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  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 41-50

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Five All-Americans, including a national player of the year, headline women's picks No. 41-50 on TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 list. 

    The late Arica Shepard, a volleyball star at Rossville and a three-time All-American for Emporia State, earned the No. 41 berth on the Top 100 while former Topeka High basketball star Kiki Smith was named the national player of the year in her first college season after helping Hutchinson Community College win the national junior college championship.

    Washburn University basketball All-Americans Nikki Olberding (Seaman) and Kelly Jennings (Topeka High) and Fort Hays State All-American Tatyana Legette (Seaman) also earned spots in the latest installment of Top 100 selections as did four-time Class 6A volleyball state champion Alexa Bordewick of Washburn Rural and multi-sport standouts Cierra Ceazer (Shawnee Heights) and Erika Lane (Washburn Rural).

    Lauren Mills was a state softball champion at Seaman before a standout career at Wichita State while Ceazer, Jennings, Lane and the late Tisharria Huggins (Topeka West) also won state titles at the high school level.  

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Men's No. 51-60

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    The latest men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 range from a player who competed at the top level of professional tennis to a Major League baseball player who was teammates with legends "Shoeless Joe'' Jackson and Cy Young to local stars who made their mark in various other sports.

    TSN's latest group of 10 Top 100 honorees is headed by former Topeka High tennis star Joel Hoffman, who won a pair of state titles for the Trojans before competing at the Division I level for Houston and on the International ATP men's circuit.

    Picks No. 51 through 60 also includes Art Griggs, who made his big league baseball debut in the early 1900s, as well as storied amateur golfer Bill McDonald, star swimmer Glenn Trammel, pro bowling history maker Bob Benoit, MLB pitcher Jim Golden, track and field stars Dan O'Mara and Jason Stuke and multiple-sport standouts Duane "Blackie'' Melvin and Scott Leon.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 51-60

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Local greats who made their mark in six sports at the high school, college and amateur level earned spots No. 51-60 on TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 list. 

    Shawnee Heights product Faith Rottinghaus, No. 51 on the Top 100 list, helped the T-Birds win Class 5A state titles in volleyball and softball before going on to earn first-team All-America honors for Washburn University, which posted a second-place national finish her senior season.

    Rottinghaus is joined on the Top 100 by Washburn Hall of Famers Rhonda Matzke (Silver Lake) and Billie Jean Moore (Highland Park), with the late Moore going down in history as a legendary women's basketball coach.

    In addition to hoops star Matzke, the latest group of 10 honorees include prolific Rossville scorer Jennifer Perine and Washburn Rural state champion Jamie Blakely, who both went on to standout careers at Emporia State. 

    Three of the county's most decorated cross country and track performers -- Washburn Rural's Avery Clifton and Jaybe Shufelberger and Seaman's Sydney Messick -- all earned spots in TSN's fifth installment of Top 100 picks as did former Rural multi-time state golf champions Abby Glynn and Megan Lucas, who both went on to Division I college careers.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Men's No. 61-70

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A pair of athletes who played in the NFL, a Major League Baseball alum and a United States Olympian are part of the fourth installment of men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    TSN's latest group of 10 Top 100 honorees is headed by former Topeka High star Lamar Mady, who played for the Raiders before putting together a long and continuing career in professional indoor football, while Washburn Rural and Kansas State alum Will Cokeley also got a taste of the NFL with the Buffalo Bills while also playing in the United States Football League and Canadian Football League.

    Picks No. 61 through 70 is top heavy with Topeka High products, including U.S. volleyball Olympian Chuck Nelson, Major League pitcher Ken "Hook'' Johnson, Trojan football stars Levi Lee and Troy Slusser and local softball legends Milo Mitchell and Joe Douglas.

    Seaman grad and Washburn University baseball star J.P. Wright, a former NAIA Player of the Year, earned a spot in the Top 100 along with Washburn Rural product Luke Yarnell, who played Arena Football League for 10 seasons after starring at Coffeyville Community College and Southwestern Louisiana. 

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 61-70

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Five of the best known names in Shawnee County softball earned spots on TopSports.news' fourth group of Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 honorees while spots No. 61-70 also included three local soccer greats as well as swimming and golf stars. 

    Silver Lake product Brenda Stolle, who helped Emporia State capture a national softball title, earned the No. 61 spot on the Top 100 while the latest grouping also includes former Washburn Rural and ESU All-American Taylor Zordel, Silver Lake star and Washburn University Hall of Famer Kathy Mohler, Seaman state champ and Division I standout Hailey Reed and Rural multi-sport standout and Kansas pitcher Kasey Hamilton. 

    The group of honorees also includes former soccer national champion Leea Murphy of Shawnee Heights as well as Washburn Rural stars Kaira Houser and Darby Hirsch while Topeka West product Kadence Jeffries won six state swimming titles in as many tries and Topeka High grad Rachel Stous established herself as one of the area's top women's golfers.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Men's No. 71-80

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A former world record-holder in track, two of Shawnee County's all-time tennis greats, a Major League Baseball alum, a top MLB draft pick, three Division I athletes in basketball and football and a pair of record-setting quarterbacks comprise the third group of men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    TSN's group of 10 Top 100 honorees in the No. 71 through 80 spots includes former American and world record-holder Clardy Vinson of Topeka High and Topeka West multi-sport star and Kansas Jayhawk C.B. McGrath as well as four-time state tennis champ Tommy Hunter of Hayden and three-time champ John Grantham of Topeka High.

    Picks No. 71 through 80 also include former Division I athletes Bennie Simecka of Rossville and Theron Wilson of Highland Park, former MLB pitcher Rick DeHart and top draft pick David Proctor and former Silver Lake and Rossville stars Shannon Kruger and Tucker Horak.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 71-80

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A group of Shawnee County greats that excelled in five different sports earned spots No. 71-80 on the women's TopSports.news Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 list.

    The third installment of the TSN women's picks is widely diverse, including college softball All-Americans Susan Punzo (Shawnee Heights) and Chris Torrez (Topeka West), tennis stars Danielle Knipp of Washburn Rural and Meg Griffin of Topeka West, who went on to excel at Division I Oklahoma and Maryland, respectively, as well as Topeka West star swimmer Kelli Dudley, who helped Truman State win three straight national swimming titles. 

    The group of honorees also includes Shawnee Heights product Stefine Pease, who put together a Hall of Fame volleyball career for Lipscomb, along with former T-Bird basketball standout Lori Roenbaugh, a 1,000-point career scorer for Washburn University, and former city tennis stars Tonna Rieger (Topeka West), Alex O'Neal (Hayden) and Zebbie Roberson (Hayden), who all won three state high school championships.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Men's No. 81-90

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A national golfer of the year, a pair of baseball All-Americans, two of Shawnee County's all-time wrestling greats, an individual and state team-champion swimmer and multiple athletes who competed in NCAA Championships are included in the second group of men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    TSN's second group of 10 Top 100 honorees (No. 81 through 90) includes former NCAA Division II golfer of the year Andrew Beckler, a Washburn Rural product, as well as former wrestling greats Tagen Lambotte of Rossville and Bishop Murray of Washburn Rural, who combined for seven individual state titles, baseball All-Americans Chris Carlson of Seaman and Shane Wright of Hayden and former Seaman star Zeke Metz, who helped lead the Vikings to the city's first swimming state team championship.

    Picks No. 81 through 90 also include former NCAA track and field qualifier Mikey Hoffer of Shawnee Heights, former Highland Park basketball star Lamont Austin, who won high school and national junior college titles and played in the NCAA basketball championships, and multi-sport stars and Division I standouts Rapheal Posey of Highland Park and Duane Zlatnik of Rossville.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 81-90

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seven of Shawnee County's most accomplished athletes in swimming and wrestling are among the second group of 10 women's honorees in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    Picks 81-90, which also includes three local volleyball greats, features five former swimmers who were multi-time state champions, including Hayden's Kristin Strecker, who went on to swim at Nebraska, and Washburn Rural alums Haley Molden and Sammie Schurig, who went on to become standouts at Kansas, as well as former Hayden stars Kristen Carlson and Katie Merriam.

    Washburn Rural's Dajia Anderson and Addison Broxterman, who helped Rural establish itself as the state's most dominant girls wrestling program, also earned Top 100 berths along with former county volleyball stars Sandy Werner of Washburn Rural, Seaman's Breanna Lewis and Silver Lake's Alyssa Schultejans.

    Both Werner and Schultejans played at Kansas State while Lewis earned All-America honors at Washburn University and is a member of the WU Hall of Fame.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • Linemen get their day in the limelight in Shawnee Heights' Battle of the Bigs

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    When high school football practice for the 2024 season begins across the state on August 19, linemen will go back to laboring in relative obscurity.

    BattleofBigs 1

    BattleofBigs 10

    But Tuesday's Battle of the Bigs lineman challenge at Shawnee Heights, an annual event since 2017, was all about the men in the trenches.

    "This is one of our largest ones,'' Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift said. "And you've got to credit schools like Highland Park and Topeka West who have definitely brought numbers, and then we've got schools from surrounding areas and a couple of Kansas City schools.''

    BattleofBigs 18

    BattleofBigs 20

    BattleofBigs 5

    Approximately 90 linemen representing nine city and area high schools took part in the Battle of the Bigs, competing in a variety of drills/activities while vying for individual and team prizes.

    "We do this to kind of celebrate the linemen,'' Swift said. "They don't get to do a lot of glorified stuff in the summer so this is an opportunity for them to compete and build some unity together and have fun.

    BattleofBigs 15

    BattleofBigs 13

    Participating athletes took part in nine measured events:

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Men's No. 91-100

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Six former state champs, a pair of baseball All-Americans, a Major League Baseball alum and a current Division I football standout headline the opening men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    TSN's first group of 10 Top 100 honorees includes athletes who participated in seven different sports, including recent stars Tanner Newkirk of Hayden, Tre Richardson of Highland Park and Desmond Purnell of Hayden, who are currently participating at the college level.

    The first men's Top 100 selections also include Washburn Rural product Austin Halsey, one of the city's most decorated soccer athletes, as well as former MLB pitcher Larry Miller, college baseball All-Americans Jordan Cooper (Shawnee Heights) and Ben Carlson (Seaman) and NCAA cross country qualifiers Jacob Morgan (Washburn Rural) and Rob Hays (Topeka West).

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news' Top 100 Athletes in Shawnee County History: Women's No. 91-100

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A group of nine former Shawnee County standouts and one rising star who represent seven different sports kick off the TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

    From gymnastics, which is no longer offered at county high schools, to shooting, which was never a KSHSAA sport, to more traditional sports like volleyball, golf, track and field and cross country and the state's fastest growing sport of girls wrestling, TSN's first group of 10 Top 100 honorees includes seven individual state champions as well as three state champions, including four-time Class 6A team volleyball champ Kelsey Lewis of Washburn Rural.

    The first group out of the gate also features the youngest Top 100 honoree, Seaman track and cross country star Ryin Miller, who has already earned her spot as one of Kansas' all-time bests in just two years of high school.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 WOMEN’S ATHLETES

  • TopSports.news set to kick off Top 100 project

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    On Tuesday, July 9, TopSports.news will kick off its three-week project picking its Top 100 greatest women's and men's athletes in Shawnee County history. 

    After receiving input from current and past media professionals with more than 100 years of combined experience, TSN will kick things off with its No. 91 through 100 picks on its all-time women's list and will continue posting women's and men's picks 10 at a time before culminating with the Women's Top 10 on July 27 and the Men's Top 10 on July 28.

    MikeTorrezTHighHOF 1Topeka sports legend Mike Torrez was a world champion with the New York Yankees and won 185 games as a Major League pitcher in an 18-year career. [File photo]

     GaryWoodlandTop100 2Former Shawnee Heights star Gary Woodland won the 2019 U.S. Open and continues to compete on the PGA Tour. [PGA Tour]

    ChrisBarnesTHighHOF 2Topeka High grad Chris Barnes is a PBA Hall of Famer, who also helped the Trojans win a state basketball title. [PBA Tour]

    SheriNorrisTop100 2Topeka West state champion Sheri Norris was an All-American tennis player at Arizona State before playing on the pro tennis tour. [File photo]

     NiJareeCanadyTop100 2Former Topeka High star NiJaree Canady received national pitcher of the year and player of the year honors as a sophomore pitcher for Stanford. [Stanford Athletics]

    BrooklynDeLeyeTop100 4Former Washburn Rural multi-sport star Brooklyn DeLeye is currently a star for Kentucky's volleyball team and a member of the U.S. Under21 national team. [Kentucky Volleyball]

    County athletes have made their mark in a variety of sports at the high school, collegiate, national amateur and professional levels over the years and TSN's goal is to recognize as many of those athletes as possible.

    The only Top 100 requirement is that eligible candidates must have grown up in Shawnee County or attended one of the county's 10 high schools.

    While it's an impossible task to honor all the deserving individuals and not everybody will agree with TSN's selections, we hope that you enjoy this trip down memory lane that recognizes local athletes dating from those born in the 1800s to those just beginning to make their mark.

    TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 ATHLETES TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

    July 9 -- Women's No. 91 through 100.

    July 10 -- Men's No. 91 through 100.

    July 11 -- Women's No. 81 through 90.

    July 12 -- Men's No. 81 through 90.

    July 13 -- Women's No. 71 through 80.

    July 14 -- Men's No. 71 through 80.

    July 15 -- Women's No. 61 through 70.

    July 16 -- Men's No. 61 through 70.

    July 17 -- Women's No. 51 through 60.

    July 18 -- Men's No. 51 through 60.

    July 19 -- Women's No. 41 through 50.

    July 20 -- Men's No. 41 through 50.

    July 21 -- Women's No. 31 through 40.

    July 22 -- Men's No. 31 through 40.

    July 23 -- Women's No. 21 through 30.

    July 24 -- Men's No. 21 through 30.

    July 25 -- Women's No. 11 through 20.

    July 26 -- Men's No. 11 through 20.

    July 27 -- Women's No.10 through 1.

    July 28 -- Men's No. 10 through 1.

     

     

     

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  • Where it all began: New Pepperdine athletic director Tanner Gardner cherishes his Shawnee Heights roots

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Tanner Gardner holds college degrees from Stanford and Harvard, was an All-American wrestler and a member of multiple halls of fame.

    TannerGardnernewmug 2Tanner Gardner, a 2003 Shawnee Heights graduate and 2018 inductee into the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame, took over as the director of athletics at Pepperdine University earlier this month. [Pepperdine Athletics]

    TannerGardnerAction 2Former Shawnee Heights state champion and Stanford All-American wrestler Tanner Gardner is the new director of athletics at Pepperdine University. [Stanford Athletics]

    But the new athletic director at Division I Pepperdine University in the beautiful ocean-front city of Malibu, Calif. will never forget where it all started -- in the small close-knit community of Tecumseh at Shawnee Heights High School.

    "I'm really grateful to God for this opportunity and it's a place that when you're growing up you never really expected to be,'' Gardner told TopSports.news in a phone interview. "I never envisioned that I'd be the athletic director at Pepperdine. It's like I got one good opportunity after another and kind of parlayed one into the next.''

    Gardner took over as A.D. at Pepperdine this month after a successful stint as a deputy athletic director at Rice University, but said he wouldn't be where he is without the values he learned through wrestling and his coaches, including former Heights coach Bob Gonzales.

    Gardner was a two-time undefeated Class 5A state champion for the T-Birds, graduating in 2003, and went on to become Stanford's first three-time wrestling All-American before eventually getting into athletic administration.   

    "I got into wrestling because of Gonzo, I got good at wrestling because of a lot of good coaches and I got to Stanford because I was good at wrestling,'' Gardner said. "It went on from there and now I'm the athletic director at Pepperdine, so I'm really a product of those who helped me get to where I am.

    "I'm really grateful for the opportunity to lead such a distinguished department at really a terrific university that has their values straight and has great leadership.''

    Gardner said he felt the lure to enter the field of athletic administration after finishing his academic career at Stanford and receiving his master's degree from Harvard.

    "When I was in college I never considered that as a career but through some professional and personal experiences once I got out of college I felt a calling to go be an athletic director,'' Gardner said. "I'm a man of faith and I feel like it was a calling from God. That was in 2009 and it took me about five years to get my first job in college athletics but since I've been in it, it felt really affirming and that this is what I wanted to do.''

  • Shawnee Heights' Carver named Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Male

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Shawnee Heights three-sport standout Rykan Carver was named the Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Male Wednesday night at Washburn University.

    RykanCarverStatefinal 1Recent Shawnee Heights graduate Rykan Carver was named the Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Male Wednesday night at Washburn University. [File photo/TSN]

    Carver was an All-United Kansas Conference offensive tackle in football, the Class 5A 285-pound state champion in wrestling and a state qualifier in track in the shot put.

    Carver was a three-year starter on offense and a two-year starter on defense in football and was a four-year letterman in wrestling.

    Academically, Carver ranked No. 1 in a graduating class of 251 while compiling a grade point average of 4.53.

    Carver was a Kansas Governor's Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society, ranking in the top one percent of GPAs for the entire state of Kansas. Carver will study engineering at Kansas State.

    Rykan is the son of Corey and Tricia Carver.

    SPRING SPORTS: MOST INSPIRATIONAL MALE NOMINEES

  • Trojans' Beall named Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Female

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Recent Topeka High graduate McCall Beall was selected as the Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Female Athlete of the Year Wedneday night at Washburn University.

    Beall was a team captain for the Topeka High softball team while earning first-team All-Class 6A and All-Centennial League and second-team All-Shawnee County recognition as a senior.

    McCallBeallTSCOaction 2Recent Topeka High graduate McCall Beall played on two Class 6A state championship softball teams for the Trojans and was also a multi-time state qualifier in tennis. [Submitted photo]

    McCallBeallTSCOaction 1Topeka High product McCall Beall was named the Topeka Shawnee County Female Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University. [File photo/TSN]

    A part of back-to-back state championship softball teams as a freshman and sophomore, Beall was also a tennis standout for the Trojans, qualifying for the Class 6A state tournament in as a junior and senior.

    "As much as she has excelled on the field, she also helped to lead the Topeka High student body as the student body president,'' Beall's nomination form stated.

    Beall also participated in band and the Topeka High Drumline, Scholars Bowl and numerous academic-based clubs. 

    The daughter of Thomas Beall and Andrea Palmer, Beall compiled a 4.3 grade point average in high school.

    SPRING SPORTS: MOST INSPIRATIONAL FEMALE NOMINEES

  • Stallbaumer named Topeka Shawnee County Fall Female Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman multi-sport standout Taylin Stallbaumer, who helped lead the Vikings to their first Class 5A state volleyball championship, was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Female Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet at Washburn University.

    TaylinStallbaumerTSCOaction 2Recent Seaman graduate Taylin Stallbaumer was named the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards Fall Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

    "Taylin was a three-sport athlete at Seaman, excelling in all of them,'' Seaman coach Tatiana Dowling said. "She is highly competitive and athletic. She makes people around her better, leads by example and is a great teammate.''

    Stallbaumer ranks second on Seaman's all-time list in assists (1,394), fourth in aces (134), fifth in kills (663), sixth in digs (873), seventh in hitting percentage (.205) and ninth in blocks (91).

    Stallbaumer also helped the Vikings win the 5A state basketball title and helped Seaman reach the state quarterfinals in soccer.

    Stallbaumer will play volleyball at Johnson County Community College.

    The daughter of Todd and Tonya Stallbaumer, Taylin compiled a 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

    Other candidates:

    FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

  • Rural swim star Brogan Meier named Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Washburn Rural swimming star Brogan Meier was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Washburn University.

    BroganMeierState 1Former Washburn Rural star Brogan Meier was named the Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University. [File photo/TSN]

    Meier capped an oustanding high school swimming career with the Class 6A 50-yard freestyle while helping lead Washburn Rural to a third-place team finish.

    Meier was a four-time All-City and All-Centennial League honoree, helping the Junior Blues win four city team titles and three league championships.

    "Brogan was a fantastic captain for our swim team, demonstrating great leadership and always being an encouraging teammate to all fellow swimmers,'' Rural coach Janson Garman said. "Brogan brought incredible talent, backed by a great work ethic, to our swim team and it really paid off for him in the end.''

    Meier, the son of Kirk and Nicole Meier, compiled a grade point average of 4.11 at Washburn Rural.

    He plans to attend Missouri State.

     WINTER SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

     CalebAnnan NoonooTSCOmug 1Caleb Annan-Noonoo

    CALEB ANNAN-NOONOO | Topeka West

    PARENTS: K.O. Noonoo and Anna Annan-Noonoo

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: NA

    Annan-Noonoo was a three-year varsity player for the Chargers in basketball while also starring in the classroom, ranking as Topeka West's valedictorian for the class of 2024 and earning numerous academic scholarship offers. Annan-Noonoo turned in a solid senior season for the Chargers, shooting 55.9 percent from the field while ranking seventh in the city with a 5.5 rebounding average and leading the city with 1.4 blocked shots per game. He also averaged 1.6 steals on the season.

    RykanCarverStatemug 1Rykan Carver

    RYKAN CARVER | Shawnee Heights

    PARENTS: Corey and Tricia Carver

    SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 4.53

    A standout in football, wrestling and track and field for the T-Birds, Carver ended his high school wrestling career with the Class 5A 285-pound state title. Carver was a four-time letterman in wrestling, winning a pair of United Kansas Conference titles and qualifying for the 5A state tournament three times. "Rykan is a team leader and captain in all three of his sports and also thrives in the classroom, taking honors courses throughout high school and graduating with a 4.53 GPA,'' Shawnee Heights wrestling coach Chad Parks said. "This GPA and workload earned Rykan the distinction of being in the top one percent of GPAs for the entire state of Kansas.'' Carver will attend Kansas State to study engineering.

    CooperColbochTSCOmug 1Cooper Colboch

    COOPER COLBOCH | Hayden

    PARENTS: Craig and Torri Colboch

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 4.166

    Colboch helped lead the Wildcats to a Class 3A state tournament berth as a senior, averaging 8.2 points per games while hitting 39 3-pointers and shooting 81.3 percent from the free throw line. "Cooper had a great senior season,'' former Hayden coach Trey Brown said. "He was the voice of our team all year long and hit countless big shots for us. He is a great kid on and off the court and was a big reason we had success this season. Colboch also played football for Hayden before being sidelined midway through his senior season with an injury.

    SimonEverhartTSCoAwards Mug 1Simon Everhart

    SIMON EVERHART | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Dave and Rachel Everhart

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 4.17

    Everhart was a Top 10 All-Shawnee County selection as a senior, averaging 16.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game while scoring 35 percent of the Lions' points. "Simon is consistent in his approach and very reliable to his teammates,'' Cair Parave coach Chip Kueffer said. "A leader by his actions, not just words. The team depended on him heavily to show up and there was never a moment during the year when Simon let a teammate down. Simon demonstrates humility and perseverance. Despite being one of the top players in Topeka, Simon was never 'too big time.' He consistently swept the court before practices started and led as a team captain with a servant's heart.''

  • T-Birds' Esquibel, Vikings' Merritt Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Male Athletes of the Year

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Class 5A state track champions Jackson Esquibel of Shawnee Heights and Aaron Merritt of Seaman were selected as the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Male Athletes of the Year Wedneday night at Washburn University.

    JacksonEsquibelSTATETRACK1600Shawnee Heights product Jackson Esquibel (left) was named the Co-Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

    AaronMerrittSTATESTRACKJesse 1Recent Seaman graduate Aaron Merritt (middle) won the Class 5A 100-meter and 110 hurdles championships as a senior. [Photo by Jesse Bruner/Special to TSN]

    As a senior Esquibel won his second straight 5A 3,200 meters state championship after winning the 5A state cross country title last fall. Esquibel set school records in the 3,200 (9 minutes, 13.85 seconds), 1,600 (4:15.26) and 800 (1:56.43). Esquibel finished second in the 5A 1,600 meters as both a junior and senior.

    "Jackson has been a leader in both sports, always being a great mentor and teammate,'' Shawnee Heights track and cross country coach John Oshel said.

    Esquibel will compete collegiately in cross country and track at Kansas State. As a junior Esquibel was selected as the male Rising Star of the Year for Shawnee County.

    Esquibel, the son of Scott and Amy Esquibel, carried a 3.96 grade point average at Shawnee Heights.

    Merritt was a double 5A gold medalist in track and field as a senior, winning the 110-meter hurdles and the 100-meter dash. Merritt also anchored the Vikings' 4x100 relay to a second-place finish at state.

    "Aaron is very dependable, talented, and has an incredible work ethic,'' Seaman track coach Scott Petersen said. "He has been fantastic to coach and deserves all the success he earned this spring.  As great of an athlete as he is, with all of his accolades, he’s an even better person.''

    Merritt's winning times in the 110 hurdles and 100 dash in the state meet were the fastest in all classes.

    The ton of Toby and Robin Merritt, Aaron compiled a 3.6 grade point average in high school.

    SPRING SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

  • Rossville's Lietz set to cap standout career in Saturday's Kansas Shrine Bowl

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    As Barrett Lietz's high school athletic career wound down his senior year, the Rossville three-sport standout had some tough decisions to make.

    BarrettLietzShrineBowl 1Recent Rossville three-sport standout Barrett Lietz (middle) will close out his competitive sports career in Saturday night's Kansas Shrine Bowl at Emporia. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Lietz's options came down to playing football or wrestling in college or opting to concentrate on his academics.

    The third option eventually won out, with Lietz headed to Kansas State to study mechanical engineering. 

    "I'm just going to focus on school and study,'' said Lietz, a two-time All-Shawnee County Top 22 pick in football, a Class 3A-1A state runnerup in wrestling and a state qualifier in track and field while posting a 4.10 grade point average.

    "It was a pretty tough decision because I'm done sports all my life, but I felt like it was time to be done.''

Top Sports News Team

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