March 8th was International Women’s Day across much of the world. For a variety of reasons, it’s being observed as a day of protest in 2017. But we’re not going there, for that way lie SPIDERS as big as Shelob (who was, ironically enough, female).
Instead, the Bring on the Cats staff spent much of the afternoon trying to put together a list of the the five best female athletes in Kansas State history. As always, the most visible athletes in the most visible sports got most of the attention, and recency played a role too.
So, without further ado...
1) When attempting to compile a “best of” list, it’s useful to have a basis or rationale for picking one athlete or sport or era. What's your basis for designating a particular athlete "Top 5"?
JT VanGilder: Career performance in sport, as it relates to others in that sport at K-State, plus how that compares to leaders in other sports.
Eric Rubottom: The basis is some sort of personally weighted K-State athletic career accomplishments combined with general recognizability of K-State athletics fans, going beyond the casual "major sports".
wildcat00: It’s pretty simple for me: did the athlete accomplish something that sets the standard for that sport at K-State, and possibly on a national stage as well?
2) Based on the answer to the first question, who do you think are the top five female Wildcats of all time?
1. Kendra Wecker (basketball; three-time first-team all-Big 12 player; 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year; Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award winner)
2. Akela Jones (track and field; Big 12 indoor long jump (2015), NCAA outdoor heptathlon (2015), Big 12 outdoor long jump (2016); qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics in high jump and heptathlon)
3. Lauren Goehring (volleyball; 2003 Big 12 champion; AVCA first-team All American, 2003 Big 12 Player of the Year; first-team All Big 12 (2002, 2003))
4. Nicole Ohlde (basketball; two-time first-team All American; two-time first-team all-Big 12 player; 2003 Big 12 Player of the Year; 2003 Naismith Player of the Year finalist)
5. Petra Niedermayerova (tennis; 2011 Big 12 singles champion (no. 1), school records for wins in singles (104) and doubles (74), only K-State player to play in 4 NCAA Singles Championships).
1. Austra Skujytė (track and field; NCAA outdoor heptathlon (2001, 2002), Big 12 outdoor heptathlon (2001), long jump (2002), Olympic silver medal for heptathlon (2004), Olympic bronze medal for heptathlon (2012); current world record holder in women’s decathlon (2005)),
2. Wecker 3. Goehring 4. Niedermayerova 5. Ohlde
1. Wecker/Ohlde 2. Skujytė 3. Goehring
4. Amy Mortimer (cross country/distance; two-time NCAA first-team All American (cross country), Big 12 5000m champion (2000), 1999 Big 12 Freshman of the Year))
1. Ohlde 2. Skujyte 3. Goehring 4. Wecker 5. Mortimer
2. Shalee Lehning (basketball; two-time all-Big 12 first-team (2008, 2009), school record for assists in a season and career assists; 2006 WNIT Champion)
3. Ryann Krais (track and field; 2011 NCAA outdoor heptathlon; 2011 Big 12 400m hurdles; 2012 Big 12 heptathlon)
4. Korene Hinds (track/distance: NCAA 3000m runner up (2000); school record in 6000m (2000))
1. Skujytė 2. Ohlde 3. Wecker 4. Goehring 5. Niedermayerova
3) Any predictions on who the next great female athlete from K-State might be? A soccer player? A track star? A basketball aficionado?
Luke: Probably going to be a while before Kansas State gets a truly great soccer player...I hope I'm wrong.
JT: Bre Lewis will get consideration in the future. Some of the stud basketball players coming in all have that potential. Don't know enough about the current track team either
Eric: It’s so hard to tell where the "next great athlete" is going to come from. There are a couple of basketball players that have that kind of ability, as well as volleyball. If we're looking down the road, I'd probably put a bet down on either Rachel Ranke or Christianna Carr...but who knows what might come down the line on the T&F team or tennis/golf.
00: I think Nina Schultz who has already won her first pentathlon as a freshman is someone to really look out for.
4) Does Kansas State not have enough sports, both men’s and women’s?
JT: Yes, both. We should absolutely have softball and wrestling. And the Olympic shooting events (Jon helpfully notes that JT means “rifles.”)
Jon: Yes, damnit.
Eric: Yes, there are too few varsity sports! The lack of softball is something that is just batshit crazy in my mind. I also think it's not THAT expensive to field a men's tennis team, and wrestling would also be an intelligent add.
Luke: I agree we have too few sports and should have softball instead of rowing.
00: I would advocate for men’s tennis and wrestling, and on the women’s side, probably softball and maybe gymnastics (for no other reason than requiring less with respect to facilities).
So now you know what the staff does with its copious free time.
Feel free to tell us your top 5 Wildcats of all-time.