Track and field takes multiple podium finishes at Shocker Invitational

Senior Helene Ingvaldsen competes in the hammer throw at the K-State track meet in Ahearn Field House on Feb. 17, 2017. Ingvaldsen finished second in the hammer throw in the Shocker Spring Invitational in Wichita on Saturday. (Archive photo John Benfer | The Collegian)

The Kansas State track and field team battled through the wind to place high at the Shocker Invitational in Wichita on Saturday.

Though the weather was not perfect for competing, senior Cameron Lewis and senior Colin Echols placed second and fourth, respectively, in the men’s discus with throws of 53.18m/174-06 and 51.39m/168-07. Lewis also took third in the shot put with a throw of 17.57m/57-07.75.

“Today was not good throwing conditions,” director of track and field and cross country Cliff Rovelto said in a release from K-State Athletics. “Even though the distance does not look outstanding, Cam [Cameron Lewis] and Colin [Echols] can get some more meters out of their throws. Going forward, I feel good about all our guys. We still have lots of improvements from those events, but we can still have some really good throws down the road.”

In the women’s shot put, junior Taylor Latimer brought home a bronze medal with a throw of 16.76m/55-00.

“Taylor [Latimer] threw solid in the shot,” Rovelto said. “Her average throw is improving significantly since indoors. The bigger throws will come from there. It is encouraging to see that. She has some things she can improve on still.”

Latimer also took fifth in women’s discus (46.87m/153-09), while teammate senior Ashley Petr carried her dominance from last week into another first-place finish (54.22m/177-11).

“[Petr] has had two solid outings this year,” Rovelto said. “From her perspective, I think she should be throwing farther. I think that is a good sign. I think she has some things she can clean up still, but she is doing well.”

Two Wildcats also took second in both hammer throws, with senior Helene Ingvaldsen finishing with 66.22m/217-03 in the women’s, and freshman Kade McCall finishing with 60.43m/198-03 in the men’s.

On the track, junior Cara Melgares brought home first in the women’s 5000m with a time of 17:31.58, while the men took second through fifth in the event with the help of sophomore David Lutgen (14:30.75), sophomore Kerby Depenbusch (14:32.58), sophomore Hadley Splechter (14:34.21) and senior Noah Stevenson (14:52.32).

The women’s 800m also saw four top-five finishes with a gold medal from junior Alex Ferguson (2:11.26), third place from sophomore Sydney Burton (2:13.10), fourth from senior Cayli Hume (2:13.77) and fifth from freshman Jessica Caraway (2:16.43).

“Alex [Ferguson] is a good competitor, and it was a good effort from her under these conditions,” Rovelto said.

Senior Akia Guerrier took third in the 200m with a time of 25.54 seconds. The race was Guerrier’s first competition in two years.

“It wasn’t anything special, but it was not far off from her PR. That run was encouraging for her,” Rovelto said.

In the men’s pole vault, sophomore Jesse Pinkley tied for first, but failed attempts left him with a silver medal with a height of 4.61m/15-01.50.

Senior Konstantina Romaiou finished second in the women’s long jump with a final measurement of 5.81m/19-0.75.

K-State will visit Tuscon, Arizona, next and compete at the Jim Click Invitational and Jim Click Combined Events April 8-10. Rovelto says a lack of people not competing in Wichita enables the team to train and have quality marks at the meet.

“We anticipate that most of our best people will be there,” Rovelto said. “I think it will be a very competitive meet even with the different format. This year, it will be eight or nine schools. It will be an evening meet. It will be cooler. I think it will be a very high-quality meet.”