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Monday Morning Wheaties

4 min read

We’re down to the nitty gritty of the 2023-24 Kansas sports schedules, with just two programs still competing.

After that, it’ll be break time for the Monday Morning Wheaties, until the fall when football, volleyball, soccer, cross country and golf get going again.

KU baseball and track and field are still competing, though. So we’ll ride with those programs through the end of their seasons before we hit the brakes.

You’ve seen the tomahawks on the back of the Florida State helmets, the buckeye tree leaves on the Ohio State helmets and the paw prints on the back of the Clemson helmets.

Each Monday, we take one last look back at the week that was and hand out different amounts of the iconic breakfast cereal to the Jayhawks’ top performers.

So, be sure to come get your Monday Morning Wheaties and feel free to hit up the comments section — subscribers only for now — with any players you feel we might’ve missed.

Picture on the box

• First baseman Ben Hartl – With the Jayhawks trailing 3-2 in the top of the ninth inning of Game 1 at No. 24 Texas, the junior first baseman launched a two-run home run that gave the Jayhawks a 4-3 lead. Kansas was unable to hold onto that lead in the bottom of the ninth and Texas won Game 1 in walk-on fashion on its way to the three-game sweep. Hartl’s homer — his 10th of the season — came with two strikes and two outs, as the Jayhawks were down to their final strike in the game before extending it. Hartl, who is hitting .304 on the season, is second on the team in home runs, behind only Jake English, who has 13. KU now moves on to Big 12 tournament play, where the 7th-seeded Jayhawks will open up against No. 6 Kansas State at 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning in Arlington, Texas.

A full bowl

• Freshman golfer Max Jelinek – The KU men closed out their season with an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Regional in California last week, playing to their exact seeding at the 14-team event. While KU finishing 11th as the No. 11 seed was not a shock, the fact that true freshman Max Jelinek was one of their top performers might’ve been. Jelinek led the Jayhawks in scoring in Rounds 1 and 2, firing a 1-over 71 on Day 1 and a 74 on Day 2. He shot 80 on Day 3 to finish in a tie for 53rd on the individual leaderboard. “I’m really happy for Max,” KU coach Jamie Bermel said after Round 1. “He was even par going into the last hole and we couldn’t have asked more than that from a freshman.”

• Senior golfer Cecil Belisle – It was a case of too-little-too-late for the KU senior, but Belisle’s 2-under-par 68 in Round 3 at the regional left him as the top Jayhawk finisher in a tie for 25th place at his final college event. During his two seasons at Kansas, Belisle posted 12 rounds in the 60s and a 72.4 scoring average. This season, he won two individual titles and finished in the Top 20 three different times.

• Junior rower Emma Wistuba — The junior from St. Louis earned all-Big 12 honors after the Jayhawks took sixth place at the Big 12 Rowing Championships last week. The Jayhawks accumulated 35 points throughout the varsity races.

Nighttime snack

• Freshman pitcher Dom Voegele — He struggled last week in a home game against Houston — even though KU won — but bounced back in a big way in Game 2 vs. Texas. The true freshman who has held down the No. 2 starter role for the Jayhawks all season, tossed five innings and allowed only one unearned run on two hits while walking one and striking out four in the second consecutive one-run loss to the Longhorns in heartbreaking fashion.

• Junior pitcher Ethan Lanthier — In yet another strong relief performance out of the bullpen, Lanthier recorded four strikeouts in his three innings of work in Game 2 of the series against Texas. The transfer from St. Cloud State now has multiple strikeouts in 10 of his last 11 appearances.

Drink the milk

• Former Jayhawk Christian Braun – Although his defending world champion Denver Nuggets saw their season come to an end with Sunday’s Game 7 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Braun showed throughout the playoffs the kind of fire, passion and tenacity he came to be known for during his time as a Jayhawk. Braun, who took on a slightly bigger role for the Nuggets in Year 2, continued to defend the other team’s best players — in this case Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards — and brought energy off the bench whenever the Nuggets needed it. He twice played nearly the entire fourth quarter during the seven-game series and attacked the rim, hustled after loose balls and showed that never-back-down approach that has gotten him to this point.

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