K-State track and field teams finish 6th in Big 12 Championship

Freshman Ariel Okorie jumps in the high jump event at the K-State track meet in Ahearn Field House on Feb. 17, 2017. (File Photo by John Benfer | The Collegian)

The Kansas State track and field teams faired well in Ames, Iowa, this weekend, winning two individual titles at the Big 12 Championship.

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished sixth at the meet. However, it was a bit of a letdown for the women’s team. The nationally-ranked No. 12 team had sat in second place after the first day of competition but struggled on day two, falling to sixth place. The No. 57 men’s team exceeded expectations and competed well.

“I think on the men’s side, we had a really solid meet,” director of track and field and cross country Cliff Rovelto said to K-State Sports. “There was a lot of really good stuff that happened and the guys competed really well. As for the women, a lack of depth hurt us. That said, if we are at full strength, we would be exactly where I expected to be.”

Junior Christoff Bryan and senior Janee’ Kassanavoid were the top competitors for the Wildcats.

On Friday, Kassanavoid won the Big 12 title in weight throw. It was the third weight-throw title for K-State in the last four years and the 10th in program history.

It was the cherry on top for Kassanavoid. She has achieved a school record, a pair of track-meet records and has the fourth best throw in the nation this year.

“It is a perfect end to the regular season and my senior year,” Kassanavoid said to K-State Sports. “I ended up making Coach (Greg) Watson proud and my family proud. I am proud of myself. It has been a long process and I have trusted that process since August. I have not had much time off, but it has really been rewarding in the end.”

It was all about Bryan the second day. The high-jumper won the 13th Big 12 high-jump title in K-State history. Bryan said he was happy with the performance, but has his eyes on a national title.

“My mindset heading into the competition was to win, but to also to jump 2.24 meters so I would be second in the nation,” Bryan said. “Winning today means a lot to me, but I really want to win a national title.”

Kassanavoid and Bryan were not the only Wildcats who did well at the meet. K-State recorded 19 other top-five finishes at the meet.

Up next for K-State will be the NCAA Championship on March 10-11 in College Station, Texas. The athletes that have met the top-16 qualification standards will compete for the Wildcats.

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