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Wildcat Weekend Update

March 8, 2015
 
Season Highs in Hits, Runs Fuel Cats to 17-5 Win
 
Paced by a career-high five RBI from Tyler Moore and season highs in hits and runs by the entire Wildcat offense, the K-State baseball team defeated Santa Clara, 17-5, yesterday afternoon in game two of the three-game series at Tointon Family Stadium.

Iwundu Keeps Focus Heading into Texas Matchup

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Feb 28, 2015; Manhattan, KS, USA; Kansas State Wildcats guard/forward Wesley Iwundu (25) is fouled by Iowa State Cyclones guard Monte Morris (11) during the Wildcats' 70-69 win at Fred Bramlage Coliseum. Photo by Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

March 7, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

Wesley Iwundu has gone back to watch his game-winning dunk over Iowa State last weekend quite a few times.

How many times?

"To be honest, I've probably watched it over 100 times," said Iwundu, his smile stretching from ear-to-ear. "That night I just kept watching it over and over and over."

Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 6

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

I am writing this letter on the (slightly delayed) AA 11:30 a.m. non-stop jet flight from MHK to DFW that will enable me to head over to American Airlines Center for our 6 p.m. first-round Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship game against the Jayhawks.  The weather is perfect in Manhattan for today's home baseball opener at Tointon Stadium at 3 p.m.  Just before departing I had the opportunity to tour the just completed first phase of the brand new MHK passenger terminal with airport director Peter Van Kuren who tells me that flights will be operating out of the new facility just in time for spring break travel next week.  It is a big step forward for our community and will be a great first impression for incoming passengers.

Of course another huge step forward for K-State is the new Vanier Football Complex in the north end of Bill Snyder Family Stadium and early this morning MGEJ's Jeremy Niederwerder gave me my first tour inside the construction fences.  The upgrades for our fans and student-athletes are already evident, and I cannot adequately describe how impressed I was with the progress.  If you haven't seen the VFC site recently, it has really changed!  The NEZ seating area is beginning to take shape and steelwork continues on the frame of the complex.  I will tweet a few pictures later today - remember our live webcams are in operation.  Click here and see the progress as it continues to be on track for an August completion!

Fundamental to achieving our goal of a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience is a dedicated corps of coaches, and we were ecstatic to see veteran Wildcat mentor Cliff Rovelto named as the 2015 Big 12 Women's Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year after leading K-State to a program-best second place finish in last week's indoor conference championship event.  Making this award even more special is the fact that it is chosen by a vote of the league's head coaches.

I also salute equestrian coach Casie Maxwell whose charges upset No. 2 TCU and No. 1 Baylor in back-to-back contests last weekend.  We wish all of our teams in action today and over the next week best of luck as we head into another very busy time for K-State Athletics.

A big Thank You is due as well to our fans as we had two great crowds for senior night basketball wins and also kicked of this week with record football season ticket sales including 4,958 tickets purchased on Monday, eclipsing last year's first-day record of 4,330, while 1,623 tickets ordered were new requests.  We are on our way to extending our consecutive sellout streak to 27 games!  It's obvious the K-State Nation is already fired up for the 2015 season - just 2,500 tickets remain for the April 25 spring football game at Sporting Park.  Click here for ticket information for both the spring game and the 2015 season.

Wildcats Ready to Face KU... Again

March 6, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

It may be difficult to beat a team three times in the same season, but K-State women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie isn't thinking that way. As his team heads into tonight's game against the Kansas Jayhawks, he's not looking at the game differently than usual.

Wildcats Give Back

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March 5, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

K-State student-athletes and coaches have done their part this winter to give back to the community that gives them so much.

From the Student Athlete Advisory Committee's (SAAC) work getting student-athletes involved with the Manhattan Emergency Shelter to the men's basketball team's efforts in raising money for the American Cancer Society, many have worked hard to do their part and give back.

"It's really cool because we're given so much as student-athletes," said equestrian junior Nicholle Hatton of Parker, Colorado. "K-State practically pays for our schooling, we have the performance table and we're given the opportunity to practice, travel and ride, so it's really cool to be able to give back to this community. They're the ones we do it for. We ultimately do it for the fans; it's great to see the fans come and support us. To know that we're able to give back to them and make that difference, that's been great."

Hatton represents the equestrian team as a member of SAAC and, most recently, participated with her teammates at K-State's Tipoff for TP event.

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Before the women's basketball game against TCU on Feb. 11, and the men's basketball game against Oklahoma on Feb. 14, Wildcat student-athletes met fans at every entrance of Bramlage Coliseum to collect products and donations for the Manhattan Emergency Center from incoming fans. 

"We started off by choosing the games we wanted to collect at," explained Hatton on what went into setting up this year's Tipoff For TP. "We knew we wanted it to be at the bigger basketball games, so we picked out two Big 12 games, then we made the fliers and put them out to the community. We got radio stations to announce it and we put posters up in the bathrooms for the games leading up to it. Basically, we tried to get the word out to fans and reminded people as much as we could leading up to that date."

A completely student-organized and student-run event, Tipoff for TP collected 1,200-plus products (toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, cleaning supplies, etc.) for those in need and collected a total of $1,932.06 in donations.

"Having the student athletes out at each gate, it let the community see that we're not just athletes, we're students and we do things for the community as well," explained men's golf sophomore Matt Green of Lenexa, Kansas. "It was really cool. There were a lot of big donations that we got, but it was also surprising to see the amount of students that donated. We had a lot more students at our gate, and it was great to see them pull out their change or a few bucks here and there."

But it wasn't just the Wildcat fans that took the time to donate.

"I think the coolest thing was seeing the OU fans donate at the men's game," added Hatton. "I was by the ticket office, so we had a lot of OU fans come in and they'd see the bucket of money and the tub of toilet paper and say, 'That's really cool. I can donate a couple bucks to that.'"

SAAC participates in numerous community-service opportunities throughout the year from Cats in the Classroom, where student-athletes spend time in local elementary schools, to hosting Cats for Cans before a football game. This past fall, K-State student-athletes raised more than $10,000 for the Flint Hills Breadbasket through Cats for Cans. 

"It's nice to be able to give back to someone who has given you so much," said volleyball sophomore Sheridan Zarda of Shawnee, Kansas. "It is kind of in that family aspect - this K-State family always gives you what you need, so it's nice to be able to give them back to them in return."

Giving back it doesn't just stop with the student-athletes though; the Wildcat coaches are involved in giving back as well.

More recently, head men's basketball coach Bruce Weber donated nearly $9,491 out of his own pocket for the fight against cancer. Through the Coaches vs. Cancer Shooting Challenge, K-State students were given the opportunity to shoot baskets at the Basketball Training Facility. Weber donated $1 for every student that showed up, $10 for every free throw made, $25 for each three-pointer made and each student had the opportunity at one half-court shot worth $100. If a student made all three shots, Weber would donate an extra $1,000 to the charity.

Megan Weber presented the $9,491 check to Trysta Williams of the American Cancer Society at halftime of the Wildcats' win over Kansas. 

In addition, the K-State family helped raise nearly $7,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer by purchasing the official shirt for the Stripe Bramlage game and another $6,500 at the 2014 Hoop Scoop for Women Basketball Clinic last fall.

"Coach Weber is such a great ambassador for the American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs. Cancer program," said Stephanie Weiter, a senior representative of the American Cancer Society, earlier this year. "He's very passionate about the cause and is really very sincere about making a difference. I've heard him speak on a number of occasions, and I've told him there's no better ambassador, there's no one that can speak as well as he does about it. You can tell it's truly from the heart."

 

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.

 

Wildcats Rally for Senior Day Victory

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K-State's Haley Texada celebrates after the game against West Virginia at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on March 3, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

March 4, 2015
By Kelly McHugh
 
Last night in Bramlage Coliseum, the K-State women's basketball team (17-12, 7-11 Big 12) celebrated its seniors in style as it overcame a 16-point deficit to beat West Virginia (17-13, 7-11), 59-55, on Senior Night. 

Women's Basketball Celebrates Senior Day

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K-State women's basketball seniors Ashia Woods, Haley Texada and Heidi Brown. Photo by Scott Weaver

March 3, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

As I look at my planner and see "Women's Basketball Senior Day" written in big, bold letters under today's date, I can't help but reminisce back to my first days as a young sports journalist covering K-State Athletics.

Top 10 Moments of February 2015

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K-State's Marcus Foster lays up a shot against Kansas at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on February 23, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

March 2, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

Filled with memorable wins and exciting individual performances, February was a month to remember for K-State Athletics and Wildcat fans nation-wide. 

Letter from A.D. John Currie - February 27

Good Afternoon K-State Nation,

Needless to say it has been an interesting week in Manhattan, and I am glad we are back in competition today as both of our track and field teams are competing in the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames!  Later in this letter I'll cover the whole weekend athletics schedule, but I'd like to make a special request for K-State fans in the DFW area to get over to Fort Worth tomorrow for our 2 p.m. women's basketball game vs. TCU.  Coach Mittie and the Cats are battling for a postseason berth having already improved our regular season win total vs. last year by five games to our current record of 16-11 and now have reached our highest conference win total since the 2011-12 season.  Click here for more information and here for information on next week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Championship at Dallas' American Airlines Arena which follows our senior night game vs. West Virginia in Bramlage on March 3.

My daughter Virginia and I enjoyed our drive down I-70 Wednesday night to watch senior Ashia Woods key a late 12-0 run to help the Cats defeat the Jayhawks in Lawrence for the fourth time in five years.  It has been a great week for the Wildcats with a Sunflower Showdown sweep following Monday's win for the men's team.  Our record against KU in volleyball, football, and men's and women's basketball for the year now stands at 5-2, and we look forward to this spring's contests in tennis and baseball.  Our rowing team also had a successful and victorious showing this fall against the Jayhawks in a competition that also featured numerous other schools.

Coach Weber's squad will look to ride the momentum tomorrow as we host No. 12 Iowa State (click here for tickets) for Senior Day at 3 p.m.  We are expecting a packed house but encourage our fans to pay close attention to the weather and make safe travel decisions.  Fans are also invited to attend our home equestrian match 10 a.m. vs. No. 1 Baylor.

While we have covered Monday's postgame situation already this week (click here), I do want to encourage our students and fans to continue to remember our motto of "Welcome to K-State" and our goal of offering the "Best Fan Experience in the Big 12."  Again Saturday, we will showcase our great university before a national TV audience on ESPN2.  Collectively, we must set a higher standard of expectation and eliminate the profane chant that recurred last game.  Let's get this done together.

With Home Series Cancelled, Bat Cats Head West

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K-State's Carter Yagi throws to first base against Oklahoma State at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on May 9, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

February 27, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

As snowfall and frigid temperatures are expected this weekend for Manhattan, the Wildcat baseball team (4-4) made a change to its schedule. The Bat Cats had hoped to take on Eastern Illinois this afternoon for their home-opening series, but the team canceled the three-game set and is now headed to sunny California instead.