Archive for KCKCC

KCKCC’s Kasick named to two all-American softball teams

Allison Kasick launches one of her 10 home runs that led KCKCC this past season and helped earn Kasick second team All-American honors as selected by both the NJCAA and NFCA. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

The nursing program at Kansas City Kansas Community College is getting an All-American softball player.

A freshman designated hitter from Basehor-Linwood, Allison Kasick was named to All-American second teams by both the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) and NFCA (National Fast Pitch Coaches Association). In addition, Kasick was named to the All-District E first team and All-Jayhawk first team.

Allison Kasick (KCKCC photo)

Kasick is the third Blue Devil to earn All-American honors under 16-year head coach Kacy Tillery. The others are Kirstin Knight and Karla Alamo (2001), pitcher Kaleena Michieli (2004) and shortstop Dana Dunsmore (2005). Catcher Peggy Hopkins was the first Blue Devil to be named to an All-American team in 1980 and was followed by Kathleen Myszka and Angie Fiatte in 1995, Melissa Eckerman in 1996 and Brooke Lyons in 2000

”In my mind, Allison was the best hitter in the Jayhawk Conference,” Tillery said. “She finished third in the nation in walks because coaches would pitch around her.”

Kasick hit a record .504 for the Blue Devils this season and led the team in hits, doubles (15), home runs (10), runs-batted-in (60) and slugging percentage (.882).

With Kasick leading the way, the Blue Devils hit a team record .392 for the season that led the Jayhawk in hitting and ranked sixth nationally.

Kasick has been accepted into KCKCC’s nursing program and so her future participation in the Blue Devil program is uncertain.

“We are hoping to be able to work around her schedule to allow her to come back for her sophomore year,” Tillery said.


All-American Blair Russell joins KCKCC volleyball staff

Blair Russell (KCKCC photo)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Blair Russell, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s only first team volleyball All-American, is returning to the Lady Blue Devil program as assistant coach.

“I’m super excited to have Blair back in the Blue Devil family,” said KCKCC head volleyball coach Mary Bruno. “We had three great candidates for the position. I just felt she was the best fit for the Blue Devil program.”

Russell earned NJCAA first team All-America honors in 2014 after leading the Blue Devils to the championship of the consolation bracket of the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Arizona. In addition to her All-American honors, Russell was named the Most Valuable Player in the Jayhawk Conference while earning All-Jayhawk and All-Region VI first team honors.

An outside hitter, she was fifth nationally in kills (516) and eighth in kills (3.94) per game. Ninth in the NJCAA national tournament and eighth in the final NJCAA poll, the Blue Devils finished 32-10 on the season.

Earning an associate’s degree at KCKCC with a major in journalism and minor in convergent media, Russell was a mid-term graduate in 2014 and then transferred to Missouri Western in St. Joseph in January of 2015 where she played two years while earning a Bachelor of Science in journalism. An MIAA Scholar Athlete and MIAA honorable mention as a senior, she was on the honor roll both years.

Russell said she was pondering various graduate assistant positions when the KCKCC position opened.

“I knew I wanted to coach and when I found out the position was open, I knew what I wanted to do,” Russell said. “I just felt I was pulled to come here. It’s real exciting to be back with Mary where I can get as much coaching advice as I did when I was playing for her. “

Russell will work primarily with the hitters, leaving more time for Bruno to work with the setters and defensive setters.

“I’ll be doing anything Mary needs,” she said. “We work on a tight schedule and get the most out of every minute of the time we have for practices. It’s exciting, I’m really looking forward to being back.”

A graduate of Marysville (Kan.) High School where she was a three-sport standout, Russell almost gave up competitive volleyball after injuring her shoulder her freshman year at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. However, once in contact with Bruno, Russell decided to continue to compete at KCKCC where her off-season workouts elevated her to All-American status.

“Her hard work and dedication during the off-season between her first and second years here made the difference in her athletic achievements,” Bruno said.

In addition to Russell’s first team selection, teammate Lily Thornberg became the first Lady Blue Devil to be named to the All-American second team.

“I was so thrilled and so incredibly proud,” said Bruno, who was named Jayhawk Coach of the Year. “I knew how hard Blair and Lily worked but what’s so wonderful is to see them get recognition from other people and other coaches. They’ve worked so hard throughout their entire careers here and what makes their honors so special is that they earned them with their hard work.”


Kasick, Stratton win prestigious KCKCC softball awards

Allison Kasick, left, of Basehor-Linwood has been named the MVP of the 2017 Kansas City Kansas Community College softball team while Kaylynn Stratton of Turner was presented the prestigious Justin Cothran Helmet Award. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Allison Kasick of Basehor-Linwood and Kaylynn Stratton of Turner are the recipients of Kansas City Kansas Community College’s most prestigious softball awards for the 2017 season.

A freshman first baseman, Kasick was named the Lady Blue Devils’ Most Valuable Player while Stratton, a sophomore outfielder, received the Justin Cothran Helmet Award for her performances on and off the field.

The Justin Cothran Award annually honors the life and contributions to softball of the late KCKCC assistant coach whose favorite expression was “Life’s Tough…Get a Helmet!” Cothran joined the KCKCC softball staff in 2000 and served as interim head coach one season. He resumed his role as assistant in 2000 until his passing at age 55 July 5, 2012.

“Kaylynn Stratton is the personification of what a student-athlete at KCKCC should be,” said KCKCC head softball coach Kacy Tillery. A two-time Academic All-American, Stratton compiled a 3.94 grade point average (4.0 her final semester) and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the KCKCC Honors Program.

Graduating with honors in May, she was also a two-time KJCCC honor roll recipient and on the KCKCC President’s Honor Roll all four semesters. Stratton has been accepted into the dental program at Johnson County Community College and will begin that program in August.

On the playing field, she finished 33rd in the nation in hitting with a .483 batting average. She was also third nationally in triples with five and 31st in on base percentage at .545 – statistics that ranked her fourth in the KJCCC in all three categories. She finished off her career by hitting for the cycle in the final week of the season. She was named to the All-Region second team and earned All-Jayhawk Conference honorable mention.

Off the field, Stratton took part in such community services as Unleashed Pet Rescue, Electronic Recycle Drive and the Campus Wonderland event.

“The perfect example of what a student-athlete should be – high character, great on the field and in the classroom, someone who we never had to worry about taking care of business,” Tillery said.

Hitting at a record .504 clip, Kasick was named to the All-Jayhawk and All-Region first teams and nominated for All-American recognition.

In addition to leading the Blue Devils in batting, she also led the team in doubles (15), home runs (10), runs-batted-in (60) and slugging percentage (.882). Nationally, her .504 average was 15th. She also finished third in the nation in walks and was 36th in runs-batted-in. As a team, led the Jayhawk in hitting with a .392 team average that was sixth in the nation.

“Allison is one of the most pure hitters I’ve had in my 16 years here at KCKCC,” Tillery said. “She’s also been accepted into the Nursing program here at the College and we’re hoping her schedule next spring will enable her to have a second season with us.”