March 9, 2012
NAMPA, Idaho - The first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships brought mixed results for the Kansas State Wildcats. Three Wildcats ran in preliminary heats in their respective events with only one advancing to the final, and another came up just short of scoring points in a field event. In the men's heptathlon, Mantas Silkauskas started off strong and began to fall back over the last two events of the opening day to stand in ninth heading into Saturday's final three events.
The final running event of the evening for the Wildcats was the highlight of the day as Boglarka Bozzay qualified for the final in the women's 800 meters. Bozzay finished fourth in her heat with a time of 2:05.66 to grab the last spot in the final. The last time the K-State women had a finalist in the 800 meters was in 2005 when Lysaira Roman-Del Valle finished fourth, clocking in at 2:05.52. Bozzay will run at 7:45 p.m. MST.
Silkauskas opened the day off in the heptathlon with a bang as he ran a new personal best time of 6.73 seconds in the 60 meters. He fired out of the blocks to build a large lead early in the race. He won his heat by nearly two-tenths of a second with Big 12 runner-up Isaac Murphy finishing second in 6.92. The time breaks Silkauskas' previous best of 6.74 seconds ran last year at the Big 12 Championship. Silkauskas also ran a time of 6.75 this season at the KSU Invitational in January.
He followed that performance with a leap of 24-02.25 (7.37 meters) in the long jump. The jump was just over a foot shorter than his PR set at the Big 12 Championship two weeks ago. With his jump he finished seventh for the event and was able to hold onto his lead from the first event by 41 points over Florida's Gray Horn.
Silkauskas lost ground in the shot put as he was only able to manage a toss of 40-10.25 (12.45m) to finish 13th in the event. Horn took fourth as was able to climb atop the overall leaderboard through three events. Kevin Lazas of Arkansas also had a big mark in the shot put to move from sixth to second overall.
The leaders performed better than Silkauskas in the high jump with the Wildcat dropping down to ninth overall after the first day of action. Silkauskas cleared 6-02.75 (1.91m) in the high jump while Horn leapt 6-06.25 and Lazas jumped 6-05.00. Silkauskas' point total was 3,231 on the day in what is sure to be a highly competitive finish to the heptathlon. Last year, Silkauskas broke the school record with 5,822 points and finished seventh. It was the highest seventh-place score in NCAA history.
K-State had hopes of scoring multiple places in the men's 60 meter hurdles with Silkauskas competing in the event in addition to the heptathlon. He joined 2011 All-American Jeffrey Julmis in the hurdles for K-State. The Wildcats will not have the opportunity to score twice with the pair just missing out on making the final. Silkauskas crossed the line in 7.78 seconds and Julmis was right behind in 7.79. The two heat winners received automatic bids to the final, and the next six fastest times would qualify. Silkauskas and Julmis were Nos. 8 and 9, respectively among the non-heat winners to finish 10th and 11th overall.
"Mantas ran well in the 60 and in the 60 hurdle prelims," K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto said. "His long jump was close to being very big and his shot put and high jump were not what they should be. Jeff ran well but had a slow reaction and it cost him."
The Wildcats closed the night with the women's high jump with freshman Alyx Treasure looking to become the first All-American in the event for the women's team since Kaylene Wagner in 2007. The Canadian junior champion could not accomplish that feat for the Wildcats as she cleared 5-08.75 on her first attempt and then could not jump over the bar at 5-10.00. With her performance, Treasure finished 15th out of 20 competitors.
Rovelto had more praise for all his Wildcats who performed on Friday and said even though not all of them performed well enough to make the finals or score points toward the team totals, he was pleased with what he saw and the accomplishments they made throughout the year.
"Boglarka ran a nice race. It's great to see her make an NCAA final in her senior year," Rovelto said. "Alyx did not jump as well today, but she has had a solid freshman year. Winning the conference championship and just getting here to this meet as a freshman is good stuff. This is Jeff's last meet with us. He has really contributed a great deal to our program. His scoring at the conference and national levels has been significant and we really appreciate all that he has done for us."
K-State will have four chances to score points during the final day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday. The Wildcats will have Silkauskas in the conclusion of the heptathlon and Ryann Krais in the women's pentathlon attempting to give K-State scorers in both multi-events in back-to-back years. Erik Kynard leads the way into the men's high jump as the No. 1 jumper with the event slated for a 3 p.m. MST start. Bozzay will run the final of the women's 800 at 7:45 p.m.
The meet can be seen live online at ESPN3.com with ncaa.com also streaming portions of the meet not covered by ESPN. Live results will be provided by flashresults.com. Fans can also get updates on the Wildcats by following the Twitter handle @kstate_gameday.
Heptathlon - Day 1
9th: Mantas Silkauskas: 3,231 pts -- 60m 6.73 PR (980 pts); LJ 7.37m (903 pts); SP 12.45m (634 pts); HJ 1.90m (714 pts)
60m Hurdles - prelims
10th: Mantas Silkauskas, 7.78
11th: Jeffrey Julmis, 7.79
800m - prelims
Boglarka Bozzay, 2:05.66 - Advanced
15th :Alyx Treasure, 1.78m (5-08.75)