Track team chases down top 5 finishes at New Mexico Invitational

Dani Winters dominated shot put at the New Mexico Invitational on Jan. 30, 2016, claiming first place and the third-best throw in school history. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State’s track and field team hit the road for their first out-of-state meet of the season last Saturday. The destination was the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the team tested their skills against competitors representing Colorado State, New Mexico, Air Force, Nebraska, California, Utah State and Big 12 rivals TCU and Texas Tech.

Both the men’s and the women’s team finished the day in the top five. The men finished third behind Nebraska and Texas Tech with a total score of 71. Top-finishing Nebraska totaled a score of 109, and Texas Tech tallied 94.

The women finished the day with 75 points and a fourth place finish. Colorado State was the top finisher for the women with a score of 113.50. They were followed by Nebraska in second with a score of 112 and Texas Tech with a score of 108.

The Wildcats recorded solid performances in field events for the first part of the meet. Starting things off for K-State was junior Janee’ Kassanavoid, who earned a first-place finish in weight throw with a mark of 61-06.25.

On the men’s side of weight throw, two K-State team members finished in the top three. Senior Brady Grunder took second with a throw of 62-10.00. Junior Mitch Dixon was right behind Grunder in third with a throw of 60-05.75.

Shot put was dominated by senior Dani Winters. Her throw of 56-00.00 was not only good enough for a first place finish, it moved Winters up to the third-best throw in school history.

Senior Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye set a new personal best in long jump and earned a second place finish with a jump of 24-08.25, according to K-State Sports.

In high jump, Kim Williamson also recorded a second place finish for the Wildcats with a mark of 5-10.00

On the track, the K-State women dominated in three events. Earning her second first-place finish of the season, senior Tia’ Gamble topped the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.68 seconds. Sophomore A’Keyla Mitchell took first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.50 seconds for her second first-place finish of the season.

The women’s 4×400-meter relay team consisting of senior Sonia Gaskin, Mitchell, sophomore Keiteyana Parks and Gamble owned the track with a time of 3 minutes and 39.53 seconds, finishing four seconds ahead of the second-place finishing team from Texas Tech, according to K-State Sports.

Junior Kain Ellis earned a top finish for the men’s team in the 800m, with a time of 1 minute, 51.32 seconds.

The team will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska next weekend where they will return to action in the Sevigne Husker Invitational.