Weekly Preview: Five teams see action this week in K-State sports

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(Graphic by Marshall Sunner | Collegian Media Group)

In what might be the busiest week in the entire year for Kansas State sports, five different teams see action, ranging from season openers to NCAA regionals.

Men’s Basketball

The K-State men’s basketball team kicks off its season at home at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, taking on Florida A&M. The team has nine returning players from the 2020 roster, led by fifth-year senior guard Mike McGuirl.

The team is coming off a 78-59 exhibition win over Pittsburg State. K-State was led in scoring by sophomore guard Selton Miguel with 18 and freshman forward Logan Landers with 11. Fifth-year Missouri transfer Mark Smith led the Wildcats in rebounds with 13, followed by Landers with 8.

K-State is coming off a tough 2020 season where the Wildcats posted a 9-20 overall record, going 4-14 in the Big 12 with conference wins over TCU, Oklahoma and Iowa State twice. K-State was selected ninth in the preseason poll with 22 points but will look to improve with the incoming transfers and several returning stars from the 2020 roster.

Women’s Basketball

The K-State women’s basketball team kicks off its season at home at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9, taking on Central Arkansas. The team has eight returning players from the 2020 roster, led by junior center Ayoka Lee.

Similar to the men’s team, the women played Pittsburg State in an exhibition game as well as Washburn before the start of the 2021 season. In the game against Washburn, the Wildcats were led by Lee in a 17 point effort, followed by freshman guards Jaelyn Glenn (9) and Serena Sundell (8).

Against Pitt State, K-State dominated 101-54 behind Lee’s 30th career double-double with 40 points and 13 rebounds. Fellow center Taylor Lauterbach and guard Cymone Goodrich had 10 points — a new career-high for Lauterbach and a tie for Goodrich’s best effort since she had 12 points her freshman season against Oklahoma State.

Along with Central Arkansas on Tuesday, the women will face off against UT Martin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Western Kentucky at 1 p.m. on Sunday as a part of the 2021 Preseason WNIT hosted at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State is coming off a 2020 season that saw the team go 9-18 overall and 3-15 in conference play, with conference victories over Kansas, Texas Tech and TCU. The Wildcats were picked eighth in the preseason poll with 26 points, but with the new additions to the team, as well as Lee being a dominant force down under, K-State will try to improve its 2020 record.

Volleyball

The “Volleycats” look to continue their winning ways this week as they travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on the Iowa State Cyclones at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. The team is riding a three-game win streak, with victories over TCU and a pair against Texas Tech.

The Wildcats currently sit fifth in the Big 12 at 5-5 (14-7 overall) with their other conference wins coming over Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Cyclones currently sit third in the Big 12 at 7-5 (15-8 overall).

Offensively, K-State is led by sophomore outside hitter Aliyah Carter who leads the team with 340 kills this season, and junior setter Teana Adams-Kaonohi with 893 assists.

Defensively, the Wildcats are led by sophomore middle blocker Kadye Fernholz with 89 blocks and sophomore libero Mackenzie Morris with 339 digs.

Football

After yet another dominant performance in the Sunflower Showdown, the Kansas State football team now sits at 3-3 in conference play, 6-3 overall. The 35-10 win over Kansas saw senior quarterback Skylar Thompson throw for 244 yards on 19-24 passing with one touchdown and sophomore running back Deuce Vaughn rushing for 162 yards while catching 70 more.

Defensively, the Wildcats were led by junior linebacker Daniel Green, who had 8 tackles, and sophomore defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who recorded a forced fumble and recorded yet another sack to bring his season totals to five and 11.0, respectively — giving him the lead in both categories nationally. “King Felix” needs just one more sack to set the K-State single-season sack record.

The Wildcats return home this week to play West Virginia (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) at 11 a.m. on Saturday for Celebrate Ag.

Cross Country

The cross country team is heading to the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa, for the NCAA Regionals on Friday. The men’s team placed fourth at the Big 12 Championships while the women placed fifth.

For the men’s team, the top five for the Wildcats finished just 26 seconds apart in the 8K race. Junior Stephen Kielhofner finished in 24th with a time of 25:30.5, edging out sophomore teammate Kerby Depenbusch by just .3 seconds.

Teammates Hadley Splechter, Mike Rohlinger and Matthew Hauser finished 27th, 29th and 34th, respectively, giving K-State 121 points — 68 points ahead of fifth-place Kansas.

For the women, the Wildcats were led by sophomore Hannah Stewart in the 6K race. Stewart finished with a time of 21:43.3, good for 17th place. Senior Kassidy Johnson and junior Jaybe Shufelberger were close behind in 23rd and 26th place. A minute after them were juniors Cailan Steward and Sydney Burton finishing in 44th and 45th.

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