The good news: K-State’s women are still in the lead heading into Sunday’s finale of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Norman, Okla.
The other good news: the men are actually hanging in there, sitting in second place 11 points back of Texas Tech.
The bad news: the women only hold a 14-point lead over Texas, which in previous years has been a recipe for disaster on the final day.
(That said, the Wildcat women have performed better than usual this season in the events which will conclude on Sunday, so don’t panic just yet.)
K-State is riding high after three more Big 12 titles were claimed yesterday. The first and most obvious: Tejaswin Shankar became the seventh male Wildcat to claim the Big 12 outdoor high jump crown, repeating his effort from the indoor season. Shankar cleared 2.26m (7’5”) to become the first Wildcat to win the men’s crown since Erik Kynard in 2013, and given the implausibly stupid stance taken by the Athletics Federation of India — who apparently think Shankar’s midterms weren’t as important as the Federation Cup — there’s every chance he’ll stick around for two more years to try and threepeat.
Another sophomore also claimed a title yesterday as Taylor Latimer won the women’s shot put, coming a half-inch short of tying the K-State record set by Dani Winters in 2015 in the process. Junior Gabby Tozer finished sixth, earning the Cats another three points.
Junior Taishia Pryce claimed the third title, winning the women’s long jump; senior Shardia Lawrence finished fifth.
K-State’s explosion of points on the men’s side was largely due to the decathlon. Texas Tech’s Axel Hubert claimed the title, but the Wildcats racked up 23 points anyway by sweeping the next four positions. Aaron Booth finished second, followed by Simone Fassina, Kyle Parr, and Max Estill.
The women also went crazy in the heptathlon, which was won by Texas’s Ashtin Zamzow. Lauren Taubert had been in the lead prior to giving up over 200 points of ground in the javelin, but her event-leading 800m was good enough to hold on for second place, Ariel Okorie and Morgan Coffman slid in right behind Taubert in third and fourth.
The men also earned points from Brett Neelly, who had to settle for third in the men’s shot after a shaky outing which featured four fouls.
Today features the finals, for both men and women, in the discus, triple jump, and all the track events save the 3000m steeplechase; the men’s pole vault and women’s high jump finals will also take place. K-State is likely to gain some ground on the Texas women in the field events, but as usual we’ll be sweating until late into the afternoon to see how things unfold.
Unfortunately, because the Big 12 is stupid, you can’t watch without paying FloTrack for a subscription. Yay.
After dropping the series opener against West Virginia (30-18, 12-11) Friday, K-State climbed on Terrence Spurlin’s back to capture game two yesterday afternoon. Spurlin jacked a pair of homers, and Chris Ceballos added another, as K-State (25-27, 8-12) took a 5-1 first-inning lead and held on for an 8-6 win.
They’ll need a win today to have any chance of finishing at .500 in Big 12 play, and probably need it to finish .500 overall. First pitch is at 11:00 on ESPN3.
Ryan Black of the Mercury reports on Chris Klieman’s first visit to a NASCAR race, where he was a VIP guest of KU fan Clint Bowyer at last night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway. Go ahead, start screaming.
Via the Oklahoman, the AP’s Ralph Russo ranks the new FBS coaches based on their likelihood of success. Klieman checks in at eighth out of a field of 27, ahead of Les Miles and Matt Wells but behind Neal Brown.
And finally, as we wish your mothers (and you, if you qualify) a Happy Mother’s Day, today’s Sports Extra features, in his own words, Skylar Thompson’s remembrance of his late mother who died of cancer in 2004.