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K A N S A S S TAT E AT H L E T I C S E L E C T R O N I C M AG A Z I N E

Table of Contents IF YOU THINK YOU LIKE THIS, KEEP READING

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bringin’ it

BAT CATS HAVING RECORD YEAR

ulla!

POMELE FINDS STRENGTH IN FAITH

career connection

CAREER LUNCHEON PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY

K-State :The E-Magazine is the official quarterly newsletter of K-State Athletics. Editorial Staff Brett Foltz Kenny Lannou Joni Smoller Writers Brent Fritzemeier Jeremy Holaday Megan Wilson Special Guest Writer Ryan Lackey Photography Scott Weaver Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner without written permission

IN EVERY ISSUE: looking in

2 quick hits 4 you thought 7 you knew 14 k-state cares 16 from the AD 18 looking back

Spring 2009

FEATURES

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looking IN

Senior Loren Groves, shown here throwing in Ahearn Fieldhouse, won her third consecutive Big 12 Conference title in the weight throw this February .


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Quick Hits

Senior guard Shalee Lehning was selected with the 25th overall selection in the second round of the 2009 WNBA Draft by the Atlanta Dream. Lehning becomes the sixth player in school history to be selected during the WNBA Draft and the eighth player overall to become a part of the league. “We are extremely proud of Shalee and are so excited about her selection as the 25th pick in the WNBA Draft,” said head coach Deb Patterson. “She has a tremendous opportunity to impact a team in Atlanta that needs a point guard to lead the franchise to a new level of competitiveness. Shalee is tremendous at maximizing the abilities of those she competes with.” Atlanta enters its second year of existence as a franchise in the WNBA.

JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED IT>>>>

Quarterback Josh Freeman was selected with the No. 17 pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Freeman, who will play for former Wildcat defensive coordinator and current Bucs head coach Raheem Morris, joins four other Wildcats who have been taken in the first round of the draft (Veryl Switzer, Terence Newman, Clarence Scott and Chris Canty) and becomes the fourth-highest draft pick in school history. In three seasons at Kansas State, Freeman became the school’s most prolific passer as the Grandview, Mo., native set new school career marks for pass completions, attempts, yards, touchdowns and total offense. Defensive end Ian Campbell and place-kicker Brooks Rossman each have agreed to NFL free-agent contracts with the St. Louis Rams, while linebacker Reggie Walker inked a deal with Arizona. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Scott Sellers can now add two-time national champion to his résumé. The senior high jumper blew away the competition at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 14 to win the second national title of his career. He leapt passed the field with his jump of 7-04.50 at Gilliam Indoor Track and Field Stadium at Texas A&M. Sellers was the only competitor to hit 7-02.25 clearing the height on his first attempt. He then cleared the height of 7-04.50 on his first attempt again. Sellers could not repeat his indoor school record as he failed all three attempts at 7-06.50, but his performance far outshined the field as 7-00.25 was second place. His leap of 7-04.50 also was a facility record for Gilliam Indoor Track and Field Stadium.

Willie Wildcat placed second at the 2009 United Spirit Association Collegiate Nationals mascot competition, held March 29-30 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. “We could not be more pleased with Willie’s performance and involvement with the USA Collegiate Nationals,” said K-State Head Cheer Coach Dani Ruoff. “We are fortunate to have one of the best mascots in the country that is not only a crowd favorite at events, but also is such a popular figure in the community.” All mascots in the event were required to perform a live skit, with no video, and were judged on creativity, props and crowd involvement. Aside from the competition itself, Willie and fellow contestants visited the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and spent time with local children who are battling cancer.

>>>>FRITZ CHOSEN TO COACH THE 2009 USA WOMEN’S NATIONAL VOLLEYBALL Volleyball coach Suzie Fritz has been chosen to coach the 2009 USA Women’s National Volleyball A2 Team this summer. “It’s an honor to be asked to work with USA Volleyball and help them move forward in developing future talent for Hugh McCutcheon and our women’s national team program,” Fritz said. “It will be an opportunity to work with some tremendously talented young people.” The team will train May 18-22 in Minneapolis before being split into two squads to participate in Open Division of the USA Adult Open Championships. Fritz will coach one of the 12-player teams while former K-State assistant coach and current Arizona State head coach Jason Watson will serve as the other head coach. The A2 Team roster will include four setters, 10 outside/opposite hitters, six middle blockers and four liberos. Fritz will be familiar with a handful of the players as three athletes from Big 12 Conference schools were selected for the team. For more information on the coaching staff, roster and A2 Team schedule visit usavolleyball.org.


John Currie, Executive Associate Athletics Director at the University of Tennessee, has been formally introduced as the 15th Director of Athletics at K-State. The appointment will be effective June 7, said incoming President Kirk Schulz, who announced the selection following a three-month national search that began in March. Currie, 38, has served in various capacities at Tennessee over the last decade, most recently as a chief deputy and advisor to Tennessee Athletic Director Mike Hamilton. Currie earned his masters in sports management from Tennessee in 2003 and is a 1993 Wake Forest graduate. He and his wife Mary Lawrence, have three children, Jack, Virginia and Mary-Dell.

Watkins becomes only second Wildcat ever on PGA TOUR <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Former golfer Aaron Watkins became just the second player in school history to qualify for the PGA Tour after tying for 18th during the final stage of the PGA Tour Q-School, at the PGA West – Nicklaus Tournament Course. Watkins, who lettered at K-State form 2001-04, joins Jim Colbert as the only two golfers in K-State history to have earned the right to play on the PGA Tour. Watkins finished the six-day tournament by carding a 108-hole score of 19-under par 413 (71-68-68-66-73-67) to make the cut by just one stroke. This year, 28 golfers earned their tour cards as the top 25 finishers, including ties, graduated from Q-School. “Aaron was tremendous for us when he played here,” Kansas State head coach Tim Norris said. “He has steadily improved after

turning pro. I was really impressed with him when I saw him on the Nationwide Tour in Wichita. His game isn’t suited to just one course and he has plenty of length. The thing about Aaron, though, is that he is a great competitor and he has a chance to have some fun next year.” Watkins’ finish at this year’s Q-School was redemption from 2006 when he came up one stroke shy of qualifying after tying for 41st at 7-under par 425. A product of Mesa, Ariz., Watkins still holds the K-State records for career rounds played (136) and career tournaments played (49), while he is fourth in career stroke average at 74.30 and had the fourth-lowest stroke average in a season at 73.34 during the 2002-03 season.

Senior rower Jennifer Flannigan was honored by the region’s coaches being selected to the All-Central Region second team. The Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association recognizes outstanding performances of rowers and coxswains from each of the five regions for the awards. Student-athletes who are nominated are evaluated on the strength of their team’s regional finish, coaches’ recommendation and 2,000-meter erg score. To be eligible nominees must have participated in 75 percent of races this season. Flannigan and the Wildcats finished eighth at regionals in the First Varsity 8+ and 10th in the overall team point standings.

Valerie Dysart ended her senior equestrian season on a high note as she was named a finalist at the IHSA National Championships in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Dysart, a senior from Netawaka, Kan., placed in the top of her class among 12 riders. Dysart placed first among 14 riders in her class at the 2009 IHSA Semifinals to qualify for nationals. She initially qualified for regional competition back on February 28 with two wins at K-State’s IHSA Western show and then followed that performance with a second-place finish in Intermediate Horsemanship at the regional show in Springfield, Mo.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<>>>>>>>>> Wildcat Legend Terence Newman returned to Manhattan this spring for his inaugural “Terence Newman’s Big Night in the Little Apple” at the Kathouse Lounge in Aggieville. The event consisted of live music from the Brody Buster Band, comedy from former K-State student-athlete Charles Allen, an interview with Newman, a townhall format question and answer session with the audience and a live auction of K-State and Cowboy memorabilia along with a silent auction of autographed helmets from such NFL legends as Brett Favre, John Elway, Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach. The night raised over $10,000 for the Terence Newman Rising Stars Foundation that will endow a scholarship through the Barrett Athletics Endowment Society. The scholarship will be earmarked for a football player from Salina or Manhattan.

FOR THE LATEST IN K-STATE ATHLETICS, VISIT

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you THOUGHT KNEW you ASHLEY SWEAT WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BASKETBALL

My worst habit is texting. I'm a self-proclaimed â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;textaholic. I absolutely HAVE to use chapstick RIGHT before I step on the floor for a game. My favorite athlete in another sport is without a doubt Tiger Woods. He is incredibly competitive and skilled, not to mention he has a KILLER smile! If I could have any super power, I would want to teleport. If I could teleport, then I would never have to fly on planes (which I'm not a huge fan of) or be on long bus rides (I don't really like those either)! Last summer, when we went to Europe, I absolutely fell in love with Prague. Although it may be awhile, I'm determined to go back to that beautiful city!

compiled by JEREMY HOLADAY

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AJ Morris became the programâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first ever conference pitcher of the year

BR

with a historic season already in the making, the 2009 Bat Cats are...


41 wins. 14 conference victories. A fourth-place record and a Big 12 and nation best, has held a sub-2.00 finish. One Big 12 Coach of the Year. One Big 12 ERA all season long to hold the national lead for a majorPitcher of the Year. Simply put, the 2009 season has ity of the year. For all of his efforts, Morris became the been the best in Kansas State baseball history. school’s first ever conference pitcher of the year. To completely appreciate the job that head The historic season opened with a convincing coach Brad Hill and the 2009 Wildcats have done this series win at Houston before the Cats won three games season, one must remember just exactly how far the in a tournament in San Diego. Kansas State then won program has come. Since the inception of the Big 12, 13 of its next 14 games, including wins over No. 4 Kansas State qualified for the postseason conference Arizona State and No. 13 Oklahoma to fault the Wildtournament exactly one time becats into the national rankings. tween 1997 and 2006. Since that Other accomplishments time, K-State finished eighth in along the way included its first 2007, and tied for sixth in 2008 win in Waco, Texas, since 1966, before this year. the Cats first sweep of Kansas State completed Nebraska in Lincoln in over 30 the 2009 regular season by recordyears, a sweep of in-state rival ing the most wins in school hisWichita State, and, arguably the tory (39), the most-ever best Kansas State series since conference victories (14) and a the inception of the Big 12, a school-best fourth place Big 12 2-0-1 weekend at No. 2 Texas. finish. Hill, who earned Big 12 The Wildcats will Coach of the Year honors, was compete in the school’s first able to guide Kansas State to new trip to a NCAA Regional in depths, while he relied heavily on school history, as they have the right arm of junior ace A.J. been selected as No. 2 seed at Head Coach Brad Hill has led the the Houston Regional, hosted Morris. Morris, who went just 4-4 Wildcats to a record breaking season by Rice at Reckling Park. while garnering such awards as with an above 6.00 ERA as a What will be the final Big 12 Coach of the Year. sophomore in 2008, exploded chapter of the 2009 Wildcats? onto the national scene in 2009 Only time will tell as they comand has turned into one of the most dominate hurlers plete their run and taste the first June baseball in in the country. Morris, who’s 12 wins are a school program history.

RINGIN’ IT

by Ryan Lackey

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UL LA

Ulla Pomeleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s journey to find strength took him far away from the weight room or gridiron by Megan Wilson

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n the field, Ulla Pomele is a terror for his opponents. The senior linebacker from Santa Rosa,Calif., uses his speed to run down opposing threats. Off the field, however, Pomele is a quiet leader, an articulate and soft-spoken individual who would rather talk about his teammates than himself. Voted a player representative by his teammates for the upcoming season, Pomele has stepped into a leadership role. To fill this role, he knows he will need strength, the kind that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t come from a strength and conditioning program. For Pomele, this strength comes from a deeper place and is a power drawn from his personal experiences and from his deep-rooted faith.


said he learned something even more important from his time at the orphanage. He learned to appreciate everything he has at home. “The moment when I entered in to Tijuana, looking around, I just felt compassion for the kids,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve never been through. It made me appreciate my family and friends. It made me appreciate what I have now in the United States. Not a lot of people have these opportunities. I’m over here on full scholarship. Not a lot of people have that opportunity or even clothes to wear. In other countries and parts of the United States, people are out there struggling. I really had compassion for people who struggle and who don’t have the opportunity to live life like they want to.” His faith isn’t only an off-the-field pursuit. He has found a way to express his faith through football and interactions with his teammates. “I look for the opportunity (to share my faith). One of the players, just yesterday, was talking about his faith and how he was struggling, and there was an opportunity right there. I saw it and I took that opportunity to encourage him in his life and to pray for him.” As he prepares for upcoming football season, Pomele knows he has a strong anchor in his faith. Just as practice and conditioning prepare him for action on the gridiron, his

ENJOY LIFE. Never take it for granted because tomorrow is never

Before coming to K-State to pursue his football career, Pomele set off on a mission of a different kind. He decided to complete a 12-month discipleship program called Master’s Commission, a program that would lead him to help students in Tijuana, Mexico, to build playgrounds, to work in the community and to witness to others. With a group of 12 others, Pomele set off for Tijuana to help children who had been abandoned at an orphanage there. “To be able to have that quality time with them was really fun and I really enjoyed it,” he said. “We traveled throughout the area, helping out in the communities, in the middle schools and high schools. It was the chance to display a positive message and to encourage them throughout their life, to encourage them with their dreams.” Pomele’s Christian faith has been a part of his life since he was a child. His father is a minister and his sister is an assistant minister in their father’s church. But his view on faith wasn’t always so clear. “When I was young, I didn’t really understand the concept of a relationship with Christ,” he said. “It wasn’t that I was doing terrible things or anything, but I just felt a void in my heart. I felt empty, like there was something that needed to be placed in my heart.” And so he set off to find something to fill that hole. Luckily, he said, there were people who were willing to help him along the way. “I knew that football wasn’t going to be the substitute for it, I knew that money wasn’t going to fulfill it, and I knew that relationships with other people weren’t going to do it for me,” he said. “I was encouraged by Godly people who told me that the one thing that would fulfill it was a relationship with Christ and having him as my Lord and Savior. That’s what really brought me joy and that’s what really brought me hope. That’s what allowed me to have a vision for my life and to see that I have a purpose in my life.” Part of that purpose, Pomele said, was serving God, which was one of the main purposes of his mission trip to Tijuana. In addition to service, however, Pomele

promised. Be able to love

one another unconditionally. mission trip helped prepare him for life off of it. The trip also inspired the words he lives by. “Enjoy life,” he said. “Never take it for granted because tomorrow is never promised. Be able to love one another unconditionally.” Pomele has found strength in his faith, comfort in those around him who share it, and hope in the scripture that guides his life. This, combined with his athletic ability and talent, Pomele has become a leader and a warrior both on the field and off.

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CAREER CONNECTIONS Career Cat Luncheon provides student-athletes the opportunity to interview and network with the business community. by Brent Fritzemeier Normally when Chris Merriewether gets suited up, it involves lacing up a pair of Nikes, pulling on some basketball shorts and throwing on his No. 31 K-State jersey. On this day, however, Merriewether has traded the look of the locker room for the look of the board room, and he is literally suited up, wearing a dark black suit and a bright red tie. Merriewether was one of 42 student-athletes at the 2009 Career Cat Luncheon, an event that brought more than 30 potential employers to the Kansas State University campus. The April 21 luncheon gave student-athletes the opportunity to interview and network with the business community. “You have your various professionals out here today who know there are great candidates within the student-athlete pool,” said Merriewether, a junior majoring in finance and a member of the Wildcat basketball team. “We are suited up just like they are, and we’ve got the intellectual skills and the knowledge. We are just trying to increase our contacts and see what we can do out here.” The Career Cat Luncheon was the final segment of a Four-Step Career Development Program for the student-athletes that began in February, said Jill Shields, Associate Director of Student Services for Intercollegiate Athletics. “The student-athletes who participated in the luncheon have also taken part in resume writing workshops, dress for success and mock interviewing seminars, all of which are designed to prepare them for interviews at the luncheon,” Shields said. This was the third year the luncheon has been held in the east side stadium suites of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Shields said. The luncheon is an outgrowth of a program developed in 1991 by Coach Bill Snyder, along with the former Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Clyde Jones. That program gave seniors on the Wildcat football team a chance to network with businesses at an annual dinner in Kansas City. The Career Cat Luncheon is now open to all Kansas State student-athletes and strongly supported by Coach Snyder, along with many other K-State head coaches.


“Obviously there are a lot of quality athletes here,” said former K-State basketball player Clent Stewart. “Any time you have quality, not just athletes but just quality people in general, you want to look at those people and try to recruit them for your company.” Stewart was attending the luncheon as a representative of Conoco Phillips, where he is currently employed. Stewart, who received his business degree from K-State in 2008, said the challenges he faced at K-State prepared him for the business world. “K-State really challenged me,” Stewart said. “So when I went to work for Conoco Phillips, having those challenges really made it easier to transition into a job where I have to go in and learn how the company does things and how things work. By coming to K-State, the challenges that I faced in my business degree really prepared me for the challenges I face in the business world.” According to Shields, the event exposes student-athletes to various forms of employment they may not have considered. Before the luncheon, the student-athletes are given information on all participating employers and are encouraged to research the various companies and individuals who conduct the interviews.

“I am just trying to get my name out there,” said Loren Groves, a senior majoring in elementary education and an All-American thrower on the Wildcat track and field team. “I have never had an interview before, so this is a really good experience for me to get to know what an interview is like, and to get my name out there to start networking with other people.” The Career Cat Luncheon gives potential employers a chance to see beyond the shoulder pads of the football player or the jersey of a Wildcat basketball player. And it’s an opportunity for the K-State student-athletes to make that transition from the locker room to the board room.

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from the

AD John Currie Dear Wildcat Nation, Thank you! Mary Lawrence and I are incredibly honored and humbled to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come to Manhattan and join the team at Kansas State. We are grateful to incoming President Kirk Schulz and the search committee for giving us the opportunity to join the K-State family. As I told the committee when we met, our first real in-person exposure to Wildcat Nation was at the 2001 Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It was on that cold, snowy morning that Mary Lawrence (seven months pregnant at the time!) and I witnessed both the passionate support of K-State fans as well as the disciplined work ethic of a football team led by Coach Bill Snyder, one of the true legends of college football. Since that time we have always admired not only the spirit and dedication of K-State fans but also the toughness and determination that seem to be the mark of the K-State athletics program. Since one of the first items on our to-do list is getting to know our new K-State family, I want to let you know just a little bit more about us before we proceed. Mary Lawrence and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary on June 27th. She works part-time as a CPA and full-time as a great mom to our three children, while making time to be involved in our church and play a little tennis. Jack is a second-grader who loves all sports, especially baseball, and we (as biased parents) think he has a pretty good aptitude for math. Gigi is finishing a great year of kindergarten and likes cheerleading, tumbling and soccer. Purple is one of her favorite colors. The whole family enjoys our new sister/daughter Mary-Dell, who was born on January 13th! Mary Lawrence and I both grew up in college towns, she in Orangeburg, SC (home to South Carolina State and Claflin College), and me in Chapel Hill, NC. Both of us have parents who still hold academic positions so higher education has always held an important place in our lives. As athletic director or administrators, our job is pretty straight-forward. We need to work every day to provide tremendous support to our coaches and student-athletes, and great service to our fans and our school. Over the next several weeks I will be working with our coaches and athletic staff to learn more about the department. That’s it for now. We have some more boxes to pack and change of address forms to complete! We can’t wait to get to Manhattan. As always, thank you for your loyal support of K-State. And don’t forget, tickets for our October 3 football game against Iowa State at Arrowhead Stadium are now on sale. I hope to see all of Wildcat Nation in Bill Snyder Family Stadium and in Kansas City! GO WILDCATS! John Currie


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looking BACK

K-Stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s All-Time Winningest Baseball Coach, Mike Clark, was named the Big Eight Coach of the Year in 1990 after leading the team to a second-place finish in the league race. He was the first Wildcat Head Baseball coach to earn such an honor.


K-State E-Magazine Spring 2009  

The Spring 2009 issue of the K-State Athletics quarterly e-magazine. Featured are K-State baseball, LB Ulla Pomele and Campus Connections

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