It has been a terrific senior campaign thus far for Baker University star Kelsey Larson.
The 2012 Iola High School graduate has led the Wildcats to a 26-4 record overall and a 23-2 record in Heart of America Athletic Conference play. That shiny record was good enough for the Wildcats to win the league by two games over conference rival Benedictine.
Baker is currently the eighth-ranked team in the nation as they look forward to the conference tournament this weekend and possibly the NAIA National Tournament.
On Monday, Larson learnedshe had been named the Heart of America’s Player of the Year.
“I had an idea that I would be in the running, but I didn’t know for sure,” Larson said. “It was definitely a surprise because there are so many players in our league who are outstanding athletes and great basketball players, so it was definitely a surprise when I got a text from my coaches.”
The award is well-deserved. Larson led the Wildcats on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court with 11.9 points per game this season along with 48 steals.
Larson was also second on the team with assists (69) and third in rebounding with 4.7 per game.
Becky Carlson, IHS coach, said Larson’s strong work ethic helped her achieve the accomplishment.
“It is amazing,” Carlson said. “That girl has worked on her game since she was very small so it is nice to see she has gotten some honors for that. It is well-earned.”
Larson is the first to say that it has been a team effort to get the team to this level of success.
“Four of our five starters made all-conference teams so that is pretty huge,” Larson said.
In addition to Larson being named to the first team, senior Mackenzie Cook and sophomore Jessica Zweifel made second team and senior Sydney Buchel was an honorable mention selection.
Baker coach Ben Lister was named Coach of the Year in the Heart.
Baker is the top seed in the Heart Tournament and will host the winner of No. 8 Garnd View and No. 9 Mount Mercy on Wednesday in the quarterfinals in Baldwin City.