’s definitely a really good team, there’s no question about it. There’s good athletes in every event area, there’s people capable of winning NCAA championships. So when a school has multiple of those, it’s rare.”

Meanwhile on the men’s side, all four of their entries in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Tournament return for the Wildcats including Gipson who earned second team All-American honors after last summer.

Sophomore sprinter Terrell Smith, senior long jumper Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye, and sophomore high jumper Christoff Bryan round out K-State’s 2014-15 championship participants.

Junior Adam Deterding will be defending his Carol Robinson Pentathlon crown after winning it last year with an overall score of 3,689 points.

The Pentathlon will start at 10 a.m. today with the men’s 60-meter hurdles and wrap up around 3 p.m. with the women’s 800-meter run. Then, on Saturday, the field events begin at 11 a.m. with track events schedule to start at two.

Oklahoma State, Nebraska-Omaha and UMKC will all compete against K-State.

Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.