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Kynard Makes Watch List for Track and Field's Heisman

By Mark Janssen

Kansas State high jumper Erik Kynard is on the watch list for The Bowerman, which is track and field's most prestigious collegiate award.

The Wildcat sophomore has won five straight events, which includes clearing a school record of 7-7.75. That mark also ranks as the third highest collegiate jump in history. This past weekend Kynard won the Big 12 Indoor title last week at a height of 7-4.25.

"It is quite an honor for Erik to be included on The Bowerman Watch List," K-State coach Cliff Rovelto said. "The athletes on this list are all truly world class athletes. We are very proud of Erik's achievements and maturity he has shown in embracing the process of growing as an athlete."
The Bowerman is the Heisman Trophy for track and field awarded to the top male and female athletes at the NCAA level. It is named after former Oregon coach Bill Bowerman. The list will be updated twice monthly throughout the indoor and outdoor season with the finalists announced on July 13.

Others on the list are: Jeshua Anderson, Washington State; Robby Andrews, Virginia; Sam Chelanga, Liberty; Will Claye, Florida; Jeff Demps, Florida; Mason Finley, Kansas; Walter Henning, LSU; Kirani James, Alabama and Christian Taylor, Florida.

BASEBALLERS OPEN HOME SEASON: K-State's baseball team will open its home season with a four-game series against Western Illinois on Friday at 3 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. twinbill on Saturday and a 1 p.m. start on Sunday at Tointon Family stadium.

Friday's opener will feature the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment "Rangers" of the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The festivities will include the unveiling of the unit's diamond logo on the outfield wall, a mass reenlistment of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat team, a ceremonial first pitch by Captain Walter Gray and the National Anthem by Staff Sergeant Tiffany Monnett.

Over 2,000 soldiers and family members will be in attendance.

The Wildcats are off to a 5-2 start led by 2010 Big 12 Co-Player of the Year Nick Martini's .318 average, which leads the team among the regular players.    

Early mound leaders have been Kyle Hunter (0-0, 1.74), Kayvon Bahramzadeh (1-0, 2.70) and Evan Marshall (2-0, 5.40). Closer James Allen has worked 3.2 innings of one-hit baseball.

HOCUTT RETURNS TO BIG 12: Former K-State linebacker Kirby Hocutt has been named director of athletics at Texas Tech University. The 1995 Wildcat graduate is making the move from Miami University, where he was in his third year as athletics director.

"Today is the culmination of an exhaustive process to bring in an athletic director who can lead this program into the future," said Guy Bailey, Texas Tech president.  "Kirby Hocutt is that person."

Hocutt, 39, is no stranger to the Big 12 Conference as both a student-athlete at Kansas State and as an administrator at both Kansas State and Oklahoma. A four-year letterman on the Wildcat football team, Hocutt led the former Big Eight Conference in tackles his junior season, while earning All-Big Eight accolades. Following his playing career, he moved over to administration where he served as assistant director of marketing and promotions at Kansas State. He later served seven years at the University of Oklahoma where he oversaw fundraising efforts for the Sooners and was the primary administrator for the OU football program

Hocutt was recognized with Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 Award as one of the most promising young executives in sports business.

On Hocutt, Wildcat football coach Bill Snyder said of his former linebacker, "Kirby was a very fine player for us and is one of those young guys that you love to death. He is a dear friend who was a great teammate, a tremendous student and an excellent person. I am excited about him returning closer to his roots and the Big 12 Conference and I think he will be absolutely terrific for Texas Tech University."

KSU AD John Currie added of Hocutt's hire, "Since I arrived at Kansas State he has been a tremendous resource to me in understanding the heritage and opportunities here. I consider him a trusted friend and a terrific colleague. He is a man with tremendous enthusiasm, vision and character who has done great things as athletics director at Ohio and Miami. I know Texas Tech, along with the entire Big 12 Conference, will benefit from his leadership and I look forward to working with him for many, many years in support of the student-athletes and institutions of our league."

VOLLEYBALLERS ANNOUNCE SPRING SEASON: K-State's volleyball team has announced its spring schedule, which will include a match on April 21 against Tianjin Bridgestone of China in a match staged in Bramlage Coliseum.

The Wildcats will play Nebraska and Creighton in Lincoln, on March 30; play in a tournament with Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas State, Houston Baptist, Missouri State, North Texas, TCU, UT-Arlington and SMU in Arlington on April 2; and, take on Colorado State and Iowa State at Nebraska-Kearney on April 9.

K-State will also host a tournament at Blue Valley West High School on April 16 with Arkansas, UMKC, Missouri State, Wichita State and Kansas slated to participate.