Kansas State has a long tradition of success at the Olympics, dating all the way back to 1920. 24 Wildcats have represented their countries at the Olympics so far, winning eight medals in total. This year, seven current and former Kansas State track and field athletes have qualified for the 2016 Games in Rio. Over the next week, we'll introduce you to each of these Wildcats so you can root for them when they take the field.
Lawrence, who lives in Manhattan with her twin sister (Shardia, Kansas State’s triple jump specialist), arrived at Kansas State already having competed in the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene in 2014 as the Central America champion. Her impact in purple was almost immediate. She won five of the seven events she entered this spring, and won the Big 12 discus title with a throw of 58.84m, a new personal best mark. It was also one of the top eight throws in the NCAA all season, so it was hardly a surprise when Lawrence qualified for the NCAA Championships at the West Regional. At the NCAA Championships, Lawrence finished fourth, earning first team All-America honors, but her 61.18m mark was also good enough to qualify for the Olympics.
In Rio, Lawrence will be part of a strong throwing contingent from Jamaica, including NCAA outdoor runner up Kellion Knibb, and Tara Sue Barnett, who won the Jamaican national title over Lawrence this summer. All three women had already hit the Olympic standard of 61m earlier. None of the Jamaicans are expected to medal, but the three are pretty close to world class already.
At the beginning of the season, in an interview with Sara Savatovic, Lawrence said she wanted to make a mark in the NCAA championships, and also maybe qualify for the Olympics. She’s hit both goals on the first try, so it would hardly be a surprise if she ended up on the podium in Rio.
Lawrence will be in action on Monday, August 15th at 6 PM.