K-State hits the road for Bayou battle

Junior runner Morgan Wedekind rounds a corner en route to winning the 1 mile run at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational track & field meet Jan. 23, 2016, in Ahearn Fieldhouse. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State’s track and field team includes 17 total international student-athletes. This past week, they participated in celebrating International Week hosted by the K-State International Coordinating Council.

“The best thing about our team is that even though we are so individualistic and from different countries, we all come together and work together in unity,” senior Akela Jones said to K-State Sports.

Nine different countries are represented on K-State’s track and field team, including Barbados, El Salvador, Italy, Jamaica, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Serbia, South Africa and the Turks and Caicos Islands. When the NCAA season is over, many of them will go on to perform for their country’s national team.

Until then, K-State will look to build on an already successful season as it heads to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for this weekend’s LSU Battle on the Bayou.

Last weekend at the UCLA Legends Invitational, junior Zack Supple took the top spot in men’s pole vault and will look to build on that this weekend.

The men’s hammer throwers also had a solid showing last weekend, with the first and second spots going to freshman Tyler Merkley and junior Kyle Smith, respectively. Junior Brady Grunder will represent K-State in the hammer throw this weekend.

Representing the women throwers in discus, freshman Shadae Lawrence came out strong this outdoor season for K-State. She’ll look to build on last weekend’s top finish in discus again this Saturday.

Senior Dani Winters is coming off a championship performance in shot put at the NCAA Indoor National Championships. She’ll be one of only two seniors competing in the event on Saturday.

Junior Kim Williamson, who placed third at the NCAA Indoor Championships, will round out the women’s field competition when she participates in high jump alongside sophomore Rhizlane Siba.

On the track, the women’s 4-x-400 meter relay team will consist of senior Sonia Gaskin, sophomore A’Keyla Mitchell, freshman Ranae McKenzie and senior Tia’ Gamble. The 4-x-400 relay team has found success in both the indoor and outdoor season, including a first-place finish last weekend.

Gaskin will also be competing in the women’s 800-meter run. Not only did Gaskin finish second in the open 800 last weekend, but the Barbados native also represented K-State in the Distance Carnival where she placed first in the 800.

The Battle on the Bayou will kick off tonight with the men’s and women’s 10,000-meter at 7 p.m, for which Junior Jeffery Bachman will represent K-State. The rest of the competition will take place on Saturday, starting in the field with the men’s and women’s discus throw at 9 a.m.