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Canady, Jeffries named TopSports.news Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Topeka High product NiJaree Canady and former Topeka West star Kadence Jeffries, who combined for eight career state titles, were selected as Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University.

NiJaCanadySeaman 1Former Topeka High star NiJaree Canady, who led the Trojans to back-to-back Class 6A state softball titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

KadenceJeffries500Topeka West graduate Kadence Jeffries, who won six Class 5A-1A state swimming titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

Canady has helped lead Topeka High to back-to-back Class 6A state softball championships, the first two state softball titles in school history, while being named the Gatorade Kansas Softball Player of the Year both seasons.

Canady has earned All-City, All-Centennial League and All-State softball honors all three of her high school seasons and also earned All-State honors and played in three state tournaments in basketball, scoring more than 1,000 points, before bypassing her senior season to concentrate on softball.

"Nija is the true definition of a student-athlete,'' Topeka High softball coach Shane Miles said. "Any kid who can further their education at Stanford University is doing something right in the classroom and on the field. When Nija chose Stanford she was not looking at the next four years, but the next 40 years.''

Jeffries will go down in history as one of the greatest high school swimmers in Topeka history, winning six individual Class 5A-1A state championships in as many tries over her three-year career.

Jeffries swept the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events in all three of her state meet appearances, earning first-team All-State honors all three seasons.

"Kadence is always encouraging teammates to try new things as well as help demonstrate skills,'' Topeka West coach Courtney Johnson said. "She is always cheering for people from her team as well as other schools.When Kadence gets medals she goes up to each person on the stand with her and congratulates all her fellow competitors.''

Jeffries plans to swim collegiately at Division I Nebraska-Omaha.

Other candidates:

Bagshaw SR pic 002Campbell Bagshaw

CAMPBELL BAGSHAW | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: Bill and Jenner Bagshaw

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.29

 Campbell has helped lead the Washburn Rural softball team to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 6A state tournament and has also helped the Junior Blues win two state basketball championships. Bagshaw hit .468 this past softball season with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 17 runs batted in and 38 runs scored. "Campbell Bagshaw is the epitome of sports excellence, whether it is on the softball field, basketball court or in the classroom,'' Rural softball coach Liz Stover said. "Campbell is a player that when the game is on the line, not only does her team want her at the plate, but she wants the bat in her hands. Through it all, Campbell has maintained an air of dignity and grace, finishing in the top 10 percent of her graduating class.'' Bagshaw will play college softball at Kansas.

TarynBurkhardtnewmugTaryn Burkhardt

TAYLOR BURKHARDT | Silver Lake

PARENTS: Vince and Nancy Burkhardt

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 3.94

A multi-sport athlete at Silver Lake, Burkhardt was a four-year varsity letter-winner in softball. Burkhardt helped the Eagles post a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 3A state tournament. She has been an All-State selection in 3A and a two-time All-Mid-East selection and a TopSports.news All-Shawnee County first-team honoree as a senior. Burkhardt hit .479 as a senior with six doubles, 28 runs scored and 15 runs batted in. Burkhardt was also a volleyball standout for the Eagles as well as a member of Silver Lake's dance team. Burkhardt plans to play college softball at Johnson County Community College. 

GabbyGracemugGabby Grace

GABBY GRACE | Seaman

PARENTS: John and Lyndsey Grace

SPORT: Swimming | GPA: 3.8

Grace broke Seaman individual school records in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100 backstroke and was part of Viking relay teams that set school records in the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay. She was a three-year All-City and All-Centennial League honoree and a Class 5A-1A All-Stater as a senior after helping the Vikings finish fourth in the team standings. Grace is a multi-sport athlete at Seaman, also earning All-City honors in cross country during her career. Grace plans to swim collegiately at Nebraska-Kearney.

Tatum Hoge Senior 002Tatum Hoge

TATUM HOGE | Shawnee Heights

PARENTS: Justin and Melissa Hoge

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: NA

Hoge was a star goalkeeper for Shawnee Heights, allowing only 15 goals in 17 games as a senior with 104 saves. Hoge earned All-Shawnee County first-team recognition as a junior and senior and was also a first-team All-United Kansas Conference selection. "Tatum was a leader on the field and made save after save throughout the season,'' Shawnee Heights coach Kellen Griffin said. "She always showed up to all team activities and was an excellent example of a student-athlete.'' Hoge plans to play college soccer at Fort Hays State.

DestinyNunezmugDestiny Nunez

DESTINY NUNEZ | Highland Park

PARENT: Miriam Leanos

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.0

Nunez was a standout for the Highland Park girls soccer team as a defender. "Destiny has been a rock-solid player for us on the defense,'' Highland Park coach Colin Moriarty said. "She often is the one communicating and organizing everyone as the game goes along. She's been an excellent leader and supporter for her teammates.'' Nunez received All-City and All-Centennial League honorable mention as a senior. Nunez plans to play college soccer at Hesston College.

VanesaQuinonesmugVanesa Quinones

VANESA QUINONES | Rossville

PARENTS: Jorge and Stacy Hulett Quinones

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.1

Quinones helped lead Rossville to a fourth-place finish in the 2022 Class 3A state tournament, posting a pitching record of 12-2 with a 1.3 earned run average while hitting .487. Quinones received TopSports.news All-Shawnee County and All-Mid-East League first-team recognition and received second-team All-State honors from the Kansas Softball Coaches Association. She was also a cheerleading captain for Rossville and earned All-Mid-East League academic honors. Quinones plans to play college softball at Corban University in Oregon.

 CarlyStukemug 2Carly Stuke

CARLY STUKE | Hayden

PARENT: Jamie Stuke

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.35

Stuke earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial League first-team honors as a senior for Hayden softball. "Carly had another monster season for us,'' Hayden coach Carvel Reynoldson said. "Due to injuries she was forced to play shortstop for us and she played it at an all-star level. She made fantastic plays and also all of the routine plays. She led by example and will be missed greatly by us in the future.'' Stuke batted .482 and had five home runs, seven doubles and five triples. Stuke was also a basketball standout for the Wildcats, earning second-team All-Shawnee County recognition and All-Centennial League honorable mention. Stuke will play softball at Fort Hays State.