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Happy Anniversary!

It's been a fun year for Wave the Wheat & here's a look back at our 20 favorite stories that illustrate what we're all about

7 min read
Kansas forward KJ Adams celebrates the 1-year anniversary of the launch, errrr, a big bucket during a KU home game last season. [Chance Parker photo]

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of the day when R1S1 Sports’ “Wave the Wheat” Kansas site went live.

It’s been a wild year in so many ways — both for the Jayhawks and for "Wave the Wheat" — and we’re thrilled with what we’ve created in that time and are looking forward to charging into Year 2 full speed ahead.

For the second year in a row, that date coincides with the annual Big 12 Media Days, which not only provides an awesome opportunity for football content, but also marks the unofficial start of the hype train for the 2024 season.

We’re on the ground in Las Vegas to cover the fun and we have all kinds of football content planned for the rest of July as we head into the start of preseason camp at the end of the month and into August.

For now, though, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite stories from the first year of Wave the Wheat.

There were hundreds to choose from, and we’re hopeful that all of them made at least some kind of impact on KU fans and the athletes we wrote about.

But this list of our 20 favorites was made with the idea of representing what "Wave the Wheat" is all about — athlete features, deep dives, analysis, gameday content and more.

We’re not a news-breaking site. We’re not a recruiting site. We’re not even a stats and results-driven site. We’re a storytelling site that strives to put the athletes themselves — their experiences, their perspective, their voice and their lives — at the forefront of everything we do.

We believe that’s what makes us different from all of the others out there who do a great job of covering that other stuff. Whether you’re checking us out for the first time or are a long-time subscriber (thank you!), hopefully you’ll agree.

Without further ado, here’s a quick look back at our Top 20 stories — of nearly 600 — from Year 1.

Year 2 begins in Las Vegas for Big 12 Media Days.

KU running back Daniel Hishaw Jr. gets hype on opening night. [Chance Parker photo]

Five Favorite Athlete Features

Daniel Hishaw Jr. shows true strength
Back to back season-ending hip injuries put Hishaw in a tough spot, but he never blinked, worked harder than ever and bounced back in 2023.

• Camryn Turner the prophet
As a kid, the Topeka native dreamed of playing volleyball at Kansas, even going as far as to draw out a prediction for her future.

• Jayson Gilliom's long road back
A gruesome broken leg during preseason camp put Gilliom on a tough path, but he persevered and powered through all the way to the point where he made an impact in 2023 & set the table for a bright future in 2024 and beyond.

• Alex Jung becomes KU’s decathlon king
Jung takes us through his 10 grueling events and how he was able to break a nearly-30-year-old school record while winning a Big 12 title in the process.

• Nicolas Timberlake’s long road
Born with a cleft lip and palate, the KU guard battled through 15 surgeries — 13 before age 3 — to get his smile and spent his final season at Kansas showing it off in good times and bad.

The KU women celebrate their upset win over Baylor. [Chance Parker photo]

Five Favorite Gameday Stories

• KU women beat Baylor
It was the first time they’d done it under current coach Brandon Schneider and it was a big freaking deal. And not just because the Bears were ranked 4th at the time.

• Timberlake dunk at OSU
It wasn’t the smoothest season for the transfer from Towson, who struggled through a shooting slump for much of his time at KU.

• Gunnar Broin’s big moment
The KU golfer had a good year for Jamie Bermel’s squad, but not U.S. Open-qualifying good. It all came together one day in June, though, and Broin became the second ever active Jayhawk to qualify for one of golf’s majors. Once there, he made the cut and posted three solid rounds.

• Holly’s Senior Night
There was so much emotion that went into this game that even Holly Kersgieter couldn’t stop smiling. The win over OU cemented the team’s postseason chances and the end of her career at Allen Fieldhouse and all the memories that came with it made for a memorable day for KU’s all-time leading 3-point shooter.

• Guaranteed Rate Gatorade bath
In the waning moments of the Jayhawks’ 49-36 win over UNLV at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix, seniors Kenny Logan and Rich Miller made sure that head coach Lance Leipold left the field drenched. Here’s a look at the planning that went into the Jayhawks’ first bowl game bath since 2008.

KU running backs Dylan McDuffie, Devin Neal and Daniel Hishaw Jr., from left to right at top of photo, join offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki in waiting for wide receiver Quentin Skinner to draw his play on the board. [Matt Tait photo]

Five Favorite Behind the Scenes Stories

• Players pitch plays to Kotelnicki
Former KU offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki opened his office door to R1S1 Sports on the day the Kansas running backs and wide receivers pitched him plays for the Jayhawks’ playbook. What we witnessed did not disappoint.

• KU women’s golfers set school record
By the time the season ended, head coach Lindsay Kuhle’s squad had nearly rewritten the KU women’s golf record book. But you always remember the first. And the entire group sat down with us to talk about breaking the 54-hole team scoring record early in the 2023-24 season.

• The S’Mya Diary
It started with Late Night and continued all the way through the end of her freshman season. The phenom from nearby Shawnee Mission West High School each week shared with us her thoughts about her first year as a Jayhawk — the ups, the downs, the joy and smiles and the lessons learned.

• Patrick Cassidy, from manager to teammate
At Late Night in the Phog 2022, the KU men’s basketball manager from Columbus, Kansas, told his dad that he was going to be out on the floor when the 2023 version of the event rolled around. And then he was.

• Clements walks down the hill for Game 1
As if suiting up for his first game for his hometown school in front of friends and family during his freshman season at KU was not already big enough, the first-year KU O-Lineman received a sweet surprise from a couple of friends as he participated in the Jayhawks’ traditional hill walk from the bus to the locker room on opening day.

KJ Adams celebrates a huge moment in KU's home win over UConn, shortly after his mother's passing. [Chance Parker photo]

Five Favorite Analysis Stories

• Yvonne Adams tribute
Tough times hit the Kansas basketball program in November, when junior forward KJ Adams’ mother passed away. Our Matt Tait had a chance to interview Yvonne Adams a few times and got to know her a little bit and he shared his thoughts on what made her special and why she would always be remembered at Kansas.

• Self gets tossed at Texas Tech
This, you might remember, was the night Kansas basketball coach Bill Self got ejected during his team’s blowout loss in Lubbock, Texas. In addition to looking at happened, we also took a look at what it meant in one installment of our season-long series, “What was it, how did it happen, what does it mean?”

• Lance Leipold stays put
For a while there, Lance Leipold's success at Kansas made him a popular name on just about every coaching search list around the country. But Leipold never wavered on his commitment to Kansas and the culture he has built here offered a clue into why.

• Did Furphy make a mistake?
Kansas guard Johnny Furphy, a freshman sensation from Australia, surprisingly fell to the second round of the NBA draft in June, which led to the question of whether he made a mistake by leaving school after just one season. His landing spot (Indiana) and contract ($6 million guaranteed) say otherwise, but for at least a night, the question had to be asked.

• Predicting KU football’s season
Shameless plug here, but how many sportswriters are there out there who predicted the exact results of the team they cover’s season? If you’re reading this, the answer is at least one. Not only did our Matt Tait correctly project the Kansas football team to go 8-4 during the regular season in 2023, he did so by picking every win and every loss correctly. That includes the home win over Oklahoma and home losses to Texas Tech and K-State. We’ll see what he does for an encore this year, but this was pretty sweet.

— For tickets to all KU athletic events, visit