Kansas State’s unexpected trip to a Bowl Championship Series game was voted the biggest sports story of the year by Kansas.com readers.
It was the third time in five years a K-State football season has been chosen as the top story in The Eagle’s annual poll.
Proving again that Sunflower State fans are first and foremost college sports fans, each of the state’s Division I schools took the top three spots in the 2012 poll. Here were the top results after more than 1,400 votes:
• After a stay at No. 1 in BCS, K-State wins Big 12, heads to Fiesta Bowl, 32%
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• Thomas Robinson leads KU basketball to the championship game, 20%
• Shockers win Valley, return to NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed, 15%
• Perry Ellis finishes Heights career with four titles, CL scoring record, 6%
• Collin Klein finishes third in Heisman Trophy voting, 5%
• Bishop Carroll wins first football title since 1978, 4%
• Wichita State volleyball reaches Sweet 16 for first time, 3%
• K-State’s Erik Kynard wins Olympic silver medal; Overland Park’s Shannon Vreeland gold, 3%
Previous years’ winners:
• 2011— Falling short of the NCAA Tournament, the Shockers regroup to win NIT in convincing fashion
• 2010 — Big 12 loses two members; KU, K-State scramble to keep BCS conference status.
• 2009 — Bill Snyder’s return lifts K-State into Big 12 north football race
• 2008 — Bill Snyder returns to give K-State football another go*
• 2007 — Kansas football goes 11-1, earns Orange Bowl berth.
*—Voters were asked to choose 2008’s second-biggest story behind KU’s basketball national championship. That 2008 title was top pick for voters in 2009 as the Kansas sports story of the decade of the 2000s.
We also asked for your input on this year’s selections — and omissions. Here were some of your responses:
“I would have to say Perry Ellis leading his team to a 4th title in his last year, as the all time City League scoring leader is the epitome of sports success. I would have to put Bishop Carroll’s Championship up there too. A lot of success surrounding those other stories. But IMO, it can’t be the biggest story unless it got the big enchilada.” — Big3Kansas on Kansas.com
“How about Nick Taylor, a native Wichitan, winning gold in doubles and bronze in singles in London (Paralympic Games)Winning the gold as a doubles team in three consecutive Games was the first time in history this has been accomplished in the sport of tennis, Olympic or Paralympic.” — HighonSports on Kansas.com
“I would have to nominate Wichita State women’s track athlete Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton being the only athlete in NCAA D-I Track & Field to achieve All-American first-team status in four distance events during the 2012 track season — She was 3rd in the 5000 meters and 7th in the 3000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships and 5th in the 5000 meters and a fabulous 2nd in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships — She was also 4th at the NCAA CC Championships this past fall.She is certainly already the most decorated athlete in WSU history as an NCAA All-American and she has the possibility of winning four more this spring in her senior year which would bring her total to 13 and would add to what I already consider to be the most successful career of any female athlete in WSU history (any sport) and one of a very small handful when you include the men (any sport) – Truly an amazing year for Aliphine!” — WSU track and field coach Steve Rainbolt
A nomination came for bowler Katie Verbil’s record-setting 879 series in July. The former Shocker bowler beat the previous women’s national record by a pin, hitting 33 strikes in a row, before leaving the 10-pin standing in the 10th frame of her third game. “I never would have, in a million years, thought that I would have received this much attention for bowling an 879," she said at the time.
And finally one reader thought none of our options were as important as the stories that were under the radar:
“The fact is that the most memorable moments and those that make the most lasting differences are those sports moments that lead up to these 18 events you mentioned. Little kids playing soccer at the YMCA. Brothers and sisters playing with their moms and dads in lawns and driveways across the state. Volunteering to coach or referee little league baseball, hosting a ball team at your home prior to a game, playing intramural five on five at a local college. These are the top moments in sports of 2012 (and of any other year). It is these experiences that will truly make a difference in the long run — and for a whole lot more people than the few who achieve fame or success.” — Marcus Loganbill