MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics)– Four Kansas State student-athletes – Jadyn Greisen, Kassidy Johnson, Maria Linares and Dylan Phillips – earned Spring Big 12 Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in their respective sports, the league office announced on Thursday (July 21).
Johnson (women’s track and field), Linares (women’s tennis) and Phillips (baseball) each claimed the honor outright in their sports, while Greisen tied Alabama’s Darcy Jennings and Oklahoma’s Cameron Guild for the accolade in women’s rowing.
Counting Ayoka Lee, who won the honor in women’s basketball, K-State had a total of five student-athletes collect Scholar Athlete of the Year accolades during the 2021-22 athletics season, which tied Iowa State for the most by any school in the Big 12. The next closest was three by Kansas and Texas.
“The entire Evans Student-Athlete Success team is so proud of Dylan, Jayden, Maria and Kassidy, and also Yokie as a winter recipient,” said Senior Associate AD for the Evans Student-Athlete Success Program Kristen Waller. “This award speaks to the dedication and discipline these students have both within their sport and in the classroom. It also speaks to the high level of academic support and resources we aim to provide to all our student athletes.”
The Big 12 established its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award in 2012-13. A recipient is named in each conference-sponsored sport. Every Big 12 institution nominates one individual per sport with the winners selected by a vote of the league head coaches for that sport, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.
Scholar-Athlete of the Year nominees must be a junior or senior (athletic and academic standing), have a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher, participate in at least 20 percent of the team’s scheduled contests and have a minimum of one year in residence at the institution.
Johnson, Linares and Phillips all earned their bachelor’s degree from K-State this past May.
Jadyn Greisen (women’s rowing)
A native of Lincoln, Neb., Greisen is the Big 12-leading fourth Wildcat rower to be named Scholar-Athlete of the Year, following Allison Dorau (2014), Megan Murray (2015) and Molly Ross (2019). A two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2021, 2022) has maintained a 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering.
Greisen was a member of the First Varsity Eight for most of the 2022 spring season, while she competed with the Second Varsity Eight at the Big 12 Championship. She was part of the First Varsity Eight, who won a gold medal at the SIRA Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with a time of 7:04.18 on April 16.
Kassidy Johnson (women’s track and field)
A Wichita, Kan., native, Johnson is the third Wildcat women’s track athlete to be earn Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, following Dani Winters (2016) and Ranae McKenzie (2019).
Johnson completed her athletics career in 2021-22 by earning All-America accolades both on the track and in the classroom. She collected All-America honors in the 800 meters during both the indoor and outdoor seasons while being selected to the College Sports Information Director of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-America Second Team.
The four-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection in both cross country and track and field was also a member of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team for third time in 2021-22.
During the indoor season, Johnson set the school record in the women’s 800-meter run at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham. She clocked in a time of 2:03.95 during the semifinals and placed second in her heat, qualifying her for finals. The following day, she broke the record set again with a time of 2:03.93 and finished fifth overall, earning First Team All-America honors.
Johnson finished up her career in 14th place in the semifinals at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and received Second Team All-America honors with a time of 2:03.85.
For the last four seasons, Johnson posted a 4.0 GPA while majoring in Dietetics, Nutrition and Health and Spanish.
Maria Linares (women’s tennis)
Linares, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, led the Wildcats in both singles (14) and doubles (10) victories in 2021-22 en route to earning All-Big 12 Second Team honors for the second time (2018, 2022) in her career. She was also selected as the ITA Central Region Most Improved Senior and the recipient of the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award.
Off the court, Linares was an ITA Scholar-Athlete all four seasons, while she was an Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection on four occasions and a member of the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team. She maintained a 3.70 GPA in organizational management.
Linares is the second Wildcat tennis player to be selected as Scholar-Athlete of the Year following Petra Niedermayerova, who captured the award in back to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014.
Linares was part of a women’s tennis team who earned All-Academic Team honors from the ITA for the seventh time in the last eight years this past season.
Dylan Phillips (baseball)
Phillips, who was a CoSIDA Academic All-District and Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection, becomes just the second Wildcat to be named Big 12 Spring Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Jared King, 2013).
Phillips adds to his career honor list that includes being named a preseason all-American, a Preseason All-Big 12 Team selection while being voted to the All-Big 12 Second Team each of the last two seasons. He was tabbed Big 12 Player of the Week on April 5 after breaking K-State’s all-time career home run record.
In four seasons, the Omaha, Neb., native compiled 44 career homers – breaking the previous record of 37 by Scott Poepard that had stood since 1997. Last season, Phillips led the Wildcats with 13 home runs to go with 13 doubles, 44 runs batted in, eight steals and a .283 average.
Additionally, the left-hander made a career-high 16 appearances on the mound (one start) with a 2.66 earned run average while collecting a team-leading eight saves. He struck out a career-high 26 while walking just three, as opponents hit .186 against him.
Phillips collected two saves in three appearances during the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, earning all-tournament recognition as a relief pitcher. During the Wildcats’ tournament run, he totaled five innings and seven strikeouts, yielding just one earned run on two hits.
Phillips became the first Wildcat taken in this year’s MLB Draft when he was selected in the eighth round (No. 238 overall) by the Los Angeles Angels on July 18.
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