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SLATE: Sunflower track supremacy at stake today

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Tennis starts the spring season this weekend, as well.

Reigning NCAA high jump champ Tejaswin Shankar leads K-State against its in-state rivals today.
Reigning NCAA high jump champ Tejaswin Shankar leads K-State against its in-state rivals today.
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

It’s a super-slow Friday here at BotC World Headquarters, with absolutely no news to share about the K-State football team.

But there is one important event on tap this afternoon: at Anschutz Pavilion in Lawrence, the annual KU-KSU-WSU Triangular will take place. The best news: those of you who subscribe to ESPN+ will actually be able to watch the event starting today at 3:00 CT.

It’s the fifth year of the meet, which belatedly replaced the former KU-KSU-MU Triangular after that event died back in 2006. K-State won the first meet back in 2015, and they’re the defending champs after claiming the title last January.

The Triangular is a neat event, for those unfamiliar. The men’s and women’s scores are combined, unlike most other track meets, and the meet also includes a unique 4x400 mixed relay featuring two men and two women for each school, a race which debuted last year. But, most importantly, this meet is all about ego, prestige, pride, and bragging rights. The winner gets to claim the state championship, after all.

It will be a hard fight for the Wildcats, however. Even though the K-State men are ranked 24th in the nation and the women are 28th, both of those positions are below the Jayhawks. Kansas is a top-ten squad on the men’s side, ranked ninth, while they’re one spot above the good guys in the women’s rankings.

K-State does, however, bring some heavy lumber this weekend. Seven men hold top-three positions among all Big 12 competitors in their events this season, including Tejaswin Shankar and Brett Neelly holding the league’s top spots currently in high jump and shot put, and Neelly’s shot put mark is second in the country. The women haven’t fared quite as well, with Lauren Taubert’s pentathlon mark ranking fourth in the nation thus far, but K-State does have the top three pentathletes in the Big 12 in Taubert, Ariel Okorie, and Morgan Coffman, as well as the conference’s #1 weight thrower in Helene Ingvaldsen.

It should be a heck of a track meet. If you can spend some time watching it, we recommend it, especially if you’re not familiar with watching track meets. After all, we are a #TrackSchool, right?

In today’s Sports Extra, Corbin McGuire is all over this event with a story about Wildcat sophomore distance runner and Manhattan native Cara Melgares... and her two traitorous brothers who race for the Jayhawks.

The 2019 season will also get underway this weekend for K-State’s tennis team as they host South Dakota tomorrow afternoon at 1:00. The Cats will be trying to improve upon last season’s surprising emergence in which they reached the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round.

Over at the Mercury, Justin Toscano has an interesting and lengthy piece recapping where things stand after the K-State women stunned #11 Texas with an 18-point victory Wednesday night.