Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


At some point in the past there may have been a better overall year for Shawnee County girls high school sports than 2022.

Then again, maybe not.

County schools captured state team championships in five different sports in three different classifications while county athletes combined to win 10 individual state titles.

That depth of talent made it nearly impossible to narrow down TopSports.news' list of the top Shawnee County girls stories to just 10, and even harder to decide which accomplishments deserve to be at the top of the list, but here goes.

THighjubeTop10Topeka High's softball team celebrates its 2022 Class 6A state title after a 2-1 win over city rival Washburn Rural. [File photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]

1. CHAMPIONSHIP RE-RUN -- After posting a perfect 25-0 record and winning the school's first state softball title in 2021, Topeka High had a tougher path to a second straight Class 6A championship in 2022, but Stanford signee NiJaree Canady and the Trojans got the job done, taking a nail-biting 2-1 win over Washburn Rural in an all-city final to cap a 22-3 season. Canady ended her high school career with a second straight Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year award while then-senior Elycia Joyce and then-juniors Adisyn Caryl and Alesia Alvarez earned All-6A first-team honors.

WRuralVBjubeTop10Washburn Rural's volleyball team dogpiles on the court after winning the 2022 Class 6A state title, the eighth in school history. [Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/Action Images Photography]

2. BUMP, SET, DOMINATE -- Perennial state volleyball power Washburn Rural was 1-1 two matches into the 2022 season before going on a 44-match tear to win its eighth Class 6A title under Kevin Bordewick, capped by a 25-21, 26-24 win over Blue Valley. Bordewick surpassed the 1,000-victory mark for his career during the season while Junior Blue star Brooklyn DeLeye, a multi-time Class 6A player of the year and Kentucky signee, went over the 2,000 mark for career kills.

KadenceJeffriesTop10Former Topeka West swimming star Kadence Jeffries finished her high school career six for six at state in her individual events. [File photo/TSN]

3. STREAK COMPLETE -- Topeka West swimming star Kadence Jefferies kept her incredible streak intact of never losing an individual race in the Class 5A-1A state meet. Jeffries swept the 200 and 500-yard freestyle state titles as a freshman in 2019. Then, after the '20 season was canceled due to COVID-19 Jeffries swept the same two events in '21 and '22, winning the 200 as a senior in 1 minutes, 53.29 seconds and the 500 in 5:03.66. Jeffries is now swimming for NCAA Division I Nebraska Omaha. Joining Jeffries as a 5A-1A state champion was Seaman sophomore Avery Walz, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.03, helping the Vikings finish fourth in 5A-1A as a team.

RuralBBTop10Washburn Rural poses for a team picture after winning the Class 6A basketball title last March in Wichita. [Submitted photo]

4. SAME SONG, DIFFERENT VERSE --  Washburn Rural set the table for this fall's Class 6A volleyball championship with a run to the 6A basketball title last spring. The Junior Blues went 23-2 on the season, capped by a dominating 40-23 win over Derby in the state final. Brooklyn DeLeye, Zoe Canfield, Jada Ingram, Chloe Carlgren and Destiny Ochs were members of both the basketball and volleyball championship teams, along with coach Kevin Bordewick, who won his 10th 6A title as a head coach (eight volleyball, two basketball). Bordewick was also a part of three state championship teams in basketball as an assistant to Bill Annan. 

HaydengirlstennisTop10Hayden's girls tennis team poses for a team picture after sweeping the singles, doubles and team championships in the Class 4A state tournament this past fall at Harmon Park. [Photo by Brent Maycock/KSHSAA Covered]

5. SWEET SWEEP -- Hayden's girls tennis team turned in a rare sweep in the 2022 Class 4A state tournament at Harmon Park, earning the singles, doubles and team championships in a dominating weekend. Sophomore Ainzley Zulueta won her second straight state singles title while junior Lauren Sandstrom and sophomore Emily Sheetz won the doubles championship as coach Christy Sheetz's Wildcats captured the team title by a 40-31 margin over Independence. All six Hayden team members earned state medals to contribute to the team crown.

MakenzieMillardTop10Former Seaman bowling star Makenzie Millard reacts after throwing a strike in the 2022 Class 5A-1A state bowling tournament. Millard finished second individually to lead the Vikings to the team championship. [Photo by Selena Favela/Special to TSN]

6. FOLLOWING THE LEADER -- After watching their teammates win the Class 5A-1A boys state championship in the morning session last March in Wichita, Seaman's girls bowling team made it a Viking sweep of the state titles with a 3,173-3,144 victory over Bishop Carroll. Senior Makenzie Millard led the way with a runner-up individual finish (697 series) while Cheyenne Turkin also earned a state medal for the champs, finishing 14th (590).

HurlaTop10Rossville's Kendra Hurla won her second straight Class 4A-1A 120-pound wrestling title last February, capping an undefeated season. [Submitted photo]

MarandaBellTop10Former Shawnee Heights star Maranda Bell (right) won the Class 6A-5A state title at 191 pounds in the 2022 state tournament. [Submitted photo]

7. REPEAT FEAT -- Rossville 120-pounder Kendra Hurla won her second straight Class 4A-1A state championship at Hays, capping a perfect season. Hurla's repeat led another banner weekend for Shawnee County wrestlers in Year 3 of girls state wrestling in Kansas. Shawnee Heights' Maranda Bell capped her high school career with the 5A-1A state title at Wichita while Washburn Rural finished a strong second in the 6A-5A team standings after winning the previous two team titles. Damon Parker's Junior Blues finished second to Dodge City by a 118.5-111 margin as state finalist Addison Broxterman and third-place Alexis Fredrickson led the way. 

BethanyDruseTop10Seaman's Bethany Druse won the Class 5A 800 meters last May at Wichita State. [File photo/TSN]

BriarGillumTop10Rossville senior Briar Gillum won the Class 3A 2022 state championship in the girls discus event and finished second in the shot put. [Twitter]

8. ON THE FAST TRACK TO TITLES -- The Shawnee County trio of Highland Park's Victoria Reed, Seaman's Bethany Druse and Rossville's Briar Gillum won state track and field titles last May at Wichita State while another three posted individual runner-up finishes and Shawnee Heights posted a second-place relay finish. Reed won the Class 5A 400-meter dash in 58.04 seconds while Druse won the 5A 800 (2:19.00) and Gillum won the 3A discus (135 feet, 11 inches). Gillum also finished second in the 3A shot put while Heights' Ta'Mijha Nichols was second in the 5A 100, Heights' Taylor Rottinghaus second to Reed in the 400 and the T-Bird foursome Nichols, Rottinghaus and then-seniors Hailey Anderson and Haley Haltom finished second in the 4 x 100-meter relay.

BelleKennedyTop10Former Washburn Rural star Belle Kennedy, the two-time Class 6A midfielder of the year, helped lead the Junior Blues to a second-place finish in 6A last spring. [File photo/TSN] 

9. KNOCKING AT THE DOOR -- Perennial Class 6A soccer contender Washburn Rural (17-3-1) advanced to the state championship game before dropping a 2-0 decision to five-time defending state champ Blue Valley West. Rural played in the state final for the third time since 2018, finishing second in Blue Valley West all three times. Then-senior Belle Kennedy, now at Washburn University, was named the 6A midfielder of the year as a junior and senior. The 2022 season was also a breakout season for Cair Paravel Latin, which made its first appearance in the 4A-1A final four, finishing fourth with a pair of one-goal losses.

EmmersonCopeTop10Washburn Rural senior Emmerson Cope was named the Centennial League player of the year as a junior after leading the Junior Blues to a second-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament. [File photo/TSN]

10. OH SO CLOSE -- A dominant 2022 softball season came up just short of a state title for Washburn Rural. The Junior Blues put together a 23-2 season and won Centennial League and Class 6A regional championships before dropping a 2-1 decision to league and city rival Topeka High in the 6A state title game. Rural put then-seniors Campbell Bagshaw and Mikaila Herring and then-junior Emmerson Cope on the All-6A first team, with Cope also being named the Centennial League player of the year.