Stanley named finalist for MIAA Spring Student-Athlete of the Year
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fort Hays State track and field student-athlete Ryan Stanley is a finalist for the 2021 MIAA Men's Spring Student-Athlete of the Year Award, presented by Summit Pointe Financial Group. The award is the MIAA's highest honor for student-athletes during the spring sports season, given to one female and one male.
This award temporarily replaces the annual Ken B. Jones Award, which normally recognizes the top female and top male student-athlete in the MIAA for all seasons. However, since fall sports did not have an opportunity to post accolades for this academic year, the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force implemented student-athlete of the year honors for both the winter and spring seasons with the nomination and selection process structured identically to the Ken B. Jones Award. Whitney Randall of FHSU Women's Basketball was named the MIAA Women's Winter Student-Athlete of the Year earlier in 2021.
The award combines the athletic, academic, and campus/community service accomplishments of the individuals. The voting committee, which includes administrators from all MIAA member schools, reviews an individual's career academic accomplishments, along with their athletic accomplishments and campus/community service from the 2020-21 year. Individuals must be a junior or senior in athletic eligibility and have a GPA of at least 3.25.
Male Finalists for the Spring Student-Athlete of the Year Award are Kizan David of Lincoln (track and field), Blake Freeman of Northeastern State (baseball), Ryan Stanley of Fort Hays State (track and field), Dusty Stroup of Central Missouri (baseball), and Levi Wyrick of Pittsburg State (track and field).
Female finalists for the Spring Student-Athlete of the Year Award are Ashlan Burton of Central Missouri (track and field), Sydni Hawkins of Missouri Western (softball), Trace Mosby of Pittsburg State (track and field), Virgi Scardanzan of Washburn (track and field), and Gail Young of Northeastern State (softball). Mattie Rossi, an All-America performer in the heptathlon, was Fort Hays State's female nomination for the award.
Ryan Stanley was the NCAA Division II National Champion during the 2021 outdoor track and field season in the pole vault. He cleared a new school record 17 feet, 2.75 inches to tie for first place. He then cleared the height again to win a jump off for the national title against Trivett Jones of Angelo State (Texas). In the process, Stanley produced his fourth All-America performance at FHSU and his second this year after finishing fourth nationally during the indoor season. He is now a two-time All-America performer in the pole vault both indoor and outdoor. He is also a four-time USTFCCCA All-Region performer going back to 2019. Stanley set new FHSU records in the pole vault both outdoor and indoor (16 feet, 11.5 inches) in 2021. He is only the second individual in school history to clear 17 feet.
Stanley has been near perfect in the classroom in three years at FHSU, compiling a 3.97 GPA as a Management major. The Bennington, Kansas native is a three-time recipient of the USTFCCCA All-Academic Award and a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. Holding a perfect 4.0 GPA over his first two years at FHSU, he twice received the MIAA Academic Excellence Award. He also earned MIAA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2021 for securing All-MIAA honors and holding at least a 3.5 GPA. Stanley is also a three-time recipient of the FHSU Athletics Academic Excellence Award and a six-time member of the Dean's Honor Roll at FHSU.
Stanley has also been very active on campus and in the community. He was the male recipient of the Cerv's FHSU Student-Athlete Distinguished Leadership Award in 2021. Stanley joined three other FHSU students to design "MeHe" a mobile phone app centered on maintaining positive mental health. The group won the 2020 Kansas Startup competition at FHSU with their presentation. He has also served as a senator for the Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship for three years. During the 2021-22 academic year, Stanley will serve as the FHSU Student Body Vice President after being voted into office in 2020-21. On top of that, Stanley has been an active leadership team member of Christian Challenge at FHSU over three years, participating in multiple community service projects. He served the community and FHSU Alumni through work as a VIP Ambassador under the direction of FHSU President Dr. Tisa Mason for two years. This summer, he is on staff with Project Apprentice, a discipleship program in Lawrence, Kansas focused on discipline, service, and community.
The winners of the 2021 Spring Student-Athlete of the Year award will be announced on Tuesday, June 29.