K-State track opens outdoor season with record-setting performances at Roadrunner Invitational

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

Both the Kansas State men’s and the No. 7 ranked women’s track and field team finished third overall at the Roadrunner Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

The teams left their mark at the invitational by setting two meet records and five event victories in the final day.

K-State’s track and field head coach Cliff Rovelto spoke highly of the Wildcats and their performance during the meet.

“This was a very high-quality meet for this early in the season,” Rovelto said to K-State Sports. “We had some outstanding opening marks and accomplished a great deal. If we continue to build on this, we will end up being a very solid team.”

In the women’s competition, the team finished third overall with 148 points, just behind the Baylor Bears with 151 points in second and the Texas A&M Aggies with 178.5 points to win the invitational.

As the Wildcats won five events and set two meet records, different members contributed with a team effort. Junior Shadae Lawrence broke the meet and the facility record in the women’s discus. Freshman Tejaswin Shanker broke the meet and facility record in the men’s high jump, and he also tied the sixth-best jump in K-State’s outdoor history.

Lawrence, an NCAA Champion in the discus, won the discus event by over five meters as she threw a 61.08 meters on her first throw. Freshman Taylor Latimer also had a good performance in the discus. She had a throw of 49.01 meters, which placed her fifth in the competition.

The K-State women also swept the high jump with excellent jumps from several team members. Freshman Clare Gibson had a jump of 1.75 meters in her outdoor debut. Senior Rhizlane Siba took second place as she cleared the bar with 1.75 meters.

Juniors Shanae McKenzie and Morgan Coffman both cleared the bar at 1.70 meters, which placed them third and fourth in the event. With these four high jumps placing in the top four spots K-State dominated the leader board in women’s high jump.

The women also performed well in the women’s 1,500 meter-race. Senior Morgan Wedekind finished third by running her personal best time of 4:28.12. The other four Wildcats in the race — Emma Wren, Kayla Doll, Cara Melgares and Sydney Collins — combined for a total of 18 points in the event.

The men’s team placed third with a score of 100 points. They placed just behind the Baylor Bears at 104 points, and Texas A&M commanded first place with a score of 168 points.

In the men’s high jump, Shanker missed his first attempt at 2.25 meters. He then rebounded and cleared the bar with a jump at 2.25 meters to win the event and set the facility record. His winning jump tied for sixth in school history.

The men had a good performance in the 1,500-meter race. Senior Lukas Koch won the event comfortably, running a 3:51.76. Sophomore Travis Hodge finished behind him in second and set his personal best, running a 3:58.46.

Sophomore Jullane Walker earned the Wildcats their last event victory by winning the men’s 200 meters as he ran a 21.13.

The Wildcats will see action on March 31 in Emporia, Kansas, at the Emporia State Open.