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SLATE: Xavier Sneed declares for the NBA Draft

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Another Top-25 series win for the BatCats, Massimino scores a top-10 finish, rowing brings home some hardware

He’ll probably be back.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

For the third year in a row, a Kansas State Wildcats soon-to-be-senior is declaring for the NBA Draft. Xavier Sneed very quietly announced his intention to dip his toe in the stream on Saturday, and Kellis Robinett has the details at the Eagle.

Sneed follows Kamau Stokes two years ago and Barry Brown Jr. last year in taking advantage of the rule which allows a player to declare, then withdraw his name prior to the deadline (May 29 this year). The experience of going through the process was a positive one for Stokes and Brown, but we shouldn’t get too worried; Sneed’s not likely to find himself eyeing big money this summer.

Football

Makholven Sonn, a three-star wideout from New Iberia, La. (home of Tabasco!), announced Sunday night that despite LSU Tigers showing him some interest, he’s coming to Manhattan in 2020. (Ryan Wallace, GPC)

Tom Schad of USA Today reports further on the arrest and suspension of Hunter Rison, who later in the day on Saturday issued a terse statement asserting his innocence and making it clear he has no intention of leaving K-State as a result of the situation.

Baseball

Saturday afternoon, the BatCats did it again. After splitting the first two games with TCU, Rainer Ausmus dropped a walk-off suicide squeeze in the bottom of the ninth to break a 10-10 deadlock and give K-State (19-22, 5-7) the series win over the 19th-ranked Horned Frogs (23-15, 6-6). That’s the second straight series win over a ranked opponent for the beleaguered Cats.

It was a crazy game, with K-State trailing 6-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Cats pushed four runs across in that inning, starting when Ausmus took a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded and Caleb Littlejim and Will Brennan followed up with a pair of singles to make it 6-5 TCU. After holding the Frogs empty in the eighth, Chris Ceballos tied the game at six with a run-scoring double, and the Cats plated four more runs (again keyed largely by Ausmus, Littlejim, and Brennan).

But the top of the ninth was a nightmare, as the newly-hatched 10-6 lead evaporated when Hunter Wolfe singled in a run and Jake Guenther crushed his fifth homer of the season to tie the game and set up a third straight inning of Ausmus’s heroics. Ausmus had three RBIs — on a HBP, a bunt single, and a suicide squeeze.

You have to laugh.

The Cats have a Tuesday game in Omaha against the UNO Mavericks on Tuesday, then return home for a weekend set with the Sooners. Another series win would find K-State suddenly sitting right in the middle of the Big 12 standings.

Rowing

K-State’s crew scored big, albeit against a field notably missing last year’s big winners Wisconsin, at the annual SIRA Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the site of the Big 12 Championships in just under a month.

On Friday, the Wildcat 1v4+ and 2v8+ crews took first place in their respective time trials, with the 3v8+ coming in second to the 2v8+ crew. All five boats qualified for the grand finals on Saturday in their respective classes.

It was a clean sweep. In the JV 8+ final, the 2v8+ and 3v8+ crews took first and second, while the 1v4+ and 2v4+ squads also took the top two spots in the Varsity 4+ Open grand final. The top varsity eights, led by coxswain Emily Johnson, capped off the sweep by winning a hotly-contested three-way battle against Florida Tech and Dayton to secure the final gold medal of the event for the Cats.

The crews will take a weekend off before heading to Lawrence for the Sunflower Showdown on May 4.

Track and Field

K-State took nine events on Saturday at the Michael Johnson Invitational in Waco, led by Ranae McKenzie setting a new NCAA top mark in the women’s 400m hurdles, and the ninth-fastest in the world this year.

Interestingly, McKenzie’s time was actually slower than her Big 12 championship time set on the same track last year, but is still the best mark in the nation this year. McKenzie’s victory was sweeter than all that, though; she outran 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer. Lauren Taubert posted the second-best collegiate time in the same event.

After finally cracking the 20-meter barrier for the first time in his outdoor career last week, Brett Neelly repeated the feat to take first place in the men’s shot put. Taylor Latimer captured the women’s event.

In the women’s 1500m Invitational, Kassidy Johnson improved on her personal best by almost 10 seconds, and came away with gold.

Dylan Brennerman won the men’s 1500m Invitational, and Justin Davis captured first in the men’s 400m Open. Tom Pyle won the men’s long jump, and Asha Cave and Taishia Pryce took 1-2 in the women’s 200m Open.

Oh, and Tejaswin Shankar won the men’s high jump, because of course Tejaswin Shankar won the men’s high jump. Come on.

Next weekend, it’s the National Relay Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

Golf

Yet another K-State men’s golfer posted a top-10 finish this weekend; this time, the golfer was Roland Massimino and the event was the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City.

Massimino shot a 2-under 69 to finish the event at 8-under par, tied for seventh six strokes back of Iowa’s Matthew Walker. Rollie’s grandson led the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish at 10-under, 33 shots back of the Hawkeyes.

That concludes the regular season for the men, who will be in White Sulphur Springs, W.V., next weekend for the Big 12 Championships.