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Wildcats to play A&M in SEC/Big 12 Challenge

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Two Wildcats punch tickets to NCAAs at West Prelims

Loyola v Kansas State Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Basketball

Yesterday, the Big 12 announced the sixth SEC/Big 12 Challenge. As part of the event, Kansas State will travel to College Station to take on Texas A&M. The game will be played on January 26, 2019.

The Wildcats went 3-0 against the SEC last year, with wins over Vanderbilt, Georgia, and of course, Kentucky to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

In other basketball news, Kansas State is among a small list of schools being considered by San Antonio’s Kevin McCullar, a four-star guard. While McCullar is also looking at Texas Tech, Louisville, Houston, and Virginia Tech, Kansas State only has one scholarship left to give.

Meanwhile, whether McCullar ends up in Manhattan or not, the Wildcats are expected to make a strong run next season, and at least according to assistant coach Chris Lowery, this is only logical. The coaching staff is currently hammering home the point that rankings don’t matter, “we have to play and produce.”

Football

The football staff is currently making stops all over the state of Kansas as part of this year’s Catbackers tour. This year’s coaching staff has a slightly different look and feel, including newly minted defensive coordinator Blake Seiler. He found he’d be replacing Tom Hayes in February, and is still a bit incredulous about it. But he’s ready for the stiff challenge of coaching defense against the high-octane offenses the Big 12 is known for.

Track

The West Preliminaries for the NCAA Outdoor Championships continue in Sacramento today. To qualify for a spot in Eugene, an athlete must finish in the Top 12 marks for a particular event.

Yesterday, two Wildcats punched their tickets to historic Hayward Field. Mitch Dixon (hammer throw) earned a spot at the NCAAs for the second consecutive year with a throw of 64.24m on his second attempt. This was good for an eighth place finish overall and put him squarely in the middle of the NCAA field.

Jess St. John (shot put) qualified for the NCAAs for the first time in her career. She hit 16.11m on her first attempt, good enough for 12th overall and a spot in Eugene. St. John, a senior, is hoping to make good on her final appearance at the NCAAs.

Still alive in qualifying competition are Ranae McKenzie who won her heat to make the semifinals of the women’s 400H event, and Jullane Walker, who finished second in his heat to make the quarter-finals of the men’s 100m race. They’ll both be in action later tonight.

Also competing tonight are Kayla Doll and Morgan Wedekind (3000m steeplechase). For both athletes—Kansas natives who initially came to Kansas State without any track aspirations—the West Prelims are a final chance to make the NCAAs, and if they don’t qualify for Eugene, a final time competing in a Kansas State uniform.

Miscellany

At Kansas State, athletic director Gene Taylor finally has a major coaching search on his hands. He’s actively recruiting Kansas State’s next baseball coach. He notes there’s plenty of interest in the program from coaches in the Power 5 ranks partly because of Brad Hill’s excellent work.

Meanwhile, our cousins down the Kaw have much bigger fish to fry. The search to replace former athletic director Sheahon Zenger is on, and the rumor mill is running in overdrive. Rock Chalk Talk breaks down potential candidates, including Jeff Long, he formerly of the College Football Playoff committee and Arkansas.