K-State track and field captures eight event titles at Michael Johnson Invitational

Tejaswin Shankar clears the bar in the Men's High Jump during the Steve Miller Open in 2019. (Archive photo by Rowan Jones | Collegian Media Group)

It was a productive weekend for the Kansas State track and field team as eight Wildcats won events at the Michael Johnson Invitational.

On Friday, senior hammer thrower Helene Ingvaldsen won the competition with a throw of 65.71m. Fellow seniors Shaelyn Ward and Ashley Petr finished in second and third in the competition, respectively, for a K-State sweep in the event.

The title was Ingvaldsen’s second win of the spring after she won the UTSA Invitational on March 20.

Sophomore Kassidy Johnson won the Wildcats another title on the first day of the meet, winning the 1,500 meter race with a time of 4:23.69. The title was Johnson’s second win in the 1,500 meter race and her first this outdoor season.

On day one of the meet, 14 total Wildcats reached a new personal best in their respective events.

“We are getting to the point in the season where, personally, I tend to look at what we do with the conference championships in mind,” director of track and field and cross country Cliff Rovelto said in a K-State Athletics press release. “Given that, what the girls did in the hammer was the highlight of the day. We did have some strong performances otherwise as well with a number of PRs. We just have to continue to improve.”

On day two of the meet, the Wildcats captured six titles.

The Wildcats’ first title was provided by senior Colin Echols who won the discus event with a throw of 53.31m. The throw was a new personal best for Echols.

The next four titles won were two sweeps in the men’s and women’s long jump and triple jump.

Senior Jullane Walker won the men’s long jump with a mark of 7.56m to win the event by four inches. Senior Taishia Pryce won the women’s long jump with a winning jump of 6.14m.

Senior Tejaswin Shankar won the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.88m, which won the event by more than two feet. Sophomore Devon Richardson finished third in the event with a jump of 15.07m.

Junior Chantoba Bright won the women’s triple jump with a jump of 13.19m. It was a first and second-place finish for the Wildcats in the women’s triple jump as freshman Rhianna Phipps posted a mark of 12.90m.

The final title of the day came from senior high jumper Kyle Alcine who posted a mark of 2.10m.

On the weekend, 18 Wildcats scored personal bests.

“Conditions were pretty rough most of the weekend,” Rovelto said. “Rain and strong winds on Friday, while we had rain, wind and cool (weather) on Saturday. It definitely affected marks in some events. There were a number of strong performances in spite of the conditions, and we probably had some subpar performances due to the conditions and, in some cases, how we handled the conditions. We just want to see the athletes compete hard head-to-head regardless of circumstances.”

The track team will continue its season on Friday and Saturday at the JD Martin Invitational in Norman, Oklahoma.