K-State’s best compete in John McDonnell Invitational

Olympic silver medalist and former K-State high jumper Erik Kynard soars over the bar en route to winning the high jump and again breaking the meet record at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational track and field meet on Jan. 23, 2016, inside Ahearn Field House. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

More track and field action is scheduled this weekend for K-State as the team heads to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for the John McDonnell Invitational this weekend.

The host team alone will provide plenty of competition for the Wildcats. Arkansas’ men’s team is currently ranked at No. 7, while the women’s team is ranked No. 2.

The women’s 100-meter hurdles will feature some of the best combined events performers in the country. Ranked No. 1 in heptathlon, senior Akela Jones will face off against two Razorback sophomores, Taliyah Brooks and Payton Stumbaugh, and Arkansas senior Alex Gochenour. Gochenour is currently ranked No. 4 in heptathlon and Brooks and Stumbaugh are ranked No. 6 and No. 7, respectively.

For the 100-meter event, Gochenour has the top-seeded time of 13 seconds. Jones is right behind her with a time of 13.08 seconds followed by Stumbaugh and Brooks, both tied at 13.10 seconds.

Jones enters the competition with her first Big 12 Athlete of the Week honor of the outdoor season. The honor came after her record-breaking performance in the heptathlon at the Mt. SAC relays last week. Jones’ total score of 6,307 is currently tied for the best score in the world. It’s also the sixth-best score in collegiate history.

Jones broke several records along the way to victory and her eventual Big 12 Athlete of the Week honor. After day one, Jones’ first-day score of 4,063 shattered the old record she previously held for last season’s National Championship heptathlon title. Jones also set a new school record in heptathlon high jump with a mark of 6-4 3/4 feet, topping the original record of 6-4 set in 1995 by Gwen Wentland.

Along with Jones’ individual success, the Wildcats hope to build off last weekend’s KT Woodman invitational. The men and women combined for 13 top-10 finishes. The men finished out the day in fourth place with a total score of 213 and the women finished in fifth place with 178 points.

Junior Kain Ellis shined for K-State in the men’s 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.51. Ellis will compete in the 800-meter again at the McDonnell Invitational as well. He will enter the race as the fifth seed.

On the women’s side of the 800-meter run, senior Sonia Gaskin holds the top-seeded time of 2:05.05, which is three seconds faster than the next competitor.

Competition starts today in the field with the men’s discus throw at 2 p.m. Action on the track at the university level starts on Saturday at 2 p.m. with the women’s 100-meter hurdles.