K-STATE ATHLETICS AMONG ELITE COMPANY
By Tom Gilbert
With the baseball team's selection to a third consecutive NCAA Regional on Monday, Kansas State not only continued an outstanding 2010-11 athletics season, but also put the school in some elite company. K-State is one of just six schools nationally to have its football team in a bowl game, its men's and women's basketball squads in the NCAA Tournament and its baseball team in an NCAA Regional. The school joined Connecticut, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas A&M to earn this feat.
"Our student-athletes and coaches should be commended for a terrific 2010-11 season, one that ranks as one of the most successful in school history. We have had championship-level performances across the board this year that have propelled our athletics program into elite company on the national stage and look forward to even more as our track and field and baseball teams continue competition at the NCAA Championship level. Our student-athletes continue to set a national standard for both academic and athletic achievement and play a pivotal role in us achieving our vision of a model intercollegiate athletics program."
In all, a school-record five Wildcat squads - baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's cross country and football - advanced to postseason play in 2010-11. In no other season has the school had more than four teams involved in an NCAA postseason event in a single season.
Although not sanctioned by the NCAA, the women's equestrian team added to K-State's impressive haul this season by finishing fourth at the Varsity Equestrian National Championships, which included a Reserve National Championship by the Western team.
In addition to the accomplishments of these Wildcat teams, K-State also had several individuals earn bids to the NCAA Championships. Freshman Petra Niedermayerova became just the fourth women's tennis player in school history to reach the NCAA Championships field in singles action and the first since 2002. A combined 17 student-athletes earned bids to the NCAA Men's and Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championships, including 10 to the outdoor meet set for June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
TRACK AND FIELD TEAMS ALSO AMONG NATION'S BEST
Kansas State is one of just 14 schools nationally to have both its men's and women's track and field teams ranked in the top 25 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) polls heading into the NCAA Championships. The Wildcat women's track and field team is ranked 19th in the poll, while the men check in at No. 25.
Almost half of these 14 schools reside in the Big 12 Conference, including Texas A&M (1 men/2 women), Texas (9/8), Baylor (15/10), Nebraska (17/12) and Kansas (20/16).
TRACK AND FIELD TO SEND 10 TO NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
K-State will send 12 student-athletes in 10 events to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for June 8-11 on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Four individual men and women as well as the men's 4x100 relay team of Grant Loescher, Jeffrey Julmis, Jason Coniglio, Martynas Jurgilas will compete for national championships at the event.
On the men's side, Jurgilas will also participate in the 100 meters, while Julmis (110-meter hurdles), Moritz Cleve (decathlon) and Erik Kynard (high jump) will look to repeat their All-American status from a year ago. Kynard, who ranks first nationally in the high jump, will be seeking his first NCAA title after finishing sixth a year ago with a jump of 7-01.50. Julmis finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles at the 2010 event, while Cleve was 10th in the decathlon as a junior.
K-State has never earned All-American honors in the 4x100 meter relay.
On the women's side, Ryann Krais will compete in both the 400-meter hurdles and the heptathlon at the championships. She ranks in the Top 5 nationally in both events. She will be joined by Boglarka Bozzay in the 800 meters, Martina Tresch in the steeplechase and Nina Kokot in the long jump.
Cleve (heptathlon), Julmis (60 meter hurdles), Jurgilas (60 meters), Kynard (high jump), Kokot (long jump) and Krais (pentathlon) each earned All-America distinction during the 2011 indoor season.
BASEBALL OFF TO CALIFORNIA FOR NCAA REGIONAL
K-State (36-23, 12-14 Big 12) will travel to Fullerton, Calif., later today to compete in its third consecutive NCAA Regional set for June 3-6 at Goodwin Field on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. The third-seeded Wildcats begin play in the double-elimination regional against No. 2 seed Stanford (32-20, 14-12 Pac-10) on Friday, June 3 at 6 p.m. CT. Following the game, the top-seeded and host Titans (40-15, 19-5 Big West) will take on fourth-seeded Illinois (28-25, 15-9 Big Ten) at 10 p.m. CT. Depending on the outcome, the Wildcats will play again on Saturday at either 6 or 10 p.m. CT.
K-State is coming off a 2-2 showing at the 2011 Big 12 Championship with both of its wins over No. 12 Oklahoma and both of its losses coming at the hands of eventual champion and No. 13 Texas A&M. The team enters Friday's contest with 36 wins, which ranks as the third-most in school history. All three win marks have come within the past three years, as the 2009 squad set the school record with 43 victories before the team tallied 37 wins last season.
'CATS TO MAKE FIRST APPEARANCE ON ESPNU
Every came from the 2011 NCAA Fullerton Regional will be broadcast on ESPNU with Justin Kutcher handling the play-by-play duties and Morgan Ensberg adding the color commentary. This weekend's regional is the first time in program history K-State will appear on one of the ESPN networks. The Wildcats have made six appearances on television so far this season, including a national FOX Sports Net broadcast on April 23, a 4-1 win over Texas Tech.
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