By RICK PETERSON
Shawnee County has been a hotbed for outstanding women's volleyball, with county high schools combining for 24 state championships while a long list of local products have gone on to achieve success at the collegiate level.
That makes picking the top player in county history a formidable task.
Shawnee Heights products Jazz Sweet, Megan Cooney and Faith Rottinghaus teamed up to help lead the T-Birds to a Class 5A state championship before Sweet went on to help Nebraska win a NCAA national championship, Cooney made it to the NCAA Final Four for Illninos and Rottinghaus has earned All-MIAA honors for Division II power Washburn.
Another former T-Bird, Dani McHenry, won a pair of state high school titles and was an All-American at Washburn while Heights' Stefine Pease put together a Hall of Fame career at Lipscomb and Erica Cowhick was a standout at Washburn.
Hayden's Addie Barry played in the NCAA Tournament for Kansas and Washburn Rural products Kaylee Manns (Iowa State), Kelsey Chipman (Kansas State), Sandy Werner (Kansas State) and Jayme Gergen (Georgia Tech) also went on to noteworthy Division I collegiate careers, with Manns still active at the professional level.
Rural, which has won seven Class 6A state championships, is well-represented on the list of top candidates to be named the Best of the Best, with former Junior Blues Alexa Bordewick, Kelsey Lewis, Alyssa Carney, Erika Lane, Sarah Vicory and Carly Bachelor and current star Brooklyn DeLeye joining Manns, Chipman and Gergen on the list.
Seaman product Breanna Lewis was an All-American at WU and the late Arica Shepard an All-American for Emporia State while Silver Lake's Alyssa Schultejans and Cair Paravel Latin's Peyton Williams were standouts for Kansas State and Hayden's Amanda Desch a mainstay for Central Oklahoma and Corrinne Stringer playing for Kansas, Pittsburg State and Washburn.
Seaman's Camryn Turner will launch her career at KU this fall after earning city and Centennial League player of the year honors the past two seasons and earning All-5A recognition.
There are 25 candidates listed to pick from at https://linkto.run/p/4XB1UK5F while readers are encouraged to write in the names of their favorites.
Vote as many times as you wish, with the only requirement that eligible candidates must have grown up in Shawnee County or attended one of the county's 10 high schools.
Final selections will be based on reader vote as well as input from TSN contributors and current and past local sports media professionals.
Votes will be accepted through July 31 before TSN publishes our Best of the Best lists in August.
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