K-State track and field athletes excel at NCAA 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 NCAA Track and Field Championship was a record-breaking, monumental meet for the five Kansas State track and field athletes in attendance. The meet was in College Station, Texas, and started on Friday afternoon.

Freshman Nina Schultz started the action on Friday with the women’s pentathlon, where she had multiple personal bests. She finished third with a final score of 4,340 points, shattering the Canadian U-20 Pentathlon Record that was 4,271 points.

Schultz, who is Canadian, started the pentathlon in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 8.41, a new personal best for Schultz that put her in seventh place overall in the event.

Following the hurdles was high jump, where Schultz managed to gather another personal best with a jump of 1.81-meters. This jump put Schultz in a tie for fourth place on the pentathlon high-jump all-time best list.

Schultz achieved eighth place in shot put and moved to fifth place overall in the competition after she threw a 12.14-meters in the women’s shot put, also making another personal best.

After a competitive morning, Schultz began to struggle. During her long jump attempts, she fouled two out of three attempts. On her third and final attempt, she managed to get a mark of 6.18-meters and finish third in long jump.

In the 800-meter run, the final event of the women’s pentathlon, Schultz crossed the finish line with a time of 2:26:55. With this finish, Schultz preserved her overall third-place finish in the women’s pentathlon. Schultz earned First Team All-America honors, becoming the third freshman to earn this title since 2000.

“(Schultz) had a great meet and competed really well,” head coach Cliff Rovelto said to K-State Sports. “Her first four events were personal bests and her final score was a personal best. She is a good one and she is going to be special going forward.”

Senior Kim Williamson entered the stadium ready to compete in her final collegiate track meet. Williamson reached seventh place with her jump of 1.84-meters, clinching First Team All-America honors for the second straight season.

“The women have finished in the top-10 four meets in a row,” Rovelto said. “To think we have a shot to do it five times in a row speaks volumes to how these young kids are performing.”

On day two of the meet, junior high-jumper Christoff Bryan was the highlight after he clinched a First Team All-America title. The 2017 Big 12 Indoor Champion jumped 2.20-meters, earning a fifth-place finish.

Senior Janee’ Kassanavoid, a 2017 NCAA All-America Second Teamer, competed in the women’s weight throw and placed ninth. Kassanovid threw 20.71-meters on her second attempt.

Sophomore Shardia Lawrence competed in her first NCAA Championship. She claimed Second Team All-America after her 10th-place finish in the triple jump. Lawrence jumped a 13.15-meters on her final attempt.

The K-State women placed 27th, while the Wildcat men placed 48th. Oregon women won the national title, while Texas A&M won the men’s title.

The K-State track and field team will now begin preparation for the outdoor season, which begins March 25, where they will compete in the Miami Hurricane Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida.

I'm DeAundra Allen, co-editor-in-chief and sports editor at the Collegian. I'm a junior in broadcast journalism and pre-law, with a minor in philosophy. I was born in Brighton, Colorado, home of La Placita and the Bulldogs. I moved to Kansas in 2010, and fell in love with press boxes at a young age. In my spare time, I talk about my pets, sports, and work towards going to law school.