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Kansas State Student-Athlete Spotlight: Ali Pistora
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By Andrew North
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

Kansas State senior track athlete Ali Pistora has found success in everything she has been associated with from high school to college.  With her strong Midwestern work ethic, she has excelled in the classroom, on the track and in the community.

"She has your typical Midwest work ethic and she comes from a family who obviously values hard work," said Jill Shields, Associate Athletics Director for Student Services/Senior Woman Administrator.  "She really knows how to balance athletics and her work in the classroom.  She is a passionate kid, who really cares about what she does and cares about the end result.  She is a leader, she has a lot of leadership ability and characteristics that you really want to see as a head coach as a part of your program."

Pistora hails from Lawrence, Kan., where she attended Tonganoxie High School.  She was a four-year letter winner in track and field where she participated in the high jump and javelin.  She set the school record in javelin as a freshman and finished with her best mark of 154-06, which was best in state in 2006 and third-best in nation.  She capped her career as a state runner-up as a junior and senior.

Pistora has taken a leadership role ever since she has been a student-athlete at K-State.  She has been an extremely active and an involved member in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and has led many committees.  She is currently one of the representatives for the track team.

"Whether it is our Special Olympics sports clinic or 'Cats for Cans,' she has been really involved and has been a great leader and role model for the track and field team in getting other student athletes involved in the Manhattan community," said Shields.

Pistora's passion as a student-athlete is the textbook image of what a student-athlete should look like. She is dedicated as an athlete and has had her best season as a Wildcat to date, but is still very dedicated within the classroom, the community and within SAAC.

SAAC members participate in several events throughout the year including the Welcome Back Picnic, Career Development, Read and Achieve, Cats For Cans, Baseball BBQ, Boys and Girls Club Partnership and Walkin With a Wildcat.

"She has been a really big part of our Read and Achieve Program at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary," Shields says.  "She has also been very involved with the Flint Hills Breadbasket and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation."

During the 2010 outdoor season, Pistora placed on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team.  She also finished fourth in javelin at the Big 12 Championships with a mark of 158-06.  She was a regional qualifier for third straight year and finished 13th at West Regional meet.  She claimed 14th at USA Championship over the summer and also competed in the hammer throw at three meets.

For the 2010 Indoor season, Pistora finished 10th at Big 12 Championship in weight throw with a toss of 56-03.  She posted her personal best throw of 56-10 to finish fourth at the KSU Open.
Pistora is having her best season as a Wildcat, in this, her fourth and final season.  Her best mark of the outdoor season for javelin came at the Kansas Relays on April 22, when she threw a personal-high 170-11, which was also a NCAA Top 10 mark.  In the hammer throw, her best outdoor mark also came at the Kansas Relays when she set a personal-best mark of 169-09.

Pistora's marks in the hammer and javelin put her among the Big 12's best.  She is currently ranked 12th in the Big 12 in the hammer and second in the javelin.  Nationally, she is ranked No. 6 in the javelin with her toss at the Kansas Relays.

During the 2011 indoor season, her best mark for the weight throw came at the Big 12 Championships, where she recorded a conference-best toss of 59-4¼ on February 25. 

With all of the success Pistora has seen this season, her main focus is still on her success in the classroom.

"I am really trying to get my academics in line before athletics," she said.  "Balancing class, track and my involvement really takes a lot from me, including a lot of sleep and gives me a lot of stress, but my teammates and all of the academic support really help me get through it."

Although she did not score at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships in mid-May, Pistora still managed to finish in the Top 10 of both events; finishing seventh in the javelin with a toss of 145-00 and 10th in the hammer throw with a personal-best mark of 170-06. 

Pistora has high hopes to improve those marks at the West Regional meet set for May 26-28 with the ultimate goal of receiving a bid to the NCAA Championships set for Des Moines, Iowa, June 8-11.

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