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  • Druse paces balanced Vikings to girls title in Schrag Invitational

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Veteran Seaman girls cross country coach Rick Brading didn't enter the 2021 season with a pack mentality in mind for his team, but it seems to be working that way, and paying early dividends for the Vikings.

    Junior Bethany Druse, a returning Class 5A state placer, led the pack with a second-place individual finish on Saturday at the Kanza Park course and her teammates followed close behind, with Seaman putting all its top five in the first 12 places en route to winning the team championship in Topeka West's Joe Schrag Invitational by a 30-41 margin over Blue Valley.

    E CWYbSXMAALe3 Junior Bethany Druse finished second to help Seaman win the girls team title in Saturday's Joe Schrag Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Druse clocked a five-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 45.51 seconds to finish as the runnerup to Blue Valley senior Tori Wingrove (18:33.32) while Seaman freshman Anna Becker finished fourth (20:23.48), senior Emma Schultz sixth (20:40.20), freshman Joslynn Grace seventh (20:42.11) and freshman Stella Appelhanz 12th (21:22.19).

    "We're not trying to be a pack, it just happens that way,'' Brading said. "We just have some talented kids.''

  • Heights' Sutton, Esquibel post one-two finish in Schrag Invitational

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Even though he fought back late in the season to advance to the Class 5A state meet for the second straight year, Kory Sutton was never himself in the 2020 cross country season.

    But the Shawnee Heights junior standout is healthy this fall and the results are proof of that.

    "I had an issue with the growth plate in my hip and it put me out for about a year before I was back to full strength and ready to run,'' Sutton said Saturday after taking the boys individual title in the Topeka West Joe Schrag Invitational at the Kanza Park Course, Sutton's second win in as many races on the year.

     E CRGppXEAgCJtWShawnee Heights junior Kory Sutton posted his second straight individual win of the year in Saturday's Joe Schrag Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Sutton made progress in the spring track season and now feels like he's 100 percent.

    "I never was 100 percent (in cross country) and I was just getting back into it right before track season,'' Sutton said. "But I feel great now.''

  • A1 Lock & Key Performers Sept. 6, 2021

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Genna BergGenna Berg

    GENNA BERG, Washburn University

    A 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter from Blue Springs, Mo, Berg was named the Most Valuable Player in the Washburn Invitational volleyball tournament after helping lead the Ichabods to a perfect 4-0 tournament record. Berg recorded 19 kills and eight digs as No. 8-ranked Washburn ended its tournament run with a 3-1 win over No. 16 Northern State Saturday at Lee Arena. 

    CarterBrianCarter Brian

    CARTER BRIAN, Cair Paravel Latin

    Brian, a senior quarterback, completed 15 of 16 pass attempts for 298 yards and five touchdowns as the Lions opened their 2021 football season with a 60-14 victory over Kansas City East Christian Academy last Friday night at Highland Park.

    MadelineCarternewMadeline Carter

    MADELINE CARTER, Washburn Rural

    A returning Class 6A state medalist, Carter opened her junior cross country season with a dominating individual win in last Saturday's Manhattan Invitational at Warner Park. The reigning city champion, Carter clocked a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 52.6 seconds to win by just under 34 seconds and lead the Junior Blues to a tie with Manhattan for the team championship.

    Brooklyn DeLeyeBrooklyn DeLeye

    BROOKLYN DeLEYE, Washburn Rural

    A junior two-time All-Stater, DeLeye turned in a dominating performance as Washburn Rural's volleyball team improved to 5-0 on the season with a sweep of last Thursday's home-opening triangular against 25-time state champion Bishop Miege and Gardner-Edgerton. DeLeye, who has orally committed to NCAA national champion Kentucky, was a force at the net throughout the triangular while also recording five straight service aces during a nine-point run against Miege.

    TorreyHorakTorrey Horak

    TORREY HORAK, Rossville

    A returning All-State senior quarterback, Horak rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and completed eight of 15 pass attempts for 77 yards and a TD as the defending 2A state-champion Bulldawgs opened their season with a 38-0 romp past traditional small-school power Centralia.

    TannerNewkirkmugTanner Newkirk

    TANNER NEWKIRK, Hayden

    The defending 4A individual state cross country champion, Newkirk made his 2021 debut with individual and team championships in last Saturday's Missouri Western Griffon Invitational at St. Joseph, Mo. A senior three-time state medalist, Newkirk won by more than a minute in a time of 16:25.18 while leading Hayden to the team title by a 30-48 margin over West Platte, Mo.

  • Friday night prep football roundup: Cair Paravel rolls to 60-14 win

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Cair Paravel Latin got its 2021 football season off to a rousing start, riding a dominating second half to a 60-14 victory over Kansas City East Christian Academy at Highland Park.

    The Lions led by just a 14-8 margin at the end of the first quarter and 22-14 at halftime before outscoring KC East 32-0 in the third quarter and 38-0 in the second half.

     Carter BrianCarter Brian

    Noah HastertNoah Hastert

    Cair Paravel senior quarterback Carter Brian completed 15 of 16 pass attempts for 298 yards and five touchdowns while senior Noah Hastert had six catches for 132 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore Evan Will had four catches for 78 yards.

    Senior Max Colombo was the Lions' leading rusher with 50 yards and a touchdown on just two attempts and Colombo also registered a team-high five tackles.

    Sophomore Jesiah Bonura picked off two passes for the Lions, who were 5-5 in 2020.

    ROSSVILLE 38, CENTRALIA 0 -- The defending Class 2A state champions got the '21 season off to impressive start, riding an outstanding night from senior star quarterback Torrey Horak to a 38-0 shutout over traditional state stalwart Centralia.

    TorreyHorakTorrey Horak

    Horak rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and completed eight of 15 pass attempts for 77 yards and a TD.

    Senior Corey Catron rushed for 98 yards and two TDs on 14 attempts while senior Tagen Kippes caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown.

    Rossville opened up a commanding 28-0 halftime lead and tacked on 10 more points in the third quarter to account for the final margin.

    HAYDEN 22, EMPORIA 2 -- Coming off a 7-2 season in 2020, 3A Hayden rode a stingy defense to Friday night's season-opening 22-2 win over 5A Emporia at Hayden.

    SILVER LAKE 34, ROCK CREEK 28 -- Perennial state power Silver Lake, which has won eight state championships, survived a tough test from Rock Creek to open its season with a 34-28 win over the Mustangs.

    LEAVENWORTH 20, SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 13 -- Host Shawnee Heights was in the game until the end, but fell to United Kansas Conference foe Leavenworth 20-13 in its season-opener at Wetter field.

  • TopSports.news' Shawnee County football players to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TylanAlejosTylan Alejos

    Tylan Alejos, Topeka High

    A 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior running back and strong safety, Alejos was a standout on both sides of the ball for Topeka High in the 2020 season, earning All-City honors at running back while receiving All-Centennial League honorable mention.

    E TJMpXXIAINwEhCamden Barta

    Camden Barta, Seaman

    A senior quarterback/free safety, Barta played free safety for the 7-2 Vikings last season and backed up All-City Top 11 quarterback Reid Cowan. Barta is expected to move into the starting quarterback position for Seaman this fall. 

    E TG0F6XoA8Jpel

    Malachi Berg, Topeka West

    Still just a junior, Berg is starting his third season as Topeka West's starting quarterback. The 6-3, 195-pound Berg received All-City honorable mention last season and will be looked on to provide leadership for the Chargers this fall.

    RobbyBolinRobby Bolin

    Robby Bolin, Washburn Rural

    A 6-2, 190-pound senior wide receiver/safety, Bolin was an All-City Top 11 selection last fall, catching 29 passes for 863 yards and eight touchdowns. Bolin received second-team All-Centennial League recognition on offense and honorable mention on defense and also received All-6A honorable mention.

  • TopSports.news' 2022 Shawnee County football players to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TrentonBarkerTrenton Barker

    Trenton Barker, Rossville

    Barker, a senior running back/ linebacker, is one of four returning starters on defense for Rossville, which is coming off a second straight 13-0 season and a second straight Class 2A state championship. Barker earned All-Mid-East League honorable mention on offense as a junior.

    EliBarnesEli Barnes

    Eli Barnes, Silver Lake

    A junior wide receiver/defensive back, Barnes is part of a strong returning nucleus for Silver Lake, which is coming off a 9-3 record and a Class 2A semifinal berth in the 2021 season.

    FavqaXfXkAE69igCallen Barta

    Callen Barta, Seaman

    A 6-foot, 160 junior, Barta saw extensive action for Seaman as a sophomore, helping the Vikings post a 6-4 record. Barta earned TopSports.news honorable mention last fall as well as All-Centennial League honorable mention on defense.

    MalachiBergnewmugMalachi Berg

    Malachi Berg, Topeka West

    Berg, a 6-2, 190 senior is starting his fourth season as Topeka West's starting quarterback. Berg received TSN All-Shawnee County Second 22 recognition and All-Centennial League honorable mention last season. Barg  has also helped Topeka West to back-to-back Class 5A state tournament berths in basketball.

    FawhpplXEAI4SC2Packson Bettis

    Packson Bettis, Washburn Rural

    Bettis, a 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior defensive end, was named the TSN All-Shawnee County defensive newcomer of the year last season and earned Second 22 all-county honors after helping lead the Junior Blues to an 8-2 record and a share of the Centennial League title. Bettis received All-Centennial League honorable mention.

    JachinBonuraJachin Bonura

    Jachin Bonura, Cair Paravel Latin

    Bonura, a senior wide receiver/returner/defensive back, helped lead Cair Paravel to a perfect 11-0 record and the Kansas Christian Athletic Association state title last fall. Bonura earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County Second 22 recognition and KCAA first-team honors as a receiver and kick returner and a second-team spot as a defensive back.

    IanBrianIan Brian

    Ian Brian, Cair Paravel Latin

    A senior, Brian was a first-team KCAA selection as an offensive lineman and linebacker last season after helping lead Cair Paravel to a perfect 11-0 season and the KCAA state championship. Brian earned TSN All-Shawnee County honorable mention.

    BJ CanadyBJ Canady

    BJ Canady, Topeka High

    Canady, a 6-5, 240 junior, is a returning starter on both sides of the ball for Topeka High, which is coming off a 2-7 record last fall. Canady has seen action at tight end and quarterback on offense and defensive end on defense for the Trojans. Also a standout basketball player, Canady received All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial Leaue honorable mention in 2021.

  • TopSports.news' Best of the Best project hits high gear

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Nearly 29,000 reader votes have been received since TopSports.news kicked off its Best of the Best project in early July.

    Now it's time to honor Shawnee County's all-time greats in a series of lists over the month of August.

    More than 500 current and former county athletes received Best of the Best votes in 23 different sports/categories, including 44 men's bowlers, 36 baseball players, 34 women's bowlers and football players, 33 men's cross country runners, 31 women's soccer players and 30 men's tennis players.

    Eight sports compiled more than 1,200 reader votes, while four sports topped the 2,000-vote mark, two topped 4,000 votes and women's bowling led the way with more than 9,300 votes.

    Melvin DouglasMelvin Douglas

    Dajia AndersonnewDajia Anderson

    Chris BarnesChris Barnes

  • Shaffer-Dahl gets nod as Best of Best in loaded women's hoops field

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Narrowing down the list of women's basketball candidates for TopSports.news' Best of the Best list to 25 was a tough task.

    Picking a No. 1 out of a talent-heavy group of Shawnee County legends was even tougher.

    The TSN Top 25 list is jam full of high school stars and state champs, many who went on to earn All-America collegiate honors as well as recent multi-sport superstars like Carly Bachelor of Washburn Rural and NiJaree Canady of Topeka High, who ran away with the Readers Choice title despite still having a season of high schoolnbasketball remaining.

    With more than a handful of candidates that were legitimate contenders for the top spot, the Best of the Best nod, by the slighest of margins, goes to former Shawnee Heights and Washburn University legend Brenda Shaffer-Dahl.

    BrendaShaffer DahlBrenda Shaffer-Dahl

    Nadira HazimNadira Hazim 

    Shaffer-Dahl, a 1986 Heights graduate, led the T-Birds to an undefeated state championship as a senior and went on to set 24 Washburn basketball records from '86-'90. Shaffer-Dahl is Washburn’s all-time leading scorer (2,613 points) and all-time leading rebounder (1,106) and earned All-CSIC honors four seasons and was a two-time NAIA and Kodak/WBCA All-American.

    Shaffer-Dahl, a member of the Washburn and Topeka Shawnee County halls of fame, also set school records for most games played (126), best scoring average for a season (23.9, 1989-90) and a career (20.7), and most single-game rebounds (23), among others.

    Former Topeka West star Nadira Hazim, who scored 42 points in a Class 6A state tournament game, holds down the No. 2 spot, while Seaman and Washburn star Shelley Foster, Cair Paravel Latin and Kansas State product Peyton Williams and Washburn Rural and Notre Dame star Jeneka Joyce round out the top five in the TSN Top 25.

    NiJareeCanadyRuralNiJaree Canady

    As mentioned earlier, Canady, who will also be a strong candidate in softball and the multi-sport division, was a clearcut winner in Readers Choice voting, garnering more than 1,700 votes while former Seaman and Fort Hays State star Tatyana Legette also received strong support from readers.

    Shaffer-Dahl was third in reader voting while Williams and former Washburn Rural and WU standout Erika Lane tied for fourth.

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

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

  • Former Heights, WU star Mainz tops TSN women's soccer list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Narrowing down candidates for the TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best women's soccer list was a tough chore.

    Picking the Top 25 was even tougher, but in the end former Shawnee Heights and Washburn University star Jessica Mainz got the nod as No. 1 at the top of a a talent-heavy group of athletes.

    Mainz scored 97 goals and dished out 44 assists for Shawnee Heights, helping lead the T-Birds to a state team championship in 2004 and a runner-up finish in '05, before going on to become an All-American and a two-time MIAA player of the year while setting 14 career records and 15 single-season records.

    Jessica MainzJessica Mainz [Washburn Athletics]

    Also a basketball standout for WU, Mainz was the first Washburn soccer player to be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

    Another former T-Bird, Leea Murphy, sits No. 2 on the Top 25 after starring for Heights and helping North Carolina win the '03 NCAA national championship, while perennial city, Centennial League and Class 6A state power Washburn Rural earned the next five positions and earned 11 spots overall, led by No. 3 Kaira Houser, No. 4 Darby Hirsch and No. 5 Kelly Lemke.

    More than 4,200 votes were cast in Readers Choice Awards balloting, with two athletes receiving more than 1,400 votes and five receiving more than 100 votes.

    KellyLemkeKelly Lemke [Twitter]

    Lemke ended up No. 1 in the Readers Choice voting with nearly 1,900 votes while Washburn Rural alum Kate Schroeder was No. 2 and former Seaman standout Chelsea Hopkins third.

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

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS

  • National champ, college stars highlight TSN volleyball candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/4XB1UK5FEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

                                                                                   -------------------------------------------------------

    Shawnee County has been a hotbed for outstanding women's volleyball, with county high schools combining for 24 state championships while a long list of local products have gone on to achieve success at the collegiate level.

    That makes picking the top player in county history a formidable task.

    Shawnee Heights products Jazz Sweet, Megan Cooney and Faith Rottinghaus teamed up to help lead the T-Birds to a Class 5A state championship before Sweet went on to help Nebraska win a NCAA national championship, Cooney made it to the NCAA Final Four for Illninos and Rottinghaus has earned All-MIAA honors for Division II power Washburn.

    Jazz SweetJazz Sweet [Huskers.com]

    Dani McHenryDani McHenry [Washburn Athletics]

    Kaylee MannsKaylee Manns [Iowa State Daily.com]