Track and field kicks off new year with 14 victories in Wildcat Invitational

Upside down, then-sophomore Tejaswin Shankar clears 2.12 meters during the Carol Robinson/Attila Zsivoczky Pentathlon in Ahearn Field House on Dec. 7, 2018. (Archive Photo by Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

The track and field teams notched 14 wins, eight of which are individual victories during the Wildcat Invitational track on Saturday. The Wildcats opened the new year at Ahearn Field House as part of a four meet homestand.

“The biggest thing I looked for when coming off a break like this is how people compete and also, particularly those people who doubled, we get a sense of how good of shape they are in,” director of track and field and cross country Cliff Rovelto said to K-State Sports.

In the field events, the women’s team dominated the throwing events. The Wildcats had five finish in the Top 10, led by a first-place finish from junior Taylor Latimer in the weight throw. In the shot put, Kansas State had six place inside the Top 10 led by freshman Jaycee Schroeder, who finished first.

Senior Colin Echols took the top spot in the men’s weight throw, and the Wildcats had three finish in the Top 10 in the shot put.

Sophomore Devon Richardson took the top spot in the men’s high jump, and sophomore Maddie Righter took the same spot in the women’s event. Junior Anigbata Chinonyelum finished first in the long jump.

Freshman Kyle Gale and sophomore Victoria Alves highlighted the afternoon track events for the Wildcats. Gale broke a meet record in the 300-meter race with a time of 34.32. It was the second-straight event the Barbados-native broke a meet record.

“Coach [Rovelto] has helped me a lot,” Gale said to K-State Sports. “My aim is to keep improving. In the 300, we were working on speed. Coach has been reassuring me that I can perform at this type of level, and I think I ran well today.”

Alves notched a 60-meter hurdles win with a blistering time of 8.22 seconds — second-best in school history. Alves, a native of San Paulo, Brazil, was unable to train in Manhattan until recently because of travel bans.

“I just felt that I did a great job and finally had one of my goals accomplished for the year,” Alves said to K-State Sports. “Last year, I had a difficult time, and I wasn’t able to come back to the USA to practice with the team during the fall. But I kept working hard, and finally, I came back and competed in my first meet.”

K-State continued its success on the track with first-place finishes from senior Tejaswin Shankar in the men’s 60-meter hurdles. Senior Taishia Pryce took the top spot in the women’s 300-meter race. Sophomore Kassidy Johnson led a Wildcat sweep of the 800-meter race.

The Wildcats took top finishes in the distance events with top finishes from sophomore Sydney Burton in the women’s race and freshman Will Carroll in the men’s event. The men also swept the 1000 meter race.

The 4×400 relay teams reached the podium to cap off the meet. The men’s team took first with a time of 3:18.54, and the women’s team took third with a 4:05.46 finish.

The Wildcats return to action Saturday with the KU-KSU-WSU Triangular in Manhattan.