The K-State Sports Extra Top 10 of 2014 | Part 1

Looking back at 2014, it's been a good year for me with K-State Sports Extra.
 
Through this daily story, readers have been taken inside 100-plus K-State athletics events and read interviews from more than 150 current and former student-athletes, every head coach at K-State, K-State Athletics' staff and passionate Wildcat fans from around the nation in 2014 alone.
 
This year, through the daily happenings of K-State Athletics, I had the opportunity to chat with former student-athletes now working and competing around the globe, and I met numerous wonderful K-State fans along the way who I have truly enjoyed getting to know.
 
Each and every day on the job is a new adventure and, as I hope you look forward to reading a different story each day, I look forward to sharing them with you.
 
Every story written has a unique backstory, and through today and tomorrow's K-State Sports Extra I will be sharing a few of those stories with you.
 
Here are the first five of my top-10 favorite stories from 2014. Stay tuned tomorrow for the completed list!
 
10. Conversations with National Media
At the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Texas, earlier this summer I spent some time chatting with media from national sports news outlets. It was a neat opportunity to hear these writers and reporters' thoughts on K-State football, as it is often a little bit of a different outlook than one would find in the Midwest. As a young writer, I always enjoy having the chance to talk with national media.
 
Because of the unique opportunity to talk with people such as CBS's Dennis Dodd, FOX Sports' Joel Klatt and ESPN's Holly Rowe, I have the story I wrote from my conversations with them on this Top 10 list. You can click here to check out National Media Talks K-State Football published on Aug 10, 2014.
 
I also interviewed ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Ponder during her visit to Manhattan for the K-State football vs. Auburn game, similar to the national media story. I thought that one was pretty interesting too.
 
9. Gene Keady's K-State Roots
When I was asked if I wanted to interview Coach Keady while he was visiting Manhattan, I didn't have to think twice before saying, "Yes." Though he was in town for a sad reason (the funeral of his cousin who was "the closest thing he had to a brother" Keady said), he had the opportunity to check out a K-State men's basketball practice and visit with old friends.
 
The reason Keady's story has made it on to my Top 10 list is, not only because he is a legendary college basketball coach, but also his interview was a lot of fun. Since he was watching the practice, I wanted to keep the interview quick so he could get back out there, however, much to my surprise when I finished the interview, Keady laughed and said, "Surely there's more we can talk about!" and we spent another 20 minutes chatting. I always enjoy spending time with people who are passionate about their K-State roots, and Keady was just that. Click here to read Kansas Roots Close to Keady's Heart published on Dec. 17, 2014.
 
8. Partnerships with Ft. Riley
One morning earlier this summer, I rolled out of bed at 4:30 a.m., grabbed my recorder and a notebook and headed to meet up with K-State football for its trip to Fort Riley. Growing up with my father in the Army, I always enjoy having the opportunity to cover stories where my two worlds collide. Though an early morning, it made for one of my favorite stories of the year. It is exciting for me to have the opportunity to work with K-State, because both the athletics department and the university as a whole truly care about their military neighbors. To read Football Works Out with Fort Riley published on June 6, 2014, please click here.
 
7. Pickles and Watermelon
It's not often that I have the opportunity to use silly titles, but I couldn't resist this one. Not only did this story have a fun title, but it was also fun to write because I learned so many new things. I learned how many calories a football player should eat during a two-a-day-schedule (4-6,000!) and also learned how important it is for student-athletes to fuel their bodies correctly for training and competition.
K-State Athletics' nutritionist Scott Trausch is both passionate and extremely knowledgeable in his field, and I enjoyed sitting down and chatting with him one evening earlier this year in the Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table.  To read Pickles and Watermelon, published on Aug. 16, 2014, please click here.
 
6. Bruce Weber Gives Back
As I continue on this adventure of writing K-State Sports Extra, there is one thing I have found to be true regardless of where you look: K-State people are generous. They care. They give back. Bruce Weber epitomizes this attitude. After a practice one afternoon last season I had the chance to chat with him a little about why he does what he does. His story was an inspirational one of hard work and remembering where you came from.
 
I was reminded of this story when, just last week, I covered K-State men's basketball Holiday Clinic for Fort Riley's 1-7 Field Artillery Brigade. Though Weber didn't say anything about it in our interview, I found out later that week that he personally donated to the Army's Operation Christmas Child program that night. Because of his continual generosity, this story remains one of my favorite from 2014. Click here to read Bruce Weber Gives Back published on Feb. 12, 2014.
K-State's head coach Bruce Weber talks to Nigel Johnson during the game against Nebraska-Omaha at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on December 2, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
 
Don't miss tomorrow's K-State Sports Extra where I'll continue with the list of my Top 10 Favorite Sports Extras of 2014!