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#KCACProud: Profiling Kansas athletes competing in the KCAC

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#KCACProud: Profiling Kansas athletes competing in the KCAC

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Donley, Galliart and White enjoy the competition in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference

  • Aubry Donley, Tanner Galliart and Hanna White are just three of the Kansas natives excelling in the KCAC. (Photos courtesy the KCAC)
    Aubry Donley, Tanner Galliart and Hanna White are just three of the Kansas natives excelling in the KCAC. (Photos courtesy the KCAC)

Kansas Pregame is joining forces with sponsor the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference to profile Kansas student athletes competing in the KCAC. Check out the first three profiles below and look for more athlete profiles in the coming weeks.

Aubry Donley, Cross Country/Track & Field, Friends University, Fr.

Lincoln's Aubry Donley was one of Kansas' top middle distance and cross country runners over the course of her high school career. Donley placed in the top nine at state cross country as a freshman (5th, 2A), sophomore (9th, 2A) and senior (state runner-up to teammate Jaycee Vath, 1A) and came home with 11 total medals from the state track meet, including championships in the 400 (twice) the 800 (twice) and as a member of the 1A champion 3200 meter relay team this spring.

After much consideration, the 2019 LHS graduate made Friends University her home and is running cross country and track, a move which is already paying off. Last week Donley was chosen as the KCAC Women's Cross Country Runner of the Week following her performance at the Wichita State University JK Gold Classic Saturday, September 7th.

Donley finished 21st out of 149 runners in the 4,000 meter race with a time of 15:37 helping the Friends Falcons to a fourth place team finish, the highest finish for a NAIA program at the event.

Update: The Friends University women's (5K) cross country team competed over the weekend at the Bronco Stampede at Hastings. The Falcons finished third overall out of 14 complete teams and were bolstered by Colby junior Aileen Gurrola's individual championship run of 19:35 in her first career meet at Friends.

Donley finished fifth for the Falcons, breaking 20 minutes in the 5k for the first time.

Kansas Pregame caught up with Donley to find out what she enjoys most about competing in the KCAC and attending Friends University:

Q. What do you enjoy most about competing in the KCAC?

A. I love that it is above competing in high school, but not too overwhelming that I can't still experience success throughout practices, meets and just with my team in general.

Q. What do you enjoy about Friends University?

A. I love everything about Friends University! The classes are still small enough that I can ask questions if needed, everyone is willing to help you or send you in the direction of help for anything, and lastly, the students here are all amazing. 

Q. What led you to choose a school in the KCAC over a Division II or Junior College program?

A. Athletics wise, I chose going with a KCAC program strictly because of the team I would be with, and the coaches I would get to train under. The moment I stepped foot on this campus and met with most of the girls on the team, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.

Q. What is your major and what career do you plan to pursue after college?

A. My major here is Health Sciences. After I get my Bachelor's Degree in it, I am hoping to attend Kansas State University to continue with the Veterinary Medicine Program. My overall goal is to become a Veterinarian and work close to home.

Tanner Galliart, Football, Bethel College, Jr.

Larned’s Tanner Galliart piled up 512 yards receiving and 6 TDs on 27 catches as a senior wide receiver for the Indians but was left with limited options to continue his athletic career in college. After two seasons at Garden City Community College including a redshirt year, Galliart transferred to Bethel College where he has emerged as a key player for the Threshers under second year head coach Terry Harrison. Galliart, a redshirt junior, was also reunited with former Larned head coach A.B. Stokes at Bethel. Stokes, a former Sterling College player and assistant coach who built a long struggling Larned program into a playoff winner, serves as Harrison's offensive coordinator.

Galliart, who caught nine passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in Bethel's run-heavy Flexbone offense last year got off to a hot start this season earning recognition as the conference Special Teams Player of the Week last week after the Threshers season opening win over Bethany, 34-14.

Galliart averaged 27.5 yards per punt return in the Week 1 victory. Both of his returns (24 and 31 yards) crossed back into Swede territory, with Galliart breaking multiple tackles on each return. His second return set up the offense 25 yards out of the end zone, directly resulting in a Bethel touchdown.

Update: Galliart was injured in Bethel's win over Avila Saturday but anticipated a quick return to action.

Kansas Pregame caught up with Galliart, a health and physical education major, to find out what he enjoys about competing in the KCAC and attending Bethel College:

Q. What do you enjoy most about playing in the KCAC?

A. The level of competition in the conference!

Q. What do you enjoy about Bethel College?

A. The community and the alumni are amazing. Also, Bethel is like a big family, everyone here supports each other.

Q. It seems that athletes who didn't play for high school programs with a winning tradition sometimes find opportunities to play in the KCAC where other schools may not take that chance. Would you agree?

A. Yes I agree, also I think sometimes just in general being from Kansas can hurt your recruitment. Kansas has the most underrated athletes.

Q. What are your plans after college?

A. After college I would like to be a physical education teacher and coach football.

Hanna White, Volleyball, Southwestern College, Sr.

Southwestern senior Hanna White knows volleyball in Kansas. White played her high school ball at Baxter Springs. After two years at Fort Scott Community College, White is finishing out her collegiate career at Southwestern College. After starting the season 0-4, Southwestern was 9-4, as of Sept. 11, and White is a big reason why. 

White earned KCAC Defender of the Week for Sept. 2-8, the conference announced Monday, Sept. 9. On Aug. 31 in a win over Cottey College, White recorded a KCAC-record 44 digs in just three sets. Currently, White is No. 1 in the entire nation with 7.1 digs per set. Last season, White had 4.8 digs per set. White is also second in the nation with 342 total digs.

This was the second KCAC Defender of the Week honor for White. She was also recognized Tuesday, August 27th, after the first week of volleyball action.

White averaged six digs per set throughout a jam-packed week that saw five matches, including 31 total digs against SAGU in the KCAC Fall Fling.

Update: White was awarded her third KCAC Defender of the Week Award Monday, September 16.

White continues to dominate on the defensive end, upping her average to 7.1 digs per set after a 21-dig performance in the team's 3-0 win over Central Baptist and a 29-dig finale against Randall in four sets. She remains the NAIA's top dig getter at No. 1 in the country in digs per set.

Kansas Pregame caught up with White, a double major in physical education and middle school math, to find out why she enjoys competing in the KCAC and attending Southwestern College:

Q. What do you enjoy most about playing in the KCAC?

A. What I enjoy most about playing in the KCAC is the level of play. From last year to this year the teams have become more competitive all the way around. It’s really fun to play some of the top teams in the conference and hang with them.

Q. What do you enjoy about Southwestern College?

A. I enjoy the close-knit family feel of Southwestern. All of the people, professors, coaches, athletic trainers, administration, etc., care about each other. Almost everyone knows one another by name and where they come from. It’s super cool to see the different backgrounds and cultures come together in one place. I also enjoy the Education program a lot which is a big reason why I chose SC.

Q. What are your plans after college?

A. After college, I plan to either be a graduate assistant for a college volleyball team while getting my Master's or go straight into a teaching job. I will graduate in May with certification in both middle school math and physical education so I’m hoping that opens a lot of doors. Coaching is also a goal. I would love to share my love of the game with younger athletes.

The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) is a prominent intercollegiate athletics conference comprised of 13 outstanding private, faith-based institutions of higher education across Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. The KCAC sponsors conference intercollegiate athletics in football, volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's wrestling, competitive cheer and competitve dance, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's swimming.