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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

Also See: Baseball Earns Third Straight NCAA Regional Bid

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND

By Mark Janssen

The calendar says it's the last day of May, which was to mean the book would close on the 2010-11 chapter of Kansas State's "Sports Extra."

BUT, because of the response from you folks, we're going to stay around this summer (June and July) on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule as the Wildcat athletic department heads into the summer months; and then we'll pick back up in August on a daily basis for 2011-12.

I do want to extend a sincere thank you for being a daily "SE" reader these past 10 months and am deeply humbled by the e-mail responses numbering well over 1,000 through the fall, winter and spring K-State sports seasons.  At latest count, notes have come from all corners of the Sunflower State, to 30 of our states, four countries, and even a cruise ship in the Caribbean during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

The mission has been to 'humanize' K-State's athletics department.  We've tried to tell the stories of the stars, but also the behind the scenes folks in the training room, behind the cameras and in the academic arena ... to name a few.

I've appreciated the story ideas that have come from you, the reader, and hope we put most of those into print - and keep the ideas coming.

It's been fun hearing from back home folks in the western part of the state, to getting jottings from a couple old K-State bowling friends that I hadn't heard from for 40 years, plus, even some old radio-TV classmates from the olden days of Kedzie Hall.

With the exception of putting the final touches on the track and field, and baseball seasons, the year has been one to make all K-Staters proud.

K-State was one of just six schools nationally to put its football team in a bowl game, both its basketball teams in the NCAA Tournament and its baseball team in an NCAA Regional.  There was Jacob Pullen setting the all-time basketball scoring record and Daniel Thomas dashing his way to the No. 2 position in career rushing yards.

There was Nick Martini setting an NCAA record of reaching base in an NCAA-record 93 consecutive games, and Erik Kynard (high jump) and Ryann Krais (intermediate hurdles and heptathlon) ranking first and third in the nation, respectively, in their track and field events.

Steve Bietau's tennis team enjoyed its winningest season ever with Petra Niedermayerova becoming only the second player in Big 12 history to be decorated with Big 12 Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors in the same season.  And, there was the women's cross country team racing its way to the NCAA Championships for the first time in a decade.

Frank Martin's guys brought marvelous national attention to the K-State campus by being ranked No. 3 in the nation early in the year, and Deb Patterson's squad found a way to knock off the eventual national champion Texas A&M Aggies down the home stretch to the season.

It was also a year of facility growth with the start of a $20 million basketball practice facility, plus the installation new restrooms and a spiffy eye-popping infill turf surface at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Next year only promises to be more exciting with the fresh look of the Big 12 Conference featuring 10 teams and equality in scheduling in each and every sport.

I'm excited for the arrival of 2011-12 to see the continued progress of the football team under Coach Bill Snyder, to see how the sneakers of Pullen can be filled, to see just how much better Niedermayerova can be, and am super-hyped to see the likes of Kynard and Krais compete in the Big 12 Track and Field Championships at K-State's own R.V. Christian Track next May.  Put that mid-May event on your schedule today!

We hope you'll enjoy our continuing effort to bring K-State athletics into your home with your morning cup of coffee with the continued writings this summer.

We also hope you'll encourage your friends to sign up and be a part of "Sports Extra."  You can't beat the price!  Just go to www.k-statesports.com and click on the "subscribe" button at the top of the homepage.

"Sports Extra" hopes for safe summer fun to each of you, and thanks again for a most rewarding 2010-11 year of Wildcat writing.


We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.