By RICK PETERSON
Hayden's Lauren Sandstrom and Shawnee Heights' Jackson Esquibel, who both recently completed their junior years of high school, were selected Thursday night at The Foundry as the Dan Key Farmers Agency girls and boys 2023 Rising Stars of the year.
Sandstrom and Esquibel were picked from seven girls and boys finalists chosen from weekly Rising Stars who were selected through the 2022-2023 school year.
Sandstrom was a three-sport standout for Hayden, earning a Class 4A state doubles championship with Emily Sheetz last fall and helped lead the Wildcats to a state tournament berth in basketball and a third-place state finish in soccer.
Esquibel capped a big year as a distance runner for Shawnee Heights last weekend at Wichita State's Cessna Stadium with a Class 5A state track championship in the 3,200-meter run and a second-place finish in the 1,600. Last fall Esquibel was a state medalist in the 5A cross country meet, finishing eighth.
Other girls finalists included Rossville three-time state wrestling champion Kendra Hurla, Silver Lake three-sport stars Makenzie McDaniel and McKinley Kruger, Seaman four-sport standout Anna Becker, Washburn Rural 2022 volleyball and basketball state champ Zoe Canfield and Highland Park basketball star Amelia Ramsey.
Hurla, McDaniel, Kruger and Canfield recently completed their junior years of high school while Becker and Ramsey recently finished their sophomore years.
Other boys finalists included Washburn Rural state wrestling champion Easton Broxterman, Topeka West state triple jump champion Alesecio Batson, Seaman football and baseball standout Max Huston, Washburn Rural star quarterback Branton DeWeese, Shawnee Heights football and wrestling standout Allen Baughman and Hayden football star and track and field state champion Jensen Schrickel.
DeWeese and Baughman recently completed their junior years of high school while Broxterman, Batson, Huston and Schrickel completed their sophomore years.
The Dan Key Famers Agency also recognized Shawnee County state team champions from the the 2022-2023 school year.