K-State Track and Field earns solid marks at UCLA Legends Invitational

Runner Lukas Koch, junior in agricultural technology management, rounds a corner in the Men's 1 Mile Run at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational track & field meet Jan. 23, 2016, in Ahearn Fieldhouse. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The outdoor track and field season is picking up steam. K-State carded another successful weekend on the road at the UCLA Legends Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

Final team results saw the men take third place with 94 points. The women edged past third-place Minnesota by a margin of just 0.5 points for a total of 124.5 for second. Both the UCLA men and women finished the day on top. The UCLA women carded a total score of 173.5 while the men finished with 185.3.

On day one of the competition, three K-State athletes earned first-place finishes and another school record was shattered.

The hammer throw has been a historic event so far this season for K-State. At the UTSA Invitational, junior Brady Grunder destroyed the previous school record with a throw of 203-02. Last weekend, freshman Tyler Merkley bested Grunder’s record with a throw of 204-05.

In the Distance Carnival, the men’s 1500-meter run saw three Wildcats in the top three spots within just moments of each other. Sophomore Lukas Koch finished first with a time of 3 minutes, 51.51 seconds. He was followed by junior Kain Ellis in second with a time of 3:51.58 and freshman Kurt Loevenstein with a time of 3:51.95.

Representing the women in the Distance Carnival and recording her third first-place finish across all events, senior Sonia Gaskin took the top spot in the women’s 800-meter run with a time of 2:08.12.

Rounding out competition for K-State in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, junior Morgan Wedekind notched a time of 10:38.65 for a fourth place finish. She was closely followed by sophomore Kayla Doll, who recorded a time of 10:41.09 and a new personal best.

On Saturday, K-State added six more first-place finishes.

Senior Akela Jones competed in her first outdoor competition of the season. Jones took first in both the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.36 and the high jump with a mark of 6-02 3/4. Senior Tia’ Gamble added another first-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.12.

Gamble and Jones also contributed to the first place 4×400 meter relay team. Freshman Ranae McKenzie and sophomore A’Keyla Mitchell also helped the team to a final time of 3:37.35.

After finding success in Friday’s Distance Carnival, Saturday proved another solid day for K-State’s distance team. Gaskin finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:10.44. On the men’s side, Koch set a new personal best in the 1500-meter run with a time of 3:53.50 and a third-place finish.

In the field, team newcomer Shadae Lawrence made a statement in the women’s discuss throw. She topped the competition with a mark of 185-00.

At the end of the weekend, K-State took home nine first-place finishes.

Next up, the Wildcats heads to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to compete in the LSU Battle on the Bayou.