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Slate: A Somber Shade of Purple

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No. 16 K-State struggles with the apparent suicide of former teammate Derick Newton. Plus: No. 11 Volleycats drop the opening match of the Sunflower Showdown, Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preseason Standings are released and more.

NCAA Football: Arkansas State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Football

Former K-State defensive lineman Derick Newton was found dead of an apparent suicide Thursday morning. Newton left the team earlier this season and a full accounting of what is publicly known regarding the circumstances around his death can be found here, courtesy of the Manhattan Mercury’s Ryan Black.

Newton was only 21 years old and leaves behind a young daughter along with a large amount of friends on his former team that have expressed their anguish over the loss on social media.

Mental health has been a frontline issue throughout the pandemic and it only becomes more magnified when a senseless loss like this affects your community.

Newton’s story is as tragic as it is complicated and it would be inappropriate to for me to speculate on his mental state when he died but needless to say, when No. 16 K-State takes the field versus West Virginia at 11 a.m. in Morgantown on Saturday, he’ll be on the mind of many in purple.

I also wanted to add that these really are tough times that we’re living in and if you or someone close to you is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. Their number is 1-800-273-8255. Reaching out to someone in need can be enough to make a difference.

Volleyball

After reaching the lofty heights of being ranked No. 11, the Volleycats fell prey to a little Sunflower Showdown revenge Thursday night in Lawrence, falling in the first of two matches to Kansas 3-1 (11-25, 23-25, 25-11, 22-25).

Freshman Aliyah Carter had match-high 22 kills while fellow freshman Jayden Nembhard had 12.

K-State will attempt to grab a series split on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The match will be broadcasted on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Men’s Basketball

The Big 12’s coaches annual preseason poll was released on Thursday and it was bad news for Bruce Weber’s young Wildcats. K-State was picked to finish dead last. Baylor led the way with seven first place votes followed by three for Kansas who was ranked second. West Virginia was third, Texas fourth, Texas Tech fifth, Oklahoma sixth, Oklahoma State seventh, Iowa State eighth and TCU ninth.

Baylor’s Jared Butler was named Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year while Texas Tech’s Marcos Santos-Silva was named Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham was named Preseason Big 12 Rookie of the Year.

Women’s Soccer

Wildcat women’s soccer will try to rebound from two straight losses on Friday when they travel to Ames to take on Iowa State.

The match is the final road match of the season and Iowa State leads the overall series 2-1 with K-State getting the home win last season.

Tennis

For the first time since 2013, the K-State tennis team is hosting a fall tournament with the K-State Fall Invite starting Friday and running through Sunday at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.

The tournament field consists conference foes Kansas and Iowa State and will include both singles and doubles matches.

Play will start every morning at 10:30 a.m. with doubles matches followed by singles matches that afternoon.