K-State track and field sets new records at NCAA Championships

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

Multiple Kansas State track and field athletes pushed past career bests and earned All-American honors for their performances in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last week June 6-9.

During the first day of events, four K-State men’s athletes competed in a variety of events.

Senior Terrell Smith’s collegiate career ended with the semifinal men’s 200-meter run. Smith finished 16th with a time of 20.71 seconds, earning him second-team All-American honors for his effort. He is the first athlete in K-State outdoor history to hold such an honor in the 200. Smith also champions the K-State record book for the event with a time of 20.44 seconds from 2016.

Sophomore Aaron Booth competed and placed in five events within the men’s decathlon. In the high jump, he placed 14th overall with a jump of 1.92 meters, while he set a personal record in 17th place of long jump at 7.08 meters. Booth also finished 17th in shot put. Running in the 100- and 400-meter races, Booth finished with times of 11.13 (22) and 51.02 (19), respectively.

Senior Mitch Dixon’s best mark of 64.17 meters brought him to 18th place in the men’s hammer throw. The mark is also his career best.

Junior Brett Neelly placed 21st overall in the men’s shot put with a mark of 18.04 meters.

Both Dixon and Neelly earned honorable mention All-American honors.

Day two of the championships saw four Wildcats named All-Americans, one with several top-10 finishes.

Two competitors in the women’s hammer throw earned All-American honors. Sophomore Helene Ingvaldsen became a first-team All-American by throwing a distance of 64.77 meters, a personal record, while senior Janee Kassanavoid earned second-team All-American honors for a throw of 61.51.

Senior Jess St. John competed in the women’s shot put for her first NCAA Championship appearance. In this event, she gained second-team All-American honors while placing 14th with a throw of 16.48 meters.

Booth finished the men’s decathlon in the top-10 finishers for four of the five events. Booth won the javelin throw with a distance of 57.55 meters. He also placed eighth in discus, third in the pole vault and seventh in the 1,500-meter run. Overall, Booth placed 14th in the decathlon and earned second-team honors.

Senior Morgan Wedekind placed 21st in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:18.65.

The highlight of the meet’s third day was freshman Tejaswin Shankar’s first-place finish in the men’s high jump. He also earned first-team All-American honors. He won the title after clearing 2.29 meters. He is the fifth freshman to earn the NCAA title.

Sophomores Nina Schultz and Ariel Okorie competed in four different events in the women’s heptathlon. Schultz finished third in the high jump, clearing a height of 1.75 meters. Okorie ran the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.78 seconds to finish 12th.

On the final day of the championships Schultz and two other athletes became the seventh, eighth and ninth Wildcats to earn All-American status this year.

Schultz finished seventh in the heptathlon and earned first-team honors. Meanwhile, Okorie earned an honorable mention for finishing in 20th.

First-team All-American and junior Shadae Lawrence earned second place in discus with a mark of 60.48 meters.

Junior Ranae McKenzie ran the 400-meter with a time of 57.67 seconds, earning her first-team honors as well.

The women’s team finished tied for 17th with 16 points in the final standings and the K-State men finished tied for 27th with 10 points during the final competitions.

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