Horak named 2015 Dylan Meier-GBL Player of the Year

Photo by Shari Gentry
By: Conor Nicholl for Kpreps.com
May 24, 2016

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The Get Busy Livin’ Foundation, along with Kpreps.com, is pleased to announce Tucker Horak of Rossville High School has been named the 2015 Get Busy Livin’ - Kpreps Player of the Year Award winner.

The annual award, which is in conjunction with the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation, is in honor of Dylan Meier, a former All-State quarterback at Pittsburg High School and starter at Kansas State University who died during a hiking accident in 2010 at the age of 26. The award goes out to one Kansas high school senior who not only has shown excellence on the field but also has demonstrated the values that Dylan embodied and Get Busy Livin’ (GBL) strives to promote: adventure, fitness, curiosity and a daily zest for life experiences.

Horak said he knew little regarding the Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Award when he earned nomination as one of the state’s six finalists.

However, Horak talked with Rossville’s head football coach Derick Hammes and the school’s athletic director. A Pittsburg State football signee, Horak decided to research the recognition, given to just one Kansas football player a year.

“Wow, it’s a special award,” he said.

Then, Horak received a call from the Meier family telling he had won.

“Really, I am honored and blessed,” he said.

Horak led Rossville to back-to-back undefeated seasons, consecutive Class 3A state titles, and earned Top 11 all-state honors for all classes.  In December, he was featured in the Faces in the Crowd section of Sports Illustrated highlighting his incredible season and the bevy of state records he set along the way.

Still, Tucker calls the Get Busy Livin’ Award his highest honor.

“It’s a special award with the kind of player and person that Dylan was,” Horak said.

Well-known for his on-field accomplishments, Horak served on the community crew for the Rossville flood last summer. The night before, Horak and his family knew bad weather was coming. North of Rossville, multiple smaller creeks run into a creek that goes through the west side of town.

When he went to bed, Horak knew “quite a bit” of rain had already fallen. The next morning, he learned significantly more rain had fallen north of Rossville. He rushed into town and joined other townspeople helping with sandbagging and other needs.  Months later, Horak has great pride when talking about his town and the community of Rossville.  On his Twitter account, Horak says he is from the “#1 community in America.”

“You just realize how truly blessed you are to be here from such a small town where everyone cares about each other,” he said.

Rossville won the final 28 games of Horak’s career and, as a senior, he became the first Kansan with 2,000 yards rush and 2,000 yards passing in the same season. Rosville broke the single-season state record for yards (7,278) and completion percentage (75.7%).

Horak played on the offensive line at center when he began his football career in elementary school. For the fifth and sixth grade teams, Horak and Isaac Luellen, both left-handers, were the quarterbacks. Luellen eventually became an all-state defenseive end and a two-time wrestling state champion, including a 46-0 record this past winter.

Horak played junior high quarterback and then was moved to slot receiver as a freshman.

When Hammes took over as coach, Horak returned to quarterback. He finished as Kansas’ career leader in total yards (12,834) and for a single-season (4,929). In Hammes’ tenure, Rossville has lost only one game and won the first two state football championships in the schools’ annals.

“Obviously, having a completely new coaching staff was pretty different,” Horak said. “We took some adjusting to how some of those guys coached, and as you can see it worked out for the best.”

In addition to the award, the GBL Foundation distributes several scholarships surrounding Dylan’s home community of Pittsburg.  On Saturday, April 30th, the GBL Foundation hosted the sixth annual Dylan Meier 5-kilometer run at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg. For more information on the GBL Foundation, go to getbusylivin.org.

The other finalists for the award were Blake Beckett of Halstead, Brady Dinkel of Victoria, Logan Koch of Mill Valley, Will Mengarelli of Pittsburg, and Ryan Menghini of Frontenac. 

Past winners of this award were Bishop Carroll’s Denzel Goolsby in 2014, Shawnee Mission West’s Austin Chambers in 2013, Lawrence’s Brad Strauss in 2012 and Madison’s Kole Schankie in 2011.

A number of players from each classification were originally selected as candidates based on exceptional on-field performance. Coaches were then solicited for information about the players’ character, school performance, community involvement and hobbies.

From those submissions, the GBL Foundation narrowed the group to six finalists. Each of the finalists’ answered a series of questions. From the questions, the Meier family and the GBL Foundation board selected Horak as the winner.


Dylan Meier, a 2002 graduate of Pittsburg High School, was a two-time All-State quarterback for the Purple Dragons. He continued his football career at Kansas State University and started 11 games from 2004-06 as the Wildcats’ signal caller.

On April 19, 2010, Meier died at the age of 26 in an accident while hiking with family in Arkansas.
In addition to his time in Kansas, Dylan played professional football in Germany and Italy, served as a bodyguard for Italian fashion models, worked in a vineyard overseas, ran with the bulls in Spain and went skydiving in the Alps. His next plans included coaching football in Europe, teaching English in Korea and possibly a return to Kansas State as a graduate assistant.

“He had a real zest for life,” Merle Clark, Dylan’s high school coach and family friend said days after the accident. “He lived a lot in his 26 years.”

That zest for life is the basis of the Get Busy Livin’ Foundation that was established in Dylan’s honor. The mission is to provide support for individuals and groups that embody the values that Dylan pursued: adventure, fitness, curiosity, generosity and a daily zest for life experiences.

The GBL Foundation is determined to break down the boundaries that keep people from living life to the fullest, whether those boundaries are social, economic or imaginary.

GBL uses donations to promote these values in the following ways: student/athletic scholarships, sports camp sponsorships, student travel abroad scholarships, community service needs and other activities that inspire and build character.

For more information, please visit 

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