K-State first Big 12 school to titles in 3 sports

nickname from The Little Apple to Title Town. But now that the Valley of the Flint Hills has become home to a trifecta of Big 12 champions, it might not be such a bad idea.

In the midst of its most successful athletic year in school history, Kansas State clinched yet another Big 12 Conference championship Wednesday, when the Wildcat women's basketball team laid claim to the 2003-04 title with a convincing win over visiting Texas Tech.

The Big 12 championship is the third of the 2003-04 academic year for the University, making K-State the first Big 12 institution to win league titles in three of the four Tier I sports contested by the conference in a single year.

"As President of K-State, I am thrilled and pleased that three of our athletic teams have won Big 12 Championships in one school year." said Dr. Jon Wefald, University President." As one of the smaller academic institutions in the Big 12, it is an extraordinary accomplishment for our football team, volleyball team, and the women's basketball team to win three separate Big 12 Championships in one school year. We will continue to maintain our goals of commitment to academic excellence and athletic competitiveness."

Many institutions have come close, with Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa State and Oklahoma each capturing multiple Tier I championships in a single academic year.

However, no Big 12 member, prior to Kansas State's three league titles this year, had won more that two.

"I am extremely proud of our entire athletic department and the collective effort responsible for the success Kansas State has enjoyed this year," Director of Athletics Tim Weiser said. "These accomplishments by one athletic department in a single season are unprecedented in the Big 12 era and stand as a testament to the hard work and dedication of our student-athletes and coaches and the support we receive from our fans."

Kansas State's women's volleyball team got the championship parade started in November, clinching the school's first conference championship in that sport with an incredible 18-2 record. The Wildcats went on to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA volleyball tournament and finished the year with a stellar 30-5 overall mark, setting a school record for number of victories.

The Wildcat football team was next to strike Big 12 gold. Against all odds, Kansas State overcame two early-season league setbacks with a six-game winning streak to claim its fourth Big 12 North Division title. In the Big 12 Championship game, K-State once again overcame insurmountable odds to defeat the No. 1 team in the nation to claim its first conference championship of any kind since 1934 and its first ever BCS bowl berth.

And there could yet be more bounty on the horizon for Kansas State's Olympic sports teams. The men's and women's track and field teams, coming off second- and third-place finishes, respectively, at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, appear well positioned for the upcoming outdoor season.

Likewise, K-State's men's and women's golf programs are proving on the links to be stronger than ever and should also be in the hunt for conference titles.

But regardless of what the immediate future holds, the 2003-04 season has already carved out a special niche in the annals of Kansas State athletics and will stand as the benchmark for future Wildcat student-athletes for years to come.

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