The K-State Sports Extra Top 10 of 2014 | Part 2
With the end of the year approaching, I've spent a lot of time thinking back over 2014 and all the exciting things that have had the opportunity to write about through K-State Sports Extra.
It's been a good year.
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.
While I shared Nos. 6-10 yesterday, (you can click here to read that story) here are my final five favorite stories from 2014.
5. A Chat with the Voice of the Wildcats
Wyatt Thompson had the day off the morning I set up my interview with him, but he met me in his office anyway. In his K-State sweatpants and sweatshirt, he said he didn't mind coming in to talk K-State.
Because of his always friendly personality, Wyatt is one of my favorite people to work with. You can tell he loves his job, and you can tell the student-athletes and coaches he interviews on a daily basis love him as well.
Though I was writing about Wyatt winning the 2014 Kansas Sportscaster of the Year Award, our conversation began with him telling me about the story of his road to K-State. He told me how he began by calling high school games in Western Kansas and worked his way up. Twelve years later, and he's earned the title "Voice of the Wildcats" and made numerous friends along the way. As always, our conversation was light and enjoyable as I learned what his typical day looked like and learned about his fondest memories on the job. It was, and probably always will be, one of my favorite interviews.
To read A Visit with the Voice of the Wildcats published on Feb. 24, 2014, please click here.
4. Dog Day at the Toint
Not only was this one of my favorite stories of 2014, it was one of my favorite stories to write. All-time. Ever. I wrote this K-State Sports Extra through the eyes of my 3-year-old black Labrador, Jack, after he spent his first afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium for its annual Bark in the Park Day. I adopted Jack two years ago around the same time I began writing K-State Sports Extra, so he's been with me through it all. He's a big-time K-State fan, and though he watches all the games from the couch, he and I were glad when he was finally allowed to come to a game.
To read dog Day at the Toint published on May 11, 2014, please click here.
3. Western Swing
From May 19-24, I spent the week traveling around Western Kansas. With numerous K-State employees, coaches and student-athletes, I traveled from city to city attending new Catbacker events every day.
On the trip rightfully dubbed "The Western Swing," it was the first time I had ever spent time in the western part of Kansas, and I loved every minute of it. I loved the purple passion displayed uniquely at every event and I loved that these Western K-Staters opened their doors and welcomed us. I met many, many new friends along the way and am already working on my golf game for next year's Western Swing.
From Dodge City to Scott City to Hays, America, the Western Swing was one of a kind. I wrote quite a few stories that week on the road, but here are the links to a few:
2. K-State's Home Win Over KU
There's nothing more exciting in sports than a bunch of excited fans rushing the court or field after a big win, and that's exactly what happened on Feb. 10, 2014, when K-State defeated Kansas, 85-82, in overtime, in Bramlage Coliseum. Not only was it an exciting, exhilarating game to watch, but it made for a good story afterwards, too. Will Spradling - a Kansas kid - played the game of his life while freshman Marcus Foster continued his dominance and scored 20 points.
Who could forget the image of Thomas Gipson helping ESPN reporter Holly Rowe up onto the scores table where the team was standing so she could get her interview? That was priceless. Not only was the postgame environment awesome, but the game itself was among the most exciting K-State basketball games I had covered.
From start to finish, from hosting the pregame show on K-StateHD.TV that evening to covering the press conference afterwards where head coach Bruce Weber addressed the media smiling ear-to-ear, it was among the most exciting games I have ever covered. To read Home Court Magic, published on Feb. 11, 2014, please click here.
1. Kaiden Strong
While I had the opportunity last year to tell the story of K-State defensive end Ryan Mueller and his friend, 9-year-old Kaiden Schroeder, this summer I had the chance to update Wildcat fans on that story.
Kaiden, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2009, spent June and July at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) where he underwent a new T Cell Treatment. He became one of only 30 children at the time to use the new method of leukemia treatment and, on July 3, was reported in complete remission - 100 percent cancer free.
During Kaiden's time at CHOP, Ryan took a visit out there. The two ate Philly Cheese Steaks and ran up the Rocky stairs. Jenny Schroeder, Kaiden's mom, sent me photos from Ryan's visit, and the two just looked like they were having so much fun!
While no one is completely certain what the future holds and Kaiden will be heading back to CHOP for more treatment after the New Year, when I heard Kaiden was cancer free earlier this summer, my heart melted. I couldn't have been happier to hear the news and share it in my story, A Special Bond. To read the story of Ryan and Kaiden's friendship, published on Sept. 4, 2014, please click here.
To read updates on Kaiden and his family, you can visit his Caring Bridge page by clicking here.
2014 was an exciting year filled with some great moments to cover Wildcat sports! Thank you for joining me along the way!
I'm looking forward to seeing what 2015 has in store.