A massive finish in the high jump -- the first event of the final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field championships -- vaulted the K-State women into first place, and they stayed there all afternoon.
The problem was that evening came.
Texas swept the Big 12 titles today, clearing K-State by 12 points in the women's section and absolutely crushing the field on the men's side, finishing 24.25 points ahead of Texas Tech. K-State's men finished in eighth after beginning the day comfortably in fourth.
But what a start to the day.
Kimberly Williamson captured the conference title in the high jump for K-State with a jump of 1.87m (6' 1.5"); the same height was reached by teammate Akela Jones, who took second on prior misses. Alyx Treasure finished fourth and Rhizlane Siba tied for sixth place. That was good for a 25.5 point haul which blasted the Wildcats into a 22.5 point lead over Kansas.
The rest of the afternoon involved K-State warding off challenges and second place switching hands seemingly every event.
No Wildcat scored in the discus, while Texas Tech's Hannah Carson won and KU's Daina Levy took third to close the gap somewhat. In the 4x100, K-State took fifth, but Kansas was fourth and Texas Tech sixth; that put the Jayhawks and Red Raiders in a tie for second, 13.5 points back of K-State.
In the triple jump, K-State managed to grab another ten points, with Kenija Collier taking third and Alyssa Kelly fifth. Texas Tech's Paetyn Revell and Gionna Jackson took second and sixth, however. That was a wash for the Wildcats and Red Raiders, though it did allow both teams to pull ten points away from Kansas.
Morgan Wedekind took three points for a sixth-place finish in the 3000m Steeplechase, and Texas Tech failed to point. Neither school had an entry in the women's 1500; KU's Hannah Richardson took third in that event to score six points for the Jayhawks and move them back into second place. The Wildcat lead was 14.5 with eight events to go.
Then Jones took second in the 100m hurdles, easily besting her expected finish based on seed time. That gave K-State another eight points; the lead extended to 19.5 over Texas Tech, who returned to second place on Le'Tristan Pledger's fourth-place finish. The Wildcats had to sweat the next event, though, as K-State had no entry in the women's 400m. It worked out okay, as Texas and Oklahoma took the top three spots, but that would come back to haunt the Wildcats come the evening. Texas Tech's Montenae Speight finished fourth, closing K-State's lead to 14.5.
A'Keyla Mitchell's sixth-place finish in the women's 100m put a ding in the armor. Texas Tech's Cierra White finished second and two Jayhawk runners took fourth and fifth. The lead fell into single digits for the first time, at 9.5 points, since the conclusion of the high jump event.
Sonia Gaskin only managed a fourth-place finish in the women's 800, but that was enough to push K-State's lead back to 13.5 points -- over Kansas, again, as Texas Tech had no entry and the two Jayhawk runners finished fifth and seventh.
Tia Gamble then took third in the women's 400 hurdles, and K-State's lead edged up by half a point... but suddenly it was Texas in second place after posting a 1-2 finish in the event. K-State's lead was now in mortal danger with the women's 200m coming up and five Longhorns entered. Even a win in the 200 could see K-State's lead cut to a single point if Texas went 2-3-4-5.
Mitchell gave it her all, but it wasn't enough. The freshman finished third, while the five Longhorns racked up 23 points to take a three-point lead with two events left.
Laura Galvan surprised, finishing fourth in the women's 5000m. That would have given K-State a lifeline, except for one small problem: Sandie Raines of Texas, who won the event easily. That put the Longhorns up by eight points; only a complete disaster would prevent Texas from claiming the championship.
A disaster is not what Texas got. The Longhorns won the 4x400, with Oklahoma second and the K-State team of Gamble, Mitchell, Jones, and Gaskin taking third.
Once again, just as they had in the indoor championships, the Longhorns had charged out of nowhere to steal victory from K-State at the death. But it was a valiant effort by the Wildcats, and might possibly be enough to push them past Texas Tech and into the top 10 of the final pre-NCAA rankings.