We're at T-84 and counting to real live Kansas State football. BracketCat gets us ready with the countdown and #84 JC transfer wideout Cody Savage.
In the poem If, Rudyard Kipling asks the reader to "meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same." But for most athletes, this is a pretty tall order. Being on the cusp of victory only to fall to defeat is a terrible disappointment (The Nation News, (Barbados)), and one Akela Jones just experienced the hard way, finishing in third place (Manhattan Mercury) in the heptathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Through two days and six events of competition in the heptathlon, Jones led the entire field, and by over 200 points at one stage, thanks in part to monster efforts in the shot put and long jump. But then a disastrous 19th place finish in javelin cut her lead to just 106 points. With only the 800m left to run, Jones went all out and tried to win the race, outpacing the rest of the field for the first 600m. However, she quickly ran out of steam and finished at the back, last in her flight and 25 seconds behind the winner. Kendell Williams (Georgia) and Erica Bougard (Mississippi State) would go on to finish in first and second place in the heptathlon, leaving Jones in third place with 6063 points. Though disappointing, the finish earned Jones first-team All-America honors for the second consecutive year.
But all was not doom and gloom in Eugene for the Wildcats. Kim Williamson won the NCAA high jump title with a mark of 1.88m on her first attempt at that height, the only athlete over the bar at that height. The Jamaican also attempted the Olympic Standard height of 1.93m after she'd already won the high jump title, but did not clear the bar. Williamson, who was runner-up in the event last year, earned first-team All America honors for the second consecutive season, and is the first Kansas State athlete to win a women's high jump title since Rita Graves in 1986. Williamson is also the only Wildcat to win a national title this year.
Freshman Shadae Lawrence, competing in her first ever NCAA Championships, finished in fourth place in the discus throw event. Her mark of 61.18m was huge, however, setting a new school record and hitting the Olympic Standard distance on just her third attempt. Lawrence's stated goal was to make the finals, but her fourth place finish is the highest ever by a Kansas State athlete in discus throw and earned her first-team All America honors as well.
Overall, the women's team finished in seventh place, thanks to 29 points from Williamson's title, and places earned by Jones, Lawrence, and Sara Savatovic. The team event was won by Arkansas with 72 points. The full results table is available HERE.
The athletes will now turn their efforts to Olympics qualifying events in their respective countries.
There is a school of thought that the college football playoffs have forced Power 5 teams to schedule tougher non-conference opponents. Whether there's a correlation or not, teams are starting to schedule better, and the inter-conference matchup make the non-conference season infinitely more interesting. Guerin Emig, writing for Tulsa World, suggests going even further and having a formal Big Ten-Pac-12 Challenge. He seems to have missed out on the part where Kansas State is already doing this, but like all things K-State, in an under-the-radar sort of way.Fans are actually asking about Farmageddon in Jake Trotter's Big 12 Mailbag, and if that's not newsworthy, I don't know what is. Maybe the last minute shenanigans in last year's Iowa State-Kansas State game will fuel the beginning of a new-old rivalry? Let's just hope it's not a race to the bottom.According to Greg Wallace (writing for that page-view hoarding service we don't usually link to), quarterback Jesse Ertz will be the breakout player for Kansas State in 2016.