Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds vertTopeka High Trojans

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  • West's Jeffries caps prep career with third state sweep; Seaman fourth in Class 5A-1A

    Rick Peterson


    Topeka West star Kadence Jeffries finished her prep swimming career the same way she started it, with a pair of state championships.

    Jeffries burst on the state scene with Class 5A-1A state titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 500 freestyle as a freshman in 2019 and repeated that sweep again in 2021 after having her sophomore campaign wiped out by COVID-19..

    Jeffries made it six individual state championships in as many tries on Saturday at the Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center.

    KadenceJeffries500Topeka West senior Kadence Jefffries earned her fifth and sixth Class 5A-1A state titles on Saturday. [File photo/TSN]

    AveryWalzstateSeaman sophomore Avery Walz won the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 individual medley in Saturday's Class 5A-1A state swimming meet, helping lead the Vikings to a fourth-place team finish. [File photo/TSN]

    Jeffries opened her day with a win in the 200 free in 1 minute, 53.68 seconds and then came back later to win the 500 free in 5:03.55. 

    Seaman sophomore Avery Walz joined Jeffries on top of the awards stand, winning the state title in the 100-yard breatstroke in 1:06.03, helping lead the Vikings to a fourth-place team finish.

    A. Walz teamed with senior Gabby Grace, freshman Joslynn Grace and sophomore twin sister Tauren Walz for a third-place finish in the meet-opening 200 medley relay to get the Vikings' team bid off to a good start.

    A. Walz and J. Grace finished third and fifth in the 200 individual medley, with Walz clocking a time off 2:10.93 and Grace a time of 2:18.50.

    G. Grace finished fourth in the 100 freestyle (54.16) and the 100 backstroke (59.84), while T. Walz was fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:26.43) and posted a sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:00.39) before Seaman capped the day with a third-place finish in the 400 free relay, with T. Walz, J. Grace, G. Grace and A. Walz clocking a time of 3:41.10.

    Seaman finished with 175.5 points, following team champion Andover (258), St. James Academy (202) and Bishop Carroll (193).

    Topeka West finished 15th with 49 points.


    Topeka High junior Brianna Devlin ended her first season of high school diving with a fourth-place finish in the Class 6A state meet.

    Devlin was part of a tight four-person for the state title, with Blue Valley Northwest's Claire Garrelts taking first with a score of 395.80, followed by Derby's Ana Self (391.80), Blue Valley West's Rose Lawler (390.90) and Devlin (389.35).

    Washburn Rural junior Mara Bare finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.48) and sixth in the 500 free (5:20.29) while junior Makenna Pritchard placed eighth in the 50 free (25.52) and seventh in the 100 free (56.63).

  • Pre-State TSN Shawnee County high school boys track & field honor roll

    Rick Peterson


    NOTE: compiles a weekly track and field honor roll for Shawnee County high schools throughout the 2022 season. Coaches are asked to email updated times and marks or any corrections to Rick Peterson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Coaches should designate whether times were fully automatic (FAT) or hand-timed. FAT times for individual sprints are considered .024 of a second faster than hand times. will rank the Top 5 in each event.


    100 METERS

    Smith, Shawnee Heights              9.8 (10.27)

    January, Shawnee Heights           10.5

    Reed, Highland Park                    10.5

    Richardson, Highland Park           10.5

    Peoples, Topeka High                   10.6

    200 METERS

    Richardson, Highland Park           21.77 (21.6)

    Smith, Shawnee Heights               21.82

    January, Shawnee Heights           22.26

    Renfro, Silver Lake                       22.40

    Schrickel, Hayden                         22.72

    400 METERS

    Richardson, Highland Park           50.54

    Schrickel, Hayden                         51.05

    Blankenship, Topeka High            51.84

    Renfro, Silver Lake                       52.11

    Wilkerson, Topeka West               52.58

    800 METERS

    Newkirk, Hayden                          1:55.69

    B. Moore, Seaman                       2:00.72

    Esquibel, Shawnee Heights         2:03.14

    Wilson, Topeka West                   2:03.17

    Njoroge, Topeka West                  2:04.19

  • Pre-State TSN Shawnee County high school girls track & field honor roll

    Rick Peterson



    100 METERS

    Nichols, Shawnee Heights         12.33 (12.2)

    Reed, Highand Park                   12.35

    Brooks, Topeka West                  12.60

    Hillebert, Hayden                         12.96

    Rezac, Rossville                         12.96

    200 METERS

    Nichols, Shawnee Heights          25.78

    Rottinghaus, Shawnee Heights   25.90

    Reed, Highland Park                   26.22

    Brooks, Topeka West                   26.29

    Rezac, Rossville                          26.79

    400 METERS

    Rottinghaus, Shawnee Heights    58.18

    Reed, Highland Park                    58.22

    Foster, Rossville                           61.03

    Hillebert, Hayden                          61.78

    Fredrickson, Washburn Rural       62.08

    FPUC1MSXoAY xMSSeaman junior Bethany Druse is the Shawnee County leader in the girls 800 and 1,600 meters. [File photo/TSN]

    800 METERS

    Druse, Seaman                             2:15.19

    Carter, Washburn Rural                2:29.28

    Bird, Washburn Rural                   2:30.33

    Ismert, Washburn Rural                2:30.47

    Fink, Washburn Rural                   2:31.86

  • Topeka High's soccer season ends in 2-0 loss to Garden City

    Isaac Deer


    Topeka High’s rollercoaster soccer season came to an end in Friday's Class 6A regional championship match against Garden City, with the Trojans losing 2-0 at Hummer Sports Park.

    Losing the regional championship certainly wasn’t the way the Trojans wanted to end the the year, but the journey to that point gave Topeka High cherished memories.

    TaeThomasregionalsoccer 2Topeka High senior Tae Thomas executes a header in Fridays 2-0 Class 6A regional loss to Garden City. [Photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]

    “I couldn’t be happier with the way the season turned out for us,” Topeka High coach Derek Snook said. “After the first couple of weeks, I was unsure about how the season was going to go. At one point of the season, we spent more time in the training room than we did on the practice field. But the fight, determination and the ‘never say die’ attitude carried us a long way.

    “This is the best team I’ve ever coached.”

    Topeka High was rolling coming into Friday night’s contest against Garden City, but the Buffaloes were playing great soccer as well.

    As dominant as High’s backline was for its hot stretch in May, Garden City found ways to exploit the Trojans on Friday. 

    Out of Garden City’s 21-player roster, only one senior was on the squad and that person is Destiny Rojo.

    Rojo put a goal on the board for the Buffaloes with a penalty kick at the 31:10 mark in the first half. 

    Topeka High’s backline booted a ball past midfield where Tae Thomas would have one of the slim opportunities to score in the first half. Garden City goalkeeper Laydaly Enriquez would throw her entire body in front of the charging Thomas to prevent Topeka High from scoring with 18:04 to go.

    Garden City would bullrush Topeka High down in their own territory and collect a goal with 15:36 remaining in the first half. Ariel Martinez would fake out two Trojan defenders and would net it in with a light tap of the cleat.

    The mauling Buffaloes' defense would be the main story of Friday night’s contest. Topeka High’s attackers would be dramatically halted by Garden City’s slide tackles and speed.

    Topeka High would have four opportunities in the first half and six in the second half to score against the Buffaloes but fell short.

    Enriquez would have a career-type of day in the box for Garden City.

    Topeka High wouldn’t be able to net a goal against Garden City and finished the season with a 12-6-0 record.

    The Trojans improved from previous years and High hopes this season will help next year’s team going forward.

    “This team will reflect on all of our different programs here at Topeka High,” Snook said. “These girls’ ‘never say die’ attitude this season has set the standard for what we want to accomplish down the road. If the underclassmen learned anything it was to never quit and give up on your teammates.

    “No matter what the score or the outcome of the game is, as long as you never gave up on each other, you will take that with you. It wasn’t the way we wanted to end the season, but I’m glad that they gave it their all.”


     Garden City  (12-5-1) 2 0 – 0

    Topeka High (12-6-0)  0 0 – 0

    Garden City – Goals: Rojo, Martinez. Assist: Rojo. Shutout: Enriquez.

  • Redmond coming home to take over Topeka High girls basketball program

    Rick Peterson


    Former Topeka High standout Brittney Redmond is coming home to take over the Trojans' girls basketball program.

    Redmond, a 2011 High graduate, was approved as the Trojans' new head coach by the USD 501 school board Thursday night to replace Hannah Alexander, who resigned in April to accept a job at Andover High.

    BrittneyRedmondnewBrittney Redmond, a 2011 Topeka High graduate, has been named the Trojans' new head girls basketball coach. Redmond was approved by the USD 501 School Board Thursday night. [Submitted photo]

    Redmond has served as an assistant coach at four junior colleges, including her most recent stop at Clarendon College, but said she had always had an interest in returning to her alma mater at some point to coach.

    "If I was going to coach high school it was definitely going to be at Topeka High,'' Redmond said. "I didn't think it would be this soon but I did want to come back and give back to the community and possibly coach.''

    Redmond takes over a Trojan program that has made four straight appearances in the Class 6A state tournament, with a pair of state runner-up appearances. 

    Topeka High posted a 20-3 record this past season and dropped a 33-32 decision to Blue Valley in the opening round of the state tournament.

    Redmond said she knows the bar is set high at Topeka High and is eager to get started in her new position.

    "Just coming from the college world I'm pretty up to speed with how practices are run and preparing for games, so I would say I'm ready,'' Redmond said.

    Following her Topeka High career, Redmond played two seasons at Allen County Community College and then played at the University of West Alabama.

    Redmond began her coaching career at Southwestern Oregon Community College and then coached at Colby and Garden City before coaching last season at Clarendon College in Texas.

    Redmond said she'll take advantage of the summer to get to know her new team and get prepared for the 2022-2023 season.

    The Trojans return several key players this year's team, including Shawnee County and Centennial League player of the year Kiki Smith, who will be a senior.

    "We're going to hit the ground running as soon as we're able to do so,'' Redmond said. "I feel like a lot of people believe in me and they know I'm going to keep the ball rolling at Topeka High.''

  • Fink, distance corps pace Rural girls in 6A track and field regional

    Rick Peterson


    The home stretch was a home run for Washburn Rural freshman distance standout Payton Fink in Thursday's Class 6A track and field regional at Hummer Sports Park.

    Fink rallied from behind in both the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters to edge teammates Rylee Ismert and Madeline Carter as the Junior Blues went 1-2 in both events on the way to a second-place team finish.

    FTM uFsWUAIEaF9Washburn Rural freshman Payton Fink (1) runs alongside teammate Rylee Ismert (3) in the girls 1,600-meter run in Thursday's Class 6A regional. Fink and Ismert finished one-two in a close finish. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Fink finished with a flourish in the 1,600 to win the race in a time of 5 minutes, 35.01 seconds, while Ismert was second in 5:35.02 in a photo finish.

    Later in the evening Fink used the same formula to double up in the 3,200 in 11:45.98 while Carter was a strong second in 11:47.01.

    "It was a race strategy,'' Fink said with a chuckle. "I think sometimes at the finish it's kind of easier to see your competition (from behind) and drive for that.

    "I feel like you just have to go and not think about how much you have left and just let your body take you.''

    Fink thought she won the 1,600, one of the closest races of the regional meet, but wasn't 100 percent sure until she found out the final results.

    "Barely,'' Fink said. "I didn't know for sure and she's my teammate, she's awesome. My goal was just to qualify and then do what I can at state.''

    Fink, Ismert and Carter also helped Washburn Rural quality in the 4 x 800 relay for the May 27-28 state meet in Wichita, teaming with Khloi Bird to post a second-place finish in that race in 10:01.22.

    Bird also qualified in the 800 meters with a fourth-place finish in 2:31.30.

    "I'm excited (for state),'' Fink said. "I just want to try and get a PR (personal record) and maybe a medal.''

    Washburn Rural qualified for state in six events overall, with sophomore Raegen Petersen adding a third regional championship for the Junior Blues with a win in the discus at 120 feet, 9 inches.

    Petersen also finished fourth in the javelin (101-60, while Rural teammate Ashley Fitzhugh was third at 102-10.



  • Rural's Sulzen-Watson overcomes prelim scare, wins two golds

    Rick Peterson


    Washburn Rural senior Zach Sulzen-Watson was a favorite to win the boys shot put and discus events in Thursday's Class 6A track and field regional at Hummer Sports Park.

    And Sulzen-Watson pulled off that difficult double, but not without some anxious moments.

    Zach Sulzen Watson2Washburn Rural senior Zach Sulzen-Watson swept the boys shot put and discus titles in Thursday's Class 6A regional meet at Hummer Sports Park. [File photo/TSN]

    The Rural city, Centennial League and now regional two-event champ started his day with a decisive win in the shot put, throwing a best of 52 feet, 2.25 inches to win by just under four feet.

    But Sulzen-Watson stumbled a bit at the start of the discus competition, fouling on his first two throws of the preliminaries and leaving him with just one last throw to get in a legal throw and advance to the finals.

    Sulzen-Watson proved to be up to the task, getting off a 134-foot throw to go into the finals in second place and then getting off a winning throw of 159 feet, 7 inches to move past Junction City's Keghan McConnell and take the victory.

    "I was a little nervous,'' Sulzen-Watson said. "Especially after you scratch the first two that's pretty bad, but I just needed one inbounds.

    "I felt a little bit of pressure. It's kind of tough up here (in Hummer's throwing areas) like everyone says because there's not a lot of energy up on the throws side and that definitely plays a part.''

    Now Sulzen-Watson is looking forward to his final state meet on May 27-28 at Wichita after placing in the fifth in the discus a year ago.

    "I've got a few things to work on but I'm definitely excited,'' he said. "It's my last chance and I've just got to get it out there.''

    Z. Sulzen-Watson led Washburn Rural's throwers to a big day, with his brother, Josh Sulzen-Watson, adding a third-place finish in the discus (131-2) and a runner-up finish in the javelin (161-8) while Walker Thompson (151-11) and Reece Godby (150-8) also qualified for state in the javelin with third and fourth-place finishes.

    The top four placers in all 18 events in Thursday's regional moved on to state. 

    Washburn Rural qualified for seven events overall en route to a second-place team finish behind Manhattan (110-76).

    Rural's Cody Ingerthron finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.66) and finished third in the 300 hurdles (42.01 seconds) while Spencer Haddock qualified for state with a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 meters (10:11.96) and the Junior Blues finished fourth in the 4 x 800 relay (8:43.95).

    Topeka High's boys qualiied for state in three events, with Dylan Blankenship finishing third in the 400 (51.84), V'Ante Peoples taking third in the 200 (23.16) and the Trojans finishing third in the 4 x 100 relay (43.59).


  • West's Alonzo, High's Thomas named Dan Key Farmers Insurance Agency Athletes of the Week

    Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer

    By RICK PETERSON                                                                                                          

     MylesAlonzoregionalTopeka West sophomore Myles Alonzo won the individual title in Monday's Class 5A golf regional at Lake Shawnee in a playoff. [File photo/TSN]

    MYLES ALONZO, Topeka West

    A sophomore, Alonzo captured the individual championship in Monday's Class 5A regional boys golf tournament at Lake Shawnee,earning an individual berth in the state tournament for the second straight season.

    Alonzo carded a 76 to tie Shawnee Heights' Alex Valdivia for medalist honors and sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playof hole to take the win.

    TaeThomasEmp 2Topeka High multi-sport standout Tae Thomas scored a three-goal hat track in the Trojans' Senior Night game, leading the Trojans to a 7-1 Centennial League win over Emporia, and added a second straight hat trick in a 9-0 regional win over Wichita Heights. [File photo/TSN]

    TAE THOMAS, Topeka High

    Thomas, a senior three-sport standout for the Trojans, recorded a three-goal hat trick in Topeka High's 7-1 Centennial League Senior Night soccer romp past Emporia at Hummer Sports Park.

    Thomas, a place-kicker in football and a standout guard in basketball, added a second straight hat trick on Wednesday in the Trojans' 9-0 Class 6A regional win over Wichita Heights, helping Topeka High improve to 12-5-0 on the season.

  • Defending state champion Trojans earn return trip to 6A state softball

    Isaac Deer


    The defending Class 6A state softball champions have punched their ticket back to the big dance after Topeka High rolled through their competition at Wednesday's regional tournament at Hummer Sports Park.

    Topeka High made it look easy with a clean sweep against Wichita East and Dodge City by a combined 30-0 score.

    High defeated Wichita East 16-0 in its semifinal and would go on to rout Dodge City in the regional final, 14-0.

    Benning2Topeka High freshman Jo'Mhara Benning delivers a pitch in Wednesday's Class 6A softball regional at Hummer Sports Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Canady2Topeka High senior NiJaree Canady had a big offensive day in Wednesday's Class 6A softball regional, knocking in nine runs. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    “Getting back to the state tournament was one of our goals,” Topeka High coach Shane Miles said. “We were able to do some damage tonight, which was good. I think we proved to ourselves that we play like we did today more often. I know our girls are playing well.

    “I told our girls that we need to go 5-0. That’s all we need to do. Fight hard, play hard and win five games. We are 2-0 right now and all we need to do now is win the next three games. That is our goal and mindset right now. Win three games and we will achieve what every team wants to achieve, a state title.”

    While the Trojans dominated their opponents in the regional sweep, they were also able to get a good look at two players who could step in at any time.

    The freshmen duo of Jo’Mhara Benning and Montgomery Freel imposed their will in the circle on Wednesday night. Benning and Freel no-hit Wichita East in the first game and allowed just three total hits in the second contest. The duo also fanned 11 batters in a combined eight innings of work.

    “The performance from both of them was great,” Miles said. “They are just freshmen. They are going to be great for this program for the next few years. Getting those two experience here where the stakes are the highest is only going to help them and this program. They still have some growing to do, but they looked good today.”

  • Thomas' second straight hat trick powers Topeka High to 9-0 regional win

    Isaac Deer


    It’s no secret that Topeka High’s soccer team has been stellar lately.

    Topeka High’s 9-0 victory over Wichita Heights Wednesday night and Tae Thomas’ second straight game with a hat trick has the Trojans rolling.

    TaeThomasRegionalTopeka High senior Tae Thomas scored three goals for the second straight game as the Trojans advanced to a Class 6A regional final with a 9-0 win over Wichita Heights. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    ZimmermanTopeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman (2) is congratulated by teammate Haley Carpenter after scoring a goal in Wednesday's 9-0 win over Wichita Heights. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Topeka High’s complete team effort has been a staple in the team’s recent hot streak.

    The Trojans (12-5-0) have outscored their last two opponents (Emporia and Wichita Heights), 16-1.

    “We were just trying to find areas we could exploit,” Topeka High coach Derek Snook said. “We started out a little slow in the first half. We would go on to make some key adjustments at halftime and I think the offense showed up even more in the second half.”

    Thomas has been a sensational attacker for the Trojans in the last two contests. The senior has put together back-to-back three-goal contests making life much easier and less stressful for Topeka High.

    “Tae has been one of our clear leaders for us,” Snook said. “She is just shooting the ball with ease over the last couple of games. She has exceeded our expectations. She lifts everyone up with the way she goes about her business. Her attitude is always great and her play is as well.”