By RICK PETERSON
Class 6A state tournament qualifier Washburn Rural and 5A qualifiers Seaman and Shawnee Heights combined to earn 12 first-team berths on the TopSports.news 2022 All-Shawnee County baseball team.
Washburn Rural, which earned a share of the Centennial League championship and finished third in the Class 6A state tournament, is represented on the all-county team by seniors Robby Bolin, Brock Howard and Carson Rosen, junior Ty Weber and sophomore Kyle Walker while Centennial tri-champion Seaman put seniors Dagen Brewer, Maclane Finley and Mason McConnaughey and junior Bryson Vawter on the first team and United Kansas Conference champ Shawnee Heights is represented by seniors Trevor Schattilly and Caden Walker and freshman Deacon Pomeroy.
Seaman's Brewer was tapped as the Shawnee County player of the year while the Vikings' Bryson Vawter earned the pitcher of the year award and Rural's Jay Mastin and Seaman's Trent Oliva were named co-county coaches of the year.
Rural's Walker was named the county newcomer of the year.
Also earning spots on the all-county first team are senior Torrey Horak of Rossville, senior Daigan Kruger of Silver Lake and senior Max Colombo of Topeka High.
Brewer, Vawter and Finley earned first-team All-Class 5A recognition from the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches while McConnaughey and Shawnee Heights' Walker earned All-5A honorable mention.
Rural's Bolin was an All-6A second-team pick by the KABC while Rosen, Weber and Walker earned All-6A honorable mention.
Rossville's Horak and Silver Lake's Kruger were first-team All-3A picks by the KABC.
By RICK PETERSON
On Thursday night Russell Norton was approved by the USD 501 school board as Topeka West's new head football coach.
In a scant three days the veteran coach will hit the ground running as the Chargers begin summer workouts.
"We start on Monday and it's about getting to know the kids and learning who they are and then establishing the standards,'' Norton said. "I think that's the No. 1 thing, to make sure that we establish the standards of what Topeka West Charger football is going to look like.
"The program under my leadership is going to be about relationships and the only way you can have great relationships is by having great communication. I'm going to ask them what they're looking for and I'm going to tell them what I'm looking for and then we're going to create a dialogue to where we can learn one another and develop relationships on and off the field.''
Norton. who will turn 42 in the coming days, takes over for Ryan Kelly, who resigned his coaching job in mid-May to accept a position on Washburn University's coaching staff.
"There were quite a few things that interested me about this job,'' said Norton, who is also the general manager of the Topeka Tropics indoor football team.. "When I met with Mr. (Jeff) Buckendorff (West principal) and interviewed, I had a few other offers and turned those down because I felt like Topeka West was the best situation.
"Looking at some of the talent that was coming back I felt there was definitely some talent there and I think our brand of ball will fit in with Topeka West and we'll see what happens.''
Norton grew up on the East Coast, attending high school in North Carolina and playing college football at Fairmont State University in West Virginia.
He coached several seasons at the college level before moving over to the high school level, including his most recent stint at Oskaloosa High (1-8) last season.
Prior taking the Oskaloosa job Norton coached Southern Valley High School in Oxford, Neb.
"My wife is a (physician's assistant) so that's how we wound up in Nebraska,'' Norton said. "We took a program that was on a downslide and we turned it around, wound up making the playoffs and winning some games and breaking some records.
"We just kind of felt like we had done all we could do there. They were dropping down to Eight-Man football and I wasn't ready to give up trying to coach the 11-man game so we started looking.''
Kelly, a former Topeka West star, served as the Chargers' head coach for five seasons after previously coaching at Benedictine, his college alma mater.
Topeka West is coming off a 3-6 record last fall and will become a member of the United Kansas Conference this season.
By RICK PETERSON
All 10 Shawnee County high schools have nominated multiple senior athletes for the 17th annual Topeka Shawnee County High School Sports Awards, which will be presented on June 22 along with the induction of the 2022 Hall of Fame class.
TopSports.news, in conjunction with the University of Kansas Health Systems St Francis Campus, A-1 Lock and Key and Washburn University, will host the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards and Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Washburn University Memorial Union.
TopSports.news will present awards to the top female and male athletes in the fall, winter and spring seasons, as well as overall female and male athletes of the year and the most inspirational female and male. A complete list of nominees is listed below.
To be eligible, an athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Athletes were nominated by their schools' athletic directors and coaches.
In addition to the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards, James Letcher Jr. and Faith Rottinghaus will be honored as Washburn University Athletes of the Year and Aaron Crow, Kaylee Manns and Dani (McHenry) Schmidt will be inducted as the 2022 Topeka Shawnee County Hall of Fame class.
A committee of local media members will select the 2022 high school winners, including the selection of overall female and male athletes of the year.
General admission tickets for the Topeka Shawnee County sports awards banquet are $26 per person and include dinner.
Ticket information is available at topsports.news.
TOPEKA SHAWNEE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS AWARDS NOMINEES
By RICK PETERSON
Generally speaking, football linemen are very rarely in the spotlight.
That will change on Monday, June 20, when Shawnee Heights hosts the "Battle of the Bigs'' lineman challenge (5:30 p.m. start).
The "Battle of the Bigs'' is billed as an opportunity for offensive and defensive linemen to have fun over the summer in a non-contact competition.
The top eight individuals will win visor or bucket hats and the team with the highest five-player total will win a plaque for their school. Cost is $20, which includes the lineman challenge, a T-shirt and food.
Participating athetes will take part in nine measured events:
By RICK PETERSON
Seaman senior catcher Dagen Brewer has been named the Centennial League baseball player of the year after leading the Vikings to a 20-3 record, a share of the league championship and a berth in the Class 5A state tournament.
Brewer was one of eight city players to earn spots on the 11-member first team.
Brewer is joined on the first team by Viking senior teammates Maclane Finley and Mason McConnaughey and junior Bryson Vawter, while Seaman's Trent Oliva was named the Centennial League coach of the year.
Washburn Rural, which shared the league crown and finished third in the 6A state tournament with a 19-6 record, put senior Brock Howard, junior Ty Weber and sophomore Kyle Walker on the first team, with Walker also being selected as the league newcomer of the year, while Topeka High senior Max Colombo also earned a first-team berth.
League tri-champion Manhattan, which finished second in 6A, put seniors Cade Perkins and Braden Dinkel and junior Kyler Horsman on the first team.
ALL-CENTENNIAL LEAGUE BASEBALL