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TSN 2021 All-Shawnee County girls tennis team

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TSN names All-Shawnee County girls golf 2021

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Washburn Rural Volleyball 36-0 season

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All-Shawnee County golf: Junior Blues put four players on first team

Rick Peterson

FCk4Z40XMAE9vGk2021 All-Shawnee County girls golf -- From left: Avery Zimmerman, Topeka High; Lois Deeter, Seaman; Avery Scott, Washburn Rural; Kaitlyn Crough, Washburn Rural; McKenna Merrick, Washburn Rural; Aliyah North, Washburn Rural; Kate Roeder, Hayden. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]



Washburn Rural garnered four spots on the All-Shawnee County girls golf team after the Junior Blues swept city, Centennial League and regional team titles before finishing second in last week's Class 6A state tournament.

The Junior Blues are represented by seniors Kaitlyn Crough, McKenna Merrick and Aliyah North and junior Avery Scott, who all earned 6A state medals this fall.

Also earning spots on the seven-member All-Shawnee County first team were Seaman junior Lois Deeter, Hayden senior Kate Roeder and Topeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman.

Deeter claimed the city title and tied for fifth in the 5A state tournament while Roeder finished second in the 4A state meet and Zimmerman qualified for the 6A state tournament as an individual.

Named to the second team were Seaman junior Aspen Burgardt and sophomore Avery Samuelson, Hayden sophomore Avery Grunert and junior Ava Teply, Washburn Rural junior Mallory Nelson and sophomore Raegan Petersen, Shawnee Heights senior Olivia Morgan and Silver Lake freshman Taylor Zordel.

All-County first-team capsules:

KAITLYN CROUGH, Washburn Rural -- Crough capped her high school career with an 11th-place finish in the 6A state tournament, earning the second state medal of her career, as Rural finished second as a team at state after sweeping city, Centennial League and regional titles. A former city champ, Crough was the runner-up in the city and league meets.

LOIS DEETER, Seaman -- A junior, Deeter tied for fifth in the 5A state tournament after winning the city title by five strokes and finishing second in regional competition. Deeter, who also tied for fifth in the state tournament as a freshman, shot an even-par 70 in the city tournament and posted a career-low 66 in the Manhattan Invitational.

McKENNA MERRICK, Washburn Rural -- Merrick, a senior, earned a 6A state medal with a tie for 19th place to help Washburn Rural finish second as a team. Merrick also tied for seventh in the Centennial League tournament as the Junior Blues won the team title.

ALIYAH NORTH, Washburn Rural -- In her first year as a varsity player the Rural senior finished fifth in the 6A state tournament for the runner-up Junior Blues after finishing as the runner-up in regional competition, tying for fourth in the Centennial League and taking third in the city meet as Rural won city, league and regional team titles.

KATE ROEDER, Hayden -- Roeder, a senior, turned in an outstanding performance in the 4A state tournament, posting a second-place individual finish to lead the Wildcats to a third-place team finish. Roeder also tied for seventh place individually in 4A regional competition and she placed seventh in the city tournament.

AVERY SCOTT, Washburn Rural -- A junior, Scott tied for 12th place individually in the 6A tournament, helping Rural finish second as a team after the Junior Blues swept city, Centennial League and regional titles. A two-time state medalist, Scott finished fourth at regionals, third in the Centennial League and tied for fourth in the city tournament.

AVERY ZIMMERMAN, Topeka High -- Zimmerman, a sophomore, qualified for the 6A state tournament as an individual and went on to tie for 33rd place at state. Zimmerman also placed sixth individually in the Centennial League tournament and she tied for eighth in the city tournament. 


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WU's Rose gets memory of a lifetime with 75-yard touchdown ramble

Rick Peterson



Washburn University defensive end Braden Rose isn't likely to make the switch to running back any time soon.

But the 6-foot-1, 255-pound junior did record the Ichabods' second-longest touchdown of the 2021 season last Saturday, scooping up a Central Oklahoma fumble in the closing seconds and rambling 75 yards for Washburn's game-clinching TD in a 29-17 road victory over the Bronchos.

Rose admitted he was out of gas by the time he reached the end zone, but said that was a small price to pay to achieve what he called the biggest moment of his football career. 

"I definitely didn't have a lot left,'' Rose said. "It took everything I had to get the touchdown because obviously I don't do that type of running all the time, but the experience of a lifetime scoring that was what kept me going.

"That's No. 1 for sure. That's definitely a play I'll never forget.''

Ironically, Rose's 75-yard TD with nine seconds remaining came just three minutes after James Letcher Jr. recorded Washburn's longest scoring play of the season on a 90-yard kickoff return as the 6-2 Ichabods rallied from a late 17-16 deficit.

Washburn junior defensive end Braden Rose (right) battles for a loose ball in the Ichabods' 17-16 win over then-No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]Washburn junior defensive end Braden Rose (right) battles for a loose ball in the Ichabods' 17-16 win over then-No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Rose's highlight-reel score was part of another strong performance by the Washburn defense, which has not allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points over its current three-game winning streak.

Going into Saturday's 1 p.m. MIAA home game against 2-6 Northeastern State at Yager Stadium, Rose has registered 22 tackles (16 solos), with 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries.

"It's a great time, just having the camaraderie of our defense as a whole,'' said Rose, also a standout thrower for the Ichabods' track and field team. "I feel like we all get along very well and it's just fun playing with your brothers out there, making plays and getting things done. I love our defense.''

Rose, a former state high school champion in the shot put and javelin, said that the Ichabods used the COVID-canceled 2020 season to get closer as a team, which is paying dividends this fall.

"I think that whole year was just a year to get through it all because obviously we didn't know what was going to happen, we didn't know when we were going to play again,'' Rose said. "But at the same time everyone showed up every day, everyone came back to practice, came back to weights and I definitely think that showed that everyone wants to be here.

"It definitely built that closeness for us.''




Big-time player, big-time plays: Neal's takeaways help key Ichabod wins

Rick Peterson



How big were Kevin Neal Jr.'s defensive takeaways in back-to-back Washburn University wins over then-No. 2-ranked Northwest Missouri and Central Oklahoma?

Big enough that Neal himself isn't sure which play he enjoyed the most.

Neal, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior defensive back, came up with a game-saving interception at the goal line in the Ichabods' 17-16 win over perennial MIAA power Northwest two weeks ago and turned in another huge takeaway in 6-2 Washburn's 29-17 road win at Central Oklahoma last Saturday, preventing a Broncho touchdown when he stripped the ball away from a UCO ball-carrier in the first half.

"To be honest, in both circumstances I was just trying to make a play for the team, do whatever I could to help the team,'' Neal said. "They were both super cool and both big plays in the game obviously, but neither one of them sticks out.

"I was just glad to make the plays for the team.''

KevinNealJrNWKevin Neal Jr. is congratulated by his Washburn teammates after a game-saving interception against Northwest Missouri. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Neal said big defensive plays, particularly the strip against Central Oklahoma, come down to anticipation and a little bit of gambling.

"It was just taking a chance,'' said Neal, a native of Platte City, Mo. "I saw the ball-carrier running with the ball and I could tell that he didn't know I was behind him, so I thought if I could get close enough before he got to the end zone hopefully I could pop it out.

"I saw the ball at the last second so I just took a chance and it worked out.''

Neal, who ranks third on the team with 37 tackles (28 solo), said Ichabod co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Zach Watkins works with Washburn's players on putting themselves in position to get takeaways.

"Coach Watkins does a great job of having us work on different types of situations and drills on how to take the ball away,'' Neal said. "That's something we definitely practice and we've been trying to make big plays and help our offense out for the whole season.

"We've done a pretty good job of it, so that's definitely thanks to coach Watkins and having us do drills and extra work.''

 KevinNeal2Washburn junior defensive back Kevin Neal Jr. makes a game-saving interception in the Ichabods' 17-16 win over Northwest Missouri. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Washburn's defense has been solid most of the season, but has stepped up its game during the Ichabods' current three-game winning streak, with none of WU's last three opponents scoring more than 20 points.

"We have a lot of trust in each other and we've been with each other a long time and played a lot of snaps together,'' said Neal, whose Ichabods will host 2-6 Northeastern State Saturday at Yager Stadium (1 p.m.). "Everything's based on us getting better each week and we try to make sure we don't get too high or too low and just try to get better and I feel that's what we've been doing a great job of.

"It's been pretty good so far, but we know how much better we can still get and we just keep working at practice to get better and better and reach our maximum potential.''