SE: Top 10 Male Athletes of 2011

Dec. 28, 2011

By Mark Janssen
K-State Sports Extra

How does one pick a top Male Athlete of the Year from the list of Pullen, Klein, Kynard, and so many other top Wildcat candidates?

Just for fun, “Sports Extra” tried, but ended up having to cheat as we could only narrow it down to a dozen Wildcats that we’ve squeezed into our Top 10 for the 2011 calendar year.

The list is certainly open for argument, so feel free to send us your Top 10 list.

10) Tyler Lockett and Nigel Malone hit the K-State scene as co-newcomers in full stride who made an immediate impact on a Wildcat football team that went 10-2 and ended up No. 8 in the national polls.

Lockett earned back-to-back Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week Awards in efforts against Kansas and Oklahoma State. The Wildcat freshman became the first player in K-State history to return kickoffs for touchdowns in consecutive games against Texas Tech and Kansas. Prior to being sidelined by an injury nine games into the season, his 35.2-yard average on kickoff returns ranked No. 2 in the nation. Lockett was named the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year and was a second-team all-league selection.

From the community college ranks, Malone led the Big 12 Conference in pass interceptions with seven, which is just one shy of Chris Canty’s single-season record at K-State. The figure also ranked third in the nation. Malone also ranked fifth on the team with his 57 tackles. The City College of San Francisco product was named first-team All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches.

9) Nick Martini tied for the top average on the K-State baseball team at .326, plus led the team in stolen bases with 24. The K-State senior caught national attention when he had a streak of 93 consecutive games (dating back to the 2010 season) where he reached base safely. He was one of the leaders in taking the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament, and Martini was a seventh-round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals.

8) Jeffrey Julmis demonstrated his knack for being at his best on the biggest of stages by finishing fifth indoors and fourth outdoors in the hurdles at the NCAA Championships. He also had placings of seventh at the Big 12 Indoors with a 60-meter hurdle clocking of 7.84, and fourth at the Big 12 Outdoors at 13.59. In other races he set all-time school records of 7.72 indoors and 13.50 outdoors after coming off knee surgery that sidelined him into the month of November.

7) Jason King helped lead the Wildcats to a 36-25 record by hitting a team-high .326, plus topped the teams in home runs with 10, doubles with 19, triples with 6, RBI with 59 and slugged a lofty .591. King, a second-team All-Big 12 selection, would be a fourth-round draft selection by the Detroit Tigers.

6) Arthur Brown was named the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year as well as earning First Team All-Big 12 honors. The Wichita, Kan., product became Kansas State's sixth Defensive Newcomer of the Year and the 11th overall Newcomer of the Year. A transfer from the University of Miami, Brown paced the Wildcats in tackles during the regular season with 95, the most by a K-State defender since 2006. He also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks to go along with an interception and two pass breakups.

5) James Allen and Evan Marshall worked as one out of the K-State bullpen with Marshall normally getting the call in the seventh and eighth innings, and Allen closing things up in the ninth.

Allen, a first-team All-American and seventh-round draft choice by Cincinnati, was called on 29 times covering 40 innings with 45 K’s to 11 walks and a nifty 1.35 ERA; Marshall, a fourth-round selection by Arizona, worked 61 innings with a 1.62 ERA with 55 Ks to 16 walks

4) Moritz Cleve, a three-time K-State All-American, placed eighth in the NCAA decathlon after placing third in the Big 12 meet. Indoors, Cleve was 10th in the heptathlon at the NCAA Championships. A native of Germany, Moritz was also named K-State’s Male Student-Athlete for the academic year.

3) Collin Klein quarterbacked K-State to a remarkable 10 victories and second-place finish in the Big 12 Conference after being picked eighth in the preseason poll. Oh, the Wildcats ended the year ranked No. 8 in the final BCS standings and will play next week in the Cotton Bowl. The junior scored a school-record 26 touchdowns, one shy of Rickey Williams’ Big 12 record. His 1,099 rushing yards is a K-State record for quarterbacks. He also became only the second QB in school history to pass and rush for at least 1,000 yards. A first-team All-Big 12 honoree as an all-purpose player.

2) Jacob Pullen was honored by five postseason organizations as an All-American player. The Chicago native replaced Mike Evans as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,132 points, plus led the Wildcats in 12 statistical categories, including scoring (20.2), double-figure scoring games (29), field goals (191), 3-point field goals (74), free throws (170), assists (115), steals (49) and minutes (32.6 mpg.).  He led the school to a 23-11 overall record, including a tie for third place in Big 12 play with a 10-6 mark, and the third round of the NCAA Tournament. During his season he had two 38-point games – vs. Kansas and vs. Wisconsin in final game of his career at the NCAA Tournament.

1) ERIK KYNARD posted an amazing resume in 2011 – 1st at the 2011 NCAA outdoor championships (7-6.00), 1st at Big 12 Conference Outdoor Championships (7-5.25), 1st at Big 12 Indoor at 7-4.25, 1st at the 2011 Drake Relays (7-7.00), 1st at the Texas Relays (7-5.75), 3rd at the NCAA Indoor Championships (7-2.50), 1st at the Tyson Indoor Invitational at 7-7.75 becoming one of only three collegians to have ever cleared the height, and of course, a school record. Kynard also placed third at the USA Championship by clearing 7-5.75 and went on to compete at the IAAF World Championships in South Korea. For what he did, Kynard was absolutely the best of the best in the nation.

Our thanks and appreciation goes out to these Wildcats for their heroics during the 2011 calendar year.

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