By RICK PETERSON
Remington Stiles, who helped lead Washburn Rural to its first-ever Class 6A state wrestling championship in 2021, was honored as TopSports.news' Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday at the Maner Conference Center.
Stiles finished fifth in 6A state at 182 pounds as a senior, 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,'' former Washburn Rural boys 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 is attending the United States Air Force Academy.
Other Winter Male nominees:
DJ BIRKENBAUGH | Seaman
PARENTS: Richard and Rebecca Birkenbaugh
SPORT: Bowling | GPA: NA
Birkenbaugh participated in bowling, football and baseball at Seaman. "I really believe bowling is DJ's best sport,'' Viking bowling coach Bob Benoit said. "He has excellent form, ball roll and an unbelievable release. DJ has one of the most powerful strike balls you will ever see. DJ is also a great leader and teammate. When the younger bowlers were struggling he was always there for them.'' As a sophomore Birkenbaugh was a member of Seaman's state championship team and he bowled in the state tournament all four years of his high school career, heling the Vikings post a third-place team finish this past season.''
JONATHAN EGLY | Shawnee Heights
PARENTS: Jeremy and Tiffany Egly
SPORT: Bowling | GPA: 3.7
Egly was a standout bowler for Shawnee Heights, recording a high three-game series of 590, a high game of 222.and seven 200 games on the year. "Jonathan is a competitor beyond words,'' Heights coach Scott Mercer said. "He continues to strive in the face of adversity every time he steps on the lanes. In his four years of bowling he quickly became a favorite with his teammates and his competitors. Jonathan is determined and motivates those around him. He is well known for pushing his teammates to be better and give 110 percent. Jonathan has been a pleasure to coach.''
ZACH PHILLIPS | Topeka West
PARENTS: Margaret Geiken and Sean Phillips
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.