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

    Rick Peterson


    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]


    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


    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


    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: 



    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.

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

    Rick Peterson


    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. 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.

  • WNBA champion Storm invite Topekan Williams to training camp

    Rick Peterson


    Topekan Peyton Williams' basketball career has taken her from Cair Paravel Latin to Kansas State to a sport on Team USA for the Pan American Games to her professional debut in Moscow, Russia.

    Now the 6-foot-4 Williams will attempt to take the next step in her banner career after being invited by the reigning WBNA-champion Seattle Storm to attend their training camp for the 2021-2022 season.

    PeytonWilliams2Peyton Williams

  • Spring sports roundup: Hayden soccer rolls to 5-0 win over Tonganoxie

    Rick Peterson

    Hayden's girls soccer team shared the wealth in Tuesday's 5-0 home non-league win over Tonganoxie, with five different players scoring goals as the Wildcats boosted their record to 4-2 on the season.

    Hayden got first-half goals from juniors Kate Roeder and Riley Schmidtlein before sophomore Jenessa Broxterman and freshmen Lauren Sandstrom and Jill Lenherr added second-half goals.

    Broxterman, Sandstrom, junior Abby Dodd and sophomore Piper Wrench were credited with assists while seniors Rhen Calhoon and Olivia Schmitz combined for the shutout in goal.


    Hayden 2 3 -- 5

    Tonganoxie 0 0 -- 0

    Hayden -- Goals: Roeder, Schmidtlein, Lenherr, Sandstrom, Broxterman. Assists: Broxterman, Dodd, Sandstrom, Wrench. Shutout: Calhoon, Schmitz.

    Belle Kennedy scored a goal and had four assists in Washburn Rural's 10-0 home win over Highland Park Tuesday. [Photo by Doug Wagner/Special to TSN]Belle Kennedy (10) scored a goal and had four assists in Washburn Rural's 10-0 home win over Highland Park Tuesday. [Photo by Doug Walker/Special to TSN]

    Rural soccer blanks Scots

    Ten different players scored goals as Washburn Rural improved to 4-1-1 on the season Tuesday with a 10-0 win over Highland Park at McElroy Field.

    The game ended at halftime due to the 10-goal spread.

    The Junior Blues got goals from seniors Brynn Fitzgibbons, Riley Palmer and Izzy Entz, juniors Hunter McWilliams, Belle Kennedy, Sheriden Wichman, Reagan Allen and Alandra Bailey and sophomores Brianna Jones and Maya Hoge.

  • City soccer roundup: Hayden rolls to 10-0 win over West in season-opener

    Rick Peterson

    Hayden's girls soccer team posted its first win of the 2021 season with a 10-0 romp past Centennial League foe Topeka West Tuesday night at Hummer Sports Park.

    Six players scored goals for the Wildcats, including juniors Elizabeth Dunshee and Kate Roeder and freshmen Elaine Wolf and Jill Lenherr with two goals apiece while sophomore Sloane Sims and junior Natalie McElroy also scored goals for Hayden.

    Wolf and junior Riley Schmidtlein were credited with two assists apiece while Lenherr, Roeder, sophomore Janessa Broxterman and junior Abby Dodd also had assists for the Wildcats.


    Hayden -- Goals: Elaine Wolf 2, Elizabeth Dunshee 2, Jill Lenherr 2, Kate Roeder 2, Sloane Sims, Natalie McElroy. Assists: Elaina Wolf 2, Riley Schmidtlein 2, Jill Lenherr, Kate Roeder, Jenessa Broxterman, Abby Dodd.


    Cair Paravel Latin's girls soccer team opened its 2021 season with a 7-1 victory over Olathe Heritage Christian Tuesday night.


    Shawnee Heights dropped a 6-1 girls soccer decision to Blue Valley Southwest Tuesday night.



  • Seaman soccer blanks Cair Paravel 1-0 to pick up first victory

    Rick Peterson

    BrooklynYinglingSeaman sophomore Brooklyn Yingling (14) races Cair Paravel junior Esther Childs for the ball in Tuesday's 1-0 Viking win over the Lions. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]


    There was a long list of things that Seaman girls soccer coach Tim Nussbaum saw Tuesday out of his team that need improvement.

    But there was also a huge positive -- the Vikings' first victory of the 2021 season.

    Freshman Marin Schuler found the back of the net midway through the opening half against Cair Paravel Latin and the Vikings made that goal stand up the rest of the way, posting a 1-0 road win over the Lions at the Sunflower Soccer Complex.

    Senior Emma Meinholdt and freshman Makena Schuler combined for the shutout in goal for Seaman, which improved to 1-1 on the season.

    "The first win is good for our team, but we have a lot to learn,'' Nussbaum said. "We need to make the game simpler. We're making it complicated, but we'll take the first W however it comes.''

    TimNussbaumFirst-year Seaman girls soccer coach Tim Nussbaum talks with Viking players during Tuesday's 1-0 win over Cair Paravel. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • City girls soccer: Rural still experienced despite long layoff

    Rick Peterson


    Washburn Rural's girls soccer team was very good but young in 2019 and the fact that several freshmen and sophomores saw time for the Junior Blues' 18-3-0 team that posted a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state tournament could pay big dividends this spring.

    The defending Centennial League champions graduated some key seniors off the '19 team, but will build this year's team around returning seniors Izzy Entz, Brynn Fitzgibbons, Joy Ngibuini and Riley Palmer and juniors Reagan Allen, Belle Kennedy, Emma Krueger, Hunter McWilliams, McKenna Merrick and Sheriden Wichman.

    Joy NgibuiniJoy Ngibuini

    Several newcomers are also expected to challenge for playing time, including junior Alandra Bailey and sophomores Hailey Beck, Addi Broxterman, Brooklyn DeLeye, Maya Hoge, Brianna Jones, Karsyn McMaster, Mackinly Rohn and Heidi Schieber. 

    "Despite missing an entire season last year, we return 10 players with varsity experience and some talented newcomers,'' Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "We are excited to begin our season and look forward to playing a very challenging schedule.

    "Our goals are to win the Centennial League and make a return trip to the Class 6A final four.''