SE: Winners of the 2015-16 ‘Sports-Extrys’ | Part 1

Continuing a K-State Sports Extra tradition, it is time to hand out this year’s ‘Sport Extrys’ as the 2015-16 athletic year comes to an end.

The past 10 months have been filled with excitement for K-State Athletics. From big-time team victories to celebrations in New York City to the opening of a new, state-of-the-art facility, it’s been a year to remember.

I’ve been fortunate to have attended and written about each of these happenings, so the following ‘Sports Extrys’ list is my personal opinion of 2015-16’s best. However, we encourage you to create your own and let us know who and what makes the cut on your “Best of 2015-16” list!

TOP FIVE MOMENTS OF 2015-16
5. Women’s Basketball Selected for NCAA Tournament
The Wildcat women’s basketball team gathered in head coach Jeff Mittie’s house on March 14, to watch the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show. The room was silent as the brackets were revealed one by one. The anticipation continued to build as two sections of the bracket was completed, yet K-State’s name still wasn’t on the board.

Finally, after waiting patiently, the purple Powercat popped up – K-State was named a No. 9 seed and the entire room erupted with cheers, applause and hugs. It was a special moment. The Wildcats would go on to defeat No. 8 seed George Washington in the tournament’s first round, but conclude the 2015-16 season with a loss to No. 1 seed South Carolina in the second round.

4. Four Former Football Players Join K-State Football Ring of Honor
On September 5, four Wildcat football greats were inducted into the K-State Football Ring of Honor. The third class to be inducted into the exclusive fraternity, Michael Bishop (1997-98), Jordy Nelson (2004-07), Clarence Scott (1968-70) and Darren Sproles (2001-04) all returned to Manhattan for the induction celebration.

“It’s a great feeling because you cried in that locker room, you sweat on that field, you jumped and you cheered in this stadium, so being a part of all that, at the end of the day, now seeing my name up there, it’s amazing,” Bishop said after his name was unveiled in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. “It’s something that can never be taken away from me. As long as this stadium is here, my name will be up there and that’s a great feeling.”

3. Ten New Faces Inducted into K-State Athletics Hall of Fame
K-State honored a group of 10 outstanding individuals on January 29, as it inducted its newest class into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2016 Hall of Fame class included former student-athletes Steve Anson (baseball), Michael Bishop (football), Dawn Cady (volleyball), Martin Gramatica (football), Max Moss (men’s basketball), Nicole Ohlde (women’s basketball), Sean Snyder (football), Connie Teaberry (track and field) and Kendra Wecker (women’s basketball), as well as former Voice of the Wildcats Mitch Holthus.

From a Hall of Fame banquet to a special recognition in Bramlage Coliseum, the 10 inductees spent the weekend celebrating and reminiscing on their Wildcat careers.  

2. Vanier Family Football Complex Opens its Doors
K-State Athletics celebrated the ribbon cutting of the new Vanier Family Football Complex on September 5. You could feel the excitement in the air as the ribbon was cut on that bright, sunny day before K-State’s first football game of the year, a 34-0 blanking of South Dakota.

The new facility offers more than double the amount of space for student-athletes and coaches than the old one and took just nine months to complete. Since its doors opened last September, student-athletes and coaches have enjoyed its world-class resources, equipment and facilities.

1. Bill Snyder Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
On December 8, Bill Snyder was surrounded by his entire family and closest friends as he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Taking place in New York City, the celebration dinner for the newest Hall of Fame inductees was splendid from start to finish. Snyder, the “architect of the greatest turnaround in college football history,” was chosen to speak at the dinner on behalf of the 2016 College Football Hall of Fame Class.  

It was a special few days in the Big Apple celebrating one of college football’s finest coaches.

TOP FIVE WILDCAT VICTORIES OF 2015-16
5. Lawrence Twins Take Home Big 12 Titles

Twin sisters Shadae and Shardia Lawrence turned heads at the 2016 Big 12 Outdoor Championships on May 15, where they both took home Big 12 titles in their respective events. Shadae got the Wildcats off to a fast start on the Big 12 Championship’s final day as she won the women’s discus throw with a personal best launch of 58.84m/193-00.

The freshmen from St. Catherine, Jamaica, ensure that the future of K-State track and field is bright.

4. Talley Places Fourth Overall in Big 12 Championship
For the third time in K-State women’s golf history, a Wildcat finished among the Big 12 Championship’s top five individuals. Using back-to-back under par rounds, K-State junior women's golfer Madison Talley finished in fourth place with a 54-hole score of 2-under par 214 at Dominion Country Club on April 24.

Talley’s performance earned her a spot on the all-tournament team for the first time since Christine Boucher tied for seventh in 2004. Her 54-hole score of 214 was the best ever by a Wildcat at the Big 12 Championship by 10 strokes and tied for eighth in K-State history overall.

Thanks to that performance, and her showing the entire year, she earned her second-straight bid as an individual into an NCAA Regional.

3. Football’s Thrilling Win Over Iowa State
Goal No. 10 of Bill Snyder’s 16 Goals for Success is Never Give Up – a goal K-State took to heart in its 38-35 win over Iowa State on November 21.
 
Despite trailing 35-14 heading into the locker room at halftime, the Wildcats never gave up and rallied to tie the biggest comeback in school history. The comeback victory over the Cyclones also marked the Wildcats’ first Big 12 win of the season and began a streak of three-straight wins to close out the regular season, extending K-State’s bowl streak to six years.
 
2. Men’s Basketball Upsets No. 1 OU
On February 6, K-State men’s basketball knocked off on the No. 1 team in the nation. Led by the hard work, determination and poise of junior forward Wesley Iwundu, K-State defeated No. 1/2 Oklahoma, 80-69.

“It’s big for us, it’s big for K-State,” Iwundu following the upset. “That’s the No. 1 team in the nation; it doesn’t get any better than that. They’re the best team in the country and we just beat them, so we have every reason to hold our heads up high.”

1. Dani Winters, Akela jones Win NCAA Titles
On March 12, K-State track and field seniors Akela Jones and Dani Winters made Wildcat history. With each claiming the first individual indoor national titles of their careers – Jones with a 1.87m/6-01.50 leap in the women’s high jump and Winters with a 17.97m/58-11.50 toss in the women’s shot put – it marked the first time K-State track and field had two athletes win national titles in the same meet.

The phenomenal performances by Jones and Winters helped the Wildcat women’s track and field team to finish the indoor season with an eighth-place finish at the national meet and, as they continue their careers this outdoor season, will look to repeat their titles at the upcoming NCAA Outdoor National Championship.