Hayden's Newkirk named Spring Male Athlete of the Year

Rick Peterson


Tanner Newkirk, who won three Class 4A track championships as a senior distance runner at Hayden, was selected as the Topeka Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year Wedneday night at Washburn University.

NewkirkFridayFormer Hayden star Tanner Newkirk, the Topeka Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year, won four individual Class 4A state titles in his high school career, including three wins in the 2022 state track meet at Wichita. [File photo/TSN]

Newkirk capped his high school track and field career with a record-setting perormance in the 2022 Kansas state track meet at Wichita State's Cessna Stadium, winning three events and setting two Class 4A state meet records.

Newkirk won the 3,200 meters in 8:58.88, No. 5 all-time in Kansas, won the 1,600 in 4:12.25 and the 800 in 1:55.0.

The Hayden star added a fourth state medal in the 4 x 800 relay, helping the Wildcats finish fifth in that event.

Newkirk was a four-time state medalist in 4A cross country, with a state title and three top-three finishes.

"Tanner Newkirk is a one of a kind athlete,'' Hayden track and cross country coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "What makes Tanner so special is his ability to want to get better.''

Newkirk will run track and cross country at the University of Kansas.

Other candidates:

DagenBrewerDagen Brewer


PARENTS: Matt and Heather Brewer

SPORT: Baseball | GPA: NA

Brewer turned in an outstanding senior baseball season, helping lead Seaman to a 20-3 record, a share of the Centennial League championship and an 18th straight berth in the Class 5A state tournament. Brewer was tapped as the Shawnee County and the Centennial League player of the year. He also earned first-team All-Class 5A honors from the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches. Brewer earned first-team All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial League honors as a junior and was a second-team KABC All-Class 5A selection. Brewer has committed to Johnson County Community College to play his college baseball.

TorreyHorakTorrey Horak 

TORREY HORAK | Rossville

PARENTS: Terry and Wendi Horak

SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 3.8

Probably best known as Rossville's star quarterback in football, Horak was a first-team All-Class 3A pick in baseball as a senior after receiving honorable mention his junior year. "His talent was evident this season as a first-team All-State player in both of those sports and he will go down in the top 10 in several single-season baseball categories, including home runs, walks, on-base percentage and runs,'' Rossville baseball coach Eammon Bradley said. "Torrey is one of the best leaders I've ever been around. He commands a presence among his peers and is an example of how to serve his team. He brings energy every day, whether it's at practice or a game.'' Horak will play college football at Division II Central Missouri. 

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Canady, Jeffries named Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year

Rick Peterson


Topeka High product NiJaree Canady and former Topeka West star Kadence Jeffries, who combined for eight career state titles, were selected as Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University.

NiJaCanadySeaman 1Former Topeka High star NiJaree Canady, who led the Trojans to back-to-back Class 6A state softball titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

KadenceJeffries500Topeka West graduate Kadence Jeffries, who won six Class 5A-1A state swimming titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

Canady has helped lead Topeka High to back-to-back Class 6A state softball championships, the first two state softball titles in school history, while being named the Gatorade Kansas Softball Player of the Year both seasons.

Canady has earned All-City, All-Centennial League and All-State softball honors all three of her high school seasons and also earned All-State honors and played in three state tournaments in basketball, scoring more than 1,000 points, before bypassing her senior season to concentrate on softball.

"Nija is the true definition of a student-athlete,'' Topeka High softball coach Shane Miles said. "Any kid who can further their education at Stanford University is doing something right in the classroom and on the field. When Nija chose Stanford she was not looking at the next four years, but the next 40 years.''

Jeffries will go down in history as one of the greatest high school swimmers in Topeka history, winning six individual Class 5A-1A state championships in as many tries over her three-year career.

Jeffries swept the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events in all three of her state meet appearances, earning first-team All-State honors all three seasons.

"Kadence is always encouraging teammates to try new things as well as help demonstrate skills,'' Topeka West coach Courtney Johnson said. "She is always cheering for people from her team as well as other schools.When Kadence gets medals she goes up to each person on the stand with her and congratulates all her fellow competitors.''

Jeffries plans to swim collegiately at Division I Nebraska-Omaha.

Other candidates:

Bagshaw SR pic 002Campbell Bagshaw


PARENTS: Bill and Jenner Bagshaw

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.29

 Campbell has helped lead the Washburn Rural softball team to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 6A state tournament and has also helped the Junior Blues win two state basketball championships. Bagshaw hit .468 this past softball season with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 17 runs batted in and 38 runs scored. "Campbell Bagshaw is the epitome of sports excellence, whether it is on the softball field, basketball court or in the classroom,'' Rural softball coach Liz Stover said. "Campbell is a player that when the game is on the line, not only does her team want her at the plate, but she wants the bat in her hands. Through it all, Campbell has maintained an air of dignity and grace, finishing in the top 10 percent of her graduating class.'' Bagshaw will play college softball at Kansas.

TarynBurkhardtnewmugTaryn Burkhardt


PARENTS: Vince and Nancy Burkhardt

SPORT: Softball | GPA: 3.94

A multi-sport athlete at Silver Lake, Burkhardt was a four-year varsity letter-winner in softball. Burkhardt helped the Eagles post a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 3A state tournament. She has been an All-State selection in 3A and a two-time All-Mid-East selection and a All-Shawnee County first-team honoree as a senior. Burkhardt hit .479 as a senior with six doubles, 28 runs scored and 15 runs batted in. Burkhardt was also a volleyball standout for the Eagles as well as a member of Silver Lake's dance team. Burkhardt plans to play college softball at Johnson County Community College. 

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