Created: Friday, 24 December 2021 16:39
By RICK PETERSON
Two of the Kansas' most dominant girls athletic teams of 2021 call Shawnee County home.
So not surprisingly, those two teams -- Washburn Rural girls wrestling and Topeka High softball -- hold down the top two spots on TopSports.news' list of the Top 10 Shawnee County girls sports stories of 2021.
Washburn Rural has dominated girls wrestling in the state since the Kansas State High School Activities Association made it an official sport in the 2019-2020 school year, winning back to back state team championships and producing three individual champs, while Topeka High is coming off its best softball season in school history, going wire to wire for a perfect 25-0 season and the school's first state title in the sport.
And while the Junior Blues and Trojans were the only Shawnee County girls teams to capture state team championships in '21, five others posted top-three state team finishes while county athletes won nine individual titles in four different sports.
Here's a look at TopSports.news' top 10 Shawnee County girls prep stories of 2021:
Washburn Rural's girls wrestling team poses for a team picture after winning its second straight state team championship last February. [File photo/TSN]
1. TWO FOR TWO -- Washburn Rural made history when it won the first official girls wrestling state title in 2020 and Damon Parker's Junior Blues were even better in 2021. Led by individual champs Dajia Anderson and Rebekah Smith and finalist Addison Broxterman, the Junior Blues rolled to championship No. 2 by a commanding 100-74 margin over Wichita North and became the first school in state history to win girls and boys titles in the same season.
Zoe Caryl, now at Illinois, was a star senior catcher for Topeka High's Class 6A state championship softball team last spring, with the Trojans posting a 25-0 record. [File photo/TSN]
2. QUEENS OF THE DIAMOND -- Shawnee County has long been known for its softball prowess, with seven county teams winning state championships. With pitching and hitting star NiJaree Canady and fellow Division I recruits Zoe and Adisyn Caryl helping lead the way, Shane Miles' 2021 Topeka High team staked its claim as one of the best ever, capping a perfect season with a 7-1 win over Olathe North in the state championship game.
Topeka West senior Kadence Jeffries is a four-time Class 5A-1A state swimming champion going four for four in her individual races in the state meet. [File photo/TSN]
3. STREAK CONTINUES -- There was a year in between due to COVID-19, but Topeka West swimming star Kadence Jefferies kept her 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 entire '20 season was canceled, Jeffries, who recently signed with Division I Nebraska-Omaha, swept the same two events in '21, winning the 200 in 1 minutes, 53.08 seconds and the 500 in 5:03.13.
Dajia Anderson was a two-time state wrestling champion for Washburn Rural, helping lead the Junior Blues to a pair of state team titles. [File photo/TSN]
4. TREND SETTERS -- Dajia Anderson became the first city girls wrestler to win a KSHSAA state title in 2020 when she captured the 235-pound crown to clinch Washburn Rural's first state team crown. Anderson made history again last February when she became the city's first two-time state champ, winning at 191, and had company on the victory stand from senior teammate Rebekah Smith as Rural rolled to its second straight title.
Seaman's doubles team of Grace Unruh (left) and Lauren Sweeney went 36-0 this past fall en route to a Class 5A state title. [File photo/TSN]
5. QUEST COMPLETE -- Seaman tennis stars Grace Unruh and Lauren Sweeney were one of the state's best doubles teams in 2020, finishing fourth in Class 5A, but were determined to finish their quest for a state championship in '21. Done! Unruh, a senior, and Sweeney, a junior, swept city, Centennial League and regional championships for the second straight season before finishing off a perfect 36-0 season with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Andover Central's Maya Chon and Bryer Geoffroy in the state final.
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