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SLATE: Kansas State men’s golf wins for the first time in seven years

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Cats grab a 4 seed, women await their call, baseball drops series finale

Get your picture on the Slate two days in a row, you’re doing alright.
Get your picture on the Slate two days in a row, you’re doing alright.
Photo by Richard Martin-Roberts/Getty Images

You’d think the big news today would involve K-State‘s selection to the NCAA Tournament and all that entails. You wouldn’t be wrong, but there’s actually a larger story this morning.

K-State’s men’s golf team has had individual tournament winners in recent years, but the last time the team itself claimed a tournament championship was way back in 2012 at the Pacific Invitational.

Six and a half years later, the clock has reset. Yesterday at the Mission Inn Spring Spectacular at El Campeon Golf Course at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., the Wildcats took the two stroke lead they held at the start of the day and absolutely went off. K-State shot 8-under par as a team in the final round, and cruised to a 13-stroke win over second-place Central Florida.

Most of the damage came in the first six holes, as the Cats managed a combined 6-under to get the day started. That, combined with UCF getting off to a slow start, put all the air K-State needed between themselves and their nearest competition. The team finished with a 16-under 848, and nailed the top two individual spots in the competition as well. Despite “only” shooting 1-under on the day, Jeremy Gandon captured his fourth individual tournament title as a Wildcat with an 8-under 208, while Jacob Eklund finished in a three-way tie for second with UCF’s Bobby Bai and Kyler Tate at 6-under. The Cats came within a couple of whiskers of having four top-10 finishers, as both Ben Fernandez and Roland Massimino finished tied for eleventh at even par, one stroke shy of tying for eighth place.

The combined team and individual titles were the first for K-State in nearly seven years dating back to Ben Juffer dragging the Cats to the Wyoming Cowboy Classic title in April 2012. So this weekend’s event was, without reservation, a phenomenal performance by K-State, and definitely worthy of usurping basketball’s spotlight.

The Cats will try to keep the success going next weekend as they head to Chapel Hill, N.C., for the Tar Heel Invitational.

The women, meanwhile, finished eighth in the 15-team Notre Dame Clover Cup at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. Reid Isaac led the way for the Cats with a 9-over 225, tied for 16th; Niamh McSherry landed a stroke behind Isaac, tied for 20th.

Basketball

K-State grabbed the fourth seed in the South Regional, and will begin play on Friday in San Jose, Calif., against 13th-seeded Cal-Irvine. JT had all the details for you last night. It will not surprise you to know there is much media reaction:

At the Eagle, Kellis Robinett examines the positives and negatives of K-State’s bracket draw, while in his South Region preview the Star’s Blair Kerkhoff notes that Virginia Cavaliers will be super-focused on the first round for some reason.

Steven Hawkins of the Associated Press, via FOX Sports, pins the Big 12’s hopes on the two schools from the Sunflower State. Or, at least, his headline writer does, because the article doesn’t really say that.

At NCAA.com, Mike Lopresti offers up a compelling reason to watch each of the 32 first round games — and the First Four.

Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post has his hot upset alerts, and you’re not going to like his biggest upset alert of all. Not one bit.

The staff at the Tampa Bay Times previews the South, and they’re very interested in one Barry Brown Jr., since he’s a Tampa guy.

For those of you who are hopelessly addicted to DISRESPECT, allow us to present you OddsShark’s projection. K-State is a five-point favorite, but OddsShark has the Anteaters cruising to a 16-point win.

That is not a typo.

As for the women, be sure to tune in to ESPN at 6:00pm to discover the Wildcats’ fate. They are probably going to hear their name called — Charlie Creme at ESPN has them in as a 10-seed, and some examination of his bracket and his last four in indicate K-State is the last team in before the last four in — but if not they’ll be a stone-cold lock for the WNIT, likely hosting deep into the tournament.

The team awards were handed out to the women last night at the annual banquet, with Kayla Goth earning the Kendra Wecker Offensive MVP award and Peyton Williams claiming the Nicole Ohlde Defensive MVP title. Kali Jones was named Most Improved Player, and Williams doubled up by snagging the Pat Bosco Academic Award.

Baseball

K-State fell to 10-9 on the season after letting a 5-3 lead start to slip away in the sixth inning yesterday at Tointon. Texas-Rio Grande Valley (13-7) plated single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings to claim a 6-5 victory in the final game of the series. The sharpest knife of the day may not have been the go-ahead homer by UTRGV’s Anthony Gomez in the eighth inning, but rather the popped-up bunt by Will Brennan just minutes earlier which resulted in a rally-destroying triple play.

A two-game set begins Tuesday at Tointon as the BatCats host the Canisius Golden Griffins.