A Student Athlete's Perspective: The Western Swing
From golf outings to coaching kids at the Catbacker Kids Fun Zones to speaking at banquets every evening, the week was filled to the brim with activity for these student-athletes.
"K-State is all about family, and this tour really gives us perspective on just how big that family really is," said women's basketball player Jessica Sheble. "To come out here and see all of western Kansas and to see the support we have out here, it's just phenomenal."
Sheble was one of four female student-athletes touring with K-State on this year's Western Swing as she was joined by teammate Kindred Wesemann and volleyball players Makenzie Holcomb and Kelsey Schroll.
"I didn't expect it to be as fun as it has been," laughed Wesemann between rounds of golf on Thursday afternoon in Colby. "All these people are great. It's awesome to see how many fans we have and to see how they support us. Not all these people can make it to every game - it's a heck of a drive out here - so it's just great to see that they still do support us."
While the three football players - Travis Britz, Boston Stiverson and Stanton Weber - and two men's basketball players - Justin Edwards and DJ Johnson - on the tour definitely were a hot commodity during the week, the women's basketball and volleyball players received just as much attention. Fans asked questions about their teammates, coaches and upcoming seasons.
"It gives me an even greater sense of the K-State family," said Schroll, a true freshman middle blocker with the Wildcat volleyball team. "Everyone talks about the K-State family, but this is just phenomenal because they're all so supportive of our team too. Their passion and support, it's just been incredible."
Holcomb and Schroll even helped out in the kitchen at the Scott City Catbacker "Calf Fry" and got to know the passionate K-Staters in Scott City on an entirely new level.
"Helping them cook at Scott City was the best part of the tour for me," continued Schroll. "It was definitely interesting! We got to help batter the meat, so that was definitely my favorite part."
For their help with the battering and frying, both volleyball players received their own "Scott City Fry 2015" purple apron - a one-of-a-kind gift.
"In Scott City when we helped with the cooking before the banquet, that was really cool to interact with the people on a different level," added Holcomb. "They loved that we were there. It was a great a time."
These ladies made long-lasting memories and even longer-lasting friendships this week in western Kansas. So when they put on their purple jerseys on game day, it has an added meaning.
"It is encouraging. It's awesome to know that these people out here are supporting us," said Wesemann. "Had I not come out here, I never would have known. You hear that there are a few K-State fans out in western Kansas, but I never knew it was this many, and that they care so much. It's just awesome."
Though this week marked the first trip out west for these women's basketball and volleyball players, it certainly won't be their last.
"This was my first Catbacker Tour and I absolutely loved it," said Holcomb. "To meet the fans, the donors and their kids, it's a neat experience. It's special to have something like this and it's a special thing to have this opportunity to know all these people personally."
Stay tuned for tomorrow's K-State Sports Extra where we catch up with the football and men's basketball players about their experiences (and their golf games!) on the Western Swing.
FOUR GREATS ADDED TO FOOTBALL RING OF HONOR
The Kansas State Athletics Department and football program will welcome four new members to the K-State Football Ring of Honor as former Wildcat greats Michael Bishop, Jordy Nelson, Clarence Scott and Darren Sproles will comprise the third class inducted into the elite fraternity, bringing the total number to 14.
"Like previous Ring of Honor classes these are not only skilled athletes and All-Americans at the positions they played at Kansas State but quality gentlemen who genuinely care about their university and their football program," Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Snyder said. "They join the previous 10 Consensus All-Americans having represented their university with class and dignity. I am so very proud of this and previous classes having coached nine of the 14 of them."
These four legends of Kansas State football will have their names permanently affixed to the facing inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium during a halftime presentation of the 2015 season opener against South Dakota. The names will also be prominently shown on the Ring of Honor display in the West Stadium Center concourse inside Gate B.
To continue reading about this year's Ring of Honor class, please click here.