In the end, a disappointing NCAA track championship for Kansas State
We have been spoiled. On numerous occasions over the past few years, the Kansas State Women’s Track and Field Team has actually made its mark on the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships rankings. As recently as 2016, the team finished in the top ten.
Not this year. At the 2021 meeting in Eugene, the women of K-State failed to score a single point, which last happened in 2013. Indeed, it’s the first time since 2014 that the women have not scored at least 16 points; from 2014 to 2019, the women’s team clinched at least one second place in each championship as well as four national champions. This weekend, no female Wildcat finished in the top eight of all events.
It’s an incredible disappointment for a team that has performed exceptionally well over the season. While none of the qualifying team members were particularly favorites to win a national title, each qualifier posted results that indicated a good chance for a podium finish.
And they didn’t play too badly. Five K-State women have managed to secure second-team All-America recognition, Lauren Taubert and Ariel Okorie having made it in the heptathlon in finishing 15th and 16th on Saturday – the first time in Wildcat history that two women have won the honor in the same year.
Ashley Petr finished 15th on disc, while thursday Taishia Pryce was 16th in the triple jump and Taylor Latimer was 13th in the shot put for the best K-State ranking of the weekend in women. Latimer and Taubert are right to be the most disappointed; in the last NCAA Championships in 2019, Latimer was fourth in shot put and Taubert was eighth in heptathlon.
The men, on the other hand, have generally not threatened the standings in the annual competition, with the exception of the Wildcat which competes in the high jump. It hasn’t changed. The Wildcat men scored eight points, all the result of a single event. Tejaswin Shankar took second place in the high jump on Friday, his third consecutive outdoor top two, including the 2018 national title. LSU‘s JuVaughn Harrison, who has won four straight national titles between indoors and outdoors, Shankar is said to be the most decorated Wildcat track athlete of all time.
Shankar is therefore the only All-American team in K-State’s first team on the outdoor track this season. As we reported on Thursday morning, he is joined by second team mates Logan Wolfley (javelin) and Jullane Walker (long jump).
Next up for the Wildcats, or at least some of them: the Olympic Trials, the US version of which will take place in Eugene over ten days starting Friday.
It’s weird to find this subtitle in the two holes in June, but there is actually a bunch of news to share this beautiful morning.
The big news, which was announced on Thursday, is that K-State host half of the WNIT preseason this autumn. On November 12, 14 and 15, the Wildcats will host Western Kentucky, North Carolina A&T and Tennessee-Martin in a four-team round robin tournament. On November 19, at the end of the event, K-State will travel to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State. The Wolf Pack, for its part, will host Florida, Towson and Wofford on the same days as the Wildcats.
Speaking of North Carolina State, on Saturday the K-State 3×3 team of Emilee Ebert, Cymone Goodrich, Ayoka Lee and Rachel Ranke beat the Wolf Pack 21-17 for finish 2-1 in their pool in the USA Basketball 3×3 Nationals. Unfortunately they were eliminated in the quarter-finals on Sunday by eventual Force 10 champion in a 19-15 loss, finishing in sixth place overall.
Friday, Jeff Mittie hired Mike Nicholson, formerly Central Missouri’s top assistant and winner of the 2021 NABC Division II Assistant Coach of the Year award, as the women’s basketball chief of staff. Nicholson was on staff for a National Division II title in 2018 and one final of four appearances this spring.
Things just seem to come together this morning; this time it’s from one directional school in Missouri to another. Missouri Western hired Fred Wyatt, K-State graduate assistant as the new defensive line coach, according to Brandon Zenner at the St. Joseph News-Press. Wyatt spent two years in Manhattan helping the defensive backs; his father, Buddy, is K-State’s own defensive coach.
At Tulsa World, veteran columnist Bill Haisten reflects on the first 25 years of the Big 12, and argues that there have been three defining traits to the league. You will like one of them.
And, of course, since our last chat, BracketCat has paid an extra four days of countdown and AMS has told you about the likely extension to 12 teams, ASAP, of the college football playoffs. You can find it all on the front page if you missed it over the weekend.