The K-State Track & Field and Cross Country teams recognize their partnership with the 299th Brigade Support Battalion.
Under the direction of Cliff Rovelto, the Kansas State track and field program has not only experienced a consistent stream of success, but has also established itself as a force among fellow elite programs in the nation. In 2013-14, Rovelto begins his 22nd season as the head coach at Kansas State and his 26th at the school overall.
The steady progression of the K-State program culminated in 2001 with Rovelto being honored by his peers as the women's outdoor National Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track Coaches Association.
During his tenure, he has led Kansas State to back-to-back Big 12 Conference women's outdoor team championships in 2001 and 2002 and has earned consecutive Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors, giving him five such honors in his 21 seasons as the Wildcats' head coach. Prior to the start of the 2005 season, Rovelto earned the United States Women's Track and Field College Coaches Award for Service at the USA Track and Field Convention. Rovelto was nominated by his peers and selected by the officers of USA Track and Field as the 2007 recipient of the John Bennett Decathlon Award.
K-State's women earned their best finish ever at the 2002 NCAA Outdoor Championships, placing fifth. Kansas State's pair of Big 12 Conference women's outdoor team championships was the second and third team titles won by any Wildcat athletic team since the inception of the Big 12 Conference in 1996. The other was a women's cross country team title in 1998.
K-State's men outdoor and indoor teams have excelled as well under Rovelto. Including a third place finish in indoor and a fourth place finish in outdoor at the respective Big 12 Championships for the 2012-2013 season. The men's track and field squad has finished a combined 18 times (nine each) in the top-5 in conference championship play since Rovelto began coaching in 1992. Along with strong conference play, last season marked the first time since 1939 that the men have finished in the top-25 in the NCAA Championships for three years straight.
In 1999-2000, the Kansas State women had one of the best combined seasons in all of collegiate track and cross country. The cross country team placed a school-best fifth at the NCAA Championship, while the indoor team was seventh nationally and the outdoor squad was 11th in the team standings at the NCAA Championships. In 2010-11, the women's programs again had an impressive showing. Cross country finished 25th while the team finished 45th indoors and 13th outdoors. The Wildcats were one of a handful of programs to score at all three NCAA Championship meets to rank them 11th in the Terry Crawford Program of the Year Standings.
Since becoming the head coach in November of 1992, the men's and women's cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field programs have earned 196 All-American certificates and 125 individual conference championships. Over his 25 seasons at K-State, Rovelto has personally directed 56 individuals to 136 NCAA All-America certificates, as well as 54 individuals to 82 conference event championships.
The success Rovelto has cultivated at Kansas State has propelled him onto the international coaching stage with the United States Track and Field Association eight times.
An internationally recognized authority in combined events who helped write and teach the curriculum for the U.S. combined events coaching education program, Rovelto is a Level II combined event instructor, and is one of two coaches in the U.S. to coach multiple combined event athletes to over 8,000 points in the decathlon and 6,000 points in the heptathlon.
In 2005, Rovelto's international assignment was as an assistant for the Team USA at the 2005 World Track & Field Championships. He served as the women's jumps and combined events coach at the games in Helsinki, Finland. He also served as the men's assistant coach for the 2007 World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan. He most recently served as the men's head coach for Team USA at the Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, in October 2011.
He has also served as head coach of the U.S. Decathlon Team in dual meets with Germany in 1997 and 2003. He also was named to the U.S. coaching staff for the 2002 World Cup and the 2003 World Outdoor Championships in Paris. In 2010 Rovelto was on the staff for American's Team for the IAAF Continental Cup held in Split, Croatia.
Under Rovelto's tutelage, combined-events athletes have earned 22 All-American certificates and won 15 conference titles. He has coached several internationally known multi-event athletes, including former Wildcat Austra Skujyte, who claimed the 2001 and 2002 NCAA heptathlon championships and set a collegiate record in the pentathlon while at K-State.
Skujyte is a four-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) for her native Lithuania. Skujyte notched her highest finish in international competition with a silver medal performance in the heptathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In the spring of 2005, Skujyte set the IAAF world record in the first female decathlon competition on North American soil with a point total of 8,366.
Rovelto has also coached some of the nation's top jumpers and helped establish K-State as one of the elite high jumping schools in the nation with seven NCAA Champions in his tenure as head coach. While at Kansas State, he has coached 49 All-Americans and 30 conference champion high jumpers, while leading 23 All-Americans and 17 conference champs in the long and triple jump. In the pole vault, he has coached a two-time NCAA runner-up and a two-time NCAA third-place finisher.
In 2012, he served as the personal coach for all three men's high jumpers of Team USA and was the only coach to single-handedly represent an individual event in that manner. He guided K-State's own Erik Kynard to the silver medal, the eighth medal ever won by a Wildcat in track and field. Kynard became the first Wildcat to win a medal at the Olympics with remaining eligibility since Thane Baker in 1952.
In 2013, Kynard, the K-State record holder in high jump (2.37/7-09.25), was the first athlete to ever win three consecutive Big 12 outdoor high jump titles. He also won the U.S. Track and Field Championship in the high jump, making it 10 out of the last 13 U.S. champions in the high jump to be coached by Rovelto.
Rovelto has been involved in the U.S. high jump development program for both junior and senior competitors and is a Level III jumps instructor.
A successful coach of sprint and hurdles athletes as well, Rovelto has directed 23 individual All-America sprinters and hurdlers while at Kansas State, including 1995 NCAA 400-meter champion Nicole Green and two-time World Championship participant Jared MacLeod. Most recently, sophomore Carlos Rodriguez earned All-American honors in the 200 meters during the 2013 indoor season while setting the school record in the event with a 20.73 time.
A native of Ancon, Panama, Rovelto spent seven years coaching at his alma mater, the University of Kansas. He was a graduate assistant on the men's team from 1981 to 1983 before becoming a full-time women's assistant and cross country coach in 1983.
He became the interim head coach for women at Kansas in 1987. While with the Jayhawks, he coached eight All-Americans and seven Big Eight champions in five different events. His women's team broke 24 school records during his tenure.
Rovelto began his full-time coaching career at McLouth (Kan.) High School in 1979. While there, he coached one high school All-American, six state champions and five state record-holders.
Rovelto is married to his wife Karol Rovelto, (formerly Damon), who serves as the director of operations for the track and field and cross country teams as well as an assistant coach. She was a professional high jumper and competed at 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The couple lives in Manhattan.