Historic meet for Lawrence and Bryan at NCAA Championship

Hurdles sit on the track of the R.V. Christian Track Complex prior to an event at the Ward Haylett Invitational Track & Field meet May 3, 2014. (File Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The Kansas State women’s and men’s track and field teams traveled to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championship from June 7 – 10 where they ended the season with two national champion titles.

Fifteen total athletes were in attendance, including:

• Mitch Dixon, hammer throw
• Brady Grunder, hammer throw
• Kyle Smith, hammer throw
• Brett Neely, shot put
• Janeé Kassanavoid, hammer throw
• Helene Ingvaldsen, hammer throw
• Akia Guerrier, A’Keyla Mitchell, Ranae McKenzie and Claudette Allen, 4 x 100 meter relay
• Ranae McKenzie, 400 meter hurdles
• Christoff Bryan, high jump
• Nina Schultz, heptathlon
• Shadae Lawrence, discus
• Shardia Lawrence, triple jump
• Konstantina Romaiou, triple jump

In the four days of competition, four athletes finished with top-five placements. Junior Janeé Kassanavoid finished fourth in hammer throw with a toss of 66.58 meters. Kassanavoid also earned First Team All-American honors for the first time in her athletic career.

Freshman Nina Schultz achieved second place overall in the women’s heptathlon. In the six events of the heptathlon—the long jump, javelin, 800-meter run, shot put and the 200-meter dash—Schultz scored in the top 10 for each event. Schultz finished with 5,959 points total.

On the third day of the competition, junior Christoff Bryan won first place in the men’s high jump, with a jump of 2.21 meters. Bryan claimed his first ever national championship.

Bryan is now the K-State track and field program’s sixth men’s outdoor high jump national champion.

“I am really happy for this win,” Bryan said to K-State Sports. “It has been a tough outdoor season for me so far, but once you are mentally tough, you can achieve anything. I have been working really hard for this, so I am just so happy right now. I want to thank my whole family. I could not have done this without them.”

Head coach Cliff Rovelto was proud of Bryan’s efforts to become a national champion.

“All that matters throughout the season is physically being ready and prepared to perform well at the NCAA Championships,” Rovelto said to K-State Sports. “Christoff did just that. He is a gamer and came out and competed hard and got the job done.”

Also achieving a national title was sophomore Shadae Lawrence, who threw 61.37 meters in the women’s discus. Lawrence finished this season by placing first in all seven of the events she competed in, including the Big 12 and NCAA Championships.

Lawrence was proud of her effort and ability to get a throw over the 60-meter line.

“During my last throw, I knew I had to have a big mark,” Lawrence said to K-State Sports. “I had to get in a good position and throw with more intensity and that is what I did. All I was thinking was that I had to get over the 60-meter line. When I saw that it went over the line, I went crazy.”

Rovelto shared his excitement after the women’s team achieved their third consecutive top 10 finish.

“The girls finished what has been a very good year on an even higher note,” Rovelto said to K-State Sports. “Nearly everyone finished as high or higher than their seed coming into the meet. For Shadae to win a national title as a sophomore and Nina to finish runner-up as a true freshman is special stuff. It is also the third consecutive top 10 finish for the women at the NCAA Championships, which is also very special.”

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.