FHSU Sports Information Department
KANSAS CITY – Fort Hays State senior wrestler Jon Inman was named one of three men’s finalists for the annual MIAA Ken B. Jones Award, the conference’s honor for both its male and female student-athletes of the year, on Friday (May 26). He is a finalist for the second straight year.
The award, now in its 24th year, is named in honor of the man who served as the MIAA’s first full-time commissioner for 16 years. Jones retired in 1997 and passed away in May 2004.
Inman put together another tremendous season on the mat, finishing as the national runner-up at 197 pounds with a record of 28-4 for the season. He earned All-America honors for the second straight season after a fifth-place finish in 2015-16 at 184 pounds. Inman closed out his career with the school record in win percentage, going 141-28 overall for a percentage of .834.
Inman carries a 3.83 GPA as a Justice Studies major and is a four-time Division II Wrestling Coaches Association All-Academic First Team selection. He is also a four-time MIAA Scholar-Athlete Award recipient, earning All-MIAA honors and maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher all four years of varsity competition. He also has CoSIDA Academic All-America honors to his credit, the only individual in the history of Fort Hays State Wrestling to earn that distinction.
Inman has impressive company as a finalist this year. He joins Northwest Missouri State senior quarterback Kyle Zimmerman and Nebraska-Kearney senior linebacker Tyke Kozeal.
Zimmerman helped lead the Bearcats to a second-straight undefeated national championship in football. A backup for three years, Zimmerman made the most of his opportunity as a starter under center to earn MIAA Offensive Player of the Year. He was named the Kansas City Sports Commission Sportsman of the Year and earned All-America honors from several organizations. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,763 yards and 37 touchdowns while running for 283 yards and seven more touchdowns. He was a Harlon Hill Award Finalist. Zimmerman was the CoSIDA Football Academic All-America of the Year. He graduated with a 3.95 GPA in Business Management and is now working toward his MBA at NWMSU.
Kozeal wrapped up a tremendous individual football career at Nebraska-Kearney, where he became just the second player in NCAA Division II history to record more than 600 tackles in a career with 604. He ranks second on the NCAA all-time tackles list for all levels. For the 2016 season, he recorded 174 tackles, leading the NCAA at 15.8 tackles per game. He was an All-America selection by several organizations. He is a CoSIDA Academic All-America selection and three-time MIAA Scholar-Athlete as a Health and Physical Education major with a 3.76 GPA.
The women’s finalist for the award this year are Brittany Kallenberger of Central Missouri (track and field), Emilyn Dearman of Pittsburg State (track and field), and Natalie O’Keefe of Southwest Baptist (track and field). O’Keefe was the women’s Ken B. Jones Award winner last year, a two-time national champion in the high jump that carries a 4.0 GPA. Crystal Whitten (volleyball) was the women’s nominee for the award this year for Fort Hays State.
The finalists are invited to Kansas City for the MIAA Awards Ceremony presented by Husch-Blackwell, which will be held June 5 (Make a Reservation) at the Kansas City Public Library-Plaza Branch. One male and one female will be announced as winners of the Ken B. Jones Award at the event.
A 15-member panel of athletics directors, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives and sports information directors – including a representative from each member institution – select the finalists. Each nominee is judged in four areas: 2016-17 athletic accomplishments; career academic accomplishments; 2016-17 campus/community service; and career athletic and service achievements.
To be nominated, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade-point average as of February 1 and must have completed at least their junior season of eligibility in the 2016-17 academic year.