Wildcats Host Special Olympics Clinic
Brad, a long time Wildcat fan who his mom, Pam, said is, "always wearing purple," found out he'd be throwing out the pitch earlier last week.
"Things like this don't happen very often," said Pam about her son's experience. "We waited to tell him until last week because otherwise he would be bouncing off the walls. He was really excited about it. He's just tickled."
So, after a week of anticipation leading up to the throw, when Brad finally got out on the field before the purple-clad fans, wound up and pitched to Wildcat pitcher Brandon Courville, he was all smiles yet again.
"My mom told me that I was doing the first pitch, and I thought it was pretty great," said Brad. "It was fun. I really like K-State."
Havenstein was one of 90 Special Olympians to spend the morning with the Wildcats yesterday at their annual K-State Special Olympics clinic.
A morning filled with competition, cheers and fun, from obstacle courses with the Wildcat rowing team to stick horse races with equestrian to touchdown dance competitions with the K-State football squad, lasting memories were made for all in attendance.
"There was a lot of planning, a lot that went into it," said women's basketball guard Kelly Thomson, the student-athlete in charge of bringing this year's Special Olympics Clinic to life. "You have to get all the kids, put them into teams, plan the events, stations, get all the food ordered and the baseball tickets ordered, the posters. It was a lot, but it's totally worth it to see everyone come out here and have a great time."
Completely led by K-State student-athletes each year, members of the Wildcat Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) have spent the past few months working together to set up the clinic. With Thomson taking the lead, a group of SAAC members gathered student-athlete volunteers from every sport to man their team's station, ordered and prepared lunches for every athlete in attendance and made sure posters and pens were ready for every Olympian.
"K-State Athletics does the majority of the work, and we're so thankful for that," said Krystin Guggisberg, the Director of Special Olympics for the North Central Kansas Region. "They recruit their student-athletes to come out, my job is simply to pass around that information to our regional athletes. Special Olympics didn't have to fund any of this. We just show up and it's they treat us to this day."
Fourteen of the Wildcats' 16 athletic teams (baseball and tennis were unable to attend because they were both competing) were represented at the event, and each participated in setting up and running its respective drills. With Olympians from numerous different Special Olympics teams around Kansas' North Central Region, each athlete had the opportunity to putt with the golf team, shoot hoops with the basketball teams and tackle the football team once the day was said and done.
"We had a great time today," said K-State football senior safety Dante Barnett. "We got to come out here early and have a lot of fun. Things like this shows that K-State really cares. We emphasize on family all the time, and this is one of the reasons that we say K-State is a great family; any time you can get out there and do something for the community, that's just great."
After the clinic, the Olympians and their families headed over to Tointon Family Stadium where, after Brad Havenstein's opening pitch, they watched the Wildcat baseball team defeat No. 3 TCU, 6-2, and win this weekend's series against the third-ranked Horned Frogs.
The Bat Cats' victory was sweet, and it only added to an already very special day.
"It's awesome to be a part of an athletics program that wants to give back to the community," said Thomson. "We really are all about family here at K-State, and you can see that on days like today and through events like this that we really are a proud family all the time."
Brad Havenstein winds up to take the first pitch at K-State baseball's win over No. 3 TCU on Sunday, April 12. (Photo by Kelly McHugh)
CATS CAPTURE SERIES VS. NO. 3 TCU WITH 6-2 WIN
Behind a quality start from junior Levi MaVorhis, the K-State baseball team completed a series win against No. 3 TCU by beating the Horned Frogs, 6-2, in the finale on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.
MaVorhis, making his first start since February 20 vs. Oregon State, did not allow a run in his first seven frames, scattering six hits and one walk over his first 3 2/3 innings before retiring 10 straight Horned Frogs (26-8, 7-5 Big 12) from the final out in the fourth through the seventh. The right-hander finished the game surrendering two runs on seven hits and two walks in 7.0+ innings and earning his second victory of the season.
"I am really proud of [MaVorhis]," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "He's had a lot of ups and downs this year, but we need him. We needed an experienced guy out there today. I thought he really put [TCU] on their heels and got them to swing at the pitches he wanted them to. It was just a masterful job by him."
The series win for K-State (16-18, 4-8 Big 12) was its first in Big 12 play since April 17-19, 2014 vs. Baylor, snapping a stretch of seven straight series losses in conference action. The series triumph was also the Wildcats' first against a nationally-ranked top-five team since 2009 when they beat No. 2 Texas in Austin, 2-0-1, from April 24-26.
To continue reading about the Bat Cats' victory, please click here. To check out highlights from yesterdays win, you can click here.