SE: Senior Spotlight: Clayton Dalrymple

Leading up to Kansas State’s graduation this weekend, K-State Sports Extra is featuring four student-athletes who have gone above and beyond in both competition and in the classroom.

On Monday we highlighted rowing’s Meaghan Kuzmich, while Tuesday we featured men’s basketball guard Brian Rohleder, and yesterday we talked with cross country and track and field runner Erika Schiller.

Today, we sit down with baseball center fielder Clayton Dalrymple.

Dalrymple leads K-State this season with a .342 batting average, 67 hits, 43 runs and 14 stolen bases. Among the Big 12’s best hitters, Dalrymple sits in the league’s top-10 in five major statistical categories: steals (2nd), hits (4th), runs scored (6th), batting average (8th) and on-base percentage (10th, .429).

In the classroom, Dalrymple found success from the start as he was named to the Big 12 Academic All-Rookie team following his first season with the Wildcats (2012-13) and has since earned three Academic All-Big 12 recognitions (he was named to the 2016 Academic All-Big 12 Second Team on May 12). As the baseball program’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative, Dalrymple has spent his extra time helping create a better environment for Wildcat student-athletes as well as volunteering through events like Cats for Cans, Adopt a Family and Cats in the Classroom.

On Saturday afternoon, Dalrymple will graduate from K-State with a business degree, emphasizing on general management and human resources management.

A busy week for the Coppell, Texas, product, Dalrymple is also preparing for his final home series in Tointon Family Stadium in addition to taking finals and preparing for his graduation. K-State (24-25, 6-12 Big 12) will take on Kansas (19-29-1, 5-12 Big 12) in its final home series of the 2016 season beginning on Friday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. (for more information on this weekend’s series, you can click here).

Dalrymple found time to sit down with K-State Sports Extra during his hectic week. Here’s what he had to say:

Sports Extra: What are your plans following graduation this weekend?

Clayton Dalrymple: I’m going to see how far baseball takes me, and if I have an opportunity to continue my baseball career, I’d love to take advantage of that. But I’m also wanting to start a career in Kansas City. I’ve had a couple of companies reach out to me after the Career Cat luncheon that Cori Pinkett and Whitney Unkefer did a great job setting up, so I’m going to try and pursue as many opportunities as possible. There have been insurance companies reaching out to me and a couple of IT support companies as well, so I’m going to look into every single opportunity.

SE: Was it ever hard to balance being both a student and an athlete?

CD: It is difficult with the time demands of baseball and academics, but you need to know where your priorities are and know what’s important. Baseball is important, academics are important and you don’t want to fall behind in either of them, so you need to be where your feet are. When you’re on the baseball field, you need to make the most of that time so you don’t fall behind, and when you’re in class, you need to be very present in class. You just have to prioritize well and make sure you’re productive in everything that you do.

SE: Despite how crazy your schedule was, you still decided to get involved in SAAC. Why is that?

CD: I really wanted to be a part of SAAC so I could help out the student-athlete experience. I’ve really enjoyed my own experience here at K-State. It’s been so much fun to be an athlete here and be a part of this family atmosphere, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help out and make that experience even more fun for my teammates and all the student-athletes.

SE: What have been some of your fondest memories on the baseball field?

CD: I was a freshman on the 2013 team when we won the Big 12 Championship. I was on deck when the winning run was scored – that’s a moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was a crazy memory.

Also, just going through the everyday grind. This was something I always wanted to do in high school. I wanted to be at college, wake up, lift, go to class, get to the field and practice, stay after and hit by myself.

SE: Is it weird that this weekend will be your final series playing in Tointon Family Stadium?

CD: It’s very weird! I’ve been here for four years, and I’ve played almost the maximum number of games you can play here. I’ve been very blessed to play in an awesome stadium with awesome fans. These are my last three games here, so I’m going to play them like I have every other game. I’m going to play as hard as I can and as best as I can, and my teammates are going to do the same thing.

SE: Are you excited to cap your time here with the Sunflower Showdown?

CD: You’ll have to ask me that question again after the weekend, but if we can take care of business against the Jayhawks at home on senior weekend, that would be a great, great end to my career in Tointon Family Stadium.

SE: Finally, what has been the best part about being a student-athlete at K-State?

CD: We have every opportunity to become a successful student and we have every opportunity to become a successful athlete. We have amazing facilities; we have the new Vanier (Family Football Complex), which every student athlete gets to take advantage of. We have tutors that help us in every class. We have computers, printers and great work spaces. We have the (Ahearn Fund) Performance Table to fuel our bodies and get us ready, and we have an amazing field with a great indoor facility where we can get better at our craft any day of the year. There’s nothing holding us back from becoming a great student and a great athlete.

And that’s beside that fact that the family atmosphere at K-State is real. When I was a freshman, I didn’t know what people were talking about, but now that I’ve gotten to experience it, it’s been really great. Everybody cares for everybody. It’s something we take very seriously here.

The fact that we truly have every opportunity to succeed and that it is a true family atmosphere, that’s the best part about being a student-athlete here.