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Six Kansas State athletes qualify on day one of NCAA track preliminaries

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Plus football nuggets, D.J. Johnson update, and another former K-State assistant gets a head coaching gig

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Doubling up on Jon’s projections = good stuff.
Doubling up on Jon’s projections = good stuff.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the last weekday before Memorial Day weekend, everybody. Before we get started, we’ll direct you to yesterday’s series of posts talking about how we became Wildcats, and remind you that there’s a contest. A couple of readers have already submitted FanPosts, and we’d love to see more from you lot.

The big news yesterday, reported here by JT VanGilder, was the announcement of the Big 12/SEC Challenge schedule. K-State will be taking on Georgia for the second time in three years.

JT was a busy cat yesterday. In addition to that news post, his contribution to the Fandom series, and yesterday’s Slate, he also delivered part two of his analysis of K-State baseball and where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going.

Track and Field

Earlier this week, in a post outlining how the NCAA Track and Field championships work and offering some predictions as to K-State’s eventual fate, your benevolent despot suggested nine Wildcats were probable qualifiers for the national meet.

In the events that were contested yesterday at day one of the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, I had projected three Wildcats to advance to Eugene. I was correct on all three... but K-State had three more exceed expectations. As projected, Wurrie Njadoe qualified in the women’s long jump, and both Janee' Kassanavoid and Helene Ingvaldsen qualified in the women’s hammer throw.

But three more hammers will join the party in Eugene, as K-State qualified three men as well: Mitch Dixon, Brady Grunder, and Kyle Smith. Heading into the preliminaries, the three had respectively posted the 14th-, 16th-, and 15th-best qualification distances in the West; they all upped their game yesterday, finishing 7th, 8th, and 12th respectively. All three (as well as Ingvaldsen) set personal bests, and Dixon broke the K-State school record.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Kassanavoid almost didn’t qualify. Coming into the meet with the fourth-best throw in the nation, Kassanavoid finished 11th in the preliminaries. A scare, and a bit disappointing, but good enough to advance.

Today, qualifiers will be determined a few more events, listed with K-State participants:

  • Men’s 100m (none)
  • Men’s 400m (none)
  • Men’s 800m (none; Kain Ellis did not advance to the final finished 35th overall but second in his first round heat, so advances)
  • Men’s 400m hurdles (none)
  • Men’s 3000m steeplechase (none)
  • Men’s shot put (Brett Neelly)
  • Men’s pole vault (Zach Supple)
  • Women’s 100m (none)
  • Women’s 400m (none)
  • Women’s 800m (none)
  • Women’s 400m hurdles (Ranae McKenzie)
  • Women’s 3000m steeplechase (Morgan Wedekind, Kayla Doll)
  • Women’s high jump (Rhizlane Siba, Shanae McKenzie)
  • Women’s discus (Shadae Lawrence)

Of the eight Wildcats who can qualify today, only two are projected to do so (Ranae McKenzie and Shadae Lawrence). If the Wildcats can repeat yesterday’s trickery, it would be pretty swell.

You can watch today’s events via a free live stream courtesy of the University of Texas, or follow along with the results courtesy of PT Timing.

Football

Two pieces from the ESPN Big 12 bloggers: Mitch Sherman delves into K-State’s strengths and weaknesses for 2017, both of which sit in the defensive back seven. Meanwhile, Jake Trotter pinpoints the most important player arriving over the summer for each Big 12 school, targeting Wildcat safety Elijah Walker.

Men’s Basketball

D.J. Johnson is roaming Kansas as part of the Catbacker Tour, and the Star’s Kellis Robinett checked in with him on his football possibilities and his basketball future.

Eric Pastrana, a grad assistant at K-State under Frank Martin and later a real assistant under Brad Underwood at Stephen F. Austin, is the new head coach at Daytona State College, a Florida JUCO. Pastrana, a Florida native, spent last year at Florida International after Underwood moved to Oklahoma State. Ken Willis at the Daytona Beach News-Journal provides the report.

Other

Steve Watson of the High Plains/Midwest AG Journal reports that K-State did not win this year’s National Collegiate Soils (judging) Contest in DeKalb, Ill.

They finished second, though! K-State student Erin Bush took second in the individual category as well, finishing behind Maryland’s Kristing Persing, whose Terrapins took home the title. It’s Maryland’s second win, tying K-State for second all-time behind Virginia Tech’s four championships. The Wildcats claimed the top prize in consecutive years, 2008 and 2009 — the only school to have done so.