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Bulldawgs' Horak named TopSports.news Fall Male Athlete of the Year

Rick Peterson

 By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Former Rossville star Torrey Horak, who helped lead the Bulldawgs to back-to-back Class 2A state football championships, was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Washburn University.

Horak2Former Rossville star Torrey Horak, the TSN Fall Male Athlete of the Year, helped lead the Bulldawgs to back to back undefeated Class 2A state football championships. [File photo/TSN]

A star quarterback and defensive back, Horak was a four-year starter for the Bulldawgs, helping lead Rossville to 13-0 records 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. 

Horak had a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.8.

Other candidates:

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

JAQ'SON BIRDWHISTLE-BUSH | Topeka West

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. 

JaceMooremug 2Jace Moore

JACE MOORE | Seaman

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

TANNER NEWKIRK | HAYDEN

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

PORTER SCHAFERSMAN | Washburn Rural

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. 

 

Vikes' Unruh tapped as TopSports.news Fall Female Athlete of the Year

Rick Peterson

By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Seaman state tennis champion Grace Unruh was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Female Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Washburn University.

Unruh finished her high school career as the Seaman record-holder for the most varsity tennis wins.

Unruh teamed with Lauren Sweeney to win the Class 5A state doubles championship as a senior, with the Viking duo posting a perfect 36-0 record.

Unruh placed fourth in 5A state doubles as a junior.

"It was an honor to coach Grace,'' Seaman coach Jamie Robinson said. "She works hard at improving all facets of her tennis game and physical training by researching and tweaking new techniques. Grace told me she wants to have a strong tennis legacy behind at Seaman High School. Grace will accomplish that mission.''

Unruh, who also swam at Seaman, will play tennis at Fort Hays State. She finished high school with a 4.05 grade point average.

Other candidates:

 Bird Khloi 002Khloi Bird

KHLOI BIRD | Washburn Rural

PARENTS: Ricky Cole and Lezlie Oetting

SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 4.12

Bird transferred to Washburn Rural as a sophomore and has been a three-time All-City/All-Shawnee County selection in cross country while helping the Junior Blues win three straight city team titles, a Centennial Leaue championship and a Class 6A regional team title. Bird posted a 14th-place individual finish in the 6A state meet last fall. In track Bird was a state qualifier as a junior and senior, earning a state medal in the 4 x 800 relay as a junior. "Khloi has been an important part of our cross country and track programs the past three years,'' Rural cross country coach Matt Swedlund said. "Her consistent high-level performances were key contributions to our team's success.'' Bird plans to run cross country and track at Butler Community College.

AnnaNewcomeAnna Newcome 

ANNA NEWCOME | Topeka West

PARENTS: Scott and Patricia Newcome

SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 4.36

Newcome qualified for the Class 5A state tournament as a senior, posting a third-place finish in 5A regional singles competition. "Anna has an excellent work ethic,'' Topeka West coach Kurt Davids said. "She shows up to her commitments on time, every time with a positive attitude and an open mind. Anna was an accomplished leader as well, setting an impeccable example in the classroom as well as on the court. Anna's junior season was cut short by COVID restrictions. Beyond the initial disappointment, Anna became even more focused and determined to not be denied a trip to the state tournament.'' Newcome plans to attend the University of Nebraska.

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