K-State High Jumper Qualifies for Olympics
KSU Sports Information - Tue 06:22 AM 06/26/2012
EUGENE, Ore. – Erik Kynard already won an NCAA championship this year. Now he will compete for Olympic gold in London this summer. The junior high jumper finished second at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials from Hayward Field on Monday evening to secure his spot on Team USA and compete at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Kynard cleared 7-05.75 (2.28 meters) on his first attempt and claimed second place based on number of misses at previous heights. Four athletes cleared the height. Kynard also cleared the opening height of 7-00.50 (2.15m) on his first attempt and took two tries at 7-02.50 (2.20m) and 7-04.50 (2.25m) each.
It was a big day for K-State Head Coach Cliff Rovelto as the entire trio of Team USA high jumpers are coached by him.
In addition to Kynard in the field, Rovelto had three professional jumpers competing on Monday. Jamie Nieto was victorious clearing all four bars on his first attempt, and 2011 world champion Jesse Williams took fourth. Nieto and Williams will join Kynard on the Olympic team. Jim Dilling missed the opening height on Monday. Nieto will be the oldest men's high jumper to wear the Red, White and Blue at 35 years old.
One future Wildcat was also in the final. Zack Riley is an NJCAA national champion and signed a National Letter of Intent to join the K-State team this fall. He was one of the 13 finalists but also failed to clear the bar at 7-00.50.
Kynard is the first Wildcat to make an Olympic team with remaining eligibility since Nathan Leeper made Team USA in 2000. The Toledo, Ohio, product will now begin preparing for the Olympics, set to start on July 27 with opening ceremonies. He will return to Manhattan, Kan., following the Trials.
Cool temperatures and rain just prior to the start of competition made the conditions not ideal for jumping, but Kynard managed to come up with a big jump when he needed it to almost guarantee his spot on the Olympic team. With his clearance of 7-05.75 on his first attempt, he moved into second place. With a wet runway, jumping 7-07.00 was unable to be accomplished by the five remaining jumpers in the field.
Rovelto predicted there could be poor weather conditions at the Trials during an interview session before leaving for Oregon last week. He said he was confident in Kynard if there were rains after seeing Kynard win his first NCAA crown last year during a downpour in Des Moines, Iowa, when he jumped 7-06.00 (2.29m).
The Wildcats have one more current student-athlete, Ryann Krais, set to compete in the women’s heptathlon. Two former assistant coaches and current volunteer coaches, Kasey Hill and Bettie Wade, will also be in the heptathlon beginning Thursday.
Former Wildcat Amy Mortimer will run in the first round of the women’s 1,500 meters on Thursday as well.
Wednesday marks the start of the Canadian Olympic Trials, and freshman women’s high jumper Alyx Treasure will compete in the qualifying round on Thursday with the final set for Friday evening in Calgary.