By RICK PETERSON
Recent Seaman graduate Jaxson Thomas, a Class 5A state wrestling champion as a senior, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn.
Thomas won the 5A 285-pound state wrestling championship in Febuary after jumping up two weight divisions for his final high school season.
Thomas posted a 46-5 record on the 2023 season and avenged a regional loss in the state championship match, pinning Blue Valley Southwest senior Tarin Forsyth in the second period.
Thomas recorded a pin in the final match of the United Kansas Conference tournament to give Seaman the UKC team championship in Seaman's first season in the conference.
As a junior Thomas was a Centennial League champion and a 5A state qualifier. Thomas was also a standout for Seaman's football team, receiving All-Shawnee County honorable mention as a senior.
Thomas, the son of Richard Thomas and Karen Olson-Thomas, compiled a 3.57 grade point average at Seaman.
JACK BACHELOR | Washburn Rural
PARENTS: Aaron and Angela Bachelor
SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.962
Bachelor was named the Centennial League basketball player of the year, was a first-team All-Shawnee County selection and received All-Class 6A honors from multiple organizations. Bachelor averaged 17.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals as a senior while shooting 62 percent from 2-point range, 40 percent on 3-pointers and 82 percent from the free throw line. "It might be unrealistic to claim that a single person could be the emotional spark plug for an entire student body of nearly 2,000, but when it comes to Jack Bachelor and Washburn Rural High School, that's the exact claim that I would make,'' Rural coach Alex Hutchins said. "Jack has spent the last four years wearing his heart on his sleeve for the Junior Blues. Jack is a leader and a competitor.'' Bachelor will play collegiately at Washburn University.
MALACHI BERG | Topeka West
PARENT: Carisa Weatherly
SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.588
Berg averaged 13 points and 8.1 rebounds as a senior while shooting 60 percent from the field. Berg earned second-team All-United Kansas Conference recognition and All-Class 5A honorable mention. "Respected by peers, not only in the athletic community, but in the general school population,'' Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist said. "Work ethic off the floor exemplifies his work ethic on the floor. His dedicaton to get better each day help make his teammates better. Malachi is loyal, sincere, and trustworthy; and understands the importance of being humble as not only a son and a brother, but a role model as well.'' Also a star quarterback for the Chargers, Berg will play college football at Hutchinson Community College.
JAHMIR KINGCANNON | Highland Park
PARENT: Daniel and Marchelle Kingcannon
SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.4
Kingcannon played a key role for Highland Park's basketball team that posted a 24-1 record and finished third in the Class 5A state tournament. "Leadership and follow through,'' Scots coach Michael Williams said about Kingcannon. "Jahmir was arguably one of the best overall student-athletes we've had come through Highland Park. A model student and model citizen, he exhibited stellar character at all times and has been one of the best boys basketball players in the city/surrounding area for the last three years.'' Kingcannon averaged 11.3 points and four rebounds while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range. Kingcannon has signed a letter of intent to play college basketball at Kansas Wesleyan.
JOE OTTING | Hayden
PARENTS: Eric and Debbie Otting
SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.625
The three-sport standout earned first-team All-Shawnee County, All-Centennial League and All-Class 4A basketball recognition as a senior, averaging 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field. "Joe embodies everything about what it should mean to be at Hayden High School,'' said Dwayne Paul, Otting's basketball coach at Hayden. "He is a man of God. He is a pillar of the community. He is an amazing student-athlete When it comes to our basketball team, Joe was not only one of the most talented guys in the state, but he was our hardest worker. He was a leader on and off the floor. He was selfless and wanted everybody to shine and have success.'' An All-Stater in football and a state medalist in track, Otting will play college football at Notre Dame.
TY VOTAW | Topeka High
PARENTS: Chris and Jamie Votaw
SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.2
Votaw averaged seven points and six rebounds for Topeka High as a senior. "Ty was a key contributor to the basketball team this season,'' Topeka High coach Geo Lyons said. "He provided us with a hard-nosed presence that we needed inside despite being undersized. He also was a tremendous baseball player.'' Votaw helped the Trojan baseball team earn a berth in the Class 6A state tournament for the first time in more than seven decades. Votaw, who earned All-Shawnee County honorable mention in baseball as a senior, plans to attend Northwest Missouri State.
SEAN WUNDER | Shawnee Heights
PARENT: Shannon Wunder
SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 4.23
"Sean is a multi-sport athlete, excelling in both football and wrestling,'' Shawnee Heights coach Chad Parks said. "Sean was a team leader and captain in both sports as well. Sean also thrives in the classroom, taking honors courses throughout high school and graduating with a 4.23 GPA. During this wrestling season, Sean would finish practice about 5 p.m. and be at work by 6 p.m. He worked from 6 to midnight most nights and could still keep up with his demands for wrestling and school. Sean is a wonderful example of a student-athlete.'' Wunder was a three-time United Kansas Conference champion and a four-time placer. Wunder was a three-time Class 5A state placer and finished his career with 136 wins and 107 pins.