Track and Field secure gold medals, personal records at DeLoss Dodds Invitational

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Urte Bacianskaite arches over the bar during the pentathlon and heptathlon at Ahearn Field House on Jan. 21, 2022. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Previously held meet records were broken and several athletes set new personal records as the Kansas State track and field teams competed in their sixth meet of the season at the DeLoss Dodds Invitational on Jan. 21-22.

The meet saw competition from Kansas, Missouri State, Oral Roberts and Northwestern Oklahoma. The women’s team earned a first-place finisher in eight events, including a highlighted performance from junior Urte Bacianskaite, who won the pentathlon.

“The first four events were solid for Urte,” Cliff Rovelto, director of track and field and cross country, said to K-State Athletics. “She could have got more but clearly demonstrated that she is heading in the right direction.”

A first-place finish in four events and a total of 3,622 points — a personal best for Bacianskaite — earned her gold in the pentathlon. She finished in first place in the 60-meter hurdles at 9.18 seconds, shot put with a mark of 13.78m/45-2.50, long jump at 5.32m/17-5.5 and tied for first in the high jump at 1.64m/5-4.50. She completed the 800 meters in third place with a time of 2:43.00.

In the men’s heptathlon, K-State freshman Emil Uhlin finished in second with 3,561 points. In his first-ever collegiate heptathlon, Uhlin finished first in the 1000 meters at 2:45.29. He also tied for second in the high jump at 1.69m/5-6.60, while securing a third-place spot in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59.

The success for the Wildcats stretched beyond the pentathletes.

Two meet records fell on Saturday as juniors Kassidy Johnson and Hannah Stewart each finished the women’s one-mile under the previous meet record time of 4:53.50 set in 1999. Johnson pocketed the new meet record with a time of 4:47.92. Stewart, not far behind, finished in second at 4:50.26.

“They put the work in during practice, and it’s showing up on the track. They had some good races,” teammate Alex Guiterrez said to K-State Athletics.

Another meet record was set in the women’s 300-meters, as junior Shalysa Wray came in two seconds faster than the previous meet record of 40.36, finishing the run with a time of 38.21 seconds.

Other first-place finishers on the ladies’ side included a 56.95-second finish in the 400-meters from senior Alex Ferguson. Junior O’Shaila Johnson won the women’s 600-yards with a time of 1:25.92, while junior Delaney Kemp finished first in the 800-meters with a time of 2:19.86.

In the pole vault, senior Tommi Hintnaus cleared 3.80m/12-5.5 to earn first. Finally, the ladies 4×400 meter relay team of fifth-year Wurrie Njadoe, freshman Velecia Williams, senior Alex Ferguson and senior Lavaun Stephenson secured gold with a finish of 3:53.28.

“Overall, the meet was pretty solid,” Rovelto said to K-State Athletics. “It was good to get some folks back that had been out for one reason or another. I thought Alex Ferguson and Kassidy Johnson ran well. Shalysa Wray ran well in the 4×400, and Devon [Richardson] had a personal best in the high jump. With the weight throw and shot put making progress and the multis getting healthy, we are getting better as a team.”

Richardson was one of many on the men’s side who competed well at Ahearn over the weekend. In the high jump, Richardson was able to leap over 2.16 meters on his second attempt, setting his personal best, but could not clear 2.19 in his three attempts.

Another personal mark was set as Wildcat sophomore Jack Vincent clocked in at 1:56.08 in the 800 meters, finishing second.

Nine athletes on the men’s side brought home gold medals in their events. Freshman Kavian Kerr won the 60-meters at 6.85, and senior Parker McCafferty marked a time of 23.51 in the 200 meters. In the 800 meters, fifth-year Travis Hodge set the pace at 1:53.06. Junior Devon Richardson secured the victory in the high jump with a jump of 2.16m/7-1.

In his first meet back, senior Cameron Key jumped 14.20m/46-7.25 in triple jump for a first-place finish. Sophomore Jackson Gibbon tossed the shot put 15.52m/50-11, while sophomore Kade McCall won the weight throw with a distance of 19.71m/64-8. Finally, closing out the day, the men’s 4×400 meter relay finished in first place with a time of 3:18.13.

“For the 60, I wasn’t really feeling myself, so I just went out there and did my best,” Kerr, who ran anchor in the relay, said to K-State Athletics. “For the 4×4, it’s a team thing, so it’s different. I went out there and did it for them.”

The track and field team hits the road this week, traveling to Lubbock, Texas, for the Texas Tech Open and Multis this Friday and Saturday. The full meet schedule is available at kstatesports.com.

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