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  • Shawnee County high schools confirm 19 new head coaches for 2022-2023

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Silver Lake's Logan Pegram and Washburn Rural's Brad Johnston, who are taking over retiring Kansas coaching legends C.J. Hamilton and Kevin Hedberg, are part of a group of 19 new varsity head coaches who have been announced by Shawnee County high schools for the 2022-2023 school year.

    BradJohnston1Brad Johnston will take over as Washburn Rural's tennis coach in 2022-2023, replacing Kevin Hedberg who retired after 32 years at the school. [File photo/TSN]

    825193F2 0FA2 4486 AE6F 66D359D80844Logan Pegram

    AlexHutchinsmugAlex Hutchins

    Pegram, a former Silver Lake standout, takes over as the Eagles' head football coach for Hamilton, the state's winningest football coach, who retired after 47 years at the school, while Johnston is the new Washburn Rural girls and boys tennis coach, replacing Hedberg, who led the Junior Blues to five state team championships in 32 seasons and coached a total of 43 years at Seaman and Rural.

    Joining Johnston as a new head coach for Washburn Rural is former Hays boys basketball coach Alex Hutchins, who is taking over as the Junior Blues' boys basketball coach from Kevin Muff. 

  • Learning his lessons well: Coach's son Hammes a leader for Hornets

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Emporia State standout linebacker Dawson Hammes probably won't follow his father, five-time Rossville state champion Derick, into the coaching profession after he wraps up his college career this fall.

    HammesvsWUFormer Rossville standout Dawson Hammes, making a tackle against Washburn, will return for his final season with Emporia State this fall, serving as a Hornet captain for the second straight season. [Emporia State Athletics]

    But both Hammes and Emporia State head coach Garin Higgins agree that being a coach's son definitely helped get Dawson to where he is today.

    "I've thought about (coaching), but I've seen the work my dad puts in and I know it's tough, so I think I may go down a different path,'' Hammes said during last week's MIAA Media Day. "But I respect the heck out of coaches and I'll definitely be around to make sure he's doing good and he's still loving what he does. I'm proud of him.''

    Dawson Hammes helped Derick, who also played at Emporia State, win his first three state titles with the Bulldawgs and the 6-foot, 212-pounder has gone on to earn All-MIAA honorable mention the past two seasons, posting a team-high 97 total tackles last fall for the 6-6 Hornets.

    Higgins said he has coached a lot of coach's sons in his long career and welcomes them into his program.

    "I don't know the exact number I've had, but it's a bunch,'' Higgins said. "I was a coach's son growing up and I'm not going to say I was the perfect coach's son by any means, but the've grown up around football. You've got to find guys that love the game of football and you know a coach's son is going to cross that off your list. You know he's going to love the game of football.

    "I think the thing I think about a lot is how they were raised as a coach's son and the difficulty there is in being a coach's son. And if you happen to go through some tough losses, well, you're the coach's son and you may hear things that might upset you. So I think they've been tested a lot in a lot of different areas, not only on the field.''

    Hammes is starting his second season as a Hornet team captain and said he embraces the role and trying to be a leader for the younger Hornets.

    "I had to come a long way as a young player so anyone can do it, I know that for a fact, but I just want to lead by example, pick up those younger guys and make sure everyone's ready to go, hold everyone accountable and just make sure we're ready to fly around and have some fun,'' Hammes said.

    "Dawson's one of those guys that there's never any doubt how hard he's going to work in anything you ask him to do,'' Higgins said. "In the weight room, on the field, he's going to win by how he works.''

    Hammes can't wait to get the season started and thinks the Hornets could be poised for a big year.

    "It's year six, so I can't be more happy to get another opportunity, more time with my guys,'' Hammes said. "I want to take full advantage, make sure we're ready to go and lead the best we can. I'm ready to get after it.

    "Five of those six losses (last season) were by a combined 19 points, so we were right there. We've just got to figure out how to set a new standard and just finish those games. We know we're close so we know we've got to do but we've got to do to make sure we do the right things to finish those.''

    Emporia State will open the 2022 season at home Sept. 1 against Northeastern State. 

  • History-making Parker No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best wrestling list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Damon Parker, who has coached Washburn Rural to three state team championships, garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches wrestling list.

    Damon ParkerDamon Parker has led Washburn Rural to three state wrestling team championships, including a pair of girls crowns. [File photo/TSN]

    ChadParksChad Parks, with 2022 state champ Maranda Bell, has had a highly-successful run as Shawnee Heights' boys and girls wrestling coach. [File photo/TSN]

    Parker led Washburn Rural's girls to state team championships in 2020 and 2021, the first two seasons girls wrestling was an official Kansas State High School Activities Association sport, and led the Junior Blues to their first boys team championship in 2021, the first state boys team title by a Shawnee County team.

    Parker led Rural's boys to state runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2020 and the Rural girls to a runner-up finish this past season. while coaching eight state individual champions, including three multi-time state champs.

    Parker stepped down as Rural's boys coach after the 2021 season but is still coaching the girls team.

    Current Shawnee Heights coach Chad Parks was tapped for the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, coaching multiple state champions and six T-Bird teams who have finished in the top eight in the Class 5A team standings, including a second-place team finish in 2011 .

    Farmer Shawnee Heights coach Robert Gonzales, former Washburn Rural coach Ray Glaze and former Rossville coach Curt Brecheisen round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list.

    Parks and Gonzales earned the top two spots in the Reader's Choice poll, combining for more than 2,800 votes, followed by former Topeka High coach and current Shawnee Heights assistant Erich Singer and Parker in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former Seaman coach Dennis Switzky is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Silver Lake coach Harry LaMar, current Washburn Rural state champion coach Josh Hogan, former Seaman coach Pat Kelly and former Topeka High coach Beau Vest to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST WRESTLING COACHES

  • Seven-time state champ Bordewick No. 1 on TSN Best of the Best volleyball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Kevin Bordewick, who has led Washburn Rural to seven Class 6A state volleyball championships and nine state titles as a head coach, garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches volleyball list.

    KevinBordewickWRKevin Bordewick has coached Washburn Rural to seven Class 6A state volleyball championships and nine state titles as a head coach overall. [File photo/TSN]

    staff 0027 JesicaFarmerWalterFormer Hayden coach Jesica Farmer-Walter led the Wildcats to five state volleyball championships. [Hayden Catholic High School]

    Bordewick led the Junior Blues to four straight championships from 2006-2009 and added titles in 2004, 2011 and 2012.

    Washburn Rural is 937-220 in 27 seasons under Bordewick, with 23 state tournament appearances. He has a 984-260 career record in 30 seasons.

    The veteran coach has also won 6A state basketball titles in 2019 and this past season and Bordewick has been a part of 12 state championships overall, serving as an assistant coach for Rural's three state basketball titles under former coach Bill Annan.

    Former Hayden coach Jesica Farmer-Walter earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after leading the Wildcats to five state championships in the Class 4A and 4A-Division II ranks.

    Farmer Silver Lake coach Angie Bittner, current Silver Lake coach Sarah Johnson and former Shawnee Heights coach Kerry Kapfer round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list, with Bittner, Johnson and Kapfer combining for 11 state championships.

    Farmer-Walter earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, receiving more than 850 votes, followed by Johnson and Bordewick in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former Shawnee Heights state champ Laura Curry is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Rossville coach Cathy Foote, former Hayden coach Susan Dickerson, former Seaman coach Erica (Cowhick) Book and current Seaman coach Tatiana (Schafer) Dowling to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST VOLLEYBALL COACHES

  • Schrag tapped for No. 1 spot on TSN Best of the Best Coaches track list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka West legend Joe Schrag garnered the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches track and field list, adding the track honor after being named No. 1 on the cross country Top 10 earlier in the project.

    JoeSchragmugJoe Schrag

    Brad NicksBrad Nicks

    ClaudiaWelchClaudia Welch

    MikeNashMike Nash

    Schrag coached Topeka West track and Field teams to Class 4A state team titles in the now defunct Kansas Indoor Championships in 1975 and 1976 and added Class 6A State Outdoor titles in 1983 and 1984.

    Over his four decades at West Schrag finished with a total of eight state championships, including four state cross country titles.

    Schrag is a member of the National High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame as well as the Kansas High School Activities Association, Kansas Relays, Topeka Shawnee County and Topeka West halls of fame.

    Former Shawnee Heights coach Brad Nicks earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after leading the T-Birds to 5A boys team titles in 2007 and 2015 and the girls team championship in 2009. Nicks' Heights teams finished second in the girls division in 2019 and was the boys runner-up in 2018 before he moved on to Abilene as head football and boys and girls track coach.

    Former Seaman coach Claudia Welch, former Shawnee Heights coach Mike Nash and former Washburn Rural coach Jerry Beardslee round out the top five on the Best of the Best Top 10 list, with all three leading teams to multiple state championships.

    Nicks earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, receiving more than 800 votes, followed by former Highland Park and Topeka High coach Beau Caryl and Schrag in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Hayden multi-time state champ Rick Strecker is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Seaman state champ Bob Camien, multi-time Rossville state champ Jason Broaddus, Caryl and former multi-time state champs Heavy Erwin and Jan Magnuson of Topeka High and Dixie Barb of Highland Park. Erwin, Magnuson and Barb share the No. 10 spot.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST TRACK AND FIELD COACHES

  • Holaday tapped for No. 1 spot on TSN Best of the Best softball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Washburn Rural softball coach Brenda Holaday, who led the Junior Blues to a 351-93 record, 16 Class 6A state tournament berths and seven state championship games before moving on to Washburn University, earned the No. 1 position on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches softball list.

    BrendaHoladayBrenda Holaday coached Washburn Rural to multiple Class 6A state softball championships before moving on to a successful career at Washburn University. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    12790933 1125419694156752 5813159548735636566 nLee Schmidt

    Holaday went over the 500-win mark for career victories in the 2022 season, leading the Ichabods to the MIAA regular-season title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

    Holaday served as an assistant on Rural's state championship team in 1995 and led the Junior Blues to titles in 2008 and 2014 as well as five second and three third-place state finishes.

    All 10 coaches in the TSN Best of the Best Top 10 led teams to state championships, including eight who won multiple state titles.

    Lee Schmidt, who led Hayden to three Class 4A state championships, holds down the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Silver Lake coaches Bob Craig and Mark Workman, who led the Eagles to four state titles apiece, and former Shawnee Heights coach Steve Giddens.

    Silver Lake, one of the state's most dominant softball programs, put a total of four coaches in the Top 10, with No. 8 Brad Womack winning three championships and No. 9 Dave Boxberger two.

    Holaday and Topeka High coach Shane Miles earned the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Reader's Choice poll, while Seaman state championship coach Jay Monhollon ranked third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Two-time Shawnee Heights state champ Tara Griffith is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Miles, Womack, Boxberger and Monhollon to round out the Top 10..

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST SOFTBALL COACHES

  • Rural's Goehring takes No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches golf list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural coach Jared Goehring, former Rural coach Jeff Stromgren and former Hayden coach Dan Key, who combined for 12 state championships in girls and boys golf, swept the top three positions on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches golf list.

    FYdHxxiXEAARbu Current Washburn Rural golf coach Jared Goehring has led the Junior Blues to five state titles and 13 top-three state finishes. [File photo/TSN]

    stromgrenJeff Stromgren coached Washburn Rural to boys and girls state golf championships before coaching Washburn University men's golf for nine seasons. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    DanKeyFormer Hayden coach Dan Key coached the Wildcats to five state golf titles (four girls, one boys). [Submitted]

    Goehring, who has led Washburn Rural to four Class 6A state girls titles as well as a boys championship in Kansas' largest class, earned the No. 1 spot on the Best of the Best list while No. 2 Stromgren led the Junior Blue boys and girls teams to 6A titles before moving on to the college level at Washburn University and Key coached Hayden to four 4A girls titles and one boys crown.

    Rounding out the top five are former Shawnee Heights head coach and current Topeka West assistant Lynn Riney and the late Don Williams, who coached Washburn Rural's boys to a 6A championship in 1997..

    Stromgren and Goehring, who served as an assistant under Stromgren, earned the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Reader's Choice poll, garnering more than 2,000 votes, while Key ranked third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Former two-time Hayden state champ Denis Stanley is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list, followed by former Topeka West coach Jack Wiley, former Shawnee Heights coach Steve Giddens, former Silver Lake coach Alan Cunningham and former Topeka West coach Frank Walton to round out the Top 10..

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST GOLF COACHES

  • State's winningest coach takes No. 1 spot on TSN Best of Best Coaches football list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Retiring Silver Lake football coach C.J. Hamilton earned the No. 1 spot on TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Shawnee County Coaches list after ending his 47-year high school coaching career as the winningest coach in Kansas history and No. 15 all-time in the nation.

    CJ HamiltonFormer Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton is the winningest coach in Kansas history and ranked No. 15 nationally with 447 wins. [Submitted photo]

    RonBowenbookFormer Washburn Rural coach Ron Bowen led the Junior Blues to three Class 5A state titles and a 6A runner-up finish during a 23-year stint at the school. [Submitted photo]

    Hammes2 2Rossville coach Derick Hammes has led the Bulldawgs to five state titles over the past eight seasons. [File photo/TSN]

    Hamilton posted a career record of 447-98, leading the Eagles to eight state championships and reaching 18 state championship games.

    Hamilton's victory total, titles and championship game appearances are all Kansas records while his 447 wins rank No. 15 all-time nationally.

    Washburn Rural legend Ron Bowen, who won 156 games with three Class 5A state titles and a 6A runner-up finish in his 23-year career with the Junior Blues, earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list, just ahead of Rossville coach Derick Hammes, the most dominant coach in the county over the past decade with five state titles in eight seasons.

    Rounding out the top five are Seaman legend Chuck Logan, who recorded seven undefeated seasons in the 1920s and 1930s, and former Hayden coach Tom Stringer, who led the Wildcats to a pair of undefeated 4A state titles.

    Hammes earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, garnering more than 2,000 votes, while former Topeka High coach Walt Alexander and Bowen finished second and third in balloting by TSN readers.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Current Hayden coach Bill Arnold, who has a state title and three state runner-up finishes, is No. 6 on the Best of the Best list while Topeka High's Buck Weaver, who won 100 games and had three undefeated seasons in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, is No. 7.

    Former Topeka High coach Walt Alexander is No. 8 on the Best of the Best list, followed by Topeka West Hall of Famer Frank Walton and former Rossville and current Washburn Rural coach Steve Buhler to round out the top 10.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST FOOTBALL COACHES

  • Shrine Bowl likely to be Horak's swan song at QB before switching to defense

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    OTTAWA -- Torrey Horak loved playing quarterback for Rossville, but the two-time Class 2A state champ knew there would probably come a day when he would have to change primary positions.

    That day will come next month when the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder reports to Central Missouri, where he will play safety.

    Horak and CatronShrineBowlFormer Rossville star Torrey Horak (6) will play a final high school game with former teammate Corey Catron (2) in Saturday's Kansas Shrine Bowl at Pittsburg. [File photo/TSN]

    "A couple of schools looked at me for safety, one as a receiver and one as a running back, so I had a couple of different options but I really fell in love with Central Missouri and I feel like that's home to me now,'' Horak said.

    But before he switches to the defensive side of the football, Horak, who played both ways for Rossville, will get one last chance to play quarterback for the East in Saturday night's 7 p.m. Kansas Shrine Bowl at Pittsburg. 

    "Offense is definitely something that I love, but I'm getting an opportunity to play at a high level with some really high-class athletes that not everybody gets that opportunity, so I'm going to take it and I'm going to run with it and we'll see where it goes,'' Horak said. "I'm really excited to get down there.''

    Horak said he knew Central Missouri was the right place for him after visiting the Warrensburg campus.

    "My mom (Wendi) was down on my official visit with me and she really enjoyed it and we both just kind of felt like it fit my personality really well,'' Horak said. "So far I've been there all summer and I feel like that still holds up.''

    Horak also reached out to older brothers Tucker, a former running back at Pittsburg State, and Thatcher, who played baseball at Washburn, for their input.

    "I talked to Thatcher and Tucker because both of them had had some experience in the recruiting process and really both of them just said to just enjoy it,'' Torrey Horak sai. "They said, 'Don't stress over it. The right school will come to you and when your decision's made you'll enjoy it.' And to this point I definitely have.''

    Horak thinks this week's training camp at Ottawa University will help him get ready to begin his college career.

    "Our fall camp, I've seen some leaks of the schedule and it's going to be intense, but this week with having two and three practices a day I feel like it will kind of build up my stamina a little bit and kind of give me an idea of what's coming when fall camp rolls around,'' he said.

    Saturday night's game will also give Horak one last chance to play with former Rossville teammate and close friend Corey Catron, who will play slotback for the East, while Bulldawg coach Derick Hammes is an East assistant. Horak and Catron were named the Shawnee County co-offensive players of the year after leading the Bulldawgs to a second straight 13-0 season last fall.

    "I think this is going to be an incredible week and I'm just blessed to be here, really,'' Horak said during an East practice session. "I'm excited for this.''

  • Nine-time state champ Bushnell headlines TSN Best of Best Coaches baseball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON                                                                                                 

    TopSports.news

    Seaman's Steve Bushnell and Silver Lake's Alan Cunningham combined for an amazing 15 state baseball championships over long high school coaching careers.

    So it's probably not a big surprise that those two coaches ended up up at the top of the TopSports.news' Top 10 Best of the Best Coaches list for baseball.

    SteveBushnellnewFormer Seaman coach Steve Bushnell earned the No. 1 spot on the TSN Best of the Best Top 10 list in baseball after leading the Vikings to nine Class 5A state championships. [File photo/TSN]

    Alan CunninghamAlan Cunningham

    RyanSchmidtRyan Schmidt

    BrettCowdinBrett Cowdin

    Bushnell, who earned the No. 1 spot on the Best of the Best list, led Seaman to nine Class 5A state championships, four runner-up finishes and 18 state tournament appearances in 21 seasons before moving into the athletic director's position at Seaman in the 2020-2021 school year.

    Cunningham, No. 2 on the list, coached Silver Lake in more than 600 games in two separate stints, posting a combined record of 458-170 with six state titles and a run of 22 state tournament berths in 23 seasons.

    Bushnell also earned the No. 1 spot in the Reader's Choice poll, edging out veteran coach Frank Magee by just two votes, while former Rossville coach Mick Keller was a solid No. 3 pick by TSN readers.

    Nine members of the Best of the Best Coaches list earned at least one state championship, with seven winning multiple titles.

    A five-person panel of current and past sports media professionals with more than 150 years of combined experience met to help determine the final Best of the Best Top 10.

    Current Shawnee Heights coach Ryan Schmidt is No. 3 on the Best of the Best list, notching a pair of 5A state titles and a string of state appearances, including 2022, while the late Brett Cowdin, who led Hayden and Topeka West to state crowns, merited the No. 4 position.

    Former Shawnee Heights coach Craig Cox, former Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton and current Hayden coach Bill Arnold, hold down the No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 Best of the Best spots, with all three coaches earning state championships in two sports.

    Cox coached two state championship teams in both baseball and basketball at Shawnee Heights and added a fifth state title in basketball at Seaman this past season while Hamilton is best known as the winningest football coach in Kansas history but also led Silver Lake to three state baseball championships and Arnold has coached Hayden to a pair of baseball championships as well as a football title,

    No. 8 on the Best of the Best list is Keller, while former Hayden coach Aaron Becker is No. 9 and and former Seaman coach Phil Loomis rounds out the top 10.

    Keller led Rossville to the 3A-1A state title in 1991 while Becker led Hayden to a state title in 2009 and Loomis helped build Seaman into a state contender before turning the head coaching reins over to Bushnell.

    Here's a look at the Top 10 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 10 BEST OF THE BEST BASEBALL COACHES