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Big 12 Track Championships Are Go!

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The Kansas State women’s team gets set to defend its 2017 crown

Track and Field: NCAA Championships Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 Big 12 Outdoor Track Championships begins at 11 AM in Waco, Texas today. Kansas State’s men’s and women’s teams will be in action. The men are currently ranked 44th in the nation and will look to improve on their performance from a year ago. Meanwhile, the women, currently 16th in the nation, will try to defend the Big 12 title they won in 2017 in Lawrence, Kansas.

That title was the result of a stellar effort from several athletes who are still on the team this year, including Nina Schultz (high jump), Janee’ Kassanavoid (hammer throw), Shadae Lawrence (discus), and Morgan Wedekind (3000m steeplechase). Lawrence and Kassanavoid have already earned the Big 12’s top marks this season in their respective events, and are almost certain to repeat as champions.

Schultz, who was last year’s high points winner, is coming off a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, an event that reminded her of the importance of enjoying the moment. At the Gold Coast, Schultz made new friends and found her old passion for competition:

My Commonwealth experience kind of opened my eyes that I was being too hard on myself. I just need to take a step back and enjoy it.

She has the year’s best heptathlon total so far (6.013 from the Roadrunner Invitational in March), and became the first ever Wildcat to be named National Athlete of the Week by the USTFCCCA. She finished second at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon this year, and should be a favorite at the Big 12 events too.

Others to watch on the men’s side include Jess St. John (shot put), Shardia Lawrence (triple jump), and Emma Wren (800m).

On the men’s side, Brett Neelly will look to improve on his third place finish from 2017. He’ll be joined by record-setting Big 12 indoor champion Mitch Dixon in the hammer throw (and still undefeated in collegiate competition), and freshman Tejaswin Shankar, who owns an NCAA-leading mark in the high jump of 2.29m for the season. In addition, look out for sophomores Aaron Booth (decathlon) and Jullane Walker (long jump).

Action begins with the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon at 11 AM CDT today. Field events including men’s and women’s hammer throw, and javelin will be held today, along with the 10,000m race for the men and women.

The Big 12 Championships will run from May 11 to 13 in Waco, Texas. A full schedule of events is available HERE. You can follow the action live at Delta Timing, and by tracking K-State Track’s Twitter account (@KStateTFXC).