Editor's note: Over the next few days, TopSports.news will take a look at all of the nominees for the 2022 Topeka Shawnee County High School Sports Awards. All nominees will be recognized at the June 22 awards banquet, which will be held in conjunction with the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame induction at Washburn University's Memorial Union.


Alejos 002Tylan Alejos

TYLAN ALEJOS | Topeka High

PARENTS: Evan and Tia Alejos 

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.10

 A 5-foot-9, 190-pound running back/defensive back, Alejos was an All-Shawnee County Top 22 and  All-Centennial League first-team selection after rushing for 1,327 yards on 202 carries and scoring 18 total touchdowns lat fall. Defensively Alejos recorded 40 tackles (16 solo) and had a pass interception. Alejos rushed for 400 yards and scored eight touchdowns in a Centennial League victory over Highland Park. Alejos will play his college football at the University of Kansas after accepting a preferred walk-on offer from the Jayhawks.

Birdwhistle Bush JaqSon 002Jaq'Son Birdwhistle-Bush


PARENTS Dr. Christopher and AliShia Bush 

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.415

 "Jaq'Son has been an excellent example of character, leadership and work ethic as a student-athlete at Topeka West,'' said Ryan Kelley, who coached Birdwhistle-Bush at West. "In four years of being his football coach, Jaq'Son never missed a workout or practice, summer or fall. Even through tough times where the program struggled to experience success in terms of wins and losses Jaq'Son remained positive and worked hard every day. We at Topeka West are extremely proud of Jaq'son.'' Birdwhistle-Bush caught 12 passes for149 yards and a touchdown as a senior. Birdwhistle-Bush will attend Kansas State University.

CarterBrianmugCarter Brian 

CARTER BRIAN | Cair Paravel Latin

PARENTS: Tom and Susan Brian

SPORT: Football | GPA: 4.27

Brian was the Lions' quarterback as a junior and senior, leading Cair Paravel to a perfect season and the Kansas Christian Athletic Association state title last fall. "He is a determined individual who is not afraid of difficult possibilities and that effort created the building blocks for a very successful senior season,'' Cair Paravel coach Doug Bonura said. "Carter's leadership at the quarterback position helped secure his team's undefeated season. Brian earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County honors, throwing for 2,515 yards and 51 touchdowns. Brian plans to play football at Ohio Northern University. 

 TorreyHorak 1Torrey Horak

TORREY HORAK | Rossville

PARENTS: Terry and Wendi Horak

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.8

A quarterback and defensive back, Horak was a four-year starter and two-time state champion for the Bulldawgs, helping lead Rossville to 13-0 records and Class 2A state titles as a junior and senior. Horak was the TopSports.news Shawnee County co-offensive player of the year as a senior after completing 85 of 132 pass attempts for 1,337 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushing for 1,008 yards and 14 TDs on 102 attempts despite missing time with a shoulder injury. "Torrey will go down as an all-time great performer in is a rich football history at Rossville,'' Bulldawg football coach Derick Hammes said. "However, Torrey's personal attributes may outshine his onfield accomplishments. Torrey has displayed an uncanny maturity throughout his career.'' Horak has signed a football letter with Central Missouri. 

JaceMooremug 2Jace Moore


PARENTS: Russ and Jana Moore

SPORT: Cross country | GPA: NA

"Jace led our cross country team in every competition of his senior year,'' Seaman coach Luke Wiens said. "Jace is a fiery and passionate leader and an intense competitor who chose to compete in our sports (cross country and track) despite having the skills and athleticism to contribute in a variety of other sports.'' Moore was an All-Shawnee County pick in cross country last fall and was the Centennial League champion in the 3,200 meters in track as a senior. Moore plans to compete in track and cross county for Washburn University.

TannerNewkirkmugTanner Newkirk


PARENTS: Kevin and Nealy Newkirk

SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.84

Newkirk was a four-time state medalist in Class 4A cross country for the Wildcats, including top-three finishes his final three seasons. Newkirk finished second in 4A as a sophomore, won the state title as a junior and finished third individually his senior season. A two-time city champ in cross country, Newkirk also won three state championships and set two Class 4A state meet records as a senior in track and field. Newkirk will run track and cross country at the University of Kansas. "Tanner Newkirk is a one of a kind athlete,'' Hayden cross country and track coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "What makes Tanner so special is his ability to want to get better. Tanner is always trying to find a way to get better at some thing and is never satisfied.''

JarinSandersJarin Sanders

JARIN SANDERS | Shawnee Heights

PARENTS: Robbie and Courtney Sanders

SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.7

Sanders was a star running back for the T-Birds as a senior, cracking Shawnee Heights' top five in several rushing categories. Sanders ran for 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and also caught 31 passes for 240 yards and four TDs. Sanders carried the ball more than 30 times in big wins over De Soto and Blue Valley Southwest. Sanders was a team captain and earned first-team All-Shawnee County and United Kansas Conference honors. Sanders was also a two-year starter at point guard for Shawnee Heights' basketball team, earning All-United Kansas Conference honorable mention. 

Porter 002Porter Schafersman


PARENTS: Scott and Autumn Schafersman

SPORT: Soccer| GPA: 3.53

Schafersman helped lead Washburn Rural to a second-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament, scoring 23 goals on the season, which tied for second in school history, en route to earning first-team All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A recognition. Schafersman, who also had 13 assists, was the Centennial League player of the year and the 6A forward of the year. "Porter had one of the best individual seasons in Washburn Rural soccer history, which was instrumental in one of the best seasons in school history,'' Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. Schafersman registered five three-goal hat tricks as a senior, all in Centennial League play, as the Junior Blues recorded just their second-ever undefeated regular season. 

Next up: Winter Sports: Outstanding Female Nominees. 

Alejos Action Shot 002Recent Topeka High graduate Tylan Alejos is a candidate for the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year. [Submitted photo] 

 CarterBrian1Cair Paravel Latin product Carter Brian (right) quarterbacked the Lions to a perfect season last fall, including 51 touchdown passes.[File photo/TSN]

HorakFormer Rossville star Torrey Horak helped lead the Bulldawgs to back to back undefeated Class 2A state football championships. [File photo/TSN]

TannerNewkirkXCHayden product Tanner Newkirk, who posted three straight top-three finishes in the Class 4A state cross country meet, is a nominee for the Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year. [File photo/TSN] 

 Porter Action Shot 002Porter Schafersman (23) was named the Centennial League soccer player of the year in 2021 after helping lead Washburn Rural to a runner-up finish in Class 6A. [Photo by Keith Kreeger]

 JaceMooretrack 2Seaman grad Jace Moore is a nominee for the Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year after a standout senior season in cross country for the Vikings. [Submitted]

 HeightsfootballTurner3 1Recent Shawnee Heights graduate Jarin Sanders (4) is a nominee for the Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year. [File photo/TSN]