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  • Women's basketball next up in TSN's Best of the Best project

    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/7NXPFJZLEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    There may not be a clearcut favorite when it comes down to picking the top women's basketball player in Shawnee County history.

    Or to lock at it another way, there's a whole bunch of favorites.

    The list of candidates includes former Kansas State stars like Nadira Hazim, Kristie Bahner and Peyton Williams as well as former Washburn University stalwarts Brenda Shaffer-Dahl, Shelley Foster, Nikki Olberding, Latisha Yarnell, Kelly Jennings, Lorie Roenbaugh, Jessica Mainz and Erika Lane.

    Jeneka Joyce was a NCAA national champion for Notre Dame, while Crystal Kemp was an All-Big 12 pick for the Jayhawks, Cierra Ceazer made her mark at Grambling and Indiana State and both Deana Alexander and the late Tisharria Huggins played at Wichita State.

     BrendaShaffer DahlBrenda Shaffer-Dahl

    TatyanaLegette1Tatyana Legette

  • TopSports to take on task of picking county's Best of the Best, with a lot of help from our friends

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Shawnee County athletes have long distinguished themselve in a multitude of sports at the high school, collegiate, high amateur and professional levels, with county high schools producing Super Bowl and World Series champs, national individual and team champions, Olympians, local and national Hall of Famers and even U.S. Open champs in a pair of sports.

    And while you're familiar with a lot of those local legends, there are others who have carved out impressive careers in their chosen sports that you aren't as familiar with, and some you've probably never head of.

    Over the next several weeks, we'll try to change that.

    Beginning this week and continuing through the summer, TopSports.news will attempt to honor hundreds of the county's all-time greats in some 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project, and we're counting on a lot of help from our readers to make that happen.

    We want to know who you rate as the best athletes in the history of the county and not just in marquee sports like football, basketball and baseball but in a plethora of other sports, including many that don't normally get the same attention.

    TopSports.news plans to publish Top 25 Best of the Best lists in all 22 male and female sports offered by the Kansas State High School Activities Association that Shawnee County High Schools participate in as well as an at-large list to cover sports like shooting, handball and any other sport that local athletes past and present have distinguished themselves in as well a list of the county's all-time multi-sport athletes.

    The project will conclude with TSN's list of the Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County history (all sports combined).

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    Shawnee County Olympians Melvin Douglas (wrestling), Preston Carrington (track and field) and Margaret Murdock (shooting), former Major League Baseball stars Mike Torrez and Ken Berry, U.S. Open golf champion Gary Woodland, PBA Hall of Fame and U.S. Open champion  bowler Chris Barnes, Super Bowl participants like Tom Dinkel, Troy Wilson and Michael Wilhoite and Silver Lake and Kansas State basketball star Lon Kruger are likely to receive a lot of support from their fans as are national college champions like Lisa Carey (softball), Tom Meier (basketball) and Fred Slaughter (basketball) and Topeka West tennis great Sheri Norris

    But don't forget about the late Steve Tilford, one of the greatest cyclists in United States history, and athletes like boccia champ Austin Hanson, handball star Max Gaither or polo's Jack L. Bybee, Paralympian Dan Cnossen or multi-sport Cair Paravel Latin and K-State star Peyton Williams.

    Or... well, who knows? The possibilities are too numerous to mention, so you tell us.

    To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, simply visit TopSports.news and participate in our polls. Nominations/votes will also be accepted by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    You can vote as many times as you wish, with the only requirement that eligible candidates must have grown up in Shawnee County or attended one of the county's 10 high schools.

    Over the coming days/weeks we will post a poll for each of our categories and list some of the top candidates to pick from while also giving readers the option of writing in other names.

    Final selections will be based on reader vote as well as input from TopSports.news contributors and current and past local sports media professionals.   

    We will accept votes through July 31 before publishing our Best of the Best lists in August.

    So, who you got?

    FIRST UP: Baseball (ballot will be published on TopSports.news on July 6).

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  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Fall Male Nominees

    FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

    E4xlOZLX0AAvRYHEliseo Barreno

    ELISEO BARRENO | Highland Park

    PARENTS: Ruben and Yohanna Barreno

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.36

    Barreno was a standout player for Highland Park's boys soccer team while also establishing himself as a team leader. "Eliseo has always been a hard worker, both on and off the soccer field,'' Highland Park soccer coach Colin Moriarty said. "He is one who leads by example. He seeks excellence in all that he does. He always wanted to know how he was doing and what he could improve on. From a coach's perspective, you couldn't ask for more from a true student-athlete.'' Barreno, who plans to attend Wichita State University, also played tennis for the Scots and was a Class 5A state qualifier in doubles.

    EthanHensyelmugEthan Hensyel

    ETHAN HENSYEL | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Brian and Sherri Hensyel

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.31

    Hensyel scored 23 goals as a senior last fall (second most in Washburn Rural history) and led the Junior Blues with 12 assists, earning first-team All-City, All-Centennial League and All-State (Class 6A) honors and being named the Centennial League player of the year as Rural posted a fourth-place state finish. "Ethan made more improvements as a player from his freshman year to his senior year than any player I've ever coached,'' Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "He was a good player, but no one expected the leap he made his senior year.'' Hensyel will play collegiate soccer at Baker University. 

    RobbieKeysSenior 054Robbie Keys

    ROBBIE KEYS | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Robert and Bev Keys

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.98

    Keys was the leading scorer for Cair Paravel in the Lions' first season as a full Kansas State High School Activities Associaiton member, earning All-City honorable mention. "Robbie is the type of leader that every coach desires to have on their team and lead their team,'' Cair Paravel soccer coach Doug Woolery said. "He not only was one of the hardest working players, but also led by example both on and off the field. I felt comfortable playing him in any position, knowing he would give his best effort no matter what. Keys was voted team captain as a junior and senior. He will attend John Brown University.

    Mehrens JulienMehrens Julien

    JULIEN MEHRENS | Topeka West

    PARENTS: Andre and Allison Mehrens

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.29

    Mehrens was a standout wide receiver as a senior in West's abbreviated 2020 season, catching 18 passes for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns. "Julien has displayed the characteristics and work ethic that we strive for our student-athletes at Topeka West to show,'' Charger football coach Ryan Kelly said. "Julien is an incredible teammate, has a contagious personality and leads both vocally and by example. He is an excellent young man and a joy to be around.''  Mehrens was also a member of West's basketball team that finished second in the Class 5A state tournament. He will attend Washburn University.

    JeronPoteete2Jeron Poteete

    JERON POTEETE | Seaman

    PARENTS: NA

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: NA

    Poteete turned in an outstanding senior season for the Vikings, earning All-City, All-Centennial League and All-Class 5A recognition. "Jeron has been a three-year starter for our program,'' Seaman coach Jacob Kirmer said. "He has been our leading scorer in his junior and senior seasons. He has an incredible gift of speed and intelligence. He is a leader by example and works relentlessly to play the best he can. He creates not only for himself, but for his teammates.'' 

    DesmondPurnellDesmond Purnell

    DESMOND PURNELL | Hayden

    PARENT: Etoi Purnell 

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.32

    Purnell was a four-year varsity letterman in football and also played basketball and baseball during his high school career. Purnell was a two-time All-City Top 11 selection and earned All-Class 3A honors as a senior while being named the Wildcats' Most Valuable Player and selected to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl. "Desmond Purnell is a natural athlete with a team-oriented attitude that makes everyone around him better,'' Hayden football coach Bill Arnold said. "He's not only an outstanding athlete, but an even better person with a good heart.'' Purnell will play his college football at Kansas State.

    BoReevesmugBo Reeves

    BO REEVES | Rossville

    PARENTS: Todd and Karol Reeves

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.8

    A four-year starter who played wide receiver and defensive back and kicked, Reeves helped lead the Bulldawgs to the Class 2A state championship last fall. Reeves was an All-2A selection and was also picked to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl. "Bo had a tremendous presence on the football field as Rossville claimed its fourth state championship in the last seven years,'' Rossville coach Derick Hammes said. "In the hallways of Rossville High School, Bo is known for being polite, outgoing and respected by his peers and staff.'' Also a standout baseball player, Reeves will play his college football at Central Missouri. 

    AddisonSiggAddison Sigg

    ADDISON SIGG | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Chad Sigg and Michelle Criqui

    SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.90

    Sigg was a Class 6A state qualifier his senior cross country season and was a two-time All-City selection. "Addison trained religiously through the summer and the cross country season,'' Topeka High cross country coach Ken Bennett said. "He made the new people on the team feel like they were included. Addison worked hard to be the best in practice and in the meets. (He) was consistent in maintaining the No. 1 spot on the guys team for four years.'' Sigg also played for Topeka High's baseball team and plans to play college baseball at Highland Community College.

    HunterWohlerHunter Wohler

    HUNTER WOHLER | Shawnee Heights

    PARENTS: Brian and Jami Wohler

    SPORT: Football | GPA: NA

    Wohler, a quarterback, was a first-team All-United Kansas Conference selection as a senior and finished his career with 2,875 passing yards and 19 touchdown passes and 1,322 rushing yards and 24 TDs. Wohler, who also played baseball for the T-Birds, finished his career in the top five at Shawnee Heights in seven rushing and passing categories. Wohler was a three-year starter at quarterback for the T-Birds and was named the city offensive newcomer of the year his sophomore season. Wohler plans to attend Northwestern College in Iowa, where he will play football and possibly double up in baseball.

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     AddisonSiggaction

     BoReevesaction

     

     

     

  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Spring Female Nominees

    SPRING SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

    OliviaBrunomug2 2Olivia Bruno

    OLIVIA BRUNO | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Tom and Shawna Bruno

    SPORT: Softball | GPA: 3.8

    Bruno, who is headed to Kansas to play softball, was a three-time All-Centennial League and Class 6A All-State honoree and was named the Centennial League player of the year this spring. Bruno is tied for the No. 1 spot on Rural's all-time list with 25 home runs despite having her junior season canceled due to COVID-19 and is also tied for the No. 1 spot with a career batting average of .545. Bruno ranks No. 2 at Rural in career doubles and third in runs batted in. "She started for us as a freshman and played every game for us on the varsity field since,'' former Rural coach Tricia Vogel said. "She was a big part of our third and second-place finishes at state.''

    Alyssa Carlson Alyssa Carlson

    ALYSSA CARLSON | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Mike and Connie Carlson

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.52

    A first-team All-Shawnee County selection, Carlson was a star defender for the Lions as Cair Paravel earned a Class 4A-1A regional championship in its first season as a full Kansas State High School Activites Association member. Carlson was a four-year starter for the Lions and plans to play collegiately at Emporia State. "(Alyssa) is a true leader both on and off the field,'' Cair Paravel soccer coach Doug Woolery said. "During the offseason Alyssa led a group of athletes in a strength and conditioning program to be better prepared for the season. She was stronger, faster and more physical than at any point in her career.''

  • Nominees set for 2021 TopSports.news' high school senior awards

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    All 10 Shawnee County high schools have nominted multiple senior athletes for the 16th annual Topeka Shawnee County High School Sports Awards, which will be presented on June 30 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel's Maner Conference Center Sunflower Ballroom.

    TopSports.news, in conjunction with Envista Credit Union and A-1 Lock and Key, will present awards to top female and male athletes in the fall, winter and spring seasons, as well as overall female and male athletes of the year and the most inspirational female and male. A complete of nominees is listed below.

    ZoeCarylHRTopeka High's Zoe Caryl (right), who helped lead the Trojans to the Class 6A state softball title, is a nominee for the 2021 Topeka Shawnee County High School Sports Awards, which will be presented on June 30. [File photo/TSN]

    Alex ShereractionRossville's Alex Sherer, who captured the Class 3A-1A state singles tennis title, is a nominee for the 2021Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards. [File photo/TSN]

  • Frustrating '20-'21 HS sports year still produced plenty of highlights

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    The 2020-21 high school sports year began last fall with a great deal of uncertainty due to COVID-19 and ended late last month with general optimism about the future.

    In between there were a lot of frustrating times as administrators, coaches, athletes and fans were forced to deal with a school year like none other, but '20-'21 also produced moments that all 10 Shawnee County high schools can be proud of, particularly in light of the circumstances.

    Shawnee County schools combined to claim four state team championships while 15 county standouts, including eight underclassmen, claimed 18 individual titles.

    And while a case could be made for any number of stories to sit at the top of the list, here's one opinion on the Top 10 Shawnee County stories of '20-'21:

     Ruraljube 2Washburn Rural's boys wrestling Coach Damon Parker delivered the news that the Junior Blues had clinched their first-ever state team title during the Class 6A state tournament in February. [Photo by Jeff Jacobson/Action Images Photography]

    1. RURAL RULES -- Washburn Rural became the first school in Kansas to win girls and boys state wrestling championships in the same season while producing five state individual champs. The Junior Blue girls won their second straight Division I championship by a 100-74 margin over Wichita North while Rural win its first-ever Class 6A boys title in a 159.5-112 margin over Olathe North after finishing second two of the previous three seasons.

    GeivonniiRossville junior quarterback Torrey Horak helped lead the Bulldawgs to the Class 2A state championship, the school’s fourth state title since 2014. [File photo/TSN]

    2. DAWG DOMINANCE -- Derick Hammes’ Rossville Bulldawgs captured their fourth state football title since 2014, capping a perfect 13-0 season with a 27-20 win over previously-unbeaten Hoisington in the Class 2A state championship game. Rossville had earlier won three straight state championships in '14, '15 and '16. 

  • Rural puts five players on All-Shawnee County girls soccer team

    Rick Peterson

    E3DIywUXEAcg HMThe 2021 All-Shawnee County girls soccer team: Front row, from left -- Hailey Beck, Washburn Rural; Hunter McWilliams, Washburn Rural; Belle Kennedy, Washburn Rural; Brynn Fitzgibbons, Washburn Rural; Alyssa Carlson, Cair Paravel Latin. Middle row, from left -- Riley Cowan, Seaman; Brooklyn Yingling, Seaman; Katherine Keys, Cair Paravel Latin; Coach Doug Woolery, Cair Paravel Latin; Avery Zimmerman, Topeka High; Luxanna Sands, Topeka High. Back row, from left -- Abby Dodd, Hayden; Kate Roeder, Hayden; Tatum Hoge, Shawnee Heights; Kyler Bowman, Shawnee Heights; Emma Manrose, Shawnee Heights. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural, which won the Centennial League championship and finished third in the Class 6A state tournament, dominated voting for the All-Shawnee County girls soccer team, earning five first-team berths.

    The Junior Blues, who capped a 17-3-1 season with a 3-1 win over Manhattan in the 6A third-place game, is represented on the first team by sophomore goalkeeper Hailey Beck, senior forward Brynn Fitzgibbons, junior midfielders Belle Kennedy and Hunter McWilliams and senior midfielder Joy Ngibuini.

    JoyNguibiniStateWashburn Rural senior Joy Ngibuini (left) is one of five Junior Blues named to the All-Shawnee County girls soccer team. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Cair Paravel Latin, which won a regional championship in its first season competing as a full Kansas State High School Activities Association member, is represented on the all-county team by senior defender Alyssa Carlson and freshman forward Katherine Keys while Cair Paravel coach Doug Woolery was named coach of the year after leading the Lions to an 11-6-0 record.

    Shawnee Heights (10-7-1) is represented by senior midfielder Kyler Bowman, junior goalkeeper Tatum Hoge and senior defender Emma Manrose.

    Seaman (11-6-1) put senior defender Riley Cowan and sophomore forward Brooklyn Yingling on the first team while Hayden (10-8-0) is represented by junior defender Abby Dodd and junior forward Kate Roeder and Topeka High by junior midfielder Luxanna Sands and freshman midfielder Avery Zimmerman.

  • Cair Paravel soccer makes history with regional championship

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    In may take awhile for what Cair Paravel Latin's girls soccer team accomplished Friday to fully sink in.

    But suffice it to say, the Lions know that their 9-0 win over Kansas City Christian at the Bettis Family Sports Complex was big.

    Friday's romp gave the Lions a regional championship and a berth in next Tuesday's Class 4A-1A state quarterfinals in the school's first season as a full Kansas State High School Activities Association member. 

    “Honestly, I have nothing to compare it to,” Cair Paravel coach Doug Woolery said about the win. “Our girls soccer program has been pretty successful over the years, but we’ve never had the opportunity to compete at this level, so it’s really exciting for us. It probably hasn’t really set in yet.” 

    Cair Paravel senior Alyssa Carlson said the regional title is definitely something to be proud of.

    “It’s been a joy to do things we’ve never done before and get an award that we’ve never had before,'' Carlson said. 

     E197qpfWUAAQgi0Cair Paravel Latin celebrates its Class 4A-1A regional soccer championship Friday at the Bettis Family Sports Complex. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • Baseball, softball, soccer regionals on tap this week

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    With some cooperation from Mother Nature, Shawnee County high school teams in baseball, softball and soccer will get the opportunity to vie for state tournament berths this week.

    Here's a look at regional pairings in those sports: 

    SHAWNEE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL PAIRINGS

    BASEBALL

    CLASS 6A

    West Regional 3

    At Manhattan

    Games Tuesday — Topeka High (6: 14-6) vs. Junction City (11: 9-11), 2 p.m.; Manhattan (3: 16-4) vs. Hutchinson (14: 6-14), 4 p.m.; Championship, 6 p.m.

  • TopSports.news to host 2021 Topeka Shawnee County sports awards/Hall of Fame induction

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TopSports.News, in conjunction with Envista Credit Union and A-1 Lock and Key will become the new host of the 16th annual Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards/Hall of Fame induction ceremony, continuing a longstanding tradition for the Topeka and Shawnee County sports community on June 30, 2021 at the Capitol Plaze Hotel's Maner Conference Center Sunflower Ballroom.

    RonBowenWashburn Rural coaching legend Ron Bowen (center) was inducted into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. TopSports.news will host the 2021 sports awards banquet and Hall of Fame ceremony on June 30. [Submitted]

    General admission tickets are $25 per person and includes dinner.

    The most recent Topeka Shawnee County banquet was held in 2019 before last year's ceremonies were canceled due to COVID-19.

    TopSports.News is proud to preserve and continue this annual event, which recognizes Shawnee County's top senior student-athletes while also continuing to add to the prestigious Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame. For the first time, TSN will also honor an oustanding female and male athlete from Washburn University.