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SLATE: Twelve up, ten down

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The Wildcats may have a tougher battle with COVID-19 than with Oklahoma

Must... get... football...
Must... get... football...
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

We’re just going to warn you now that this will be a tough week. As reported by Kellis Robinett at the Eagle, Chris Klieman said on his weekly radio show that last week was not a good one for Kansas State. This morning, in his conference call, just how “not good” it was became clearer.

K-State will regain the services of twelve players who missed the Arkansas State game... but ten players who were available nine days ago will not be suiting up for the trip to Oklahoma on Saturday. We of course have no idea who those ten are, and likely won’t know until Saturday arrives.

Mathematically, this is basically a wash. That’s not good news any way you look at it, as depth was a problem against the Red Wolves and will be a much more prominent one against the Sooners. More frustrating perhaps for the coaching staff is the lack of continuity resulting from this crisis.

Speaking hypothetically — this is important, because we don’t want to give anyone the idea this is any sort of inside information whatsoever — what good is it to get Joshua Youngblood back but lose, say, Chabastin Taylor? Even if the players you get back are all on the two-deep and the players you lose aren’t, every week in which you lose a group of players disrupts the flow of practice and requires a new paradigm in the huddle. That perhaps causes more damage than the recovery of important players heals.

Of course, this week wasn’t going to be fun even if K-State marched a full complement down I-35. Then again, with this crazy season anything is possible. Just ask the Sun Belt.

In other news:

Soccer

Friday night, Brookelynn Entz scored her 11th career goal for the Wildcats in the 39th minute at Morgantown — the first goal K-State has ever scored against the Mountaineers. That goal was the first of the season for K-State, and gave the good guys a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the following 51 minutes saw West Virginia find the net four times, and K-State returns home with an 0-2 record.

Last week in Sports Extra, Austin Siegel checked in on a player who won’t see the pitch this season: injured junior goalkeeper Rachel Harris, who is nevertheless lending all the assistance she can to the two freshmen pressed into action as a result of her lost season.

Next up for the Wildcats: TCU, 7:00 Friday night at Buser. That game will air as part of Big 12 Now on ESPN+; if you still don’t have a subscription you can help support us by signing up here.

Volleyball

The soccer team won’t be the only Wildcat squad in action Friday night on ESPN+. Volleyball finally gets their season started at 6:30 that evening with the first installment of a two-match weekend series with Iowa State at Ahearn. It’s the first weekend of a very weird schedule; rather than absorbing the travel of a home-and-home round robin, the nine Big 12 volleyball schools (Oklahoma State doesn’t have a team) will play each of the other eight schools in two-match sets, four home and four away. In addition to the Cyclones, K-State will host Texas, Oklahoma, and TCU while visiting West Virginia, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Baylor.

Last Friday, the team held its annual Purple-White scrimmage event, about which the athletic department offers PR-speak. In other words, we don’t know how the team looks and we’re not just going to take the department’s word for anything.

Lee Feinswog of Volleyball Magazine previews the Big 12 ahead of the start of the season. What he does not do is offer any prediction, instead simply noting the results of the preseason poll in which K-State was picked to finish eighth.

Cross Country

The Wildcat harriers got off to a decent start to the 2020 season at the Bob Timmons Classic in Lawrence on Saturday. Both the men and women finished second in the three-team field, which is important because Kansas finished third. Unfortunately, Iowa State was dominant on the day, placing the first three men and the first four women (including eight of the top nine).

Cooper Schroeder led the charge for the Wildcat men, finishing fourth, while Noah Stevenson, Kerby Depenbusch, and Stephen Kielhofner took fifth, ninth, and tenth respectively. The women had two top-ten finishers, with Kassidy Johnson in fifth and Sydney Burton technically in tenth. (Iowa State’s Brenna Cohoon finished ninth, but only the top eight for each school “count”.)

Next up is a trip to Stillwater on October 3 for the Cowboy Jamboree.

Other

Carl Ice is throwing in the towel. Not on K-State, but on the everyday grind of work. Ice will be stepping down as CEO of BNSF Railway at the end of the year. Ice went to work for the ol’ Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe immediately after graduating from K-State in 1979, and worked his way up the ladder through the ATSF merger with Burlington Northern and its ultimate acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.

His 42-year career at the railroad, of course, provided Ice with a great deal of wealth, much of which he’s contributed to K-State over the years. Congrats to Carl on a great career and, now, a well-deserved rest.