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Colson plans rare dual-sport collegiate run at KWU

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Rock Hills running back and wrestler Zane Colson plans to compete in football and wrestling at Kansas Wesleyan

  • Kansas Pregame coverboy Zane Colson, one of the state's top football players and wrestlers, plans to compete in both sports at Kansas Wesleyan University. (Photo at Fort Scott National Historic Site by Derek Livingston)
    Kansas Pregame coverboy Zane Colson, one of the state's top football players and wrestlers, plans to compete in both sports at Kansas Wesleyan University. (Photo at Fort Scott National Historic Site by Derek Livingston)

Kansas Pregame coverboy Zane Colson is one of the top football players and wrestlers in all of Kansas. Thursday he made his commitment to compete in both sports collegiately at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina.

The Rock Hills product rushed for almost 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns last fall and is currently in an undefeated wrestling season as part of a wrestling co-op with Beloit.

He rushed for over 4,000 yards in his high school football career and is a three-time state qualifier as a wrestler.

He is currently the top-ranked wrestler at 152 pounds in 3-2-1A and next June he’ll play in the 8-Man All-Star game for the Division II East Squad.

Colson has an excellent reputation and his coaches in Mankato and Beloit are complimentary of his work ethic and leadership skills.

Assistant Beloit wrestling coach Ryan Malay provided a recent example.

“Zane gave up his Saturday today and will probably be late for his own homecoming dance because he wanted to come up and help us coach junior high,” Malay said.

We caught up with Colson to talk about his commitment to KWU and get his thoughts on the challenge of playing two sports in college.

Q&A with Colson:

Q. What made you choose KWU?

A. I’ve always liked the campus at KW. I think they have great facilities there and a great coaching staff and teachers! It’s the place I wanted to call home for the next four years. 

Q. What excites you about new football coach Myers Hendrickson?

A. While KW’s football program is already great, I feel like coach Hendrickson could be the start of something even greater. That’s something I wanna be a part of! 

Q. Are you concerned about managing the time commitment of doing two collegiate sports?

A. Playing two sports in college will probably be harder then playing three sports in high school but it’s nothing I can’t handle, just takes a little more hard-work and dedication but that’s something that’s not new to me. I’ve got good time management skills and I’m part a lot of different organizations and clubs in school so managing time is something I’ve got pretty good at.

Q. What do you plan to study in college and what do you think your career choice will be once you earn your degree?

A. I plan to major in either pre-law or criminal justice and when I graduate from KW try and get into Law School at Washburn to become a lawyer. I’d like to maybe move around back home and start my own practice and then maybe coach some too.

Check out Colson’s senior football highlights below:



Here’s Conor Nicholl’s feature on Colson from last year’s Football Preview:

Zane Colson grew up with three older siblings, brothers Perry and Chance, and sister Bret. All are currently between the ages of 26 and 30 and were former standout athletes.

Perry, who now runs a farm near his hometown of Mankato, was a high school running back. Chance is in the Navy after he started at fullback all four years. Bret was a state track meet qualifier for Mankato and lives in Salina.

Perry and Chance saw Zane’s talent at a young age and continually pushed him. From Perry, Zane learned to gain at least three yards every carry. Perry told Zane to treat every rushing attempt as if it’s his final one.

Zane watched Chance’s unique intensity and toughness. Chance was around 150 pounds but Zane said he played like he was 6-foot-6, 250.

“They turned me into a tough kid,” Zane said. “They were constantly picking on me, beating up on me, but they were always constantly teaching me how to use my talents, how to outsmart your opponents.”

A starter since his freshman year for Mankato-Rock Hills, Colson has become of one of eight-man’s top players and a three-sport standout. He joins with nearby Beloit for wrestling and was fourth at state last winter. In the spring, he earned second on the 400-meter relay. Last fall, he helped the Grizzlies finish 8-2 and earn the No. 5 final ranking in Eight-Man, Division II.

“I just needed to step up and fill shoes,” Colson said. “I wanted to be able to show my brothers that I took in whatever they taught me, and that I am going to use it, and they showed me what a leader can be.”

Colson collected all-state honors at running back with 152 carries for 1,502 yards and 23 scores. A starting linebacker, he delivered a team-high 118 tackles and tied for first with 17 TFLs. Overall, Colson, a senior has delivered 2,744 rushing yards, 49 total scores, 293 tackles and 27 for loss.

In ’17, the Grizzlies lost only to No. 2 Pike Valley in overtime in the regular season and No. 1 Hanover in the first round of the playoffs. Rock Hills trailed Hanover, the two-time defending champions, by two at intermission before a 62-32 loss.

“Those games that you are in in the first half and everything is working kind of like you need them to work, and then you let those things get away, those are the most frustrating for me,” coach Brock McMillan said. “And I think it’s the same for the kids. … Things like that provide so much motivation for the following year.”

McMillan grew up in the Mankato/Jewell area. He knew Colson’s brothers. McMillan still recalls Colson running around at games when he was a little kid. McMillan attended Fort Hays. In 2012, coach Sam Meyers paced the Grizzlies to a state runner-up and then bumped to principal.

McMillan quickly put his name in for head coach and earned the job at 22. Colson was in junior high, and McMillan knew he was a “special” player. Colson earned significant time as a freshman, including 12 tackles in a playoff loss to Burlingame.

“I knew I could definitely give something to the team if I worked my butt off, and everybody at practice, I want to be the hardest working kid on the field, not just for myself but to show by example,” Colson said.

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