Just released: your Kansas State Wildcats are now the AP #5 team in the country after kncoking off rival KU on Tuesday and pulling through a 68-58 slug-fest with Texas Tech on Saturday. It marks the highest K-State (17-2, 6-1) has been ranked since Dec. 6th, 2010, when the Jake Pullen-led Cats also reached #5 in the AP poll. The Cats are the highest-ranked Big 12 team, but there’s a quad just behind led by KU at #9, Texas at #10, TCU at #11, and Iowa State at #12. Baylor is the only other Big 12 team ranked (or receiving votes) and they slot in at #17 this week.
Yes, that means K-State will be the higher-ranked team as they venture up to Ames on Tuesday for a suddenly very important FARMAGEDDON. About the same time the Wildcats were wrapping up their win over the Red Raiders, affirming their spot atop the Big 12, the Cyclones were falling to Oklahoma State to put themselves in 3rd in the Big 12 standings, a half-game back of KU. So the Cats will be playing to retain the top spot, while the Cyclones would love to muddy the waters of the conference standings. That game on Tuesday night is at 8pm, and will be aired on ESPNU.
Back to the Cats, Saturday’s victory featured the return of Markquis Nowell’s offensive production, as the senior led all scorers with 23 points, and managed to grab 8 rebounds as well. He was joined, as usual, by Keyontae Johnson who had a lackluster first half, but turned it on int he second to score 15 points and snag 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. But Nowell’s scoring wasn’t the only thing that returned, as David N’Guessan made his first appearance in nearly a month after recovering from a foot/ankle injury. He logged just four minutes, and his only stats were two missed free throws, but it was great having the big man back and available.
Following his incredible start to the season, Nowell was named to The Sporting News’ Midseason All-American Team, on the organizations’ Second Team. He was also named a Midseason All-American by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
Also at Bramlage on Saturday, the MittieCats (13-7, 2-5) broke through the funk of a four-game losing streak to post a 64-48 win over TCU. It was an important win for the Wildcats, as it kept them out of last place in the Big 12 standings — a spot occupied by the now 0-7 Horned Frogs. Gabby Gregory busted our of her scoring funk as well, dropping in 21 points to lead all scorers. She was joined in double figures by Serena Sundell (12) and Jaelyn Glenn (11, who also had eight rebounds to lead the team. Next up for the Cats is a Wednesday trip to Stillwater, and they take on the Pokes at 6:30pm on ESPN+.
It was a solid draw of a weekend for the K-State tennis squad, who opened the 2023 portion of their schedule with a 4-0 loss to North Florida on Saturday. The Cats didn’t win a match against the Ospreys that finished, falling in both doubles matches and the first three singles matches (of five available). Sunday was a bit better and the Cats were able to post a 4-2 win over Florida Atlantic after winning two of three doubles matches, and then winning three singles matches in straight sets to earn the victory over the Owls.
K-State will be back on the road in Palo Alto, CA on Friday (January 27) against Stanford (1-0) and Saturday (January 28) against the winner of Florida State/Arkansas.
Track & Field
The Wildcats hosted the DeLoss Dodds Invitational this weekend and came away with a dozen individual wins in their second action of 2023. On Saturday, junior Shalysa Wray broke another meet record in back-to-back meets, winning the 300 meter hurdles with her new personal best time of 37.80 seconds. She was joined atop the podium by Claire Bybee (women’s pole vault), Jess Pinkley (men’s pole vault), Vitoria Alves (women’s 60m hurdles), Emil Uhlin (men’s 60m hurdles), and Tim Lambert (men’s 300m). The Wildcats also saw multiple other podium finishes and personal bests on day one.
Day 2 saw six more individual titles, again led by Shalysa Wray who won the 200 meter dash in 23.99 seconds. She was joined atop the podium by Maddie Righter (women’s high jump), Hadley Splechter (women’s 1000m), Devin Richardson (men’s high jump), Darius O’Connell (men’s shot put), and Jhavor Bennett (men’s long jump). That said, all three men’s champions were the only competitors in their event, and so won by default.
The Wildcats will look to ride the moment from a good showing as they head out on the road Thursday (January 26) for the three-day Texas Tech Open and Multis in Lubbock.