Aug. 30, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard proved to be one of the best in not only the nation but the world this season. That season came to an end Monday night in Daegu, South Korea, as he finished 14th at the IAAF World Championships.
Kynard qualified for the world championships thanks to his third-place finish at the USA Track & Field Championships in June and was awarded the chance to represent Team USA. He did so with a clearance of 2.28m (7-5.75) but he was unable to advance to the final due to a miss at 2.25m (7-4.50) on his first attempt.
Jumpers who cleared 2.31m (7-7.00) automatically advanced to the final and then the field would be filled to 12. There was a three-way tie for 11th at 2.28m allowing for 13 jumpers to move onto the final. Those three jumpers did not have a miss at 2.25m unlike Kynard.
Although his season came to an end and he will not jump in the final, K-State coach Cliff Rovelto said he is proud of what Kynard accomplished this season. He did something no other Wildcat has done at his age.
“"Erik had a phenomenal year. For a 20-year old kid to come within an eyelash of making the final at the world championships is pretty special stuff,” Rovelto said. “We've been blessed to have some special jumpers in our program and none were able to get this far at this young age. He joins a special group at K-State who have made Olympic or World Championship teams while still having collegiate eligibility.
“Overall the trip has been a great learning experience and he performed very well,” continued Rovelto. “He jumped awesome in qualifying at the World University Games in China and looked physically great in the finals just a little out of control. In Korea, he jumped as well as he has outdoors and I thought he competed well and showed great maturity. He's disappointed, as he should be, about not making the final but he should be proud of his performance, I know I am."
A group of former Wildcats were also in action at the World Championships over the weekend and had impressive showings. The pair of Korene Hinds and Beverly Ramos each ran in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, but neither was able to advance to the final. Ramos ran 9:45.50 for her native Puerto Rico and was just three spots away from making the final in 18th place. Hinds finished 20th in 9:52.11 for Jamaica.
Olympic silver medalist Austra Skujyte was competing for Lithuania in the heptathlon and came away in eighth place overall with 6,297 points. Skujyte struggled on the second day of competition as she failed to score more than 875 points in either of the final three events. In the decathlon, Lithuanian Darius Draudvila withdrew following a no mark in the discus portion of the competition.
There is one more competitor to keep an eye for K-State fans, and that is high jumper Jesse Williams. Although he did not compete for K-State in college, the professional jumper trains with Rovelto and is the No. 1 ranked jumper in the world currently. He qualified for the final in the men’s high jump which is scheduled for 5:10 a.m. Thursday.