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K-State Sports Extra | Top Moments April 2014

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May 1, 2014
By Kelly McHugh 

This year just continues to get better and better, and from big-time individual performances to an exciting announcement about the future of K-State Athletics; April was an exciting month for to be a Wildcat. 

As we look back over the past thirty days, here are a few moments K-State Sports Extra has highlighted as April's greatest:

10. Men's basketball celebrates its 2013-2014 season at the end of the year banquet 

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On April 15, the K-State men's basketball team gathered for its annual end-of-the-year banquet. It was an evening filled with reminiscing over its exciting 2013-14 season as nine players received rewards for their actions both on and off the court over the course of the year.

"As we look back on this season, the thing I'm proud about with this group of student-athletes is that they had a lot of opportunities to give up, right?" asked K-State athletics director John Currie during the banquet. "They had a lot of really good excuses. This group had a lot of opportunities to quit and not to stick together, but instead, what they did was work hard throughout the season. They continued to support each other and continued to build."

Highlighting the awards portion of the evening were junior forward Thomas Gipson and freshman guard Marcus Foster who were co-winners of the coveted Rolando Blackman Most Valuable Player award. 

For a full story and list of this year's award recipients, click here.

9. Sara Savatovic places first at the Drake Relays

Sophomore Sara Savatovic continued to turn heads this season as, on April 26 at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, the Crvenka, Serbia, native placed first in the hammer throw with an event-best toss of 60.53m/198-07.00. She was the only athlete to surpass 60 meters. 

It was Savatovic's second first-place finish of the season as she threw a career-best 65.19m/213-10.00 for a first-place showing on March 26 at the Texas Relays and her third top-three finish of the season as she posted a second-place finish with a throw of 59.27m/194-05.00 at the Jim Click Shootout on April 12.

Up next for Savatovic and the Wildcats is a trip home to R.V. Christian Track where the team will compete in the Ward Haylett Invitational beginning at 11 a.m., on Saturday, May 3.

8. Equestrian defeats Texas A&M in the first round of the NCEA National Championship

Despite falling behind, 5-2, early in the day, the No. 5 seed Kansas State equestrian team used a late comeback to defeat No. 12 seed Texas A&M, 8-7, on April 17, and advanced to the second round of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA). 

Though K-State Reigning started the day falling behind Texas A&M, 3-0, and the Equitation on the Flat team tied the Aggies, 2-2, both Horsemanship and Equitation Over Fences the Wildcats shined by sweeping Texas A&M, 4-0 and 2-0, respectively, for the win.

Though the following day the Wildcats' season came to an end after losing to No. 4 seed Auburn in the quarterfinal round, K-State's 2013-14 season was nothing to be ashamed of. Overall, K-State went 11-6 with a 4-4 mark in Big 12 Conference competition and graduated 21 seniors.

7. Former Wildcat golfer Robert Streb finishes second in the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic

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Former men's golf standout Robert Streb (2006-09) recorded the best showing of his PGA career after carding 17-under par 271 and finishing second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in Avondale, La.

Halfway through the tournament's final round, Streb was tied for the lead but fell behind two shots on the ninth hole as Seung-Yul Noh held on for the win by shooting a 19-under 269.

Though he may not have won the event, Streb's second-place finish earned him $598,400 as he jumped from 142nd to 73rd in the FedEx Cup rankings. His next stop will be the Wells Fargo Championship, May 1-4, at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.

6. Track and field earns back-to-back Athlete of the Week Honors

The Big 12 recognized both K-State track and field senior Carlos Rodriguez and sophomore Alex Kregers with Athlete of the Week accolades this month for their individual achievements. 

For his impressive performance in the decathlon at the Sam Adams Multi in Westmont, Calif., Kregers picked up his first career Athlete of the Week honor on April 10, while Rodriguez earned his first-career honor on April 16 after a dominant showing at the Jim Click Shootout in Tuscan, Ariz.

At the Jim Click Shootout, Rodriguez posted first-place finishes in the 100 meter, 200 meter and as a member of the Wildcats' 4x400 team. Scoring 30 of the Wildcat men's 134 points, Rodriguez not only went a perfect three-for-three in his events, but he was also named the Jim Click Shootout Male Athlete of the Meet. 

For Kregers, despite sitting in seventh place after the first day of the Sam Adams Multi, he mounted a comeback on day two that saw him finish the competition with 7,304 points for a second-place finish and recorded personal bests in the 400 meter, the 110 meter hurdles, the javelin throw and the 1500 meter.

5. Rowing's 1st Varsity 8 boat earns multiple Boat of the Week honors

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On April 23, K-State rowing's 1st Varsity 8 boat earned its third Big 12 Boat of the Week Honor of the season for its successful weekend at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship Regatta. The 1V8 crew of coxswain Hillary Schartz and rowers Meggie Murray, Noelle Dykmann, Lisa Angell, Brittany Long, Allison Dorau, Ashley Houser, Erin Roeser and Madi Haney went a perfect 3-0 at the Regatta and became the first Wildcat 1V8 to earn SIRA gold since 2003-04.   

It marked the third weekly accolade of the season and second from the Big 12 Conference for the 1V8 squad. The crew earned Conference USA Boat of the Week and Co-Big 12 Boat of the Week in back-to-back weeks at the start of April for their strong showings at the Sunflower Showdown and San Diego Crew Classic. Add in the 2nd Varsity 8 earning Big 12 Boat of the Week in late March and the Wildcat rowers have earned the Big 12 weekly honor three out of the four weeks it has been awarded this season. 

4. Former Wildcats Darren Sproles and Terence Newman attend the Purple/White Spring Game as honorary coaches

After years away, former Wildcat greats and NFL stars Terence Newman (Cincinnati Bengals) and Darren Sproles (Philadelphia Eagles) were back in the Little Apple. On April 26, the two stood on the sideline of this year's Purple/White Spring Game and served as honorary coaches.

"It's an honor for them to bring former players back each year," said Newman, "but to actually invite me and Darren to be honorary coaches; that's really special."

"This is my first time back in about six years, so a lot has changed," said Sproles. "There's a lot of new stuff around. They took me on tours, and I loved it. Especially when they get done with the Vanier building - that's going to be really great."

For this month's K-State Sports Extra on their visit back to Manhattan, click here.

3. Tennis senior Petra Niedermayerova celebrates senior day with a 6-1 win over Kansas

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After a career filled with accolades for her success both on and off the court, K-State tennis senior Petra Niedermayerova will go down in history as one of K-State's greatest student-athletes. The Wildcats' lone senior, Niedermayerova was honored during the senior day celebrations on April 19 before taking on Kansas in her final home competition.

In front of the largest crowd in the history of Mike Goss Tennis Stadium, Niedermayerova helped the Wildcats to a 6-1 victory over the Jayhawks. Her senior day singles win put her at a career record of 103-42 while her doubles victory with teammate Amina St. Hill put her at No. 1 in K-State history with 74 career doubles wins.

Among her many career honors, Niedermayerova has garnered: a pair of Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-American citations, is a three-time NCAA Division I Singles Championship participant, including an appearance in the Round of 16; a three-time All-Big 12 selection in singles; a two-time All-Big 12 selection in doubles; the 2011 Big 12 Player of the Year; the 2011 Big 12 Freshman of the Year; and she has been ranked among the ITA national singles rankings for 38 consecutive weeks dating back to her freshman season in 2011.

Petra holds the school records for singles and doubles wins in a career and singles and doubles wins in a season. She is the first player in program history to reach 100 career singles wins.

As a student, Niedermayerova has received numerous honors for her efforts in the classroom including 2013 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team honors, and she is a two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. She currently serves as the team's representative on K-State's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and will graduate in May with her degree in economics and will pursue a Ph.D. in economics at Boston University beginning in the fall.

2. K-State Athletics announces the Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium Project

Just before kickoff of K-State football's Purple/White Spring Game, athletics director John Currie announced Kansas State's next athletics facility: the new Vanier Football Complex and North Stadium Project. The third phase of a six-step master plan, the new project is estimated to cost $65 million and will enhance not only the Wildcat football players' collegiate experience, but all student-athletes at K-State.

"This is a day that's been a long time and coming and is a huge step forward for us," said Currie at halftime of the spring game. "It represents another side of Kansas State University and Kansas State Athletics' commitment to be among the top tier of intercollegiate athletics. We certainly have made enormous progress over the last five years: we've completed $125 million in new athletic facility construction benefitting all 16 of our sports and over 400 student-athletes. We're very proud of the progress that we've made."

Click here for a full video of the Vanier Football Challenge and here for K-State Athletics' website on the project

1. Eight-year-old Kaiden Schroeder scores his first Wildcat touchdown

In the third quarter of the Purple/White Spring Game on April 26, Kaiden Schroeder, an eight-year old diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, had the opportunity to make a very special play. 

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With his name announced over the stadium's speakers, Schroeder - sporting a No. 44 jersey just like his favorite player and good friend Ryan Mueller - ran on to the field to meet up with quarterback Jake Waters at the 30-yard line. With Schroeder at running back, the ball was snapped and Waters handed it off to the little Wildcat who then ran through the White team's defense and scored his first-ever K-State touchdown.

After he crossed into the end zone, K-State players hoisted Schroeder into the air in celebration while he smiled ear-to-ear.

"It was awesome, a great experience, especially for Kaiden," said Mueller who met Kaiden in January of 2013. "I can't thank John Currie, Coach Snyder and people of the athletics department here who did a fantastic job. It was just awesome. I'm so glad that they were supportive in it; a lot of credit goes to them. It was something Kaiden will remember for the rest of his life."

During the 2013 football season, K-State Sports Extra put together a story on Mueller and Schroeder's special friendship. To read that story, click here.

 

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 Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.