National champion Stafford No. 1 on TSN women's swimming list

Rick Peterson


Topeka High product Shara Stafford experienced incredible success at every level of an outstanding swimming career, earning the No. 1 spot on the Best of the Best Top 25 women's swimming list.

Stafford was a multi-event Class 6A champion and record-setter for Topeka High before claiming a national NCAA Division I championship in the 200-yard freestyle in 2010 while helping Florida claim a team championship.

 SharaStaffordShara Stafford [Submitted]

Shannon SuddarthShannon Suddarth [File photo]

A 13-time All-American for the Gators, Stafford went on to star at Missouri in her final season, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors while earning three more All-America honors and setting five school records for the Tigers.

Former Hayden star Shannon Suddarth earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after winning four state titles for the Wildcats, becoming a nine-time All-American at Notre Dame and setting two Big East records that stood for 11 years, while Topeka West record-setter and Virginia All-American Emily Dicus and West star and NCAA Division II individual and team champion Kelli Dudley hold down the No. 3 and 4 positions in the Top 25.

Current Topeka West phenom Kadence Jeffries garnered the No. 5 position on the Best of the Best list on the strength of winning four Class 5A-1A individual state titles in as many attempts while still having a season of high school eligibility remaining.

KadenceJeffriesjubeKadence Jeffries [File photo/TSN]

Jeffries, who swept the 200 and 500 freestyle events as a freshman and junior, also earned the Readers Choice Award while another current prep swimmer, Seaman's Gabby Grace, and former Washburn Rural and Kansas standout Sammie Schurig finished second and third in reader votes.

Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:


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Former Rural multi-sport state champ, OU national champ Carey headlines Best of the Best women's softball list

Rick Peterson


From top to bottom, the Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 list for women's softball may be the most balanced of any sport in the series.

The list includes national champions at multiple-levels and is chock full of former All-Americans and members of various halls of fame.

The softball is also an extremely diverse list, including players who played in the 1950s as well as players whose careers are still very much on the upswing.

Lisa Carey [Submitted]Lisa Carey

In the end, former Washburn Rural star Lisa Carey, who went on to lead Oklahoma to an NCAA championship, got the nod as the No. 1 while rising stars Lauren Mills and NiJaree Canady garnered the next two spots.

 Lauren MillsLauren Mills

NiJareeCanadyregional2NiJaree Canady

Mills, who helped lead Seaman to a Class 5A state championship as a high school player, is currently a standout for a Wichita State team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament this past season while Canady helped lead Topeka High a perfect 25-0 season and the school's first-ever 6A state softball title.

TaylorZordelTaylor Zordel

Former Washburn Rural multi-sport star and Emporia State All-American Taylor Zordel won the Readers Choice Award, with the current Washburn University assistant coach receiving more than 1,000 votes.

Topeka High product Jaryn Benning ranked No. 2 in reader votes while Mills was third, former Topeka High standout Ellena Cott-Laurie fourth and current Washburn standout Jaycee Ginter fifth. 

Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:


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