By RICK PETERSON
WICHITA -- The way Hayden's Jensen Schrickel won the Class 4A boys long jump state title on Saturday at Cessna Stadium would have been considered a clutch performance by any age athlete.
The fact that Schrickel pulled off the unlikely accomplishment as a freshman making his first state meet appearance was even more impressive.
Sitting in fourth place going into his final attempt, Schrickel moved into the lead in a very tight field with a jump of 21 feet, 9-50 inches.
"I just wanted to make it count,'' Schrickel said.
That jump put Schrickel in front of Tonganoxie's Isaiah Holthaus by an inch, but the Hayden standout still had to sweat out Holthaus' final jump.
Holthaus improved his previous best by a half inch, but his jump of 21-9 was still a half inch behind Schrickel's winning mark.
All eight of the 4A placers eclipsed the 21 foot mark, with 8.75 inches separating first from eighth.
Although he coudn't have predicted how everything was going to transpire, Schrickel said he went into Saturday feeling like he could win the title.
"I thought so, I felt good,'' Schrickel said. "When I won regionals I thought I had a good chance at it.''
By RICK PETERSON
WICHITA -- Highland Park sophomore Victoria Reed is a state-class sprinter in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes, but there is no doubt that the 400 is her favorite, despite the fact that it is the longest and most grueling race of the three.
Reed added to her impressive resume in that event on Saturday at Cessna Stadium, cruising to the Class 5A state championship in a time of 58.04 seconds.
"To me it's a game,'' Reed said after her win. "You don't have to get out fast and stay fast. You can catch up and use different strategies. It's like a game to me.
"It's really fun to run. It's tough, but it's fun.''
By RICK PETERSON
WICHITA -- Briar Gillum's final Class 3A state track and field meet went from heartbreak to disbelief and then finally to pure joy.
After finishing third in the 3A shot put as a junior, Gillum had her sights set on the title in Friday's competition and held the event lead for much of the competiition beffore Eureka's Abby Singhateh got off a big throw to take the state title by 4.50 inches, winning at 41 feet, 10.50 inches while Gillum was second at 41-6.
It was a hard pill to swallow.
"When I lost I was really upset because it's been my dream since I started because at Rossville when you win a state championship we get our name on the wall in the gym, so I've been looking at all of those since I started throwing and I've just really, really wanted my name up there,'' Gillum said. "And of course we get to ring the bell outside the school, so I really wanted it and I really thought shot was my chance so when it didn't happen I was upset.
"I did throw good, I was proud of my throws, but the fact that I lost, it hurt a little bit.''
By ISAAC DEER
Washburn Rural’s outstanding 2022 soccer campaign came to a close with a 2-0 loss to the Blue Valley West Jaguars in Saturday's Class 6A state championship game.
The Junior Blues were riding a six-game win streak heading into Saturday and Rural’s consistency to get to the final four eight consecutive years gave it a lot of optimism heading into the match.
“I am just proud of our girls,” Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. “There’s 36 6A teams and for the last five years our team has been the second best team in the state of Kansas. The second best soccer program is a pretty good thing to say.
“Our girls are great. Yesterday we beat one of the best teams we’ve ever beaten in Olathe Northwest. It was tough for us to get the energy going today after yesterday.”
Unfortunately for Washburn Rural, they were met with defending state champions that had previously won the last four 6A state championships.
“Blue Valley West is the gold standard,” Hensyel said. “It’s not just us that can’t beat them, nobody can beat them. They have a phenomenal program who knows how to win. Blue Valley West doesn’t make any mistakes. A lot of teams make mistakes and you’re able to capitalize on them, but they just don’t make them.”
As deeply successful as Blue Valley West’s resume is, Washburn Rural wasn’t overmatched.
By ISAAC DEER
SHAWNEE MISSION – Topeka High reigned as the state’s champion once again after its second consecutive state title win with a 2-1 victory over Centennial League foe Washburn Rural.
Topeka High’s last two softball seasons have been historic for the Trojans program.
In 2022 High’s goal was to hoist the state trophy over its heads for the second straight time, and on Friday the goal was accomplished against a rival team which beat them twice this year.
“This is tremendous for our program,” Topeka High coach Shane Miles said. “Our seniors go out with back-to-back state championships under their belt. We have some freshmen and sophomores that have this experience now. We want to be back here next year. We are building a program that wants to be noticed.”
One of the anchors for Topeka High’s astounding success was Stanford signee, Nija Canady.
Canady had dealt with injuries and some setbacks in 2022 but despite dealing with all that adversity, Canady was able to go 3-0 in the state tournament and help the Trojans bring the title back home.
“This is incredible,” Canady said. “It’s hard winning a state title once, but to win it twice is even better. Softball is a physical game, but it’s even tougher mentally. This past season we had to fight.”
The right-hander had to go to another level in the circle on Friday afternoon.
Canady was dealing with a case of dehydration and it was affecting the star pitcher. Canady was able to pitch all seven innings in the state final and her performance will go down in history in a special way.
“I told her just to give me three outs,” Miles said. “She gutted it out today. She didn’t feel the best today. She probably didn’t have her best stuff today, but I told her all we need is three outs. She battled and got through it today.”
The marquee matchup had a lot of significance for the City of Topeka. Washburn Rural and Topeka High met for a doubleheader at Hummer Sports Park back on April 12th. Washburn Rural would prevail and swept the twin bill with a 1-0 victory and an 8-1 decision.
“We knew it was going to be us and Washburn (Rural) for the title game,” Canady said. “We wanted Washburn Rural in the title game. It feels great that we were finally able to get our revenge.”
Washburn Rural and Topeka High both had a murderous row of opponents they had to go through in the state tournament to get to the title game.
On Thursday morning, Washburn Rural defeated Blue Valley to get to the semifinal. In the semifinal game, the Junior Blues took on an explosive Derby team.
Similar to the state championship game, the semifinal against Derby was a pitcher’s duel that ended in a 2-0 decision.
Junior Blue pitcher Emmerson Cope was nearly perfect against Derby. Cope pitched a complete seven-inning shutout along with 11 strikeouts and gave up just four hits.
Kansas commit Campbell Bagshaw was responsible for both runs plated in the 2-0 decision. Bagshaw’s two runs batted in was the only offense the Junior Blues were able to collect.
Cope’s lights-out pitching and Bagshaw’s bat earned them a spot in the state championship game.
For the state title game to be an all-Topeka title game, Topeka High would have to go through Wichita Northwest. Fortunately for Topeka High, that wouldn’t be an issue.
Topeka High would rout Wichita Northwest in a 10-0 decision in five innings of work.
Jo’Mhara Benning and Canady would pitch a combined no-hitter. The duo would fan eight batters, giving up two walks, six groundouts and two flyouts.
Canady would have a memorable day at the plate in the semifinal game as well. Canady would go 2 for 3 with a double, home run and five runs batted in.
Alesia Alvarez, Elycia Joyce and Quincy Smith would drive in the remaining five runners.
It would be official, Topeka High and Washburn Rural would be clashing in the state championship.
It was a pitcher’s duel from the beginning. Cope and Canady had a repetitive performance from their previous matchup back in April.
In the top of the first inning, Cope struck out the entire top of the Topeka High order. Quincy Smith, Adisyn Caryl and Canady all went down swinging.
Canady would strike out two Rural batters in the bottom of the first while giving up her first hit of the day to Cope.
Cope would get three straight flyouts from High batters in the top of the second inning while Canady would fan three Rural batters in the bottom part of the inning.
It would be a hitless result from both sides in the third inning of play with Canady and Cope asserting their dominant pitches from the circle.
The top of the fourth inning was critical for Topeka High’s offense. The Trojan offense would be hitless against Cope until the High’s efforts in the mid-point of the game.