Seven wildcats to compete at 2016 Olympic Games

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – After two weeks of Olympic Qualifiers around the world, the Kansas State track and field team will send seven current and former athletes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. In all, seven different countries will be represented by K-State athletes.

The Wildcats will be sending the second-most representatives of any Big 12 school to Rio to compete in the Olympics. Qualifying for The Games are: Alyx Treasure (Canada), Akela Jones (Barbados), Erik Kynard (USA), Shadae Lawrence (Jamaica), Beverly Ramos (Puerto Rico), Balazs Baji (Hungary) and Jeffrey Julmis (Haiti). Also representing the Wildcats in Rio is head coach Cliff Rovelto, who will serve as a men’s assistant coach for Team USA.

“We have had a slot of very good performances this summer,” Rovelto said. “It looks like we will have seven athletes that will compete in Rio. That is very good representation for the Kansas State track and field program.”

Kynard headlines a strong K-State contingent as he heads into his second Olympic Games after winning the high jump at the USA Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon with a final mark of 2.29m/7-06. He did not miss a single bar at the competition until he recorded three misses at 2.35m/7-08.50.

The 2011 and 2012 outdoor national champion in high jump, Kynard won the Silver Medal at the Olympic Stadium in London, England with a mark of 2.33m/7-07.75, making him the first Wildcat to medal since Austra Skujyte took the Silver Medal in heptathlon at the 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Two other former Wildcat men will make their second-straight appearance at the Olympics as Julmis and Baji both qualified in the 110 hurdles for their respective countries. Julmis, who finished 38th in the event in London, is one a small handful of Haitians to qualify for this year’s Games.

Baji, who took 35th in the 110 meter hurdles in London four years ago while representing Hungary, finished in second place in the same event at the European Championships with a time of 13.28. The time set a new Hungarian national record in the 110 meter hurdles.

Ramos is the only female in the K-State Olympic group to be make her second appearance at The Games after she qualified for the marathon in Düsseldorf with a time of 2:36.31. During the London Games, Ramos competed for Puerto Rico in the 3000 meter steeplechase, where she finished in 35th place.

Jones qualified for Rio after competing in the 100 meter hurdles and 200 meter dash at the Barbados National Championships. She went on to place second the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.09 and third in the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.57.

The St. Michael, Barbados native will compete in the high jump and heptathlon at the Olympics, events that she has won national championships in during her at K-State. Most recently, she won the high jump crown at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a jump of 1.87/6-01.50. She also won the heptathlon national title in 2015 with a school-record score of 6,371 points.

Lawrence booked her trip to the Olympics in discus, finishing in second place at the Jamaican National Championships with a throw of 58.95m/193-05. She surpassed the Olympic standard of 61.00m/200-01 on the final day of the NCAA Championships, where she set a new school record and finished in fourth place in the event with a throw of 61.18m/200-09.

The final first-time Olympian to qualify was Treasure, who won the high jump competition at the Canadian Championships with a jump of 1.88m/6-02. She hit the standard of 1.93m/6-04 in early May at the Ward Haylett Invitational, which was held at R.V. Christian track in Manhattan.

The 2016 Olympic Games kick off on August 5 with the opening ceremonies, which can be seen live on NBC.

Rio Bound
Akela Jones (Barbados) – Heptathlon, High Jump
Alyx Treasure (Canada) – High Jump
Shadae Lawrence (Jamaica) – Discus
Erik Kynard (USA) – High Jump
Jeffrey Julmis (Haiti) – 110 Meter Hurdles
Beverly Ramos (Puerto Rico) – Marathon
Balazs Baji (Hungary) – 110 Meter Hurdles

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