By RICK PETERSON
At some point in the past there may have been a better overall year for Shawnee County girls high school sports than 2022.
Then again, maybe not.
County schools captured state team championships in five different sports in three different classifications while county athletes combined to win 10 individual state titles.
That depth of talent made it nearly impossible to narrow down TopSports.news' list of the top Shawnee County girls stories to just 10, and even harder to decide which accomplishments deserve to be at the top of the list, but here goes.
Topeka High's softball team celebrates its 2022 Class 6A state title after a 2-1 win over city rival Washburn Rural. [File photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]
1. CHAMPIONSHIP RE-RUN -- After posting a perfect 25-0 record and winning the school's first state softball title in 2021, Topeka High had a tougher path to a second straight Class 6A championship in 2022, but Stanford signee NiJaree Canady and the Trojans got the job done, taking a nail-biting 2-1 win over Washburn Rural in an all-city final to cap a 22-3 season. Canady ended her high school career with a second straight Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year award while then-senior Elycia Joyce and then-juniors Adisyn Caryl and Alesia Alvarez earned All-6A first-team honors.
Washburn Rural's volleyball team dogpiles on the court after winning the 2022 Class 6A state title, the eighth in school history. [Photo by Jeff Jacobsen/Action Images Photography]
2. BUMP, SET, DOMINATE -- Perennial state volleyball power Washburn Rural was 1-1 two matches into the 2022 season before going on a 44-match tear to win its eighth Class 6A title under Kevin Bordewick, capped by a 25-21, 26-24 win over Blue Valley. Bordewick surpassed the 1,000-victory mark for his career during the season while Junior Blue star Brooklyn DeLeye, a multi-time Class 6A player of the year and Kentucky signee, went over the 2,000 mark for career kills.
Former Topeka West swimming star Kadence Jeffries finished her high school career six for six at state in her individual events. [File photo/TSN]
3. STREAK COMPLETE --Topeka West swimming star Kadence Jefferies kept her incredible 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 '20 season was canceled due to COVID-19 Jeffries swept the same two events in '21 and '22, winning the 200 as a senior in 1 minutes, 53.29 seconds and the 500 in 5:03.66. Jeffries is now swimming for NCAA Division I Nebraska Omaha. Joining Jeffries as a 5A-1A state champion was Seaman sophomore Avery Walz, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.03, helping the Vikings finish fourth in 5A-1A as a team.
Washburn Rural poses for a team picture after winning the Class 6A basketball title last March in Wichita. [Submitted photo]
4. SAME SONG, DIFFERENT VERSE -- Washburn Rural set the table for this fall's Class 6A volleyball championship with a run to the 6A basketball title last spring. The Junior Blues went 23-2 on the season, capped by a dominating 40-23 win over Derby in the state final. Brooklyn DeLeye, Zoe Canfield, Jada Ingram, Chloe Carlgren and Destiny Ochs were members of both the basketball and volleyball championship teams, along with coach Kevin Bordewick, who won his 10th 6A title as a head coach (eight volleyball, two basketball). Bordewick was also a part of three state championship teams in basketball as an assistant to Bill Annan.