First Wildcat to finish Top 10 since 1990 in event
K-STATE SPORTS INFORMATION
June 6, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa – One Wildcat closed his career in style at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, doing something no member of the Kansas State men’s team has done since 1988 – score in the long jump.
Mantas Silkauskas jumped 25-04.50 to finish seventh and score two points toward the team total. It marks the first time since 1990 a Wildcat finished in the Top 10, when Clifton Etherridge finished 10th. It is the first time a Wildcat finished in the top eight to score points since 1988 when Kenny Harrison finished second.
“What Mantas did is great,” said K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto. “He has jumped really well all year. I think a lot of people think of him as a decathlete first and then a hurdler and then a sprinter on our relay. Long jump is probably the fourth thing people think of him as, but the truth is he’s a great long jumper. He finished second at the Big 12 meet indoor and outdoor. He’s had a great year in the long jump and to score in this meet in any event is great.”
Tomas Kirielius made his NCAA Championship debut in the decathlon and opened strong. The Lithuanian ran a new personal best time in the 100 meters to start the event. He clocked in at 11.14 seconds, shedding .07 off his previous best time.
After opening the decathlon with a strong number, Kirielius struggled in the long jump with jumps well short of his season best mark. He leapt 20-08.75, more than 16 inches shy of his best. Kirielius came up short of his usual marks in the shot put as well and followed that with a high jump of 6-02.75.
Kirielius closed the day the same way he finished it to take some momentum with him overnight heading into Thursday’s final five events. He ran a new personal best in the 400 meters, crossing the line in 49.91 seconds and finishing third in his heat. He finished the day with 3,679 points and standing in 19th place.
“Tomas PR’d in the 100 and he PR’d in the 400,” Rovelto said. “It was those middle three events he struggled in. He has some of his stronger events tomorrow and if he has a good day he still has a chance to finish in the top 16. If he can do that, that would be great coming in as one of the last to get into the meet.”
Another senior was performing for the last time in her purple uniform. After finishing 14th last year, Boglarka Bozzay ran 2:07.40 to finish seventh in her heat and 21st overall.
“Boglarka had a great senior year,” Rovelto said. “She won a Big 12 title indoors and was an All-American. Today wasn’t her best race of the season, but she has had a fine senior year for us and should be proud.”
Jacquelyne Leffler rounded out the competition on the opening day for the Wildcats and she came away in 19th place in the women’s discus. In her first NCAA Championship appearance, Leffler finished one spot ahead of where she was ranked coming into the championship meet with her toss of 162-01. She was the first member of the women’s team to qualify for the meet in the discus since Loren Groves in 2009, and Rovelto had praise for her efforts this season.
“She’s been hurt and has battled injuries for a while,” Rovelto said. “Getting to this meet is a great accomplishment and very difficult to do, and Jacquelyne has done a phenomenal job.”
The Wildcats will be back in action for day two of the NCAA Championships on Thursday. Kirielius will conclude the decathlon with the first of the final five events slated to start at 11:30 a.m. Defending NCAA champion Ryann Krais will take on the field in the women’s heptathlon. Day 1 of the heptathlon starts at 1 p.m. and teammate Mairead Murphy will also be competing with Krais over the two days. K-State’s only other competitor in action on Thursday will be defending champion Erik Kynard in the high jump. The field will be loaded with talent as three-time NCAA champion Derek Drouin is set to compete along with Ricky Robertson of Ole Miss, who has cleared 7-07.25 this season. Drouin jumped 7-07.00 at the Big Ten Championship.
Fans can follow the action online with live results provided by flashresults.com. There will also be live webcasts available at ncaa.com and espn3.com. Updates will be posted throughout the day on Twitter. Fans can get those updates by following @kstate_gameday.
Decathlon Day 1
Tomas Kirielius – 3679 pts
100m: 11.14 PR
Long Jump: 6.32m/20-09.00
Shot Put: 12.86m/42-02.50
High Jump: 1.90m/6-08.75
400m: 49.91 PR
Men’s Long Jump
7. Mantas Silkauskas: 7.73m/25-04.50 – 6th school history, 2 team points
19. Jacquelyne Leffler: 49.41m/162-01
Women’s 800m Semifinals
21. Boglarka Bozzay: 2:07.40