Shankar breaks records at DeLoss Invitational over the weekend

Senior Tejaswin Shankar throws himself over the bar in the high jump during the Steve Miller Open in 2019. (File photo by Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State senior Tejaswin Shankar never competed in the heptathlon or pole vault before Saturday afternoon. The senior out of New Delhi, India, still managed to come in first in the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles (8.32 seconds), fourth in the heptathlon pole vault (3.75 meters.) and finished first in the heptathlon 1,000-meter run (2:41.22).

While dominating throughout the heptathlon, Shankar managed to break the heptathlon meet record on the final event. Shankar finished the day with 5,650 points, the seventh-best point total in school history,

“In a word, TJ’s performance was outstanding,” director of track and field and cross country Cliff Rovelto said in a K-State Athletics press release. “First time he has ever competed in the heptathlon, first time he has ever vaulted in his life. He touched the pole for the first time three months ago.”

Shankar didn’t find his way into the record books alone. In the women’s 400-meter run, sophomore Shalysa Wray finished the race with the seventh-best time in school history (54.77 seconds) and sophomore O’shalia Johnson finished right behind Wray with the eighth-best time in school history (54.81 seconds).

“The girls in the 400, I thought they ran well,” Rovelto said. “I know for O’shalia, that’s fast for what she would run indoors. I thought those two were really good.”

Seniors Jah Strange and Travis Hodge both ran unattached for Saturday’s meet and put up strong performances.

Strange came in first in the 60-meter run (6.94 seconds), first in the 200-meter run (21.81 seconds) and finished second overall in the meet. Hodge went on to win the mile race, staking a time of 4:15.90.

Freshman Kyle Gale set another meet personal best in the 600 yards with a time of 1:11.19, falling just two seconds short of the best time in meet history.

The women’s team also found mounds of success as juniors Alex Ferguson, sophomore Kassidy Johnson and redshirt junior Cara Melgares all came in first place in their respective events. Ferguson finished with a time of 2:12.42 in the 800-meter run, Johnson ran a time of 2:50.81 in the 1,000-meter run and Melgares finished at 5:24.87 in the mile run.

“There were some good middle-distance times today,” Rovelto said.

Senior Wurrie Njadoe took home two first-place finishes on the day as well for the women’s side, finishing the 60-meter run in 7.52 seconds and the 200-meter run in 24.69 seconds.

The Wildcats controlled the field events as well over the weekend. Junior Taylor Latimer took first place in the women’s shot put (15.70 meters) and freshman James Higgs took first place in the men’s shot put (13.59 meters). Higgs set a personal best in the process.

The track and field team will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Arkansas Invitational at the Randal Tyson Track Center on Feb. 6.