Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
HAYS – With the 2016-17 academic and athletic calendar year officially in the books, Fort Hays State’s final All-America performer count for the year finished at 16. FHSU had seven sports represented with the honors and 16 is the most in a year for FHSU since joining the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 2006-07, passing the old mark of 11 produced in the 2015-16 season.
The 16 performers tied for the second-highest amount in a year within the school’s NCAA Division II history. The 2002-03 year produced the most with 19 All-America performers, while 1999-2000 and 2001-02 each produced 16. There were 14 track and field All-Americans in each of the aforementioned three years, while the 2002-03 season also saw two cross country, two baseball, and one wrestling All-American to set the standard. But, the uniqueness of the 2016-17 season is that it produced the most individual performance All-Americans in Fort Hays State’s NCAA Division II history, which began in 1991. There were six relay team All-Americans in track and field from 2002-03 that did not earn the status as an individual in their specialty event(s).
Track and field was a big factor in pushing the number into double digits this year, producing seven All-Americans. Brett Meyer was the only track and field athlete to garner All-America status in both the indoor and outdoor seasons, finishing fifth in the indoor 800 meters and seventh in the same event for the outdoor season. Dillando Allotey was the only other Tiger to gain All-America status in the indoor season in the 200 meters with a seventh place finish. For the outdoor season, Decano Cronin (national champion 800 meters), TJ Dozier (9thdiscus), Alexcia Deutscher (10th javelin), Micki Krzesinski (10th, 10,000 meters), and Kelly Wycoff (12th, 400 meters) earned All-America status. Beginning in 2015, the USTFCCCA began awarding All-America Second Team honors to the 9th-12th place finishers at the national meets (indoor and outdoor).
Fall sport All-Americans included Sie Doe, Jr. (football), Raheeme Dumas (football), Alex Schmidtberger (football), Nathan Shepherd (football), Crystal Whitten (volleyball), Luis Torres (men’s soccer). Doe was a first team selection by three organizations and the Super Region 3 Defensive Player of the Year. He racked up 15 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 81 total tackles for the season. Dumas was one of the top cornerbacks in the country with six interceptions and 36 tackles. Schmidtberger led the football team in tackles at linebacker with 143 and finished second all-time in tackles for the NCAA Division II era at FHSU with 353, just eight shy of the record. Shepherd was a force once again on the interior of the defensive line, finishing with 61 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. Whitten led the MIAA in kills with 491, and led the team in digs (395) and service aces (25). Torres was one of the top scoring defenders in the nation, putting together seven goals for the season while leading the Tigers in minutes played (1,718).
Winter sport All-Americans included Rob Davis (men’s basketball), Jon Inman (wrestling), and Brandon Ball (wrestling). Davis had a tremendous senior season for FHSU, averaging 21.4 points per game. He became the first Tiger to average at least 20 points per game since the 1995-96 season. Inman finished as the national runner-up at 197 pounds with a record of 28-4, while Ball placed sixth at 141 pounds with a record of 38-8.
Eight of the 16 All-America performers from 2016-17 will return next year. Allotey, Krzesinski, Doe, Dumas, Schmidtberger, Whitten, Davis, and Inman were seniors this year, exhausting their collegiate eligibility.