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Topeka Golden Giants and former Washburn Pitcher Cal Leonard gets the start for the Giants home opener

(photograph by Rex Wolf)

2021 Shawnee County Hall of Fame inductee, Kyle McNorton

[Photograph submitted]

2021 Shawnee County Hall of Fame inductee, Kyle Weems

[Photograph submitted]

2021 Shawnee County Hall of Fame inductee, Michael Wilhoite

[Photograph submitted]

Virgi Scardanzan, TopSports.news Washburn Female Athlete of the Year

[Photograph submitted)

Tyler Geiman, TopSports.News Washburn Male Co Athlete of the Year

[Photograph by Rex Wolf]

TopSports.news Washburn Men's Co Athlete of the Year, Andrew Beckler.

[Photograph by Rex Wolf]

The 2021 Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards

FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

AUBREY BAHNER | Silver Lake

PARENTS: Darwin and Antoinette Bahner

SPORT: Cross County | GPA: 4.0

Bahner was a cross and track standout for Silver Lake, earning four varsity letters in both sports for the Eagles. In cross country Bahner was a three-time Class 3A state qualifier and a two-time state medalist, earning medals in all but one meet over those two seasons. She was also a state qualifier in multiple events in track. "Aubrey methodically works hard to get better every day,'' Silver Lake cross country coach Kevin Brokaw said. "She makes every team she is part of better. She is truly a quality individual.'' Bahner plans to attend Tabor College, where she plans to compete in both cross country and track.

SARA EGGENBERGER | Shawnee Heights    

JENSEN HEIDEMAN | Hayden

PARENTS: Craig and Deb Heideman

SPORT: Volleyball/golf | GPA: 3.90

Heideman split time between volleyball and golf for the Wildcats, filling the setter role in volleyball while ranking as Hayden's No. 1 player in golf as both a junior and a senior. "Jensen is a competitor,'' Hayden golf coach Carvel Reynoldson said. "On the golf course she walks with a purpose and never shies away from being the standard for the team.'' Heideman's average score over her high school career was 87. Hayden volleyball coach Joshus Schmitz said of Heideman: "She was a vital part of our team and provided great senior leadership. Playing two sports at once is difficult, but Jensen did a great job of balancing the two.''

RUTH HOCKENBARGER | Topeka West

PARENTS: Charles and Rachel Hockenbarger

SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 3.96

Hockenbarger played varsity tennis for Topeka West four straight seasons. "Ruth was an excellent leader, being very responsible, mature and committed,'' West tennis coach Kurt Davids said. "Ruth was very close to qualifying for the (Class 5A) state tournament all four years despite COVID-19's impact on the number of state qualifiers.'' Hockenbarger also participated in track and field, soccer and Scholars Bowl while at West.  

CIARRA McWILLIAMS | Highland Park

PARENTS: Charles and Dena McWilliams

SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 4.2

McWilliams was a standout player for an upstart Highland Park tennis program while also maintaining an outstanding grade point average. "Ciarra played the game with honor and integrity,'' said Highland Park athletic director Boshner Whitaker, who coached McWilliams her senior tennis season. "She fought through the pain and earned herself a scholarship.'' McWilliams plans to attend Baker University and play tennis for the Wildcats.

CAMRYN TURNER | Seaman

KEELY WAGNER | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: Jim and Amy Wagner

SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.96

Wagner has been a standout in both cross country and track and field for Rural, qualifying for the Class 6A state meet in both sports. Wagner competed in state cross country three years and was a two-time All-City selection. Wagner was a two-time 6A state medalist in track and was a city and regional champion in the 1,600 meters. Wagner also volunteered a great amount of her time to work with students with disabilities. "As the head cross country coach and special education social worker, I am able to rely on Keely's consistent hard work, positive attitude and encouraging leadership qualifies,'' Rural cross country coach Matt Swedlund said. Wagner will run track and cross country at Washburn University.  

AUBREY ZIMMERMAN | Topeka High

PARENTS: Kerry and Kari Zimmerman

SPORT: Volleyball | GPA: 4.4

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FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

ELISEO BARRENO | Highland Park

PARENTS: Ruben and Yohanna Barreno

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.36

Barreno was a standout player for Highland Park's boys soccer team while also establishing himself as a team leader. "Eliseo has always been a hard worker, both on and off the soccer field,'' Highland Park soccer coach Colin Moriarty said. "He is one who leads by example. He seeks excellence in all that he does. He always wanted to know how he was doing and what he could improve on. From a coach's perspective, you couldn't ask for more from a true student-athlete.'' Barreno plans to attend Wichita State University.

ETHAN HENSYEL | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: Brian and Sherri Hensyel

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.31

Hensyel scored 23 goals as a senior last fall (second most in Washburn Rural history) and led the Junior Blues with 12 assists, earning first-team All-City, All-Centennial League and All-State (Class 6A) honors and being named the Centennial League player of the year as Rural posted a fourth-place state finish. "Ethan made more improvements as a player from his freshman year to his senior year than any player I've ever coached,'' Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "He was a good player, but no one expected the leap he made his senior year.'' Hensyel will play collegiate soccer at Baker University. 

ROBBIE KEYS | Cair Paravel Latin

PARENTS: Robert and Bev Keys

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.98

Keys was the leading scorer for Cair Paravel in the Lions' first season as a full Kansas State High School Activities Associaiton member, earning All-City honorable mention. "Robbie is the type of leader that every coach desires to have on their team and lead their team,'' Cair Paravel soccer coach Doug Woolery said. "He not only was one of the hardest working players, but also led by example both on and off the field. I felt comfortable playing him in any position, knowing he would give his best effort no matter what. Keys was voted team captain as a junior and senior. He will attend John Brown University.

JULIEN MEHRENS | Topeka West

PARENTS: Andre and Allison Mehrens

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.29

Mehrens was a standout wide receiver as a senior in West's abbreviated 2020 season, catching 18 passes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Julien has displayed the characteristics and work ethic that we strive for our student-athletes at Topeka West to show,'' Charger football coach Ryan Kelly said. "Julien is an incredible teammate, has a contagious personality and leads both vocally and by example. He is an excellent young man and a joy to be around.''  Mehrens was also a member of West's basketball team that finished second in the Class 5A state tournament. He will attend Washburn University.

JERON POTEETE | Seaman

DESMOND PURNELL | Hayden

PARENT: Etoi Purnell 

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.32

Purnell was a four-year varsity letterman in football and also played basketball and baseball during his high school career. Purnell was a two-time All-City Top 11 selection and earned All-Class 3A honors as a senior while being named the Wildcats' Most Valuable Player and selected to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl. "Desmond Purnell is a natural athlete with a team-oriented attitude that makes everyone around him better,'' Hayden football coach Bill Arnold said. "He's not only an outstanding athlete, but an even better person with a good heart.'' Purnell will play his college football at Kansas State.

BO REEVES | Rossville

PARENTS: Todd and Karol Reeves

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.8

A four-year starter who played wide receiver and defensive back and kicked, Reeves helped lead the Bulldawgs to the Class 2A state championship last fall. Reeves was an All-2A selection and was also picked to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl. "Bo had a tremendous presence on the football field as Rossville claimed its fourth state championship in the last seven years,'' Rossville coach Derick Hammes said. "In the hallways of Rossville High School, Bo is known for being polite, outgoing and respected by his peers and staff.'' Also a standout baseball player, Reeves will play his college football at Central Missouri. 

ADDISON SIGG | Topeka High

PARENTS: Chad Sigg and Michelle Criqui

SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.90

Sigg was a Class 6A state qualifier his senior cross country season and was a two-time All-City selection. "Addison trained religiously through the summer and the cross country season,'' Topeka High cross country coach Ken Bennett said. "He made the new people on the team feel like they were included. Addison worked hard to be the best in practice and in the meets. (He) was consistent in maintaining the No. 1 spot on the guys team for four years.'' Sigg also played for Topeka High's baseball team and plans to play college baseball at Highland Community College.

HUNTER WOHLER | Shawnee Heights

WINTER SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

RHEN CALHOON | Hayden

PARENTS: Brian and Stacey Calhoon.

SPORT: Basketball. GPA | 4.02

Calhoon, a four-sport athlete, averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds as a senior for Hayden's basketball team, earning second-team All-City honors. "Rhen represented Hayden well this year as she came on strong,'' Hayden girls basketball coach Carvel Reynoldson said. "She turned into our go-to player down the stretch and played very tough basketball.'' Calhoon was also a state medalist in tennis and played soccer and participated in track and field in the spring. Calhoon plans to attend Barton County Community College in the fall and play tennis for the Cougars have placing ??? in singles for the Wildcats her senior season.

ISABELLA CARTER | Highland Park

PARENTS: Tim and Ambroja Watson

SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.0.

As a senior, Carter helped provide exceptional leadership as Highland Park's basketball team fought severe numbers issues in a winless season. "Isabella showed up and helped lead the team through a difficult season,'' Highland Park coach Sanetra Jackson said. "She faced adversity the last two years but fought through the season.'' Carter was a four-year letter-winner for the Scots in basketball while also playing volleyball and soccer. Carter plans to attend Hesston Community College next school year and will play soccer.

ADINA DAVIS | Topeka West 

RAIGAN KRAMER | Seaman

LILLY SMITH | Topeka High

PARENTS: Darold Smith and Harmony Burgess

SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.4

One of the area's top 3-point shooters, Smith was a standout for Topeka High's basketball team the past three seasons, helping lead the Trojans to three straight Class 6A state tournament berths, including two state runner-up finishes and a semifinal berth in 2020 before the state tourney was canceled due to COVID-19. "Lilly has learned a lot about herself through sports,'' Topeka High girls basketball coach Hannah Alexander said. "When you meet Lilly she seems shy and quiet, but you meet Lilly on the basketball court she is a pit bull.'' Smith will play collegiately at Spoon River Community College. 

REBEKAH SMITH | Washburn Rural

PARENT: Duke Smith

SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 3.30

Smith posted a third-place finish in the Division I state wrestling tournament as a junior (170 pounds) and earned the 155-pound state championship as a senior, helping Washburn Rural capture the team championship both seasons. Smith posted a 45-3 career record, winning two Centennial League championships and earning All-City honors as a junior and senior. "Rebekah Smith is the definition of excellence at Washburn Rural,'' Junior Blues girls wrestling coach Damon Parker said. "In 2021 she was the most dominant wrestler in her weight class in the state. Rebekah has set the bar that all other Shawnee County wrestlers will be reaching towards for years to come.''

KATELYN THOMAS | Shawnee Heights

WINTER SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

DJ BIRKENBAUGH | Seaman

JONATHAN EGLY | Shawnee Heights

PARRENTS: Jeremy and Tiffany Egly

SPORT: Bowling | GPA: 3.7

ZACH PHILLIPS | Topeka West

PARENT: Margaret Geiken

SPORT: Bowling | GPA: 3.22

Phillips bowled two perfect 300 games as a junior, the first in school history, and he earned second-team All-City honors as a junior and was a first-team All-City pick as a senior. "Zach expects to be successful and works hard to make that success happen,'' Topeka West bowling coach Mike Thompson said. "In addition to high school and league bowling, Zach spends additional time every day to work on bowling. Zach is also a team leader and views team success as more important that individual success.'' Phillips plans to bowl collegiately at Peru State (Neb.) University.

CLAYTON STEPHENSON | Hayden

PARENTS: Bryan and Jessica Bogren

SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 3.90

Stephenson finished sixth in the Class 4A state tournament, the first Hayden wrestler in 21 years to win a state wrestling medal. Stephenson was a Centennial League and district champion, posting a 35-8 record on the year. "He is honest, caring, competitive, friendly, humble and has a spirit of fortitude,'' Hayden wrestling coach Bryan Bogren said. "Clayton is one of the most devoted athletes I have had the opportunity to coach and he exhibits the leadership traits needed to move a program to the next level.'' Stephenson received All-City honorable mention in football. He plans to wrestle and participate in trap shooting at Pratt Community College.

REMINGTON STILES | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: Kenneth Stiles and Jeanette Spurgin

SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 4.21

Stiles finished fifth in the Class 6A state tournament at 182 pounds, was a Centennial League champion and a two-time first-team All-City selection. "Over the course of his high school career, Remington went from low-level junior varsity wrestler as a freshman to spot-duty varsity wrestler as a sophomore, state qualifier as a junior and state medalist as a senior,'' Washburn Rural wrestling coach Damon Parker said. "Without his dedication to self-improvement and leadership in the wrestling room, Washburn Rural's first state wrestling team title would not have been possible.'' Stiles has been accepted to the United States Air Force Academy.

SPRING SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

OLIVIA BRUNO | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: 

ALYSSA CARLSON | Cair Paravel Latin

ZOE CARYL | Topeka High

RILEY COWAN | Seaman

ELLINGTON HOGLE | Silver Lake

MYKALA JOHNICO | Shawnee Heights

AUDREY KUTA | Hayden

GRACIA RABE | Rossville

ELLA TETER | Topeka West

SPRING SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

LUKAS BRENNAN | Topeka High

AZARION PERKINS | Highland Park

CONNOR PRUYSER | Silver Lake

MARQUEL RUSSELL | Washburn Rural

ALEX SHERER | Rossville

SKYLER SPECHT | Hayden

TRISTON SPEAKER | Topeka West

ETHAN ROTTINGHAUS | Shawnee Heights

CADIN WORCESTER | Seaman

MOST INSPIRATIONAL: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

JAHNASIA ANDERSON | Seaman

JANEYSHA HENDRICKS | Topeka High

PARENTS: Antwaun and Nicole Jones

SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.4

The Trojans' point guard, Hendricks helped Topeka High post a pair of second-place finishes in the Class 6A basketball tournament as well as a semifinal berth in 2020 before the state tournament was canceled. "She is a true leader on and off the floor,'' Topeka High coach Hannah Alexander said. "She leads by example and is an amazing floor leader. Her stats are usually overlooked, but this girl makes everyone around her better. She has a knack for making passes that do not look like they should be there or be open.'' Hendricks, who averaged 4.5 assists her senior season, plans to attend Tabor College and play basketball for the Bluejays.

ABBEY MANZANARES | Shawnee Heights

KELLY MERCER | Washburn Rural

CALLIE MOORE | Hayden

MOST INSPIRATIONAL: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

DAWSON ADAMS | Hayden

PARENTS: Ryan and Melissa Adams

SPORT: Cross country and track and field | GPA: 3.46

A two-time All-City pick in cross country, Adams was a Class 4A state placer in both cross country and track field. "Without Dawson we don't accomplish what we did as a boys team this season,'' Hayden cross country and track coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "Dawson would be the first one to practice and the last to leave. Dawson would always be there for everybody to cheer them on and made sure everybody had a positive mindset no matter if it was practice or meet. Many of our newcomers would look up to Dawson and would ask him about race strategy, motivation or anything related.'' Adams plans to run in college at the University of Saint Mary's. 

KAIDEN BROWN | Rossville

AIDAN HICKS | Shawnee Heights

JACK HUTCHINSON | Washburn Rural

NAZIM PHILLIPS | Topeka High

NATHAN ZEFERJAHN | Seaman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goehring, Beckler teaming up to host youth golf clinics

Rick Peterson

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

National NCAA Division II player of the year Andrew Beckler and his high school coach, Jared Goehring of Washburn Rural, will host a series of golf clinics at Pure Golf Topeka for young players.

Clinics for boys and girls 12 and under will begin on Thursday, June 17, with clinics also set for June 24 and July 8, running from 6 to 7:15 p.m. each night.

E3npmOsX0AUWYkjWashburn Rural golf coach Jared Goehring and NCAA Division II player of the year Andrew Beckler, a former Junior Blues state champ, will host a series of clinics for young golfers this summer at Pure Golf Topeka. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

AndrewBeckleraction 2National player of the year Andrew Beckler will team with his high school coach, Jared Goehring, to hold a series of summer clinics for young golfers. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

All three clinics will be held at Pure Golf Topeka, located at 7523 SW 21st Street, and sponsored by Pure Golf Topeka and Topeka Junior Golf.

The cost for attending a clinic is $40 or $100 to participate in all three clinics.

A pair of clinics for boys and girls aged 13 and over will follow on July 15 and 22 from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at Pure Golf Topeka.

The clinics will focus on the fundamentals of golf, including short game, full swing, vocabulary and rules/etiquette of the game.

Players can register for the clinics at https://goehringgolfclinics.weebly.com/ or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Beckler, who was recently named the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award as the NCAA Division II player of the year, won Class 6A team and individual state championships under Goehring at Washburn Rural.

Goehring, who also runs the Topeka Junior Golf program, has coached Rural to a total of five state team championships and has coached individual boys and girls champs.

High's Smith commits to Cloud County, set to play in KC All-Star tilt

Rick Peterson

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

It's been a good week for recent Topeka High graduate Jalen Smith.

Smith, who was named to TopSports.news' second-team All-Shawnee County boys basketball team as a senior, made an oral commitment Wednesday to play next season at Cloud County Community College and he has also been selected to play in a Kansas City-area all-star game on Saturday.

JalenSmithJalen Smith

Smith is scheduled to take part in the Cascade Sports Wave Of The Future Kansas City Metro Black Lives Matter Classic at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lee's Summit North High School in Lee's Summit, Mo.

Smith averaged 15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.6 steals as a senior.

Smith will play in the Class of 2021 game while all-star contests are also on tap for the class of '25 (11 a.m.), class of '24 (12 p.m.), class of '23 (1 p.m.) and class of '22 (2 p.m.).  

Former Topeka High coach Eric King, who coached Smith as a junior and senior, will serve as a coach in the Classic.