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Rural All-American Halsey takes top spot on men's soccer Top 25

 By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

An All-American at Washburn Rural who went on to turn in an outstanding career at Baker University on the field and in the classroom, Austin Halsey garnered the No. 1 spot in on the TopSports.News Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25 for men's soccer.

Halsey finished his high school career as the most prolific goal scorer in Washburn Rural history, including 30 goals as a senior when he led the Junior Blues to a runner-up finish in the 2014 Class 6A state tournament.

Halsey, who finished with 57 career goals from '11-14, was the Gatorade Kansas Soccer Player of the Year as a senior and was selected to play in the High School All-American game.

 AustinHalseyAustin Halsey [BakerWildcats.com]

Halsey went on to play 83 career games for Baker, including the NAIA National Tournament, and was named the 2018 Champions of Character Award after earning multiple Academic All-America awards.

Former Hayden state champ Connor Beck, who scored 32 goals in his senior season and four in the 2012 state championship game, sits No. 2 on the Best of the Best list while young phenom Nati Clarke, one of the nation's top prospects, earned the third spot and Rural's Joah Hickel and Ross Boyd round out the top five.

Ross BoydRoss Boyd [FHSU Athletics]

Boyd ran away with the Readers Choice Award by more than 100 votes while Clark finished second and 2021 Washburn Rural graduate Ethan Hensyel third.  

Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS

1. Austin Halsey (Washburn Rural)  -- An All-American as a senior, Halsey ended his high school career as Washburn Rural's career leader in goals scored (57) and single-season goals (30) and is tied for third for single-season assists (16). Halsey was a member of the Junior Blues' 6A state championship team in '12 and led Rural to a second-place team finish in '14 before going on to play at Baker.

2. Connor Beck (Hayden) -- Beck scored 32 goals and recorded 15 assists as a senior for Hayden, leading the Wildcats to the 2012 4A-1A state championship. Beck scored four goals in the '14 championship game, a 5-1 win over Tongnoxie, and received All-City and All-Centennial League honors.

3. Nati Clarke (Seaman)  -- A student at Seaman, Clark has not played high school soccer, but is ranked the No. 1 prospect in the United States by multiple scouting services.

4. Joah Hickel (Washburn Rural)  -- Hickel ranks No. 3 on Rural's all-time list for career goals (42) and No. 4 in career assists (29) while earning All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A recognition. Hickel was a member of Rural's 6A state championship team in '12 and helped lead the Junior Blues to a second-place team finish in '14.

5. Ross Boyd (Washburn Rural) -- Boyd ranks No. 1 on Rural's career assist chart (46) and No. 2 in single-season assists (17). Boyd was a two-time All-Stater and was named the Centennial League player of the year as a senior '16 before going on to play at Fort Hays State. 

6. Nick Golden (Washburn Rural) -- Golden ranks No. 8 on Rural's career assist list (25) and helpeed lead the Junior Blues to the 6A state championship as a senior in 2009, earning All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A honors.. 

7. Jacob Keck (Hayden) -- A two-time All-City pick, Keck scored 19 goals and had 15 assists for the Wildcats' 4A-1A state championship team in 2013. Keck went on to play his college soccer for Valparaiso.

8. Austin Jackson (Washburn Rural) -- Jackson was a star defender for Washburn Rural's 2009 6A state championship team that posted a 20-1 record and allowed just seven goals on the year. Jackson received All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A honors for a Rural team that was ranked No. 11 nationally.

9. Spenser Scott (Washburn Rural) -- Scott ranks No. 1 at Washburn Rural for career shutouts in goal with 38 from 2004-'07 and tied for the top spot in single-season shutouts with 15.

10. Erick Rivera (Seaman) -- Rivera helped lead Seaman to a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 5A state tournament and scored 24 goals and dished out 14 assists as a senior, earning All-City, All-Centennial League and All-5A honors.

11. Cody Scheck (Seaman) -- A three-time All-City defender, Scheck also received All-Centennial League and All-5A recognition, helping lead the Vikings to a pair of fourth-place finishes in the 5A state tournament.

12. Anthony Schmiedeler (Washburn Rural) -- Schmiedeler is tied for the No. 6 spot on Washburn Rural's career assists list (27) and was a part of the Junior Blues' 2009 6A state championship team.

13. Adam Sokolowski (Washburn Rural) -- Sokolowski ranks No. 2 at Washburn Rural for career shutouts in goal (35) and tied for fourth on the single-season list (13). Sokolowski was part of Rural's 2002 6A state championship team. 

14. Alec Van Nort (Shawnee Heights) -- A star goalkeeper for Shawnee Heights, Van Nort was a three-time All-City selection and also earned All-Centennial League and All-5A recognition.

15. Walker Waugh (Topeka High) -- Waugh helped lead Topeka High to the 6A state championship in 1997, with the Trojans the first city school to win a boys state title.

16. Ethan Armbruster (Shawnee Heights) -- Armbruster was named the United Kansas Conference player of the year after leading the T-Birds to the league championship and a fourth-place finish in the 5A state tournament. Armbruster also received All-City and All-5A recognition.

17. Andy Vogel (Topeka High) -- Vogel was a key player for Topeka High's team that captured the 6A state title in 1997. It was the first boys state championship by a city school in city history. 

18. Brayden White (Washburn Rural) -- White ranks No. 4 on Washburn Rural's career list for goals scored (41) and is No. 5 in career assists (28). White went on to play basketball at Kansas Wesleyan University.

19. T.Y. Burton (Washburn Rural) -- Burton was part of Washburn Rural's 6A state championship team in 2012 and the Rural team that finished second at state in '14. Burton was a two-time All-City pick.

20. Levi Brunton (Washburn Rural) -- An All-City selection, Brunton was a defensive stalwart for Washburn Rural's 2009 6A state championship team that allowed just seven goals all season.

21. Carlos Escalante (Topeka High) -- Escalante was a standout for the 1997 Topeka High team that captured the 6A state championship. The Trojans were the first city boys team to win a state crown.

22. Tanner Speake (Washburn Rural) -- Speake was sidelined by injury his senior season, but was a standout for the Junior Blues in his first three high school seasons. Went on to attend Benedictine College..

23. Ian Haag (Topeka High) -- Haag was a top player for Topeka High teams that were city and I-70 League powers in the 1990s.

24. Ethan Hensyel (Washburn Rural) -- Hensyel was named the Centennial League player of the year in 2020 and was a first-team All-City and All-6A honoree. Hensyel is tied for fifth on Rural's career goals list (35) and No. 2 for single-season goals (23).

25. Johnny Jasso (Shawnee Heights)  -- Jasso helped lead Shawnee Heights to a fourth-place finish in the 5A state tournament in 2019 and a third-place finish in '20. Jasso was a first-team All-UKC selection in '20.

READERS CHOICE AWARDS

1. Ross Boyd -- No. 5 in TSN Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

2. Nati Clarke -- No. 3 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

3. Ethan Hensyel -- No. 24 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

4. Austin Halsey -- No. 1 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

5. Nick Golden -- No. 6 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

6. (tie) Adam Sokolowski -- No. 13 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

6  (tie) Johnny Jasso -- No. 25 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

8. Anthony Schmiedeler -- No. 12 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

9. (tie) Ethan Armbruster -- No. 16 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

9. (tie) Brayden White -- No. 18 in Best of the Best Top 25 (see capsule above).

Next up: Softball Top 25 Best of the Best and Readers Choice Awards.