We’ll get right into the track details, but let’s get the important stuff out of the way first: don’t forget to tell us why you’re a Wildcat. You’ve already heard from Jon Morse, AMS, JT VanGilder, and yours truly. Now we want to hear from you!
Track and Field
Yesterday, at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, three more Wildcats qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene.
Shadae Lawrence kicked things off for Kansas State with the discus. She was last up, but moved to the top on her first attempt and stayed there. Her first attempt of 60.15m was already better than the rest of the field, but she cemented her with a second throw of 60.58m, and that was more than enough to earn her a place in Eugene for the second consecutive season. This season, Lawrence has managed the best mark in the Big 12, in the West Preliminaries, and in all of Division I.
Brett Neelly qualified for the finals in Eugene in the men’s shot put event. His first throw of 18.27m was good enough for ninth place. Like Lawrence, this is his second-straight trip to Eugene.
The day’s final Kansas State qualifier was Ranae McKenzie in the 400m hurdles. Under the existing rules, only the top three finishers in each heat qualify automatically, with three other runners getting in solely on the basis of their time. So when McKenzie finished fourth in her heat, things looked a bit iffy. But McKenzie had run a fast race, and her time of 57.96 was fast enough for a ninth place finish and a spot in Eugene. She managed to shave 0.93 seconds off her time in the first round heats, and only missed her personal best by 0.02 seconds.
Lawrence, Neelly, and McKenzie join Thursday qualifiers Helene Ingvaldsen, Janeé Kassanavoid, Brady Grunder, Mitch Dixon, Kyle Smith (all hammer throwers) and Wurrie Njadoe (long jump).
A’Keyla Mitchell and Terrell Smith are through to the quarterfinals in their respective 200m races. Each finished third in the heats to qualify. They’ll both race for a spot in Eugene later this afternoon.
If there was happiness for some Wildcat athletes in Austin yesterday, there was also disappointment for others. Neither Rhizlane Siba nor Shanae McKenzie qualified in the women’s high jump. Kain Ellis just missed out on a shot in the 800m finals, and Kayla Doll and Morgan Wedekind did not finish high enough in the 3000m steeplechase event to punch their tickets to Eugene.
Still, Kansas State is performing ahead of expectations at this point, and there should be at least two more athletes qualifying today: Christoff Bryan (high jump) and Shardia Lawrence (triple jump). Mitchell, Smith, and Konstantina Romaiou (triple jump) may also surprise us. So stay tuned!
Remember Victor Ojeleye? Well, in a few days, he’ll be graduating with an MBA from Chicago Booth.
Ojeleye was a double major in finance and accounting at Kansas State. A three-time first team Academic all-Big 12 selection, he credits his time in Manhattan for his current academic success:
K-State prepared me for the fundamentals. My core values, my hard work, being good to people, working with teams. So the background I had, being a team captain at K-State and then also working in the classroom, really prepared me for a lot of the experiences that I had here.
His lasting memories from Kansas State are of standing on the scorer’s table after the win over Kansas in 2011, and getting to be in the wedding of a close friend, Collin Klein. He still plays basketball a little, and got to hit the game winning shot in a battle against students from Kellogg at Northwestern.
Ojeleye will next be seen in the corporate world at Cargill in Minnesota, as he continues to win at life.