Big 12 Announces 2017-18 Sportspersons of the Year

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, June 30th, 2018



IRVING, Texas – Dalton Risner (Kansas State) and Paige Parker (Oklahoma) have been selected as the 2017-18 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced. Risner was a junior on the Wildcats football team this past season, while Parker completed her career with the Sooners’ softball squad.

The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel.

Risner started all 12 regular-season games at right tackle for the Wildcats in 2017. However, he was injured and unable to participate in K-State’s Cactus Bowl win against UCLA. Despite this, Risner worked with his backup to prepare him for the bowl game and offered advice during the contest. The junior from Wiggins, Colorado, was named an All-Big 12 First Team honoree in addition to his All-American accolades from Pro Football Focus and Risner has been known to encourage his teammates and other individuals on campus.

In addition to his athletic success, Risner has been an instrumental influencer in the Manhattan community. He started the RiseUp Foundation, which encourages individuals to rise above evil and provide a positive shining light in the lives of others. Risner has also bonded with a friend, Mike, from the Buttonwood Special Needs Home. He takes Mike to the movies, bowling and spends time with him once a week. Additionally, he has become a big brother to Kaden, who is battling leukemia. He has visited him multiple times since they first met in April. Risner also has participated in other community service events with his teammates which included Special Olympics, Senior Kats, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Riley County and Cats in the Classroom to just name a few.

The communications studies major is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree.

Parker completed one of the most illustrious careers in Sooner softball history. During her tenure at OU, she guided the Sooners to a pair of NCAA National Championships and was named the MOP of the 2016 Women’s College World Series. The four-time Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and All-Big 12 performer is also a four-time All-American. She registered an ERA below 1.70 and held OU opponents below a .200 batting average in each of her four seasons at OU. Parker was one of the biggest cheerleaders for her team and has supported her teammates tremendously during her career.

Away from the diamond, Parker has volunteered with the Oklahoma Kids Korral and Rivermont Senior Center. She has served in a jog-a-thon at Washington Elementary School in Norman. Parker has also visited youngsters at the Oklahoma City Children’s Hospital.

Academically, Parker is a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American, three-time NFCA All-Academic honoree and was a Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American. The Independence, Missouri, native graduated with a degree in Arts and Sciences in the spring.


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