Washburn Rural softball star Emmerson Cope and Rossville state champ Brinley Dyche were selected as Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University.

EmmersonCopeHRjube 2Washburn Rural product Emmerson Cope has been named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Female Spring Athlete of the Year. [File photo/TSN] 

BrinleyDycheState1Brinley Dyche, who helped lead Rossville to the Class 3A state softball championship this spring, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Female Spring Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

Cope helped lead Rural to back-to-back runnerup finishes in the Class 6A state tournament as a junior and senior while Dyche helped lead Rossville to the 3A state title, the Bulldawgs' first championship in 23 years.

Cope put together one of the top careers in Washburrn Rural history, helping lead the Junior Blues to three state tournaments in her three high school seasons.

Cope batted .588 over the 2023 season (through regionals) with 15 home runs and 41 runs batted in.

Cope posted a 12-2 record in the pitching circle (through regionals) with a 1.5 earned run average and 142 strikeouts in 88.2 innings.

She was named the Centennial League player of the year as a junior and senior and the Shawnee County player of the year as a senior after sharing that honor as a junior.

Cope set Washburn Rural records for single-season and career home runs and will play college softball at Nebraska.

The daughter of Wayne Cope and Laura Parker, Cope compiled a cumulative grade point average of 4.113.

Dyche picked up all three pitching wins in the 3A state tournament as Rossville captured its its first state championship since 2000.

Dyche received first-team All-3A and All-Shawnee County honors as a senior and received All-Mid-East League recognition all three seasons of her high school career.

"She is a great team leader and has been for a couple years,'' Rossville coach John Nitsch said. "She was part of her team getting two regional then a fourth at state last year and a 3A state title this year.

"Not only does she excel on the softball field she does in anything she is involved in, including her academics. She will really be missed at RHS.'' 

Dyche was 11-3 in 2023 with a 2.386 earned run average.

The daughter of Gid and Kristy Dyche, Brinley compiled a high school grade point average of 4.0.

Other candidates:

AdisynCarylnewmugAdisyn Caryl

ADISYN CARYL | Topeka High

PARENTS: Beau and Emily Caryl

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.48

Caryl helped Topeka High win back-to-back Class 6A state softball championships in 2021 and 2022 and was a three-time All-Centennial League, All-Shawnee County and All-6A honoree. "Adisyn has been an integral part in changing the culture of female athletes at Topeka High School,'' Trojan softball coach Shane Miles said. "Her leadership on and off the playing fields and courts is beyond reproach. Not only did Adisyn lead in school as valedictorian and class president for four years, she exhibited the same leadership in sports.'' Caryl hit .638 as a senior with four home runs and 21 runs batted in. Caryl, who will play softball at Illinois, was also a four-time 6A state qualifier in tennis and part of a Trojan basketball program that made three state appearances.

NoeliaCruz 2Noelia Cruz


PARENT: Ariana Cruz Antonio 

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.806

Cruz helped lead Hayden to a third-place finish in the Class 4A-1A state tournament this spring, received All-Shawnee County first-team recognition and was named Hayden's most valuable player. "She has an outstanding work ethic, is a great role model for our younger players and certainly makes our team better when she is on the field,'' Hayden coach Klaus Kreutzer said. "Her leadership on the field, at practice and in games, contributed greatly to our success this season. She willingly gives up her time and talent to help in any way she can, as in our TopSoccer Program, which works with children with special needs. She has made Hayden a better place and she'll certainly be missed.''

BethanyDrusenewmugBethany Druse


PARENTS: Brad and Kristy Druse

SPORT: Track | GPA: 4.05

"Bethany is a leader in every sense of the word,'' Seaman girls track and field and cross country coach Rick Brading said. "She wants the hard work, because she knows it will make her faster. She brings other athletes along for the ride and raises their expencations as well. She is not satisfied with an average performance.'' Druse posted the fastest Class 5A time in the 800 meters the past two seasons, winning the 5A state title in 2022 and finishing second in 2023. Druse set a city meet record in the 1,600 meters this past season. Druse placed fifth at state in the 800 and 1,600 as a sophomore and was a three-time state medalist in the 5A state cross country meet. Druse will run cross country and track at the University of Kansas.   

ZulyHernandezmugZuly Hernandez

ZULY HERNANDEZ | Highland Park

PARENTS: Luis and Alejandrina Hernandez

SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.16

"Zuly is a three-year starter and letter-winner,'' Highland Park girls soccer coach Colin Moriarty said. "She has worked hard since Day 1 and was voted captain this year. She played almost all the minutes this season.'' Hernandez playe 1,200-plus minutes this spring and received second-team All-Meadowlark Conference recognition and All-Shawnee County honorable mention. Hernandez plans to attend Wichita State University. 

AmiyaThurmanmugAmiya Thurman


PARENTS: Michael Thurman and Kelli Hegarty

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.505 

"First and foremost I'd like to say that Amiya is the truest definition of student-athlete,'' Topeka West softball coach Matt Gilbreath said. "She was the salutatorian pf her graduating class and was a member of the National Honor Society. She has been awarded a long list of scholarships due to her work and dedication in the classroom and community. The same drive that propels her in the classroom serves her just as well on the softball field. In her four years as a softball athlete at Topeka West she missed a year due to COVID-19 and additionally had three different head coaches.Her achievements in the face of such adversity are truly amazing.'' Thurman plans to attend Arizona State.

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