TSN-gold-partner-Pennant.png

Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds vertTopeka High Trojans

Click on the article titles below to read the full story.
  • All-Shawnee County golf: Junior Blues put four players on first team

    Rick Peterson

    FCk4Z40XMAE9vGk2021 All-Shawnee County girls golf -- From left: Avery Zimmerman, Topeka High; Lois Deeter, Seaman; Avery Scott, Washburn Rural; Kaitlyn Crough, Washburn Rural; McKenna Merrick, Washburn Rural; Aliyah North, Washburn Rural; Kate Roeder, Hayden. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural garnered four spots on the All-Shawnee County girls golf team after the Junior Blues swept city, Centennial League and regional team titles before finishing second in last week's Class 6A state tournament.

    The Junior Blues are represented by seniors Kaitlyn Crough, McKenna Merrick and Aliyah North and junior Avery Scott, who all earned 6A state medals this fall.

    Also earning spots on the seven-member All-Shawnee County first team were Seaman junior Lois Deeter, Hayden senior Kate Roeder and Topeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman.

    Deeter claimed the city title and tied for fifth in the 5A state tournament while Roeder finished second in the 4A state meet and Zimmerman qualified for the 6A state tournament as an individual.

    Named to the second team were Seaman junior Aspen Burgardt and sophomore Avery Samuelson, Hayden sophomore Avery Grunert and junior Ava Teply, Washburn Rural junior Mallory Nelson and sophomore Raegan Petersen, Shawnee Heights senior Olivia Morgan and Silver Lake freshman Taylor Zordel.

    All-County first-team capsules:

    KAITLYN CROUGH, Washburn Rural -- Crough capped her high school career with an 11th-place finish in the 6A state tournament, earning the second state medal of her career, as Rural finished second as a team at state after sweeping city, Centennial League and regional titles. A former city champ, Crough was the runner-up in the city and league meets.

    LOIS DEETER, Seaman -- A junior, Deeter tied for fifth in the 5A state tournament after winning the city title by five strokes and finishing second in regional competition. Deeter, who also tied for fifth in the state tournament as a freshman, shot an even-par 70 in the city tournament and posted a career-low 66 in the Manhattan Invitational.

    McKENNA MERRICK, Washburn Rural -- Merrick, a senior, earned a 6A state medal with a tie for 19th place to help Washburn Rural finish second as a team. Merrick also tied for seventh in the Centennial League tournament as the Junior Blues won the team title.

    ALIYAH NORTH, Washburn Rural -- In her first year as a varsity player the Rural senior finished fifth in the 6A state tournament for the runner-up Junior Blues after finishing as the runner-up in regional competition, tying for fourth in the Centennial League and taking third in the city meet as Rural won city, league and regional team titles.

    KATE ROEDER, Hayden -- Roeder, a senior, turned in an outstanding performance in the 4A state tournament, posting a second-place individual finish to lead the Wildcats to a third-place team finish. Roeder also tied for seventh place individually in 4A regional competition and she placed seventh in the city tournament.

    AVERY SCOTT, Washburn Rural -- A junior, Scott tied for 12th place individually in the 6A tournament, helping Rural finish second as a team after the Junior Blues swept city, Centennial League and regional titles. A two-time state medalist, Scott finished fourth at regionals, third in the Centennial League and tied for fourth in the city tournament.

    AVERY ZIMMERMAN, Topeka High -- Zimmerman, a sophomore, qualified for the 6A state tournament as an individual and went on to tie for 33rd place at state. Zimmerman also placed sixth individually in the Centennial League tournament and she tied for eighth in the city tournament. 

    ALL-SHAWNEE COUNTY GIRLS GOLF

  • Regional soccer: Undefeated Rural leads city teams to regional finals

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

     Washburn Rural continued its perfect 2021 season Tuesday night, opening postseason with a 7-0 Class 6A regional romp past Wichita Northwest.

    The Junior Blues, now 16-0-0 on the year, got two goals apiece from junior Easton Bradstreet and senior Porter Schafersman while junior Ty Stead, senior Mason Grogan and senior Jonah Molina added a goal apiece.

    DSC 0737Senior captain Porter Schafersman had two goals and two assists in Washburn Rural's 7-0 Class 6A regional win over Wichita Northwest Monday night. [File photo by Doug Walker/TSN]

    Schafersman also contrbuted a pair of assists for Rural, while sophomore Devon Rutschmann, junior Jaxon Padilla and junior Cayden Lee were also credited with assists.

    Senior Wyatt Arnold and sophomore Ethan Uhlrig combined for the shutout in goal for the Junior Blues against Northwest, which ended its season 6-12-0.

  • Trojans advance to 6A regional final with 2-1 win over Southeast

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Things got a little crazier at the end than Topeka High soccer coach Derek Snook probably would have preferred, but the Trojans achieved their only objective Monday night, advancing to a Class 6A regional final with a 2-1 win over Wichita Southeast at Hummer Sports Park.

    With the win, Topeka High improved to 9-6-2 and earned a spot in Thursday's regional championship game at Dodge City against the winner of Tuesday's game between defending 6A state champ Dodge City and Wichita West.

    "I was proud of the effort for sure,'' Snook said. "I'm pretty proud of these boys, the way they've fought and the effort they've put out. A win's a win and we keep moving.''

    FCmHoiYXMAELr3eTopeka High soccer coach Derek Snook (center) talks to his team after Monday's 2-1 Class 6A regional win over Wichita Southeast. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    After a scoreless first half, Topeka High got second-half goals from junior Aiden Morrison and sophomore Victor Mesta to take control, but Southeast (8-8-1) certainly didn't go quietly.

  • 1-2-3 x 4: Rural girls XC completes city, league, regional sweep

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls cross country team rode its fourth straight 1-2-3 individual finish to a Class 6A regional team title Saturday at Milford State Park, with the Junior Blues completing a sweep of the city, Centennial League and regional championships.

    Rural junior Madeline Carter captured the individual championship in a five-kilometer time of 18:46.20, while senior Khloi Bird finished second in 19:11.70 and freshman Payton Fink finished third in 19:19.10 to lead the was as the Junior Blues took the team title by a 41-52 margin over Manhattan.

    MadelineCarternewMadeline Carter

    KhloiBirdnewKhloi Bird

    PaytonFinkPayton Fink

    Freshman Rylee Ismert finished 15th (20:30.10) for the Junior Blues while sophomore Sydney Laster rounded out Rural's top five with a 20th-place finish (21:08.60).

    Washburn Rural also qualified its boys team for next Saturday's 6A state meet at Augusta, with the Junior Blues (65 points) finishing third behind Free State (36) and Manhattan (41).

    Alex HolmesAlex Holmes

    Senior Alex Holmes placed third individually in 16:19.30 and sophomore Hayden Keller was sixth in 16:49.00 to lead the Junior Blues, while senior Spencer Haddock was 14th (17:18.30), junior Davin Johnson 18th (17:33.00) and senior Ishaan Patel 25th (18:00.90) to complete Rural's scorers.

    Junior Michael Christopher qualified for state as an individual for Topeka High, finishing 21st (17:43.30).

  • Regional soccer: T-Birds fight through adversity to achieve glossy 14-2-0 mark

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A 14-2-0 regular-season record is impressive enough, but the way Shawnee Heights' boys soccer team has achieved that mark is even more impressive.

    Fighting injuries, illness and the like, Heights coach Nic Simons has waited all season for his T-Birds to be at full strength, but Simons couldn't be prouder of how the team has handled each and every challenge heading into Tuesday's 6 p.m. Class 5A regional contest at the Bettis Family Sports Complex.

    "We have not had all 11 starting players out on the field at the same time, not one game,'' Simons said after last Thursday's 3-1 win over Manhattan. "But everybody on the team has played minutes and everybody on the team has picked each other up and we've gotten goals from sophomores all the way up through seniors and from kids who play relatively little minutes to kids that play the whole game.''

    NicSimonsNic Simons and his 14-2-0 Shawnee Heights soccer team will open Class 5A postseason Tuesday night at the Bettis Family Sports Complex. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    dsc 6483 10218 1200 1200 100Junior Jordan Garvin is a top player for Shawnee Heights, which will open 5A postseason Tuesday night. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    After dropping a 5-1 decision to 15-0-0 Washburn Rural to open the season, the only other blemish on the United Kansas Conference-champion T-Birds' record is a double-overtime loss to De Soto.

    "It's just been nothing but incredible,'' Simons said of Heights' success. "What a testament to these kids, they're wonderful.''

  • West snaps long losing skid against rival High, taking 28-22 OT win

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    JaVion Lee scored on a 10-yard end-around sweep in overtime to give Topeka West a thrilling 28-22 win over USD 501 rival Topeka High Friday night at Hummer Sports Park, with the Chargers ending a 15-year losing streak against the Trojans.

    Topeka West earned its first win against Topeka High since the 2005, forcing the overtime with a fourth-quarter touchdown and then taking the win on Lee's game-winning run. 

    “They (Topeka West) asked me to step up and I did,'' Lee said. "With me, I work hard. I was waiting for that moment to come my whole life. We did it, as a team. This was amazing for us.”

    The Trojans and Charger defenses forced repetitive three and outs during the 24 minutes before both teams got their offenses untracked after halftime.

    Jaq’Son Birdwhistle-Bush, Xavier Alexander and Elliot Cooper led the way defensively for the Chargers in the first half, keeping Topeka High’s stellar run game in check while Topeka High’s defense also shut down West's offense and didn’t allow a single point. Danny Saili, Jamari Pleasant and Isiah Kincade were led the pack to keep the Chargers from taking any control.

    Half number two was the opposite of half, with both offenses turning the volume up in the highly-competitive game.

    Although Topeka High running back Tylan Alejos was somewhat quiet in the first half, he was a man on a mission in the second half. Having 18 yards on 7 carries in the first half, he followed up by running the ball 13 times for 146 yards in the second half and was responsible for all three touchdowns for Topeka High.

    Topeka West’s offense looked rejuvenated after getting shutout six straight quarters dating back to last week’s game against Manhattan. Malachi Berg threw for 197 yards and 176 of those yards were to Elliot Cooper. Cooper was the key performer in Friday's victory, snagging eight receptions.

    High and West’s gun-slinging second-half approaches kept the game going back and forth and regulation would end with the teams tied up at 22 apiece.

    Topeka High would win the coin toss and elected to take the ball first in overtime. The Trojans had to start at the 35-yard-line rather than the 10 due to two personal foul calls to end regulation.

    Alejos gained 10 and 6 yards on back to back, but Topeka High ended up facing a 4th and 17 situation and quarterback Peyton Wheat desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete.

    Topeka West quickly maee the most of its ensuing posession, with Berg taking the snap, pump faking a pass to Kamen Jones and flipping the ball to Lee. High’s defense was fooled and Lee took the ball in for the game-ending TD.

    “We trusted Lee’s speed to get in the end zone when we needed him most,'' Topeka West coach Ryan Kelly said.

    The game plan against the Trojans developed throughout the entirety of the game for Topeka West.

    “We ran the ball quite a bit up the gut in the beginning of the game but No. 77 (Saili) was beating us up inside,'' Kelly said. "He’s a tough kid to block. We had to dial up some of our perimeter run plays to spread the field out to get away from the middle.”

    Kelly was pleased with the performance but knows the Chargers have plenty of room to grow.

    “We are pretty young on the offensive line, so there’s a lot of bad habits we need to correct,'' he said. "We need to be able to run the ball more effectively if we want to keep the success going.”

    The commander of the offense, Berg, was happy with the way things ended.

    “This is our last time playing them (Topeka High) in the Centennial League, so I’m glad we were able to beat them,'' Berg said. "We came together strong as a team.”

  • Trojans and Vikings battle to 0-0 soccer stalemate

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    In Thursday's final regular-season soccer game of the year, Topeka High and Seaman squared off in a thrilling defensive matchup that resulted in a 0-0 tie at Seaman.

    Seaman honored its seniors on Senior Night before the first kick with a ceremony honoring Gavin Wilhelm, Kyson Evans, Pablo Font, Jake Moss, Trustin Shafer, Lawson Greig and Justin Kruse.

    After the ceremony concluded, it was time to get to work.

    Topeka High goalkeeper Logan Murray displayed that he is one of the area’s best young goalkeepers. As a sophomore, he’s opened a lot of eyes with his strong athleticism and his abilities in the goal. On the other side, junior Ayden Thompson has also been impressive for the Vikings with his long reach and blocking abilities and both goalkeepers provided shutouts for their teams throughout the game.

    In the first couple of halves, things were mute offensively. Strong, physical pushes by both sides and clutch preventive kicks made the game competitive.

    No matter how great the kicks were by either side in the first half, Murray and Thompson prevented them from putting a tally in the score column.

    In the first overtime, the Vikes and Trojans sped up the game speed.

  • State champion trio headlines All-Shawnee County girls tennis

    Rick Peterson

    FBvfhTGWQBQJd C2021 All-Shawnee County girls tennis team -- Front row, from left: Nina Del-Zio, Seaman; Mena DiMarzio, Washburn Rural; Meredith Kucera, Washburn Rural; Sheriden Wichman, Washburn Rural; Lauren Sweeney, Seaman; Ainzley Zulueta, Hayden; Emily Sheetz, Hayden; Haley Carpenter, Topeka High. Back row, from left: Kate Fritz, Washburn Rural; Shelby Schmutzler, Washburn Rural; Hailey Beck, Washburn Rural; Grace Unruh, Seaman; Lauren Sandstrom, Hayden; Adisyn Caryl, Topeka High. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman state doubles champions Grace Unruh and Lauren Sweeney and Hayden singles champ Ainzley Zulueta headline the 2021 All-Shawnee County girls tennis team, which includes nine state medalists.

    Unruh, a senior, and junior Sweeney capped a perfect 36-0 season with the Class 5A state doubles championship Saturday at Emporia while freshman Zulueta finished off a 35-5 season with a 4A state singles title at Winfield.

    Washburn Rural placed all six of its varsity players on the All-Shawnee County team after sweeping team championships in the city, Centennial League and 6A regional tournaments.

    The Junior Blues got ninth-place finishes in the 6A state tournament from senior singles player Sheriden Wichman and the junior doubles team of Kate Fritz and Meredith Kucera while senior Shelby Schmutzler and junior Hailey Beck made it to state in doubles and sophomore Mena DiMarzio advanced in singles.

    Hayden's doubles team of sophomore Lauren Sandstrom and freshman Emily Sheetz placed seventh in the 4A state tournament, helping the Wildcats win the third-place team trophy, while Seaman junior Nina Del-Zio earned a 5A state medal with an 11th-place finish in singles.

    Topeka High juniors Haley Carpenter and Adisyn Caryl made the All-City team after advancing to the 6A state tournament for the second straight season as doubles partners. Caryl has made it to state three straight years in doubles.

    All-Shawnee County capsules:

  • Day 1 state golf roundup: Rural sets 6A pace, Hayden 3rd, Vikes' Deeter 5th

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls golf team put itself in position to challenge for the sixth Class 6A state championship in girls program history on Monday, turning in a strong first-round performance at Emporia Municipal Golf Course.

    Senior Aliyah North shot a 77 to lead the way as the Junior Blues built a seven-stroke advantage over Blue Valley West halfway through the 36-hole event.

    The final 18 holes will get under way Tuesday at 10 a.m.

    North will start Tuesday in fourth place, five shots behind leader Tess Roman of Shawnee Mission East.

    AliyahNorthSenior Aliyah North shot a first-round 77 Monday to help Washburn Rural build a seven-stroke lead in the 6A state golf tournament. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

  • Rural golf happy to be back in 6A hunt after tough '20 postseason

    Rick Peterson

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls golf coach Jared Goehring was in Hesston a year ago for the Class 6A state tournament, but something was missing.

    Due to injuries to Junior Blue regulars Kaitlyn Crough and McKenna Merrick prior to regional competition, perennial 6A contender Rural failed to earn a girls state team berth for the first time in Goehring's coaching career.

    Fast forward to 2021 and the Junior Blues will be back at full strength for the 6A state meet Monday and Tuesday at Emporia Muncipal Golf Course after sweeping city, Centennial League and regional championships. 

    AliyahNorthSenior Aliyah North finished second in last week's Class 6A regional tournament, leading Washburn Rural to the team championship by a 14-stroke margin. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Washburn Rural had to overcome tough weather conditions and some struggles on the course in last Monday's regional tournament at Heritage Park in Olathe, but came through with a 14-stroke team win as senior Aliyah North shot an 81 to finish second individually and junior Avery Scott finished fourth with an 83.

    "It was kind of just survive and advance, which is all coaches talk about this time of year,'' Goehring said. "It wasn't shaping up weather-wise to be the best day for us, so we were just trying to get by and get down to Emporia as quick as we could.''

    Washburn Rural also got a top-10 finish from sophomore Raegan Petersen, who tied for ninth with an 89, while senior Merrick tied for 11th with a 92 to round out the Junior Blues' top four as Rural won the team championship by a 345-359 margin over Olathe West.

    "It was something we set out to do as soon as last year got over, that we wanted to go back and capture a regional championship,'' Goehring said of the regional win. "We did that and this senior class has been tremendous this season, so it was good to get everyone qualified as a team and get back in the conversation where we belong this year.''

    Goehring believes that if the Junior Blues play like they're capable that Rural can challenge for a team championship. The Junior Blues have only lost once on the year, finishing second to Blue Valley West in the Lawrence Invitational.

    "It's been a tremendous season, but what people remember the most is what you do in the postseason, so we need to put our best foot forward and rely on those returning letter-winners to lead us,'' Goehring said. 

    Scott tied for ninth in last year's state tournament while Crough tied for 13th in 2019.

    Topeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman was the top individual qualifier for the state tournament, tying for 11th at regionals with a 92. 

    The first round of the 36-hole state tournament will start at 9 a.m. Monday.

    CLASS 5A

    After tying for fifth in the 2019 5A state tournament as a freshman, Seaman junior standout Lois Deeter opted out of the COVID-19-altered 2020 season.

    But Deeter will be back at state Monday and Tuesday at Hutchinson's Carey Park after finishing second individually and helping the Vikings qualify as a team with a third-place finish in last Monday's 5A regional tournament at Cypress Ridge.

    LoisDeeterA former state medalist, Seaman junior Lois Deeter will compete in the Class 5A state tournament at Hutchinson after posting a second-place regional finish. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Deeter, who shot a career-low 66 earlier this fall, shot a 75 at regionals to finish second while Seaman also got a ninth-place individual finish from Avery Samuelson, keying the Vikings' third-place finish behind Kapaun Mt. Carmel and Bishop Carroll.

    Shawnee Heights will also have a pair of competitors at state after seniors Kameron Burnam and Olivia Morgan qualified as individuals.

    Monday's first round will tee off at 9 a.m.

    CLASS 4A

    Hayden punched its ticket to the Class 4A state tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at Salina Municipal, with a second-place team finish in last Monday's regional tournament at Clay Center.

    Sophomore Avery Grunert and senior Kate Roeder paced the Wildcats at regionals, with Grunert tying for sixth and Roeder tying for seventh, while Hayden also got a 10th-place regional finish from junior Ava Teply.

    Roeder tied for 20th in the 4A state meet a year ago.

    Tournament play will begin at 9 a.m. Monday.

    CLASS 3A-1A

    Silver Lake will compete in the 3A state meet at Hesston Golf Course after claiming a regional championship last Monday at Council Grove.

    Sophomore Madeline Fieger and freshman Taylor Zordel keyed the Eagles' regional performance, tying for eighth place individually.

    The two-day 3A-1A state tournament will tee off at 10 a.m. on Monday.

    SHAWNEE COUNTY STATE GIRLS GOLF QUALIFIERS

  • State golf: Rural second in 6A, Roeder second in 4A, Deeter fifth in 5A

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EMPORIA -- Washburn Rural girls golf coach Jared Goehring was quick to admit that the Junior Blues didn't get the day they were looking for in Tuesday's final round of the Class 6A state tournament at Emporia Municipal Golf Course.

    But Goehring was just as quick to credit Blue Valley West four-time state individual champ Julia Misemer and her Jaguar teammates after West rallied from a seven-stroke deficit after the first day to claim the championship by a seven-stroke margin over the Junior Blues (678-685).

    "We had an outstanding Round 1 and we had a solid front nine here today and just didn't have enough in the tank on the back nine, and Blue Valley's a solid team,'' Goehring said. "They've proven they can go in the low 300s this year and Misemer's one of the best, if not the best, that we've ever seen in the state.''

    RuralgolfStateWashburn Rural's girls golf team poses with the Class 6A second-place trophy after Tuesday's tournament in Emporia. [Submitted]

    Rural senior Aliyah North, making her first state appearance, finished fifth individually with a 36-hole total of 160 (77-83) while senior Kaitlyn Crough finished 11th at 172 (84-88), junior Avery Scott tied for 12th at 173 (85-88) and senior McKenna Merrick tied for 19th at 180 (88-92).

    Rural sophomore Raegan Petersen tied for 22nd (182) and junior Mallory Nelson tied for 39th (192).

    Goehring said he knew his team was hurting after Tuesday's round.

    "It means a lot to them and of course they want to play well and have a good showing for the program and for themselves,'' he said. "I'm just wishing Aliyah and McKenna and Kaitlyn could have finished at the top one last time together.''

    Misemer shot a pair of 73s at state to capture her fourth straight 6A state individual championship by a four-stroke margin over Shawnee Mission East senior Tess Roman.

    Although Rural came up short Tuesday, the second-place state finish capped a banner season for the Junior Blues, including a sweep of city, Centennial League and regional titles.

    "We had a tremendous year,'' Goehring said. "There's been one team that beat us all season and they beat us twice. Hats off to them. Their girls stepped up today on the back nine and responded better than ours did.''

    Topeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman, competing as an individual, shot back-to-back 95s to tie for 33rd place. 

    CLASS 6A STATE GOLF

    Team scores

    Blue Valley West 678, Washburn Rural 685, Shawnee Mission East 706, Olathe East 721, Olathe Northwest 723, Olathe West 731.

    Individual results

    1. Misemer, Blue Valley West, 73-73--146; 2. Roman, Shawnee Mission East, 72-78 -- 150; 3. (tie) Lyons, Olathe West, 80-79 -- 159, and Neal Shawnee Mission South, 75-84 -- 150; 5. North, Washburn Rural, 77-83 -- 160; 6. Neese, Blue Valley, 82-82 -- 164; 7. (tie) Berquist, Free State, 88-79 -- 167, and Rodriguez, Blue Valley West, 87-80 -- 167; 9. Armstrong, Dodge City, 89-79 -- 168; 10. Warren, Garden City, 89-81 -- 170; 11. Crough, Washburn Rural, 84-88 -- 172; 12. (tie) C. Scott, Olathe East, 84-89 -- 173; A. Scott, Washburn Rural, 85-88 -- 173, and Sullivan, Olathe Northwest, 87-86 -- 173; 15. Hearshman, Olathe Northwest, 175; 16. Kim, Blue Valley West, 89-88 -- 177; 17. Chilukuri, Olathe East 90-88 -- 178; 18, Kidwell, Blue Valley North, 94-85 -- 179; 19. (tie) Blaketer, Shawnee Mission East, 90-90 -- 180; Merrick, Washburn Rural, 88-92 -- 180, and Olivia Still, Blue Valley North, 97-83 -- 180.

    Other Washburn Rural -- 22. (tie) Petersen, 89-93 -- 182; 39. (tie) Nelson, 95-97 -- 192.

    Topeka High -- 33. (tie) Zimmerman, 190.

    HaydengirlsgolfHayden's girls golf team poses with its third-place trophy after Tuesday's Class 4A state tournament at Salina. Senior Kate Roeder (center) posted a second-place individual finish. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    ROEDER, HAYDEN PLACE SECOND IN 4A

    Hayden senior Kate Roeder ended her high school career with a second-place finish in the Class 4A state tournament Tuesday at Salina Municipal Golf Course, leading the way as the Wildcats earned the third-place team trophy.

    Roeder had rounds of 84 and 82 to finsh at 166 and was the state runner-up behind Tonganoxie junior Hayden York, who shot a 75 Tuesday after an opening-round 87 to win the title by four strokes.

    Hayden sophomore Hannah Reynoldson earned a state medal with a tie for 19th place after a final-round 93 following a 91 to finish at 184.

    Sophomore Avery Grunert tied for 23rd at 189 (100-89), sophomore Kyleigh Johnson tied for 30th at 197 (100-97) and junior Ava Teply finished 42nd at 206 (105-101).

    Wamego won the team championship by a single stroke over Winfield (717-718) while Hayden finished at 736, 34 strokes in front of fourth-place Tonganoxie.

  • Carter, Rural girls, Hayden's Newkirk claim Centennial League XC titles

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural junior Madeline Carter and Hayden senior Tanner Newkirk claimed Centennial League individual cross country championships Saturday at Milford State Park while Rural's girls captured the team title in a tight three-school battle that was decided by five points.

    MadelineCarternewMadeline Carter

    TannerNewkirkmugTanner Newkirk

    Carter won the girls individual title in a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 43.3 seconds, leading a 1-2-3 Rural finish for the third straight week as the Junior Blues won the team championship by a 50-52 margin over Manhattan while Seaman was third with 55 points.

    Rural senior Khloi Bird finished second in a time of 19:14.7 while freshman Payton Fink was third in 19:22.1.

    Freshman Joslynn Grace paced third-place Seaman with a sixth-place individual finish in 19:53.1 while senior Emma Schultz finished ninth for the Vikings in 20:03.7.

    Newkirk, the defending Class 4A state champion, posted a 27-second individual win in the Centennial League boys race, clocking a time of 15:49.1.

    Washburn Rural's boys finished second to Manhattan in the team race (32-72), with senior Alex Holmes pacing the Junior Blues with a third-place finish in 16:21.9, while the Junior Blues also got a 10th-place finish from sophomore Hayden Keller in 17:01.5

    Seaman senior Jace Moore placed ninth to lead the Vikings to a fourth-place team finish, clocking a time of 16:57.4.

    CENTENNIAL LEAGUE CROSS COUNTRY

    Girls

    Team scores

    Washburn Rural 50, Manhattan 52, Seaman 55, Emporia 94, Junction City 98, Hayden 170.

    Individual results

    1. Carter, Washburn Rural, 18:43.3; 2. Bird, Washburn Rural, 19:14.7; 3. Fink, Washburn Rural, 19:22.1; 4. Pickering, Manhattan, 19:38.5; 5. Willhite, Emporia, 19:50.7; 6. Grace, Seaman, 19:53.1; 7. Jobity, Manhattan, 20:00.9; 8. York, Junction City, 20:01.0; 9. Schultz, Seaman, 20:03.7; 10. Henningson, Manhattan, 20:06.2.

    Other Washburn Rural -- 20. Laster, 20:47.3; 24. Gutierrez, 21:14.5; 25. Ismert, 21:48.8; 30. Nolte, 22:51.4.

    Other Seaman -- 12. Becker, 20:15.7; 13. Appelhanz, 20:23.7; 15. Druse, 20:31.2; 23. Spurlock, 21:09.7.

    Hayden -- 22. Wrench, 21:05.8; 35. Wolff, 23:24.8; 38. Newkirk, 23:56.5; 40. Schmidtlein, 24:07.2; 41. Doyle, 24:37.3; 46. Haas, 26:30.4.

    Topeka West -- 25. A.Phelps, 21:37.8; 42. C. Phelps, 24:46.4; 43. Jefferies, 25:00.2; 45. Richardson, 26:12.8.

    Topeka High -- 39. Zuniga, 24:04.4; 44. Cabral, 25:10.9; 47. Ludlum, 28:19.7.

    Boys

    Team scores

    Manhattan 32, Washburn Rural 72, Junction City 87, Seaman 97, Hayden 114, Emporia 133, Topeka West 190, Topeka High 221.

    Individual results

    1. Newkirk, Hayden, 15:49.1; 2. Mosier, Manhattan, 16:16.2; 3. Holmes, Washburn Rural, 16:21.9; 4. Bowyer, Manhattan, 16:27.9; 5. Knopp, Manhattan, 16:40.8; 6. Atkins, Junction City, 16:46.6; 7. Laudie, Emporia, 16:41.7; 8. Bryant, Manhattan, 16:52.1; 9. Moore, Seaman, 16:57.4; 10. Keller, Washburn Rural, 17:01.5.

    Other Washburn Rural -- 11. Haddock, 17:18.1; 23. Johnson, 17:54.5; 25. Fink, 18:05.2; 26. Dial, 18:05.6; 29. Patel, 18:13.3.

    Other Seaman -- 17. Appelhanz, 17:37.2; 21. Stuke, 17:53.0; 22. Swaim, 17:53.4; 28. Newell, 18:10.2; 30. Jowers, 18:15.0; 33. Buckley, 18:22.8.

    Other Hayden -- 15. Amis, 17:30.1; 27. Rochford, 18:07.9; 35. Moore, 18:33.3; 36. Muller, 18:39.2; 41. Padilla, 18:44.8.

    Topeka West -- 20. Wilson, 17:52.9; 37. Phelps, 18:39.7; 43. Padilla, 19:08.7; 44. Maag, 19:13.8; 46. Wilkie, 19:35.8; 49. Cook, 19:54.0; 54. Clark, 22:00.9.

    Topeka High -- 34. Storrer, 18:25.8; 42. Christopher, 18:55.6; 47. Campbell, 19:36.4; 48. Cowdin, 19:51.3; 50. Brown, 19:58.9; 52. Solis Carlos, 20:55.3; 53. Cassell, 20:56.8.

    Highland Park -- 51. Aguirre, 20:50.6.

  • Seaman blanks Topeka High 20-0 behind stingy defense

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman's offense ran a little hot and cold Friday night against Topeka High, coming up with some big plays, but missing out on some other scoring opportunities.

    But the Viking defense was a constant, posting its second shutout of the season in a 20-0 Centennial League win over the Trojans on Senior Night at Seaman.

    Seaman, which improved to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in the league, limited Topeka High (2-5, 2-4) to just 53 yards of total offense while limiting Trojan senior star Tylan Alejos, who had a 400-yard, eight-touchdown game two weeks earlier, to just 55 yards on 25 carries.

    "We treated it just like it was anyone else,'' Seaman senior Braden Colley said. "We knew we could dominate, we could stop the run. We knew we could do it and we weren't worried. We weren't scared at all.

    "I thought we played really well. Any time you can keep a doughnut on the board of course you played well. We stayed pretty sound with minimal mistakes and we had a good game.''

    Seaman coach Jared Swafford agreed.

    "When you watch film you know what (Alejos) is capable of and they've got a big offensive line that does a nice job,'' Swafford said. "He's a heck of a runner and he runs hard and we knew we needed to rally to the ball and we put extra emphasis on that.

    "We knew he's a big part of what they try to do and we wanted to take that away.''

    E TJMpXXIAINwEhCamden Barta .

    Topeka High came up with some big defensive plays of its own and the Trojans were still very much in the game into the fourth quarter, trailing by just a 10-0 margin before Seaman broke the game open with a 44-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Camden Barta to senior Brody Gormley with 11:13 remaining.

    Viking senior Gavin Wilhelm added his second field goal of the night, a 26-yarder, later in the fourth to account for the final margin.

    Seaman turned the ball over on downs to end its first possession of the game after getting as deep as the High 24-yard-line, but the Vikings got on the board midway through the second quarter after a Topeka High mis-play in the punt game led to a 39-yard Wilhelm field goal with 7:07 left before halftime. 

    Wilhelm's field goal came after Topeka High punted the ball into the back of a Trojan blocker, allowing Seaman to take over at the High 32.

    The Vikings got to the Trojan 15, but High's defense stiffened at that point, forcing Seaman to settle for the field goal.

    After forcing a High punt, Seaman used a 31-yard pass play from Barta to senior Casen Stallbaumer and a 27-yard pass from Barta to senior P.J. Vargas to set up the game's first touchdown, a 9-yard Barta run with 3:20 left in the half (Wilhelm kick).

    The score remained 10-0 through the third quarter as the Vikings missed a pair of field goal attempts, but Seaman put the game out of reach with the Gormley TD.

    Barta completed 15 of 24 passes on the night for 158 yards and a TD while Stallbaumer had eight catches for 63 yards. Barta rushed for a team-high 29 yards on nine carries.

    Seaman will travel to Washburn Rural to face the 6-1 Junior Blues next Friday while Topeka High will take on USD 501 rival Topeka West at Hummer Sports Park.

  • 'No settling:' Unruh, Sweeney aiming to cap perfect year with 5A title

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman's Grace Unruh and Lauren Sweeney turned in an outstanding 2020 high school tennis season, sweeping city, Centennial League and regional championships before advancing to the Class 5A state semifinals.

    But it's the two losses that the Viking stars took to end the year that has helped drive Unruh and Sweeney to a perfect 32-0 record this fall entering Friday and Saturday's state tournament at Emporia High School.

    "We wanted to get first last year obviously, like who doesn't?'' said Unruh, a senior. "But we kind of settled with where we were at and this year there's no settling.''

    Sweeney, a junior, agreed.

    "I think we were just happy that we made it to that day last year,'' Sweeney said. "Now first is what we're shooting for.''

    dsc 6284 9768 350 350 100 cSeaman junior Lauren Sweeney (left) and senior Grace Unruh are 32-0 in doubles entering this weekend's Class 5A state tournament at Emporia. [File photo/TSN]

    In the 2020 state meet Unruh and Sweeney dropped a 6-2, 6-4 semifinal decision to eventual state champs Emma and Sarah Sinclair of Andover before falling to Iliana Armbrust and Alexxa Nunemaker of Salina South in the third-place match, 6-3, 6-2, to finish fourth.

    As painful as those losses were, Sweeney and Unruh think they were good training for this weekend.

    "I think we are where we are supposed to be,'' Sweeney said. "I think knowing what is there at state and what to expect this year helps and we know we can compete.''

    Added Unruh:

    "Last year we knew what we were capable of and we didn't quite meet that goal but to know that we were so close last year and all the work that we've put in the past year, we're rolling, we're ready for it.''

    The Vikings are coming off a banner regional performance, with Seaman sweeping the singles, doubles and team championships on its home courts.

    Seaman junior Nina Del-Zio (25-9) and sophomore Katie Krumins (24-11) finished 1-2 in singles in the regional tournament to punch their tickets to state, which will get under way at 10:30 a.m. Friday and continue at 9 a.m. Saturday.

    Shawnee Heights finished second as a team at regionals, qualifying senior Laura El-Koubysi (16-10) in singles and the doubles teams of seniors Paige Devena and Bella LeJuerne (20-10) and sophomore Ariah Durkes and senior Shelby Elskamp (11-16) for state.

    El Koubysi finished fifth in the Seaman regional while Devena and LeJuerne were third and Durkes and Elskamp sixth.

    Topeka West will be represented in the state tournament by senior singles player Anna Newcome (15-16), who placed third in the Seaman regional.

    CLASS 6A

    Washburn Rural, which has not lost a competition this season, captured the team championship in last weekend's 6A regional at Kossover Tennis Center while qualifying its entire team for the state tournament at Wichita's Riverside Tennis Center.

    Kucera and FritzWashburn Rural juniors Meredith Kucera (left) and Kate Fritz are coming off a doubles championship in last Saturday's Class 6A regional tournament. [File photo/TSN]

    Juniors Kate Fritz and Meredith Kucera (22-4) won the regional doubles title with a win over Rural teammates Hailey Beck, a junior, and senior Shelby Schmutzler (24-2) in the championship match.

    The city, Centennial League and regional team champs also got a runner-up regional finish in singles from senior four-time state qualifier Sheriden Wichman and a third-place finish from sophomore Mena DiMarzio. Wichman is 25-4 on the season while DeMarzio is 16-5.

    Topeka High will take both its doubles teams to state, with juniors Adisyn Caryl and Haley Carpenter (22-7) posting a fourth-place finish in the regional tournament while senior Mary Dietrick and sophomore McCall Beall (12-4) took sixth.

    CLASS 4A

    Hayden will be well-represented in the 4A state meet at the T.H. Vaughan Tennis Center in Winfield, with the Wildcats qualifying five competitors for state.

    Freshman Ainzley Zulueta rolled to the singles title in last Saturday's regional at Kossover Tennis Center while sophomore Lauren Sandstrom and freshman Emily Sheetz took the doubles championship. 

    AidanZulueta leagueHayden freshman singles standout Ainzley Zulueta will take a 31-5 record into her first Class 4A state tournament Friday and Saturday at Winfield. [File photo/TSN]

    Zulueta will take a 31-5 record to the state meet while Sandstrom and Sheetz are 22-6 on the year.

    The Wildcats also qualified the third-place doubles team of juniors Briahna Barnett and Sloane Sims, who are 20-13 this fall.

    CLASS 3A-1A

    Junior Alivia Sherer will represent Rossville in the 3A-1A state tournament at Maize South after posting a third-place singles finish in last weekend's Hillsboro regional.

    AliviaShererAlivia Sherer

    Sherer, who played as a co-op player for Hayden during the regular season, has 21-6 record this season.

    SHAWNEE COUNTY STATE QUALIFIERS

  • Topeka High star NiJaree Canady picks Stanford softball

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    A recruiting process that started before NiJaree Canady even started her high school career reached its completion Tuesday night, with the Topeka High multi-sport senior star announcing her oral commitment to the Stanford softball program.

    Canady, a multi-time All-State selection in both softball and basketball, made her announcement in front of friends and family in the Topeka High cafeteria.

    FBjOFrqUYAA76IQTopeka High star NiJaree Canady (center) orally committed to Stanford softball Tuesday night at High. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Canady was first contacted by college recruiters while still attending middle school.

    "My seventh and eighth-grade years, that's when coaches kind of contacted me and then a rule went into effect where coaches couldn't contact me at all, so it was kind of dry freshman year through Sept. 1st of my junior year,'' Canady explained.

    But as soon as the calendar reached Sept. 1, 2020 things really heated up and stayed that way until Tuesday's announcement.

    "That's the moment that coaches can contact you and as the clock struck 12 going to Sept. 1st I think I got seven text messages from D-I coaches,'' Canady said. "It's been an experience. Ever since Sept. 1st, that's when everything took off.''

    The recruiting process can definitely be a grind for top prospects, but Canady said she was treated very well by the schools that recruited her, even when she had to start narrowing down her college options.

    "Honestly, the coaches I was in contact with were 100 percent supportive,'' she said. "I didn't have one coach get mad at me or anything. They all completely understood.''

    Canady eventually narrowed down her colleges choices to Stanford, Arizona and UCLA after also taking unofficial visits to Kansas and Oklahoma State and didn't make her final decision until last weekend.

    "This past Saturday is when I decided and Sunday is when I let the coaches know,'' Canady said.

    And although she enjoyed the recruiting process, Canady said she's glad to put it behind her.

    "My first softball tournament is next weekend and I'll be happy not to have any coaches behind the backstop just watching me,'' she said. "Now I'm just playing softball because I love it.

    "I'm not worried about scholarships or recruiting or anything, I'm just playing the game I love.''

    Canady was named TopSports.news' Shawnee County player of the year in softball as a junior after helping lead the Trojans to an undefeated season and the school's first Class 6A state softball championship.

    Canady posted a perfect 21-0 pitching record with an 0.26 earned run average and 226 strikeouts while also hitting .478 with 13 home runs.

    Canady was at her best in the 6A state tournament, not allowing an earned run in three complete-game pitching performances while hitting a solo home run in a 1-0 semifinal win over Gardner-Edgerton. High followed the semifinal win with a 7-1 victory over Olathe North in the state championship game.

    Canady also headlined TopSports.news' first-ever All-Shawnee County girls basketball team as a junior after leading Topeka High to a second-place finish in the 6A state tournament and a 23-2 record overall.

    Canady averaged 20.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.8 blocks.

  • Prep football roundup: Junior Blues, T-Birds post breakout wins

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    In Week 4 of the 2021 high school football season Washburn Rural came painfully close to knocking off traditional Centennial League power Junction City on the Blue Jays' home field, dropping an 18-17 heartbreaker.

    The Junior Blues were back on the road Friday to take on another league heavyweight and this time Washburn Rural closed the deal, handing Manhattan is first defeat of the season, 21-14.

    Washburn Rural never trailed against the Indians, taking 7-0 and 14-7 leads before Manhattan answered to force a pair of ties.

    The Junior Blues broke the tie on a 1-yard fourth-quarter touchdown from sophomore quarterback Branton DeWeese and the Rural defense threw a second-half shutout to close out the victory, coming up with three second-half pass interceptions.

    Now 5-1 on the season and 4-1 in the league, Washburn Rural put itself in a position to gain at least a share of the league championship. Rural, Manhattan and Junction City all currently have one league loss with two regular-season games remaining.

    Washburn Rural will host Highland Park on Friday before hosting Seaman in its regular-season finale.

    DeWeese hit senior Robby Bolin for a 38-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring in addition to his game-winning score while senior Ma’kenttis Adams had a 100-yard rushing night, including a 5-yard score and Bolin caught six passes for 86 yards. 

    RobbyBolin 1Robby Bolin

    Ty WeberTy Weber

    Bolin, Connor Conklin and Landon MacEwan all picked off passes for Rural, while JC Heim and Ty Weber also came up with big plays defensively.

    SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 21, DE SOTO 20 -- Shawnee Heights was stung by three straight losses by a total of 11 points to start the season, but the T-Birds turned the tables Friday night, getting a tough one-point road win over traditional 5A power De Soto.

    The T-Birds have now won two of their past three games to improve to 2-4. 

    "These kids never quit believing in themselves and have been resilient all season. A special victory for the TBIRDS!'' veteran Shawnee Heights coach Jason Swift posted on Twitter.

    JarinSandersJarin Sanders

    Senior running back Jarin Sanders and senior quarterback Callan Carver both had big nights for Shawnee Heights, while Jaxon Correll went 3 for 3 on extra-point attempts, including the difference-maker.

    Sanders rushed for 155 yards on 31 carries while Carver rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and completed 10 of 19 pass attempts for 140 yards, including TD passes to Sanders and senior Carter Olson. Olson had two receptions for 66 yards.

  • Newkirk repeats as city boys XC champ; Rural claims team crown

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    After an injury-riddled spring track season, Hayden senior Tanner Newkirk has been back in his happy place this fall, getting past his injuries and preparing himself for his Class 4A state cross country title defense.

    Newkirk took a step in that direction Saturday at the Kanza Park Course, capturing his second straight city boys title with a dominating performance while helping the Wildcats to a solid second-place team finish behind Washburn Rural.

    Newkirk clocked a five-kilometer time of 15 minutes, 22.0 seconds in the city meet, winning by nearly 20 seconds over Shawnee Heights junior standout Kory Sutton (15:41.8).

    FBTURfcWEAIjB8kHayden senior star Tanner Newkirk (1699) and Shawnee Heights junior Kory Sutton lead the pack early in Saturday's city cross country meet. Newkirk captured his second straight city title while Sutton finished second. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Newkirk has been dealing with a respiratory issue in recent weeks, but is just happy to be rounding back into form after missing the 2020 state track meet with an injury.

    "In terms of injuries and everything I feel great, which is awesome,'' Newkirk said. "I obviously had a solid race here today and I'm happy for my teammates as well because I saw some really big (personal records) out here today.

    "Today I just wanted to get the win and try to do all I can to help the team.''

    Senior Alex Holmes finished fourth (16:51.1) to pace four Washburn Rural runners in the top 12 individually and five in the top 18 as the Junior Blues topped Hayden by a 47-60 margin.

    Sophomore Hayden Keller placed sixth for Rural (16:47.2) while senior Spencer Haddock was seventh (16:56.7), junior Davin Johnson 12th (17:16.3) and junior Grayson Fink 18th (17:37.9) for the Junior Blues.

    Washburn Rural coach Matt Swedlund said he is pleased with how his Junior Blues are coming together as a team.

    "This is kind of what I anticipated,'' Swedlund said. "Alex Holmes was out early (offseason surgery) and our focus this entire year has been October.

    "We think we can pull things together in October and make it interesting.'' 

    Runner-up Hayden also got a top-10 finish from sophomore Aiden Amis (10th in 17:13.3) while senior Ryan Rochford was 14th (17:22.1), junior Jake Muller 15th (17:26.6) and junior Nick Lloyd 20th (17:44.1) to round out the Wildcats' top five runners.

    Shawnee Heights and Seaman finished a close third and fourth in the team race, with sophomore Jackson Esquibel finishing third (16:06.4) and junior Andrew Emerson eighth (17:11.3) for the T-Birds and senior Jace Moore leading Seaman with a fifth-place finish (16:40.8). 

    Topeka West senior Louis Wilson placed ninth (17:12.6) to lead the Chargers while Topeka High junior Michael Christopher narrowly missed a top-10 finish, taking 11th (17:15.6).

    CITY BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

  • Washburn Rural tennis wins 6A regional, qualifies entire team for state

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls tennis team finished off its sweep of city, Centennial League and Class 6A regional championships Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center.

    The Junior Blues, who have not lost a competition this fall, qualified all six of its players for Friday and Saturday's state tournament at Wichita en route to a 22-19 regional victory over runner-up Manhattan.

    FBTvguiXMAE6qsKWashburn Rural's girls tennis team poses with its Class 6A regional championship trophy Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Washburn Rural got a one-two finish in doubles from the teams of Kate Fritz and Meredith Kucera and Hailey Beck and Shelby Schmutzler while Sheriden Wichman finished second and Mena DiMarzio fifth in singles.

    "I'm really proud of these gals,'' Hedberg said. "It's a team effort. We're not star-laden, but we have good solid players at the top.

    "They all pull together for each other and it's been really satisfying to watch them have some success.''

    Fritz and Kucera, both juniors, captured the regional doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over junior Beck and senior Schmutzler in the championship match, while Wichman, a senior, advanced to the singles final, dropping a 6-1, 6-1 decision to Manhattan star Jillian Harkin. DiMarzio closed out the Junior Blues state qualifiers, finishing fifth in singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over in the fifth-place match.

    Topeka High also turned in a solid regional performance, with the Trojans qualifiying both their doubles teams for state while finishing third as a team.

    Juniors Adisyn Caryl and Haley Carpenter finished fourth on Saturday, dropping a 6-3, 7-5 decision to Manhattan in the third-place match while senior Mary Dietrick and sophomore McCall Beall finished sixth, dropping a three-set decision in the fifth-place match.

    Dieterick and Beall turned in what was arguably the match of the two-day tournament, surviving a 3 hour, 40-minute three-set match on Friday to punch their ticket to state.

    "In over 50 seasons of coaching that's got to be clearly one of my all-time favorite matches to watch, to not only see what it meant to them, but just the effort,'' Topeka High coach Duane Pomeroy said. "They were dead tired and just kept digging down deeper and deeper and going longer and longer and never gave up.

    "We're really excited to be able to take four girls to state.''

    CLASS 6A GIRLS TENNIS REGIONAL

  • Rural girls edge Seaman for city crown behind 1-2-3 finish

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    For the second straight week, Washburn Rural's girls cross country team posted a 1-2-3 individual finish and for the second straight week that was enough to enable the Junior Blues to edge Seaman for a team champioship.

    After taking a close win over the Vikings in last week's Seaman Invitational, Rural and Seaman also waged a tight battle in Saturday's city championships at the Kanza Park Course, with the Junior Blues taking the city title by a 24-33 margin.

    Junior Madeline Carter was the ring leader for the Junior Blues, repeating as the city individual champion in a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 14.9 seconds, while senior Khloi Bird finished second in 18:29.1 and freshman Payton Fink was third in 18:42.3.

    "You can't complain about that,'' Washburn Rural coach Matt Swedlund said. "We were very happy.

    "We knew it was going to be a battle and you couldn't just show up and expect to win today. You were going to have to run a good race.''

    FBSPit5XoAQkiN Washburn Rural's Madeline Carter (left), Khloi Bird and Payton Fink set the pace in Saturday's city cross country meet en route to a 1-2-3 finish. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Sophomore Sydney Laster finished eighth for the Junior Blues (20:11.6) while freshman Rylee Ismert was 10th (20:26.0) to round out Washburn Rural's top five.

    "That's the goal,'' Swedlund said. "We're working on making sure our 4 and 5 are not far behind.''  

    Carter ran with her teammates, Bird and Fink, and Seaman's Bethany Druse early on before pulling away as the race went on.

    "I was definitely feeling the nerves this morning because it's been a goal of mine all season to come back and defend, so it was really good to get that and I'm feeling good about the work I put in,'' Carter said.

    Druse, a junior, finished fourth individually (18:48.7) to lead runner-up Seaman, while freshman Joslynn Grace was fifth (19:39.0), senior Emma Schultz sixth (19:50.8), freshman Stella Appelhanz seventh (19:58.4), freshman Anna Becker 11th (20:42.9) and junior Leah Spurlock 12th (20:47.9) for the Vikings.

    Hayden freshman Elliot Wrench led the Wildcats to a third-place team finish, taking ninth (20:19.6).

    CITY GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

  • Cyclone in charge: Walt Alexander excited about new challenge

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Walt Alexander has never been afraid to take on a rebuilding project in more than three decades as a high school football coach.

    In fact, the former Topeka High coach has made a career of it.

    Now, after a year at William Chrisman in Independence, Mo. as an assistant, Alexander is back in Kansas and back in charge, intent on turning around an Ottawa program that produced just three total wins over the last four seasons before Alexander took over this fall.

    "I was enjoying Chrisman totally,'' Alexander said Wednesday after Ottawa's practice. "I loved Matt (Perry, the Bears' head coach) and loved a lot of things about it, but I'm closer to home now and when you've done it your way for so long, you just want to keep doing it your way and I really enjoy running my own program.''

    FBEjTmoXMAAu1 EFormer Topeka High coach Walt Alexander talks to his Ottawa Cyclones after Wednesday's practice. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • A1 Lock & Key Performers Oct. 4, 2021

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TylanAlejos 2Tylan Alejos

    TYLAN ALEJOS, Topeka High

    Alejos, a senior running back, ran for 400 yards and eight touchdowns on 27 carries in Topeka High's 70-42 Centennial League victory over Highland Park last Friday at Hummer Sports Park. Alejos scored on runs of 32, 21, 4, 6, 71, 51, 31 and 21 yards as the Trojans improved to 2-3 on the season.

    Carter BrianCarter Brian

    CARTER BRIAN, Cair Paravel Latin

    A senior quarterback, Brian completed 14 of 19 passes for 236 yards and six touchdowns as Cair Paravel improved to 5-0 with a 54-8 victory over previously-unbeaten St. Mary's Academy last Friday at Highland Park. Brian completed TD passes of 17, 54, 16, 27, 10 and 8 yards to four different receivers in the win.

  • North, Scott power Washburn Rural to 6A regional golf championship

    Rick Peterson

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls golf team got top-four finishes from senior Aliyah North and junior Avery Scott to lead the way as the Junior Blues claimed a Class 6A regional team championship Monday at Heritage Park Golf Course in Olathe.

    FBdjjwPX0AYJEhLWashburn Rural's girls golf team poses for a picture with its Class 6A regional championship trophy after winning Monday's tournament in Olathe. [Submitted]

    North shot an 81 to finish second individually while Scott finished fourth with an 83 for the Junior Blues.

    Washburn Rural got got a top-10 finish from sophomore Raegan Petersen, who tied for ninth with an 89 while senior McKenna Merrick tied for 11th with a 92 to round out the Junior Blues' top four as Rural won the team championship by a 345-359 margin over Olathe West.

    Topeka High sophomore Avery Zimmerman was the top individual qualifier for the state tournament, tying for 11th with a 92. 

    The 6A state tournament will be played at Emporia Municipal Golf Course next Monday and Tuesday.

    CLASS 6A REGIONAL GOLF

  • Rural tennis ends Manhattan's three-year Centennial League reign

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls tennis team claimed 12 of the first 14 Centennial League championships after the league expanded to 10 schools in 2004, including an eight-year title run.

    But Manhattan had reigned supreme the past three seasons before Rural re-claimed the top spot Monday with a solid team effort at Kossover Tennis Center.

    Manhattan junior Jill Harkin won the singles title and Seaman senior Grace Unruh and junior Lauren Sweeney continued their perfect season in doubles, but the Junior Blues rode their  balance to the team win, with Rural placing all four entries in the top five places.

    Washburn Rural's doubles teams of Kate Fritz and Meredith Kucera and Hailey Beck and Shelby Schmutzler posted second and third-place league finishes while Rural's Sheriden Wichman placed third and Mena DiMarzio fifth as the Junior Blues won the team title by an 86-79 margin over Manhattan.

    "It's just a real solid team overall and it was a good team effort,'' Rural coach Kevin Hedberg said. "I'm really, really pleased with them. It was a good day.

    "We know there are some much tougher situations coming, but we're going to enjoy tonight. Winning the league is a nice thing to do.''

    FA5h2C7XoAYMXsDWashburn Rural's girls tennis team poses with the Centennial League championship trophy after Monday's win at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Seaman's Unruh and Sweeney won their second straight league doubles championship, rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the final to improve to 29-0 on the season with an 8-3 win over Fritz and Kucera.

     

    "I think there were some nerves, feeling a little pressure,'' Unruh said of Seaman's slow start against Rural. "They hit some good shots that we couldn't do anything about, but we're always talking and always trying to bring that energy and I think those first two games we weren't bringing the energy, but then we kind of turned it around.''

    Sweeney admitted that there's a certain amount of pressure that comes with every tournament, but said that she and Unruh try to put those thoughts aside.

    "There's alway pressure no matter what,'' Sweeney said. "It's just we've got to do what we have to do. I tell Grace all the time, 'Let's just play our game.' ''

    FA5izuRWEAgbeQkSeaman's Grace Unruh (left) and Lauren Sweeney went 5-0 in Monday's Centennial League tennis tournament to capture their second straight league doubles title. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    The singles final pitted the reigning league champion, Harkin, against Hayden freshman Ainzley Zulueta, the city singles champ, and Zulueta held her own early before Harkin pulled away for an 8-3 win.

    FA5jnyLXoAAfSZDHayden freshman Ainzley Zulueta finished second in singles in her first Centennial League tournament Monday. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Seaman finished third as a team with 75 points, with Nina Del-Zio adding a fourth-place finish in singles. Del-Zio dropped an 8-1 decision to Wichman in the third-place match.

    Beck and Schmutzler lost to Rural teammates Fritz and Kucera in the semifinals before bouncing back to to finish third with an 8-3 win over Topeka High's Adisyn Caryl and Haley Carpenter.

    City schools will compete in regional tournaments this weekend, vying for state tournament berths, with Class 6A and 4A regionals at Kossover and Seaman hosting a 5A regional.

    The 6A tournament will be held on Friday and Saturday while the 5A and 4A regionals will be contested on Saturday.

    CENTENNIAL LEAGUE GIRLS TENNIS

  • Seaman's Deeter, Washburn Rural post Manhattan tourney wins

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman junior Lois Deeter and Washburn Rural swept the individual and team titles in Monday's Manhattan Invitational girls golf tournament at Stagg Hill Golf Club in Manhattan.

    Deeter, the city champion, shot a sizzling 66 to claim individual medalist honors by 10 strokes while city and Centennial League champ Washburn Rural captured its seventh tournament championship of the season by a 19-stroke margin over Blue Valley Northwest.

    Lois DeeterLois Deeter

    Aliyah NorthAliyah North

    KaitlynCroughKaitlyn Crough

    Senior Aliyah North was the individual runner-up behind Deeter with a 76, while senior Kaitlyn Crough tied for third with an 81, senior McKenna Merrick tied for fifth with an 82, junior Avery Scott tied for eighth with an 84 and sophomore Raegan Petersen finished 10th with an 85.

    Seaman finished fifth as a team, with Avery Samuelson tying for 18th with a 92.

    Avery Zimmerman placed 22nd with a 96 to lead Topeka High while Topeka West was led by Alex Baxter, who finished 38th with a 108.

    MANHATTAN INVITATIONAL GOLF

  • Alejos runs for 400 yards, 8 TDs in High's 70-42 romp past Scots

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka High's game plan entering Friday night's Centennial League football game against Highland Park was to run the football.

    Trojan senior star Tylas Alejos took that to the extreme, carrying the ball 27 times for 400 yards and scoring eight touchdowns as Topeka High pulled away in the second half for a 70-42 win over the Scots at Hummer Sports Park.

    "Coach (Carlos Kelly) told us we were going to try to run the ball,'' Alejos said. "We liked what we had up front, so we just had to execute.''

    TylanAlejosHP1Topeka High senior standout Tylan Alejos is hoisted in the air by senior lineman Jacob Jackson after scoring one of his eight touchdowns in Friday's 70-42 win over Highland Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Alejos set the tone for the night when he carried the ball all three times on High's 64-yard game-opening scoring drive, including a 32-yard touchdown run with 10:51 left in the first quarter.

    The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Alejos also scored on runs of 21 yards and 4 yards in the first quarter and added a 6-yard TD in the second quarter, 71, 51 and 31-yard scores in the third quarter and a 21-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Alejos also ran for a 2-point conversion to finish with 50 points on the night.

    Alejos knew he was having a big night, but tried to concentrate on the score and not the stats.

    "I was really looking at the scoreboard and just making sure we got the win,'' Alejos said. 

    Trojan junior quarterback Peyton Wheat added 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 10 attempts while senior Talayah Thiomas kicked eight extra points as Topeka High improved to 2-3 overall and in the league..

    Highland Park fell to 0-4 overall and 0-3 in the league with its 61st straight loss, but the Scots put up a spirited fight in the first half, trailing by just a 36-28 margin at the break.

    The Scots took the second-half kickoff and drove to the Topeka High 2-yard-line, but junior quarterback Kei'Juan Johnson was thrown for a 13-yard loss on fourth down to stop the threat and Alejos scored on three long gallops to give the Trojans an insurmountable 57-34 lead entering the fourth quarter.

    TreRichardsonTHHighland Park junior Tre Richardson scored five touchdowns, including a pair of 70-yard kickoff returns, in the Scots' 70-42 loss to Topeka High. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Highland Park junior star Tre Richardson had a monster night for the Scots in a losing cause, scoring five touchdowns.

    Richardson scored the Scots' first touchdown on a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Kellan Spruce and he also hauled in a 19-yard TD pass from Spruce, ran for an 80-yard touchdown and scored on a pair of 70-yard kickoff returns.

    "Tre Richardson is electrifying,'' Kelly said. "He's that kid that wins every tag game. You put him in just (a little bit of room) and that's just too much room.''

    Highland Park also got a 44-yard TD pass from Spruce to junior Tyrell Reed.

    Spruce completed 14 of 17 pass attempts for 160 yards and the three TDs, but was picked off twice.

    Richardson rushed for 105 yards on five attempts and caught five passes for 78 yards while Reed had seven catches for 67 yards.

    "I tip my hat to Highland Park,'' Kelly said. "Those kids really fought hard.''

  • Rural rides 1-2-3 finish to edge Vikings for girls title in Seaman meet

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Individual champion Madeline Carter led a 1-2-3  Washburn Rural finish Saturday morning at Shawnee North Community Park as the Junior Blues edged host Seaman for the team championship in the Seaman Invitational.

    A junior, Carter posted a winning five-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 07.65 seconds, while Rural senior Khloi Bird was second in 19:28.03 and freshman Payton Fink placed third in 19:42.32 while sophomore Sydney Laster was 10th in 20:42.53 and freshman Rylee Ismert was 13th in 21:31.48 to round out the Junior Blues' top five.

    "We work hard during practice and we just use that hard work and it pays off in a race, so it's really fun to see it work,'' Carter said.

    FAvDae3WQAMB4NYWashburn Rural's Madeline Carter, Khloi Bird and Payton Fink went 1-2-3 in Saturday's Seaman Invitational to lead the Junior Blues to the team title. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Carter, who notched her second individual win this fall, said Saturday's meet was good preparation for the upcoming stretch of city, Centennial League, regional and state competition.

    "I was really using this meet to see how I would match up in city, so it's great to see that I'm doing good and our team's doing good as well,'' she said.

    Junior Bethany Druse paced Seaman with a fourth-place individual finish (20:14.94) while the Vikings also got top-10 finishes from freshman Joslyn Grace (sixth in 20:17.86), freshman Anna Becker (seventh in 20:29.30) and senior Emma Schultz (ninth in 20:31.93).

    Seaman coach Rick Brading said he was pleased with the Vikings' performance on Saturday.

    "We're trying to figure out a way to race the middle of the race and they did for the most part today, so I thought it was a good day,'' Brading said.

    Cair Paravel Latin finished fifth as a team, led by Katherine Keys' 28th-place finish (23:19.20).

    The city meet is on tap on Saturday at the Kanza Park Course, with varsity competition getting under way at 9 a.m. 

    SEAMAN INVITATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

    Girls

    Team scores

    Washburn Rural 29, Seaman 37, Lawrence 65, Leavenworth 110, Cair Paravel 140.

    Individual results

    1. Carter, Washburn Rural, 19:07.65; 2. Bird, Washburn Rural, 19:28.03; 3. Fink, Washburn Rural, 19:42.32; 4. Druse, Seaman, 20:14.94; 5. Hardy, Lawrence, 20:16.67; 6. J. Grace, Seaman, 20:17.86; 7. Becker, Seaman, 20:29.30; 8. Kennedy, Lawrence, 20:30.78; 9. Schultz, Seaman, 20:31.93; 10. Laster, Washburn Rural, 20:42.53.

    Other Washburn Rural -- 13. Ismert, 21:31.48; 15. Gutierrez, 21:37.68; 21. Nolte, 22:18.29.

    Other Seaman -- 14. Sampson, 21:32.34; 17. Polter, 21:44.33; 22. Spencer 22:19.19; 23. G. Grace, 22:53.34.

    Cair Paravel -- 28. Keys, 23:19.20; 31. Barkley, 23:50.00; 35. Lewis, 24:29.34; 42. Bowling, 32:56.97; 43. Richards, 34:41.68.

    Topeka High -- 32. Zuniga, 23:58.94; 40. Cabral, 26:59.33; 41. Ludlum, 27:55.55.

    Shawnee Heights -- 37. Liedtke, 24:33.64; 38. Marney, 24:46.51.

     

  • T-Birds' 1-2 punch of Sutton, Esquibel set pace in Seaman invite

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Shawnee Heights junior cross country standout Kory Sutton hadn't been particularly pleased with his last couple of races, but Sutton was back on top of his game in Saturday's Seaman Invitational at Shawnee North Community Park, leading a 1-2 T-Bird finish in the boys race.

    FAvB1m6WQAIjAgNShawnee Heights junior Kory Sutton and T-Bird sophomore Jackson Esquibel lead the pack in Saturday's Seaman Invitational boys cross country race. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Sutton clocked a five-kilometer time of 16 minutes, 15.31 seconds while his sophomore teammate, Jackson Esquibel finished second 16:22.72.

    "Last week I felt like I started off good and didn't quite finish how I wanted to and didn't keep it going,'' Sutton said. "I've had a rough couple of weeks and didn't perform how I wanted, but coming back here definitely helped me build back up my confidence and get back in my groove.

    "I was feeling good at the end of the race and I felt like kept it up throughout the whole thing and stayed out of my head. I just ran like I knew I could.''

    Sutton said that was important entering the biggest meets of the season.

    "It's time for the big meets and it's getting down to the nitty gritty,'' he said.

    Sutton and Esquibel have been one of the area's best 1-2 punches and showed that again in Saturday's race.

    "It's really fun,'' Sutton said. "We can always work together in workouts and then when we come out here we know we can pace off each other and know where we should be.''

    While Shawnee Heights stole the show individually, Washburn Rural was the star of the show as a team, winning the team championship by a 49-63 margin over Seaman and Shawnee Heights.

    Senior Alex Holmes paced the Junior Blues with a fourth-place finish in 16:32.74 while the Junior Blues also got a sixth-place finish from sophomore Hayden Keller (17:01.05).

    Junior Grayson Fink (17:54.53), junior Easton Dial (17:56.60) and junior Davin Johnson (18:03.93) went 13-14-15 to round out Washburn Rural's top five runners.

    Senior Jace Moore finished fifth individually (16:53.42) to lead Seaman to a second-place team finish by virtue of a higher finishing No. 6 runner.

    Shawnee Heights also got a ninth-place finish from junior Andrew Emerson (17:37.17) while Topeka West got a 10th-place finish from senior Louis Wilson (17:41.48).

    Next up for city runners is Saturday's city meet at the Kanza Park Course. The boys varsity race will start at approximately 9:40 a.m.

    SEAMAN INVITATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY

    Boys

    Team scores

    Washburn Rural 49, Seaman 63, Shawnee Heights 63, Lawrence 86, Leavenworth 123, Topeka High 140.

    Individual results

    1. Sutton, Shawnee Heights, 16:15.31; 2. Esquibel, Shawnee Heights, 16:22.72; 3. Ryan, Lawrence, 16:25.92; 4. Holmes, Washburn Rural, 16:32.74; 5. Moore, Seaman, 16:53.42; 6. Keller, Washburn Rural, 17:01.05; 7. Purvis, Leavenworth, 17:09.95; 8. Sullivan, Leavenworth, 17:29.23; 9. Emerson, Shawnee Heights, 17:37.17; 10. Wilson, Topeka West, 17:41.48.

    Other Washburn Rural -- 13. Fink, 17:54.53; 14. Dial, 17:56.60; 15. Johnson, 18:03.93; 22. Cain, 18:23.11; 24. Olsen, 18:31.75; 29. Ishaan, 18:58.04.

    Other Seaman -- 11. Appelhanz, 17:46.30; 12. Stuke, 17:52.57; 19. Swaim, 18:13.07; 20. Jowers, 18:15.04; 21. Newell, 18:15.04; 26. Buckley, 18:48.89; 35. Joseph, 19:47.03; 36. Lady, 19:47.14.

    Other Shawnee Heights -- 23. Carter, 18:24.91; 32. Deitcher, 19:15.41; 38. Song, 19:57.16.

    Other Topeka West -- 30. Phelps, 18:58.48; 39. Maag, 19:59.71.

    Topeka High -- 17. Christopher, 18:06.64; 27. Storrer, 18:49.12; 37. Cowdin, 19:54.24; 40. Campbell, 20:32.99; 42. Solis Carlos, 20:59.20.

    Cair Paravel -- 34. Eckert, 19:40.44; 41. Clark, 20:36.82; 47. Bowling, 22:16.56; 49. Keys, 27:14.80.

     

     

  • Former High stars to put brotherly bond on hold for Turnpike Tussle

    Rick Peterson

    THE PENNANT PLAYER PROFILETSN gold partner Pennant

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn University senior linebacker Jacob Anderson and Emporia State junior wide receiver Corey Thomas are best friends dating back to their days as standouts for Topeka High, and nothing is going to change that.

    But Anderson and Thomas will put that unbreakable bond on hold for about three hours Saturday afternoon when the rival Ichabods and Hornets hook up in the Turnpike Tussle at ESU's Welch Stadium (1 p.m. kickoff). 

    "I'm always wishing Corey the best, but this week we both know that out there on that field we're just going to be competing and our main goal is to win,'' Anderson said. "We both want to win, we're both super competitive and we're going to give it everything we have while we're out there and then it will be all love after the game. That's the type of relationship we have.

    "We know that when we're out there on that field, it's war and we're going to be battling and fighting, but after the game we're going to shake it up and go back to being brothers.''

    JacobAnderson2Senior linebacker Jacob Anderson leads Washburn in tackles heading into Saturday's Turnpike Tussle at Emporia State. [File photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

     CoreyThomasFormer Topeka High standout Corey Thomas, in action against Northeastern State in 2019, is coming off a six-catch game for Emporia State against Pittsburg State. [Photo courtesy of ESU Athletics]

  • No. 11-ranked Rural volleyball wraps up Centennial League crown

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Winning a Centennial League volleyball championship is never one of Washburn Rural's biggest goals, with Kevin Bordewick's Junior Blues using the regular season to put themselves in position to make a run at the big championship -- the Class 6A title.

    But winning league is a step in that direction and the Junior Blues, ranked No. 11 nationally, took that step Tuesday night at Seaman, wrapping up a perfect 8-0 league record with a 25-8, 27-25 win over Seaman and a 25-8, 25-12 win over Topeka High. 

    "(League's) never been one of our bigger priorities, to be honest, in all our years here,'' said Bordewick, whose Junior Blues have won seven state titles. "We're more concerned about getting better every day and we emphasize that and we talk about that ad nauseum. That's all we talk about, but if everything else goes like that then the league should care of it itself and sub-state should take care of itself.

    "But we'd rather win it than lose it, definitely.''

    And Washburn Rural did lose the league title in 2020, with Seaman rallying late to knock off the Junior Blues in the league finale at Topeka High to claim the championship.

    Bordewick said he didn't talk much about that last year's loss to the Vikings, but he didn't need to.

    "I think I said one thing yesterday in practice: 'Remember what happened at T-High last year,' and they go, 'Yep, yep, yep,' '' Bordewick said. "The difference between this team this year and last year is that we learned and remembered that and what that felt like and we didn't want to let it happen again.''

    FAa7OLzWEAA6MpJWashburn Rural volleyball players congratulate each other after wrapping up a 2-0 night and the Centennial League title Tuesday at Seaman. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

  • Washburn Rural girls golf reclaims Centennial League trophy

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    The Centennial League girls golf championship trophy is back in a familiar home.

    After winning 10 straight league titles from 2010-19, Washburn Rural finished second to Manhattan in the 2020 league meet.

    But the Junior Blues started a new streak on Monday at Western Hills Golf Course in decisive fashion, with all six Rural players placing between second and a tie for seventh en route to a 43-stroke victory over runner-up Emporia.

    Senior Kaitlyn Crough took second place individually with a 75 while junior Avery Scott was third with a 76, senior Aliyah North tied for fourth with a 77 and juniors Annika Peterson and Mallory Nelson and senior McKenna Merrick all tied for seventh with 84s.

    "It was definitely a goal of ours since the season ended last year to make sure that we took the league trophy back to Washburn Rural and accomplish a team goal that I know these seniors wanted very badly,'' Rural coach Jared Goehring said.

    FAVS6nSX0AUw2rrWashburn Rural's girls golf team poses for a picture with the Centennial League trophy after winning Monday's league meet by 43 strokes. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN] 

  • Friday/Saturday prep FB roundup: T-Birds pick up first win, 54-6

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    After three heartbreaking losses, including two by a total of four points, Shawnee Heights' football team finally tasted victory Friday night, rolling to a 54-6 win over Kansas City-Schlagle.

    Jarin Sanders powered the 1-3 T-Birds to the non-league victory, carrying the ball 15 times for 178 yards and scoring five touchdowns in a career night for the senior running back.

    JarinSandersJarin Sanders

    Shawnee Heights quarterback Callan Carver completed three of six passes for 45 yards and carried the ball 4 times for 34 yards and a touchdown.

    Heighs' defense, meanwhile, turned in a dominating performance against the Stallions.

    CAIR PARAVEL LATIN 50, SUNRISE CHRISTIAN 0 -- Cair Paravel Latin continued its outstanding start to the 2021 season, improving to 4-0 with a 50-0 road win over Sunrise Christian Academy in a rare Saturday contest.

    The Lions put the game away with a 30-point first quarter and were in front 44-0 at the half.

    CarterBrianmugCarter Brian

    Senior quarterback Carter Brian completed 10 of 19 passes for 99 yards and five touchdowns, including a pair of TD passes to senior Noah Hastert, who caught four passes for 43 yards.

    Brian also rushed for 84 yards on seven attempts while junior Jachin Bonura carried the ball three times for 65 yards and two scores.

    Sophomore Ian Brian was in on 11 tackles to lead the Lions' defense.

    JUNCTION CITY 18, WASHBURN RURAL 17 (OT) -- Washburn Rural (3-1) suffered its first defeat of the season in heartbreaking fashion, with Xavion Felton scoring a two-point conversion to give the host Blue Jays (3-1) the overtime win. 

    The Junior Blues took a 10-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Junction City forced the overtime with an Aiden Fields field goal with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

    Rural scored first in overtime, but the Blue Jays answered with a TD and Felton's conversion to pull out the victory.

    EMPORIA 42, HIGHLAND PARK 32 -- Highland Park's losing streak reached 60 games Friday at Emporia, but for the second time in three weeks the Scots gave themselves a chance to win.

    Highland Park rallied from an early 13-0 deficit to take an 18-13 lead over the Spartans, but Emporia rallied to take the lead for good at 35-32 with about three minutes left in the third quarter.

    TreRichardsonnew2Tre Richardson

    Hi Park junior Tre Richardson scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and rushing touchdowns of 8 and 11 yards.

    Scot newcomer Tyrell Reed, a Topeka West transfer, scored on an 80-yard run.

    MANHATTAN 49, TOPEKA HIGH 0 -- Manhattan improved to 4-0 on the season, riding a stifling defensive effort to a 49-0 Centennial League win Friday night at Hummer Sports Park.

    The Indians built a 22-0 halftime advantage and put the Trojans away in the third quarter.

    Topeka High fell to 1-3 on the season. 

    SILVER LAKE 54, OSKALOOSA 0 -- Silver Lake bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 54-0 romp past Oskaloosa Friday night in the Eagles' Class 2A district opener.

    Silver Lake improved to 3-1 on the season, jumping in front 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and taking a 41-0 halftime advantage.

     

  • Prep cross country roundup: Rural girls take Allie-T team title

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural's girls cross country team rode a three-four-five individual finish in Saturday's Allie-T Invitational at Augusta to capture the team championship by a 55-68 margin over Great Bend.

    Junior Madeline Carter led the Junior Blues with a third-place finish among 84 runners in a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 54.8 seconds while senior Khloi Bird finished fourth (19:23.3) and freshman Payton Fink fifth (19:25.6).

    Rural also got a 17th-place finish from sophomore Sydney Laster (20:25.5) and a 27th-place showing from freshman Rylee Ismert (20:59.0) to round out its top five. 

     RuralXCteamsWashburn Rural's girls cross country team won the team title and the Junior Blue boys finished second in the Allie-T Invitational at Augusta Saturday. [Submitted]

    Senior Anna Phelps paced Topeka West, placing 19th in 20:32.9.

    Washburn Rural's boys posted a second-place team finish behind Olathe South (26-89), with senior Alex Holmes leading the Junior Blues with a sixth-place finish (16:35.5).

    Sophomore Hayden Keller finished 15th for Rural (17:00.2), while senior Spencer Haddock was 19th (17:05.4), junior Davin Johnson 26th (17:35.2) and Grayson Fink 29th (17:42.5).

    Topeka West's boys were led by senior Louis Wilson, who placed 28th (17.39.6).

    DRUSE, ESQUIBEL, NEWKIRK SHINE IN RIM ROCK CLASSIC

  • Rural rides balance to city girls tennis championship; Hayden freshman Zulueta, Seaman's Unruh and Sweeney claim No. 1 singles and doubles titles

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    After an uncharacteristic third-place finish in last year's city girls tennis tournament, perennial city power Washburn Rural found its way back to the top Thursday at Kossover Tennis Center, riding its balance to a 28-23 victory over 2020 champion Seaman.

    The Junior Blues advanced their entire team to the finals to put themselves in position to win the tournament and finished the day with two titles and two runner-up finishes to claim the team championship.

    FAAxxC7VUAcQQ1XWashburn Rural's girls tennis team poses for a team picture after winning the city championship by a 28-23 margin over Seaman Thursday at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Washburn Rural got titles in No. 2 singles from Mena DiMarzio and in No. 2 doubles from Hailey Beck and Shelby Schmutzler while Sheriden Wichman finished second in No. 1 singles and Meredith Kucera and Kate Fritz took second in No. 1 doubles.

    DiMarzio captured the No. 2 singles title with an 8-1 win over Seaman's Katie Krumins while Beck and Schumutzler remained undefeated on the season with an 8-1 win over Hayden.

    "It was a good team win for the girls, to have the No. 2s come through like we thought they could,'' Washburn Rural coach Kevin Hedberg said. "I really like our depth and our depth really came through today.''

    Zulueta2Hayden freshman Ainzley Zulueta won the No. 1 singles title in her first city tournament. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Hayden freshman Ainzley Zulueta was a hit in her first city tournament, claiming the No. 1 singles championship, while Seaman senior Grace Unruh and junior Lauren Sweeney successfully defended their No. 1 doubles championship.

    Zulueta claimed the No. 1 singles crown with an 8-1 win in the finals over Rural two-time city champ Wichman.

    "The past two tournaments have been kind of tough and I had some tough losses, so it felt pretty good to win again,'' Zulueta said. "I was nervous going into the finals match, but it just kind of fell my way once I started getting the lead.''

    Zulueta said getting out in front early was the key to the match.

    "It helps a lot,'' she said. "Usually when I lose the first game I'm kind of discouraged, but after winning the first game I kind of carried on with that.''

    Until recently Zulueta wasn't aware of the city meet, but was happy to get Thursday's win.

    "I didn't even know there was a city meet, to be honest,'' Zulueta said. "I only knew about regionals and state, but once it was the month of September I saw the city meet and thought, 'That's pretty important.' A lot of people told me about it and it seemed like something I wanted to win.''

    SeamandoublesSeaman's Lauren Sweeney (left) and Grace Unruh won their second straight city title in No. 1 doubles Thursday at Kossover Tennis Center. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Unruh and Sweeney swept the city, Centennial League and regional doubles titles a year ago before finishing fourth in the Class 5A state meet and are off and rolling again, improving to 17-0 with Thursday's win over Kucera and Fritz in the championship match.

    Unruh captured her third city doubles title and second with Sweeney and said the experience the duo has together is a key factor in their success.

    "This is my first year ever having the same partner and the confidence we have in each other is so different than playing with somebody for one year,'' Unruh said.

    Sweeney agreed.

    "Not only are we great doubles partners, but we're very close outside of tennis,'' Sweeney said.

    TOPEKA CITY GIRLS TENNIS TOURNAMENT

  • A1 Lock & Key Performers Sept. 20, 2021

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TylanAlejos 2Tylan Alejos

    TYLAN ALEJOS, Topeka High

    Alejos, a senior, rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries and also had two pass receptions for 19 yards and a TD as Topeka High's football team picked up its first victory of the season, a 28-20 Centennial League decision over Emporia last Thursday at Hummer Sports Park.

    E s5HjcXEAMrq1LJack Chisham

    JACK CHISHAM, Hayden

    A senior running back/defensive back, Chisham rushed for 182 yards on 14 attempts and scored on runs of 2 and 69 yards in Hayden's 39-6 victory over Topeka West last Friday night at Hummer Sports Park, helping the Wildcats improve to 2-1 on the season.

  • Washburn Rural, Seaman's Deeter rule city girls golf tournament

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    The tournaments get bigger from here on out, but Washburn Rural's girls golf team started its stretch run in impressive fashion Monday at Western Hills Golf Course.

    The Junior Blues ran their winning streak in the city tournament to nine straight, placing five players in the top six spots en route to a 41-stroke victory over Seaman.

    "It's always one that we highlight on the schedule,'' Washburn Rural coach Jared Goehring said. "The girls have pride in playing well in the city and when you are expected to come out and play well it adds a little bit of pressure, but I thought the girls responded very well today to that.''

    RuralgolfteamWashburn Rural's golf team poses for a team picture after winning its ninth straight city championship Monday at Western Hills. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Seaman junior Lois Deeter shot an even-par 70 to take the city individual title by five strokes, but Washburn Rural swept the next five placers to run away with the team championship.

    E xdOXNWUAIIOD6 2. @RuralGolf wins ninth straight city title by 41 strokes, @SeamanSchools junior @lois_deeter shoots an even-par 70 to win individual title by five strokes.... bit.ly/3AGrbWZ

     E xcVliWYAERiQFWashburn Rural junior Kaitlyn Crough finished second in Monday's city tournament with a 75, helping Rural win its ninth straight city title. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Rural senior Kaitlyn Crough finished second with a 75, while senior Aliyah North was third with a 76, juniors Avery Scott and Mallory Nelson tied for fourth with 80s and junior Annika Peterson placed sixth with an 86.

    "Sure, we could have putted better, we could have done a little bit better with our short games, but we'll get that cleaned up for next week,'' Goehring said. "It was a good day for the program.

    "We just want to keep building for the end of the season run. This marks the halfway point today. This was event No. 5 for us and we'll go right into the Centennial League next week and we want to keep building and playing our best golf in October and I think we're headed in the right direction.''

    Deeter captured her first city title Monday after finishing second as a freshman and opting out of the 2020 season and said she was very happy with her round.

    "I'll take that any day,'' Deeter said. "Shooting even is awesome. My short game was really good today. My drives were a little right and left, going back and forth, but I had good up and down shots getting on the green.''

    Monday's city tournament was held in conjunction with the Topeka West Invitational and both Deeter and Washburn Rural also claimed titles in that event.

    Deeter won that title by the same five-stroke margin that she had in the city event, while Rural won the team championship by a 31-stroke margin over Blue Valley West.

    CITY GIRLS GOLF TOURNAMENT

  • Saturday's prep XC roundup: Carter, Newkirk pace local harriers

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural junior Madeline Carter placed a city-high third among 91 girls runners in Saturday's Baldwin Invitational at the Baldwin City Golf Course, pacing a large city contingent.

    Carter clocked a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 49.15 seconds in a race won by Mill Valley senior Katie Schwartzkopf in 18:23.31.

    MadelineCarternewMadeline Carter

    Three other city runners posted top-10 finishes in the girls race, with Seaman junior Bethany Druse finishing eighth (19:26.67) while Rural senior Khloi Bird (19:27.86) and freshman Payton Fink (19:28.84) placed ninth and 10th.

    Seaman senior Emma Schultz (20:24.70) and Viking freshman Joslynn Grace (20:25.46) finished 28th and 29th while Seaman freshman Anna Becker was 35th (20:42.03), Topeka West senior Anna Phelps 38th (20:55.44) and Seaman freshman Stella Appelhanz 40th (21:01.66).

    Washburn Rural (134) and Seaman (139) finished fifth and sixth among 11 schools in the team standings.

  • Carpenter and Caryl star as Trojans claim team title in High tourney

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka High tennis standouts Haley Carpenter and Adisyn Caryl experienced success in their first year as doubles partners last season, including an appearance in the Class 6A state tournament.

    But Carpenter and Caryl have stepped up their game this fall, including the No. 1 doubles championship in Wednesday's Topeka Invitational at Kossover Tennis Center as the Trojans captured the team title by a 30-29 margin over Olathe East.

    E XGyWHX0Ag eeJTopeka High No. 1 doubles players Adisyn Caryl (left) and Haley Carpenter celebrate a point in Wednesday's Topeka Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Carpenter and Caryl went a perfect 4-0 in Wednesday's tournament, including a 6-2, 7-5 decision over Olathe East in the doubles championship match to improve to 13-1 on the season. 

    "They're much more in sync with each other because they just played half a year together last year,'' Topeka High coach Duane Pomeroy said. "Adisyn has been our top player, but she likes doubles over singles, and Haley is the one that's really improved from last year to this year so she's on par with Adisyn and when one is struggling most of the time the other one picks them up.''

    E XIFdSWEAQVtU6Topeka High tennis player Adisyn Caryl returns a shot during Wednesday's Topeka Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    E XHkcZX0AMz6y4Topeka High's Haley Carpenter makes a returning during Wednesday's Topeka Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Caryl agreed with her coach that this fall is going very well for the Trojan doubles team.

    "This year we started off and just did really well and every single tournament or quad we just keep getting better and better,'' Caryl said. 

    "It's a lot better this year,'' Carpenter agreed. "We know what (other teams) are going to do and we can trust each other a lot more this year so that's really nice.''

    After taking a decisive win in the first set against Olathe East in Wednesday's championship matc, Topeka High fell behind in the second set before rallying for the win.

    "I think for us it was all about determination,'' Caryl said.

    Carpenter agreed.

    "We were really tired and we just had a lot of trouble when they were serving and kind of got down, but it was OK because we got back on track and still won,'' she said.

    Topeka High also got a championship from McCall Beall, who claimed the No. 2 singles crown with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Lawrence, while the No. 2 doubles team of Aleshia Alvarez and Keira Trupp finished second and No. 1 singles player Mary Dietrick finished fourth.

    Beall improved to 11-0 in No. 2 singles.

    "It's been real good,'' Pomeroy said. "We competed. And to get two championships and pull out the team title is great.''

    Shawnee Heights' Laura Elkoubysi finished third in No. 1 singles with a 6-2, 6-0 win over High's Dietrick while the fourth-place T-Birds got a fourth-place finish in No. 2 doubles from Hannah Sixkiller and Addyson Bryant and fifths in No. 2 singles from Victoria Soto and No. 2 doubles from Shelby Elskamp and Ariah Durkes.

    Topeka West's Anna Newcome finished fifth in No. 1 singles with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Junction City's Abby Ratts.

    TOPEKA INVITATIONAL TENNIS

  • Topeka High soccer blanks rival Topeka West, 3-0

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    The longstanding soccer rivalry between Topeka High and Topeka West was renewed Tuesday night at Hummer Sports Park, with the Trojans rolling to a 3-0 victory over the Chargers.

    Leading the offense for Topeka High was freshman CJ Brown, who had a pair of first-half goals to give the Trojans the momentum before Chris Gomez added High's final goal.

    “We knew with West it was going to be a fight,'' Topeka High coach Derek Snook said. "A tough, competitive rivalry brings the best out of our team.

    “Overall, we played well at times. We hit the shots when we needed them to hit and we keep on getting better.”

    Topeka High put on an impressive defensive performance against the Chargers.

    Midfielder Zaka Blocker had a few key stops to keep Topeka West off the scoreboard while goalkeeper Logan Murray turned in highlight-reel plays all night long.

    The key defensive moment was when Murray made a terrific save at the 14:17 mark of the second half.

    “Logan was impressive tonight,'' Snook said. "He came up big in moments when we really needed him.” 

    Topeka West will host Junction City on Thursday while Topeka High will take on city rival Shawnee Heights at the Bettis Family Sports Complex.

    TOPEKA HIGH 3, TOPEKA WEST 0

    Topeka High -- Goals: CJ Brown 2, Chris Gomez. Assists: Sergio Ramirez, Jamie Alvarado. Shutout: Logan Murray.

    WasRelated Stories and Videos

  • Tylan Alejos powers Topeka High past Emporia, 28-20

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    In the previous nine head-to-head football meetings between Emporia and Topeka High, the Trojans have emerged victorious in every single meeting against the Spartans.

    In Emporia’s prolonged drought, the Spartans haven’t been able to find a way to edge the Trojans, with Thursday night a carbon copy of the past decade as Topeka High came out on top, 28-20, as senior Tylan Alejos turned in a monster night.

    TylanAlejos2Topeka High senior Tylan Alejos scores one of his four touchdowns on the night in High's 28-20 win over Emporia Thursday night. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    After two winless weeks, Topeka High was finally able to taste the sweet nectar of victory in front of the home Hummer Sports Park crowd for the first time in 2021.

    Self-inflicted mistakes have haunted the Trojans the first two weeks, but Thursday the offense was able to overcome the mistakes.

    “I feel like we are getting closer to where want to be as a team,'' Topeka High coach Carlos Kelly said. "We have a new coaching staff, along with a new nucleus of guys. It’s going to take time, but I am proud of the guys.

    "Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, we are clicking and we have better chemistry together.”

    Alejos, one of the most dynamic players in the city, had himself a career night, rushing for 223 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries and catching two passes for 19 yards and a TD.

    “It was a good team performance,'' Alejos said. "We came out a little sloppy in the beginning but we came out and executed in the second half. Our offensive line was way more aggressive tonight and it opened me up to have a good game.”

    Added Kelly:

    “We thought we could take advantage of Emporia by getting Tylan out in open space. He works so hard and tries so hard, which means a lot to the guys. Tylan needs to be Tylan Alejos and not anybody else. Tylan is a special player.”

    DannySaaliactionTopeka High lineman Danny Saili (77) comes up with a defensive stop for the Trojans in Thursday's 28-20 win over Emporia. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Topeka High’s defense forced a three and out on Emporia's game-opening drive, forcing the Spartans to punt the ball away.

    Topeka High then marched right down the field, only to throw an interception to linebacker Bobby Trujillo in the end zone.

    At 1:30 in the first, Emporia’s Cam Geitz eluded High's pass rush and found Kaden Woydziak for an 89-yard touchdown to put the Spartans up, 7-0.

    Following that Emporia touchdown, Topeka quarterback Peyton Wheat threw his second interception of the night to Trujillo, leading to a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Derrick Keys.

    Topeka High would fight back with a long drive, getting on the scoreboard with a 4-yard Alejos touchdown to decrease the deficit to 13-7.

    After the Alejos touchdown at the 6:23 mark, the defenses were hitting back and forth.

    After blocking an Emporia punt, the Trojans started at the Emporia 15-yard line. Wheat rolled out to the right out of the pocket and threw a 15-yard TD to Alejos with 0:08 to go in the half, putting High in front, 14-13.

    Emporia’s Jaxson Dial opened up the second half with a pick six for a touchdown as the Spartans went back in front, 20-14, but Topeka High bounced back with a strong 14-play drive, taking 6:30 off the clock and finishing it off by Alejos punching it in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

    Topeka High ended Emporia's ensuing possession with a blocked punt that gave the Trojans the ball deep in Spartan territory.

    Alejos would then run it up the gut for his fourth touchdown of the night, giving the Trojans their final 28-20 margin.

    Emporia had an opportunity at the Topeka High 9-yard line with 1:32 to go but High forced an incompletion and held on for the win.

    Emporia (0-3, 0-3) will host the Highland Park Scots next Friday, while Topeka High (1-2,1-2) will host Manhattan.

    TOPEKA HIGH 28, EMPORIA 20

    Emporia (0-3, 0-3) 7 6 7 0 -- 20

    Topeka High (1-2, 1-2) 0 14 14 0 -- 28

    First quarter

    Emporia -- Woydziak 89 pass from Geitz (Obermeyer kick)

    Second Quarter

    Emporia -- Keys 4 run (kick failed)

    Topeka High -- Alejos 4 run (Thomas kick)

    Topeka High -- Alejos 15 pass (Thomas kick)

    Third Quarter

    Emporia -- Dial 38 interception return (Obermeyer kick)

    Topeka High -- Alejos 7 run (Thomas kick)

    Topeka High -- Alejos 2 run (Thomas kick)

    Individual Statistics

    Rushing -- Emporia: Keys 13-6, Geitz 12-(minus)-9, Trujillo 1-3. Topeka High: Alejos 32-223, Wheat 4-5, Ross 2-10, Brown 1-5.

    Passing -- Emporia: Geitz 11-22-0, 230 yards. Topeka High: Wheat 7-19-3, 106.

    Receiving -- Emporia: Leeds 4-34, Woydziak 2-132, Trujillo 2-34, Obermeyer 2-22, Jackson, 1-8. Topeka High: Williams 3-28, Brown 2-59, Alejos, 2-19.

    WasRelated Stories and Videos

  • Washburn Rural rolls past Topeka High, 42-13

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    In the previous three meetings between Topeka High and Washburn Rural, the Trojans won all three games and outscored Rural, 164-73.

    Before Friday the last time the two collided was in 2019, with Topeka High defeating the Junior Blues, 42-28.

    Friday was a different a story from years past, however, as Rural thwacked the Trojans, 42-13.

    Washburn Rural’s special teams set the tone early that carried them to success for the entire four quarters.

    Senior Austin Fager forced three blocked punts on the night, sigh two of his blocked punts resulting in Rural touchdowns and the other block going for a safety.

    “We realized the center had his head down the whole time, so we had to shoot the left gap since they were blocking heavier on the right side,'' Fager said. "It was wide open the whole time.”

    AustinFagerAustin Fager

    The defense played a crucial part in the decisive victory for Washburn Rural, with just two of the Junior Blues' touchdowns coming on offense

    Coach Steve Buhler said he was “proud of the staff and the defense for having an excellent week of practice.” “Coach Smith and the defensive coaches did a really good job prepping the defense. There wasn’t anything new from Topeka that we didn’t see on tape. What benefited us was that our guys were playing really hard and really fast all night long.”

    image 50349825Washburn Rural and Topeka High go through the handshake line after Friday's 42-13 Rural win at Bowen-Glaze Stadium. [Photo by Isaac Deer/TSN]

    Blues running back Ma’kenttis Adams broke off a 31-yard rushing touchdown at the 4:26 mark of the second quarter to give Rural its first offensive touchdown, putting the Junior Blues up, 22-7. Rural's other offensive touchdown came on a dart from Aiden Boleski to Adrian Tibbetts for a 13-yard touchdown at the furthest left corner of the end zone.

  • Druse paces balanced Vikings to girls title in Schrag Invitational

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Veteran Seaman girls cross country coach Rick Brading didn't enter the 2021 season with a pack mentality in mind for his team, but it seems to be working that way, and paying early dividends for the Vikings.

    Junior Bethany Druse, a returning Class 5A state placer, led the pack with a second-place individual finish on Saturday at the Kanza Park course and her teammates followed close behind, with Seaman putting all its top five in the first 12 places en route to winning the team championship in Topeka West's Joe Schrag Invitational by a 30-41 margin over Blue Valley.

    E CWYbSXMAALe3 Junior Bethany Druse finished second to help Seaman win the girls team title in Saturday's Joe Schrag Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Druse clocked a five-kilometer time of 19 minutes, 45.51 seconds to finish as the runnerup to Blue Valley senior Tori Wingrove (18:33.32) while Seaman freshman Anna Becker finished fourth (20:23.48), senior Emma Schultz sixth (20:40.20), freshman Joslynn Grace seventh (20:42.11) and freshman Stella Appelhanz 12th (21:22.19).

    "We're not trying to be a pack, it just happens that way,'' Brading said. "We just have some talented kids.''

  • Heights' Sutton, Esquibel post one-two finish in Schrag Invitational

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Even though he fought back late in the season to advance to the Class 5A state meet for the second straight year, Kory Sutton was never himself in the 2020 cross country season.

    But the Shawnee Heights junior standout is healthy this fall and the results are proof of that.

    "I had an issue with the growth plate in my hip and it put me out for about a year before I was back to full strength and ready to run,'' Sutton said Saturday after taking the boys individual title in the Topeka West Joe Schrag Invitational at the Kanza Park Course, Sutton's second win in as many races on the year.

     E CRGppXEAgCJtWShawnee Heights junior Kory Sutton posted his second straight individual win of the year in Saturday's Joe Schrag Invitational. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Sutton made progress in the spring track season and now feels like he's 100 percent.

    "I never was 100 percent (in cross country) and I was just getting back into it right before track season,'' Sutton said. "But I feel great now.''

  • Rural golf rides balance to 15-stroke invitational championship

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    WAMEGO -- Coach Jared Goehring will be looking for lower numbers moving forward as his Washburn Rural girls golf team closes in on postseason.

    But given Tuesday's hot, windy conditions at Wamego Country Club, Goehring was happy to take a 15-stroke victory in Rural's invitational tournament and move on.

    "We had some consistent numbers and today's conditions were tough,'' Goehring said. "This golf course was a great challenge to these ladies and I thought the middle of our lineup handled it the best today.''

    E u6AohWYAc KSwWashburn Rural senior Aliyah North tied for sixth Tuesday at Wamego Country Club with an 82, leading the Junior Blues to a 15-stroke win in their invitational tournament. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Senior Aliyah North tied for sixth with an 82 to lead the balanced Junior Blues, who had four players in the 80s to finish with a four-person team score of 335 to easily out-distance two-time defending Class 6A state champion Shawnee Mission East.

    Juniors Avery Scott and Mallory Nelson shot 83s and were part of a three-way tie for eighth place while senior McKenna Merrick shot an 87 to round out the Junior Blues' top four. Senior Kaitlyn Crough added a 90 and sophomore Raegan Petersen a 91 for Rural.

    "A goal of ours is to win our home invitational and shooting in the mid-330s out here today was a great team score, so I'm proud of them.,'' Goehring said.

     E u8B 7XsAIDzCWSeaman junior Lois Deeter tied for eighth in Tuesday's Washburn Rural Invitational at Wamego Country Club., shooting an 83. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Seaman junior Lois Deeter was part of the three-way tie for eighth place with an 83 while sophomore Avery Zimmerman led Topeka High with a 101 and senior Olivia Morgan led Shawnee Heights with a 102.

    Washburn Rural fielded two teams in Tuesday's invitational tournament, with sophomore Olivia Smith shooting a 95 to lead Rural's second squad.

    St. James Academy senior Beth Grant shot a 4-over-par 74 to take medalist honors while Shawnee Mission South senior McLain Neal was second with a 75 and Free State junior Claire Berquist third with a 77.

    Mill Valley senior Libby Green and SM East Tess Roman tied for fourth with 80s.

    WASHBURN RURAL INVITATIONAL

  • TopSports.news' Shawnee County 10 boys XC runners to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Michael ChristopherMichael Christopher

    Michael Christopher, Topeka High

    Christopher, a junior, earned All-City honorable mention recognition in 2020 for Topeka High, placing eighth in the city meet. Christopher opened his current season with a 35th-place finish out of 76 runners in last Saturday's Manhattan Invitational at Warner Park.

    EsquibelJackson Esquibel

    Jackson Esquibel, Shawnee Heights

    A  sophomore, Esquibel placed in the top five in five of the seven meets he competed in as a freshman en route to earning All-City recognition. Esquibel took third place in the city meet and was a runner-up in Class 5A regional competition, helping the T-Birds qualify for state as a team. Esquibel finished 30th in the state meet. Esquibel opened his 2021 season with a second-place finish in Basehor-Linwood's  Bobcat Invitational.

    Spencer HaddockSpencer Haddock

    Spencer Haddock, Washburn Rural

    Haddock, a senior, earned All-City honorable mention last season after placing 11th in the city meet for the team-champion Junior Blues and taking 17th place in the Centennial League championships. Haddock placed 18th among 76 runners in the season-opening Manhattan Invitational as Rural placed third as a team. 

  • Rural's Carter takes individual win in Manhattan Invitational

    Rick Peterson

     TopSports.news

    Washburn Rural junior Madeline Carter claimed the girls individual title in Saturday's Manhattan Invitational cross country meet at Warner Park, posting a five-kilometer time of 18 minutes, 52.6 seconds to win by nearly 34 seconds.

    Madeline CarterWashburn Rural junior Madeline Carter, last year's city champion, won the girls individual title in Saturday's Manhattan Invitational. [File photo by Craig Strever/Special to TSN]

    Carter was one of three Junior Blues in the top seven places individually as Washburn Rural tied Manhattan for the team title with 58 points. The Indians won the championship on a tiebreaker (higher sixth runner).

    Payton Fink placed sixth for Rural (20:02.3) while Khloi Bird was seventh (20:03.7). 

    Seaman placed third as a team, just four points behind Manhattan and Washburn Rural, with Bethany Druse leading the way with a fifth-place finish (19:56.3) while Anna Becker finished ninth (20:13.1).

    Washburn Rural and Seaman placed third and fourth in the boys team standings, just a point apart (120 and 121).

    Seaman's Jace Moore paced the local contingent with a 13th-place finish (17:17.4) while Hayden Keller placed 17th (17:28.7) to lead Washburn Rural.

    MANHATTAN INVITATIONAL

  • Junction City rains on Topeka High's football parade

    Isaac Deer

    By ISAAC DEER

    TopSports.news

    The 2021 Kansas high school football campaign has officially begun!

    The Topeka High Trojans played host to Junction City Thursday night at Hummer Sports Park in the season-opener for Shawnee County football, with the Blue Jays rolling to a 34-0 Centennial League win in a game that was shortened due to inclement weather in the area.

    TylanAlejosTylan Alejos

    Junction City got '21 off to a scorching hot start, taking the opening kickoff and driving down the field for an 11-yard rushing touchdown by Tyree Holloway.

    Topeka was stumped on the offensive side of the ball, with constant pressure from the Blue Jay defense early in the first quarter.

    Later in the first, quarterback David Rowell connected with TJ Jones for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Blue Jays up 13-0 with 2.8 seconds to go in the opening quarter.

    Early in the second quarter, Rowell threw a perfectly-placed pass to Holloway for 59 yards that led to another Junction City touchdown. The score became 20-0 with 9:25 to go in the first half. 

    With no answers from the Topeka High defense or offense, the Blue Jays took advantage of the Trojans to take control of the game.

    Xavion Felton rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to put the Blue Jays up 27-0 with 6:22 left in the second and Rowell ran in a 1-yard touchdown minutes later to put Junction City up by its final 34-point margin.

    Topeka High picked up some momentum on a 58-yard run by senior Tylan Alejos with 2.2 seconds left in the half, but Junction City's Tyre Smith picked off a Peyton Wheat pass to end the threat.

    The game went into a lightning delay at 8:34 p.m. and multiple lightning strikes forced the game to be called.

    Junction City (1-0) will take on Manhattan next week and Topeka High (0-1) will travel to Emporia.

    Alejos rushed for 95 yards to lead Topeka High while Rowell passed for 129 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 55 yards and a TD to lead Junction City.

    WasRelated Stories and Videos

  • TopSports.news' Shawnee County football players to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    TylanAlejosTylan Alejos

    Tylan Alejos, Topeka High

    A 5-foot-9, 195-pound senior running back and strong safety, Alejos was a standout on both sides of the ball for Topeka High in the 2020 season, earning All-City honors at running back while receiving All-Centennial League honorable mention.

    E TJMpXXIAINwEhCamden Barta

    Camden Barta, Seaman

    A senior quarterback/free safety, Barta played free safety for the 7-2 Vikings last season and backed up All-City Top 11 quarterback Reid Cowan. Barta is expected to move into the starting quarterback position for Seaman this fall. 

    E TG0F6XoA8Jpel

    Malachi Berg, Topeka West

    Still just a junior, Berg is starting his third season as Topeka West's starting quarterback. The 6-3, 195-pound Berg received All-City honorable mention last season and will be looked on to provide leadership for the Chargers this fall.

    RobbyBolinRobby Bolin

    Robby Bolin, Washburn Rural

    A 6-2, 190-pound senior wide receiver/safety, Bolin was an All-City Top 11 selection last fall, catching 29 passes for 863 yards and eight touchdowns. Bolin received second-team All-Centennial League recognition on offense and honorable mention on defense and also received All-6A honorable mention.

  • Muller sparks Hayden soccer to 3-1 season-opening win over High

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Hayden's soccer team had to wait a couple extra days to make its season debut, with Monday's scheduled opener postponed due to COVID-19 protocols at Ottawa.

    But the Wilcats quickly made up for lost time, opening up a 3-0 lead on the way to a 3-1 win over Centennial League rival Topeka High Wednesday at Hayden.

    "We were all ready to play Monday and just get that first game in,'' said Hayden junior standout Jake Muller, who had a two goals and an assist in the Wildcat victory. "We've been practicing for so long and it's exciting to play, so when that game was canceled it was tough, but we were ready for today.''

    E PaCgsWQAY2K08Topeka High senior Sergio Ramirez (left) advances the ball as Hayden's Tyler Broxterman defends in Wednesday's 3-1 Wildcat win over the Trojans at Hayden. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Muller got Hayden on the board at the 16:23 mark of the opening half off an assist by junior Chris Hayes, the lone goal of the first half.

    The Wildcats then put the game away with two goals within 16 seconds of each other early in the second half.

    Muller scored at the 34:39 mark off a pass from junior Nick Padilla and then Muller found Hayes for Hayden's final goal at the 34:23 mark.

    "I thought we played really good,'' Muller said. "We still have stuff to work on, but I thought our effort was there.''

  • TopSports.news' Shawnee County 12 girls tennis players to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    E Jj60JWQAcMeh8Haley Carpenter

    Haley Carpenter, Topeka High

    A junior, Carpenter advanced to the Class 6A state tournament last fall in doubles, teaming with Adisyn Caryl to earn a trip to the state tournament with a fourth-place regional finish.

    E JkhPLXMAUy 37Adisyn Caryl

    Adisyn Caryl, Topeka High

    Caryl, a junior, competed for the Trojans in the 6A state tournament last fall in doubles, teaming up with Carpenter for a fourth-place regional finish. A two-time state qualifier in tennis, Caryl also plays basketball and softball for High, helping the Trojans win a 6A softball state title last spring.

    E JiqLTXEAUD2FLKate Fritz

    Kate Fritz, Washburn Rural

    A junior, Fritz competed in the 2020 6A state tournament for Rural, teaming with Meredith Kucera to win a Class 6A regional championship. Fritz, a two-time state qualifier, and Kucera took third in doubles in the Centennial League tournament.

  • TopSports.news' Shawnee County boys soccer players to watch

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    E97GT2OXIAIT 1aWyatt Arnold

    Wyatt Arnold, Washburn Rural

    A senior team captain, Arnold is in his fourth season as the Junior Blues' starting goalkeeper, helping 16-4-1 Rural post a fourth-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament last fall, recording 11 shutouts. A first-team All-City and All-Centennial League pick as a junior, Arnold is No. 3 on Rural's all-time list with 28 career shutouts.

    E97CoIiXEAUayszKyson Evans

    Kyson Evans, Seaman

    Evans, a senior, will be counted on as a leader this fall for the Vikings, who are coming off a 7-7-1 season in 2020, advancing to a 5A regional final. Evans earned All-City and All-Centennial League honorable recognition as a junior.

    Jordan GarvinJordan Garvin

    Jordan Garvin, Shawnee Heights

    Garvin was a first-team All-City and All-United Kansas Conference first-team selection and earned second-team All-Class 5A honors last season as a sophomore. Garvin scored 18 goals and recorded six assists as Shawnee Heights posted a 14-5-1 record and finished third in the 5A state tournament.

  • Anderson fired up to make the most of final season with Ichabods

    Rick Peterson

    THE PENNANT PLAYER PROFILETSN gold partner Pennant

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Washburn University football coach Craig Schurig has never had to worry about firing up linebacker Jacob Anderson for a practice or game since the former Topeka High standout stepped on campus.

    "At first he was like a special teams phenom,'' Schurig said. "He was the best special teams player you could possibly have and then he made himself into a really good inside linebacker with his fire, his speed, his enthusiasm. He doesn't have an off switch.''

    E90t0FOWUAMz5OMJacob Anderson [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN] 

    That figures to be especially true this fall as the 5-foot-10, 200-pound six-year senior sets his sights on ending his collegiate career with a bang, beginning with next Thursday night's season-opener at Lincoln.

    "When our season got canceled in 2020 it was a really weird feeling knowing we wouldn't play for a year and there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I was going to come back and finish my career off the right way and give it everything I have one last season and get a senior day, get my last fall camp, get my last home game,'' Anderson said.

    "I just wanted to finish everything off the right way. There was no doubt that I wanted to do that.''

  • TopSports.news' Best of the Best project hits high gear

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Nearly 29,000 reader votes have been received since TopSports.news kicked off its Best of the Best project in early July.

    Now it's time to honor Shawnee County's all-time greats in a series of lists over the month of August.

    More than 500 current and former county athletes received Best of the Best votes in 23 different sports/categories, including 44 men's bowlers, 36 baseball players, 34 women's bowlers and football players, 33 men's cross country runners, 31 women's soccer players and 30 men's tennis players.

    Eight sports compiled more than 1,200 reader votes, while four sports topped the 2,000-vote mark, two topped 4,000 votes and women's bowling led the way with more than 9,300 votes.

    Melvin DouglasMelvin Douglas

    Dajia AndersonnewDajia Anderson

    Chris BarnesChris Barnes

  • Local legends Torrez, Berry headline TSN Best of Best baseball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Since the 1960s, the names Mike Torrez and Ken Berry have been synonymous with baseball success in Shawnee County.

    So it probably shouldn't come as a big surprise that those two former Major League Baseball stalwarts ended up at the top of the TopSports.news' Top 25 Best of the Best list for baseball.

     E5nWKU XwAEz9G6Mike Torrez

    E5nWLD X0AII4HNKen Berry

    Torrez, a Topeka High product, also garnered the most votes from TSN readers, edging out Berry by eight votes for the No. 1 spot with Berry (Washburn Rural) a solid No. 2.

    Torrez pitched 18 seasons for seven teams in the Major Leagues from 1967-84, becoming a 20-game winner for the Baltimore Orioles and helping lead the New York Yankees to the 1977 World Series championship with a pair of wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Berry played 13 big league seasons and was an American League All-Star for the Chicago White Sox and a two-time Gold Glove winner.

    While Torrez and Berry were relatively clearcut choices at the top of the Best of the Best list, determing the rest of the Top 25 order was a lot more difficult.

    Duff "Sir Richard'' Cooley, who played 13 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1893-1905 with a .294 batting average, ended up No. 3 while Negro Leagues star Bingo DeMoss holds down the No. 4 spot and former Kansas City Royals All-Star Aaron Crow (Washburn Rural) rounds out the top five.

    Ten members of the Best of the Best list played in the Major Leagues while DeMoss, Carroll Ray "Dink'' Mothell and Gil Carter all played in the Negro Leagues.

    The list also includes a bunch of county products who earned All-America honors in college, with many of those going on to longtime minor league careers.

    As mentioned earlier, Torrez and Berry earned the most votes in the TSN reader poll while former Hayden star John Tetuan and Shawnee Heights star Jordan Cooper finished three-four and Silver Lake native and MLB player Jim Golden rounded out the top five.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST BASEBALL

  • Shaffer-Dahl gets nod as Best of Best in loaded women's hoops field

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Narrowing down the list of women's basketball candidates for TopSports.news' Best of the Best list to 25 was a tough task.

    Picking a No. 1 out of a talent-heavy group of Shawnee County legends was even tougher.

    The TSN Top 25 list is jam full of high school stars and state champs, many who went on to earn All-America collegiate honors as well as recent multi-sport superstars like Carly Bachelor of Washburn Rural and NiJaree Canady of Topeka High, who ran away with the Readers Choice title despite still having a season of high schoolnbasketball remaining.

    With more than a handful of candidates that were legitimate contenders for the top spot, the Best of the Best nod, by the slighest of margins, goes to former Shawnee Heights and Washburn University legend Brenda Shaffer-Dahl.

    BrendaShaffer DahlBrenda Shaffer-Dahl

    Nadira HazimNadira Hazim 

    Shaffer-Dahl, a 1986 Heights graduate, led the T-Birds to an undefeated state championship as a senior and went on to set 24 Washburn basketball records from '86-'90. Shaffer-Dahl is Washburn’s all-time leading scorer (2,613 points) and all-time leading rebounder (1,106) and earned All-CSIC honors four seasons and was a two-time NAIA and Kodak/WBCA All-American.

    Shaffer-Dahl, a member of the Washburn and Topeka Shawnee County halls of fame, also set school records for most games played (126), best scoring average for a season (23.9, 1989-90) and a career (20.7), and most single-game rebounds (23), among others.

    Former Topeka West star Nadira Hazim, who scored 42 points in a Class 6A state tournament game, holds down the No. 2 spot, while Seaman and Washburn star Shelley Foster, Cair Paravel Latin and Kansas State product Peyton Williams and Washburn Rural and Notre Dame star Jeneka Joyce round out the top five in the TSN Top 25.

    NiJareeCanadyRuralNiJaree Canady

    As mentioned earlier, Canady, who will also be a strong candidate in softball and the multi-sport division, was a clearcut winner in Readers Choice voting, garnering more than 1,700 votes while former Seaman and Fort Hays State star Tatyana Legette also received strong support from readers.

    Shaffer-Dahl was third in reader voting while Williams and former Washburn Rural and WU standout Erika Lane tied for fourth.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

  • Silver Lake, K-State legend Kruger tops TSN men's basketball list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Today's basketball fans probably know Silver Lake legend Lon Kruger more for his considerable accomplishments as a Division I coach than as a star guard.

    After all, Kruger, who recently retired at Oklahoma, was the first Division I coach to take five different programs to the NCAA Tournament, including Final Four appearances with the Sooners and Florida.

    But ardent basketball followers, particulary those in the over-60 demographic, remember Kruger as one of the greatest all-time players in Kansas.

    In fact, Kruger gets TopSports.news' nod as the Best of the Best in Shawnee County history.

    A star in basketball, baseball and football for Silver Lake, Kruger averaged 23.8 points as a senior guard for the Eagles basketball team and went on to help lead Kansas State to back-to-back Big 8 Conference championships and was named the conference player of the year in 1973 and '74 after earning sophomore of the year recognition in '72.

    Kruger scored 1,063 points in a Wildcat uniform and averaged 17.6 points as a senior, including a career-high of 37 points.

    Kruger, who had his No. 12 jersey retired by Kansas State, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the ninth round of the '74 NBA Draft and was also selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the Astros in '70 and by the Cardinals in '74.

     Lon KrugerLon Kruger

    KyleWeems3Kyle Weems

    As good as Kruger was, however, he wasn't a slam dunk as TopSports.news' No. 1 pick as the Best of the Best.

    Former Highland Park star Kyle Weems also received strong consideration for the top spot on the strength of an outstanding career at the high school, Division I and professional level.

    Weems helped lead Highland Park to a perfect 25-0 record and the Class 5A state championship in 2007 before earning Missouri Vallley Player of the Year honors for Missouri State and finishing his career as the No. 2 scorer in Bears history.

    Weems is getting set to start his 10th professional season in Europe and helped his team win the Italian championship this past season.

    Former Hayden star Tom Meier, who won a pair of state championships at Hayden and a national NAIA title at Washburn University, holds down the No. 3 spot on the TSN Top 25 list while former Highland Park star James Patrick and Topeka High and UCLA product Fred Slaughter round out the top five.

     Delvy LewisDelvy Lewis

    The late Delvy Lewis, who starred at Washburn Rural and was an All-Big 8 pick at Kansas, earned the No. 6 spot on the Top 25 and also earned the Readers Choice title by a significant margin, with Weems second and Kruger third in reader voting.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S BASKETBALL

  • TSN women's bowling Top 25 loaded with stars past and present

    Rick Peterson

     

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Bowling is one of the greatest so-called lifetime sports, with avid bowlers often taking up the sport as kids and bowling into their 70s, 80s and sometimes 90s.

    That's awesome for the sport and the participants, but it makes putting together a list like the TopSports.news women's bowling Best of the Best Top 25 a nearly impossible task.

    Do you go with bowlers who were some of Shawnee County best some five or six decades ago or do you lean towards a talented group of younger bowlers whose best is likely still ahead of them.

    I tried to do a little of both, with veterans like Terri Sandgren, Maggie (Fritton) Crawford, Jeannine Wettengel and Natalie Bennett at the top of the list, while more recent stars like Kelsey Muther and Chelsie Bahr also earned lofty spots.

    The advent of high school bowling was a boon for the sport, as evidenced by the fact that more than 30 bowlers received votes in the TSN Readers Choice poll as more than 9.300 votes were cast, by far the most of any sport in the Best of the Best balloting.

    Whitney ProckishWhitney Prockish

    MakenzieMillard2Makenzie Millard

    Former Washburn Rural state champ Whitney Prockish was the Readers Choice champion, while Seaman senior to be Makenzie Millard, the youngest member of the Top 25, was a close second as both Prockish and Millard garnered more than 3,000 votes.

    Recent prep stars Ashton Anderson (Washburn Rural) and Kishno Bell (Seaman) both received more than 600 votes while Kristi Renyer (Shawnee Heights) garnered more than 450 votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S BOWLERS

  • PBA Hall of Famer Barnes headlines TSN men's bowling Top 25

    Rick Peterson

     

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Chris Barnes has accomplished about everything one can accomplish in bowling.

    He is a Professional Bowling Association Hall of Famer, has won 19 PBA Tour titles, including three majors, and also has a win to his credit in the PBA50 Tour while topping the $2 million mark in career earnings.

    So it should come as no surprise that the Topeka High product, a state champion in basketball as a Trojan, earned the No. 1 spot in the TopSports.news Best of the Best Top 25 list for men's bowling while also running away with the most votes in the Readers Choice Awards, garnering just under 700 votes.

    Chris BarnesChris Barnes [Twitter]

    BobBenoit2Bob Benoit [Pinterest.com]

    Bob Benoit, a successful touring pro in his own right, with five PBA wins and a televised 300 game, is No. 2 in the Top 25 while Topeka legend Dale Euwer, former pro Kelly Coffman and multi-time Topeka Bowler of the Year Anthony Judd round out the top five.

    Following Barnes in the No. 2 spot in the Readers Choice Awards is Allen Payne, who received more than 460 votes, while former Washburn Rural standout Trevor Baumgartner, Kaw Valley Hall of Famer Joe Burkhart and former Seaman star Ashton Bigger rounded out the top five in reader votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S BOWLERS

  • Dinkel takes No. 1 spot on TSN Top 25 list of county football elite

    Rick Peterson

     

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    With a list of candidates that includes 11 Shawnee County football players that made it to the National Football League, three that played in the Super Bowl and numerous other college standouts as well as two of the most prolific high school stars in Kansas history, picking a No. 1 for TopSports.news' Best of the Best Top 25 was a arduous task.

    In the end, the guy that helped put local football on the map back in the 1970s, former Shawnee Heights/Kansas star and longtime Cincinnati Bengal linebacker Tom Dinkel, gets the nod.

    TomDinkel2Tom Dinkel [Submitted]

    Dinkel, who helped the Bengals reach the Super Bowl after the 1981 season, played seven seasons in the NFL and also played in the USFL for the Jacksonville Bulls after being drafted in the fifth round by Cincinnate in the fifth round of the '78 draft.

    Troy WilsonTroy Wilson [1994 Fleer Cards]

    Taking the next two spots on the Top 25 were Super Bowl alums Troy Wilson (Shawnee Heights) and Michael Wilhoite (Highland Park), who both put together extended pro careers, while former NFL players Kyle McNorton (Seaman) and Trey Lewis (Washburn Rural) round out the top five, just ahead of Chicago Bears rookie Teven Jenkins (Topeka High), New York Jets third-year play Corey Ballentine (Shawnee Heights) and Cincinnati Bengals rookie Wyatt Hubert (Shawnee Heights).

    Ky ThomasnewKy Thomas [TSN file photo]

    Topeka High product Ky Thomas and Rossville's Tucker Horak, who carved out history-making high school careers, went one-two in the Readers Choice Awards, combining for more than 500 reader votes. Horak is currently a senior running back at Pittsburg State while Thomas is a redshirt freshman back at Minnesota.

    Former Rossville and Kansas standout lineman Duane Zlatnik, currently an assistant coach for Washburn Rural, also received considerable reader support, finishing No. 3 in Readers Choice balloting.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST FOOTBALL PLAYERS

  • Glynn, Stous headline TSN Best of the Best women's golf list

    Rick Peterson

     

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    It's probably a good bet to say that local stars Abby Glynn and Rachel Stous haven't reached their peak in women's golf, with their careers seemingly still on the upswing.

    But Washburn Rural product Glynn and Topeka High's Stous have already accomplished enough to earn the top two spots on the TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25.

    Glynn edged Stous for the No. 1 spot after earning three Class 6A state medals and helping Rural capture three Class 6A state team championships and a runner-up finish during her prep career before going on to become a standout at Kansas and winning the Missouri Amateur title in 2020.

    Abby GlynnAbby Glynn [KU Athletics]

    RachelStous2Rachel Stous [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Stous, meanwhile, was a four-time 6A state medalist for the Trojans and has established herself as one of the state's top amateurs, including a win in the Kansas Amateur earlier this summer.

    Former four-time 4A state medalist and two-time state champ Brooke LaRue (Hayden) earned the No. 3 spot on the Top 25 while former state champs Lauren Falley (Hayden), Megan Lucas (Washburn Rural), Adin Stromgren (Washburn Rural) and Caroline Setter (Hayden) took the next four spots.

    Glynn and Stous also finished one-two in the Readers Choice balloting, with Lucas, now playing at Wichita State, third in reader votes.

     Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S GOLFERS

  • Former Heights, WU star Mainz tops TSN women's soccer list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Narrowing down candidates for the TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best women's soccer list was a tough chore.

    Picking the Top 25 was even tougher, but in the end former Shawnee Heights and Washburn University star Jessica Mainz got the nod as No. 1 at the top of a a talent-heavy group of athletes.

    Mainz scored 97 goals and dished out 44 assists for Shawnee Heights, helping lead the T-Birds to a state team championship in 2004 and a runner-up finish in '05, before going on to become an All-American and a two-time MIAA player of the year while setting 14 career records and 15 single-season records.

    Jessica MainzJessica Mainz [Washburn Athletics]

    Also a basketball standout for WU, Mainz was the first Washburn soccer player to be inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

    Another former T-Bird, Leea Murphy, sits No. 2 on the Top 25 after starring for Heights and helping North Carolina win the '03 NCAA national championship, while perennial city, Centennial League and Class 6A state power Washburn Rural earned the next five positions and earned 11 spots overall, led by No. 3 Kaira Houser, No. 4 Darby Hirsch and No. 5 Kelly Lemke.

    More than 4,200 votes were cast in Readers Choice Awards balloting, with two athletes receiving more than 1,400 votes and five receiving more than 100 votes.

    KellyLemkeKelly Lemke [Twitter]

    Lemke ended up No. 1 in the Readers Choice voting with nearly 1,900 votes while Washburn Rural alum Kate Schroeder was No. 2 and former Seaman standout Chelsea Hopkins third.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS

  • Rural All-American Halsey takes top spot on men's soccer Top 25

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    An All-American at Washburn Rural who went on to turn in an outstanding career at Baker University on the field and in the classroom, Austin Halsey garnered the No. 1 spot in on the TopSports.News Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25 for men's soccer.

    Halsey finished his high school career as the most prolific goal scorer in Washburn Rural history, including 30 goals as a senior when he led the Junior Blues to a runner-up finish in the 2014 Class 6A state tournament.

    Halsey, who finished with 57 career goals from '11-14, was the Gatorade Kansas Soccer Player of the Year as a senior and was selected to play in the High School All-American game.

     AustinHalseyAustin Halsey [BakerWildcats.com]

    Halsey went on to play 83 career games for Baker, including the NAIA National Tournament, and was named the 2018 Champions of Character Award after earning multiple Academic All-America awards.

    Former Hayden state champ Connor Beck, who scored 32 goals in his senior season and four in the 2012 state championship game, sits No. 2 on the Best of the Best list while young phenom Nati Clarke, one of the nation's top prospects, earned the third spot and Rural's Joah Hickel and Ross Boyd round out the top five.

    Ross BoydRoss Boyd [FHSU Athletics]

    Boyd ran away with the Readers Choice Award by more than 100 votes while Clark finished second and 2021 Washburn Rural graduate Ethan Hensyel third.  

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS

  • Former Rural multi-sport state champ, OU national champ Carey headlines TopSports.news Best of the Best women's softball list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    From top to bottom, the TopSports.news Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 list for women's softball may be the most balanced of any sport in the series.

    The list includes national champions at multiple-levels and is chock full of former All-Americans and members of various halls of fame.

    The softball is also an extremely diverse list, including players who played in the 1950s as well as players whose careers are still very much on the upswing.

    Lisa Carey [Submitted]Lisa Carey

    In the end, former Washburn Rural star Lisa Carey, who went on to lead Oklahoma to an NCAA championship, got the nod as the No. 1 while rising stars Lauren Mills and NiJaree Canady garnered the next two spots.

     Lauren MillsLauren Mills

    NiJareeCanadyregional2NiJaree Canady

    Mills, who helped lead Seaman to a Class 5A state championship as a high school player, is currently a standout for a Wichita State team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament this past season while Canady helped lead Topeka High a perfect 25-0 season and the school's first-ever 6A state softball title.

    TaylorZordelTaylor Zordel

    Former Washburn Rural multi-sport star and Emporia State All-American Taylor Zordel won the Readers Choice Award, with the current Washburn University assistant coach receiving more than 1,000 votes.

    Topeka High product Jaryn Benning ranked No. 2 in reader votes while Mills was third, former Topeka High standout Ellena Cott-Laurie fourth and current Washburn standout Jaycee Ginter fifth. 

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S SOFTBALL PLAYERS

  • National champion Stafford No. 1 on TSN women's swimming list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka High product Shara Stafford experienced incredible success at every level of an outstanding swimming career, earning the No. 1 spot on the TopSports.news Best of the Best Top 25 women's swimming list.

    Stafford was a multi-event Class 6A champion and record-setter for Topeka High before claiming a national NCAA Division I championship in the 200-yard freestyle in 2010 while helping Florida claim a team championship.

     SharaStaffordShara Stafford [Submitted]

    Shannon SuddarthShannon Suddarth [File photo]

    A 13-time All-American for the Gators, Stafford went on to star at Missouri in her final season, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors while earning three more All-America honors and setting five school records for the Tigers.

    Former Hayden star Shannon Suddarth earned the No. 2 spot on the Best of the Best list after winning four state titles for the Wildcats, becoming a nine-time All-American at Notre Dame and setting two Big East records that stood for 11 years, while Topeka West record-setter and Virginia All-American Emily Dicus and West star and NCAA Division II individual and team champion Kelli Dudley hold down the No. 3 and 4 positions in the Top 25.

    Current Topeka West phenom Kadence Jeffries garnered the No. 5 position on the Best of the Best list on the strength of winning four Class 5A-1A individual state titles in as many attempts while still having a season of high school eligibility remaining.

    KadenceJeffriesjubeKadence Jeffries [File photo/TSN]

    Jeffries, who swept the 200 and 500 freestyle events as a freshman and junior, also earned the Readers Choice Award while another current prep swimmer, Seaman's Gabby Grace, and former Washburn Rural and Kansas standout Sammie Schurig finished second and third in reader votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S SWIMMERS

  • Topeka swim legend Glenn Trammel No. 1 on TSN Best of Best list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Today's high school swimmers may not have any idea who Glenn Trammel is, but they probably should.

    The former Topeka High star did a lot to put Topeka on the high school swimming map in the mid-1980s when he won five individual state championships (all classes) and set three state records.

    Trammel went on to star at Kansas, becoming a seven-time All-American and setting four Jayhawk school records while ranking 11th in the world at one point.

    Those accomplishments and more landed Trammel on top of the TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25 list for men's swimming, while Trammel also won the Readers Choice Award.

    Glenn TrammelGlenn Trammel [Submitted]

    Former Topeka High star and Minnesota 10-time All-American Tyler Schmidt holds down the No. 2 spot on the Top 25, followed by former Hayden star and current Wildcat coach John-Martin Schmidt, who equaled Trammel's five individual state titles.

    Four-time state champ Zeke Metz, who helped Seaman become the city's first-ever boys state team champion is No. 4 on the Top 25 while Washburn Rural product Grant Rogers, also a four-time state champ, rounds out the top five.

    John-Martin Schmidt finished second in Readers Choice balloting while Metz and another former Seaman star, Eddie Riddle, tied for third in reader votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S SWIMMERS

  • Norris, Hill, Hunter earn top three spots on TSN women's tennis list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Sheri Norris was Shawnee County's first girls tennis super star, winning back-to-back Class 6A state singles championships for Topeka West while putting together a 103-2 record and not losing a match as a junior and senior.

    Norris went on to become a three-time All-American at Arizona State, advanding to the NCAA semifinals, and played on the professional circuit for three seasons, ranking as high as 189 in the world and playing in some of tennis' biggest tournaments.

    A member of various halls of fame, including the Arizona State, Topeka Tennis Association and Topeka Shawnee County shrines, it's probably not a big surprise that Norris landed the top spot on TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25 list for women's tennis.

     Sheri NorrisSheri Norris [Submitted]

     Madeline Hill [Washburn Athletics]Madeline Hill [Washburn Athletics]

    Former Washburn Rural star Madeline Hill, who was a state champion in high school, a participant in the NCAA Division I Championships and a Division II national champion, sits No. 2 on the Top 25 list while Hayden four-time state champion Brooklyn Hunter ranks No. 3.

    Danielle Knipp, a two-time team champ at Rural and a Big 8 Conference champ at Oklahoma, and Meg Griffin, a former Topeka West singles and team state champ and All-ACC standout at Maryland, round out the top five.

     BrooklynHunterBrooklyn Hunter [Lopers.com]

    Hunter, who won a total of seven state championships in tennis and volleyball at Hayden, is the Readers Choice Award winner after receiving more than 100 reader votes while Hill ended up second and the Norris sisters, Sheri and Linda, third and fourth in reader votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S TENNIS PLAYERS

  • Hoffman gets nod as TSN Best of the Best men's tennis player

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka High product Joel Hoffman, who excelled at the high school, Division I and professional level, headlines the TopSports.news Best of the Best Shawnee County Top 25 list for men's tennis. 

    Hoffman won the state singles championships in 1976 (Class 6A-5A) and '77 (5A), including an undefeated season, for Topeka High before going on to star at the NCAA Division I level for nationally-ranked Houston, receiving the school's top student-athlete award as a senior captain for the Cougars.

    After college Hoffman played professionally three years on the International ATP men's circuit and was ranked as high as 127th in tne world in doubles and 329th in singles.

    JoelHoffmanJoel Hoffman [Submitted]

    JohnGranthamJohn Grantham [File photo]

    TommyHunterTommy Hunter [Washburn Athletics]

    Topeka High grad John Grantham, the city's first three-time state singles champ and an individual and Big 8 team champ at Kansas, earned the No. 2 spot on the Top 25, while the city's only four-time state champion, former Hayden star Tommy Hunter, sits No. 3.

    Former Topeka High and Division I standouts Tim Clark (Arkansas) and Kevin Hedberg (South Florida) round out the top five, while Mark Nordstrom (Topeka High), Jeff Benson (Topeka West), Dick Mechem (Topeka High), Randy McGrath (Topeka High) and Junior Brown (Topeka High) earned the next five positions of the Top 10.

    Nine of the Best of the Best Top 10 are members of the Topeka Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

    Danny WilliamsDanny Williams

    Danny Williams claimed the Readers Choice award with more than 800 votes while Sumeet Patel finished second and the Davids brothers, Austin and Andrew, finished third and fourth in reader votes.

    Williams was a high school standout and an All-American at Johnson County Community College while Patel was a 6A doubles champ and three-time team champion at Washburn Rural. Both Williams and Patel went on to become teaching professionals.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S TENNIS PLAYERS

  • Nickoley claims second TopSports.news Best of the Best No. 1

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Shawnee Heights star Trisa Nickoley made history as a runner and also makes history as the first Shawnee County athlete to claim multiple No. 1s in the TopSports.news Best of the Best Top 25 project.

    After being named the TSN Best of the Best women's cross country runner earlier this month, Nickoley also garnered the top spot for women's track and field after going undefeated in individual state competition while earning 13 track gold medals (17 overall) and a place in the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.

    Nickoley, who earned All-Big 12 honors at Missouri, won four straight titles in the 400, 800 and 1,600 meters as well as a relay win and is still No. 1 on the Kansas all-time list in the 800 with a time of 2 minutes, 06.57 seconds.

    Trisa NickoleyTrisa Nickoley [Missouri Athletics]

    JudyDyerJudy Dyer [File photo]

    Rita GravesRita Graves [Kansas State Athletics]

    Topeka High graduate Judy Dyer ranks No. 2 on the Best of the Best list after starring at Texas Southern and representing the United States as a hurdler in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games while another High product, Rita Graves, holds down the No. 3 spot after winning an NCAA Division I high jump title for Kansas State. 

    Local sprint legends Jocelyn Bentley (Highland Park) and Lori Green (Topeka West) round out the top five.

    Laura Mayo (Washburn Rural) earned the Readers Choice Award with more than 150 votes while Nickoley finished second in reader votes. Mayo won an NCAA Division II national championship in 1998 in the hammer throw.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES

  • Olympian Carrington tops TSN Best of the Best men's track list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    There's probably at least 50 Shawnee County track and field athletes that could have been deemed worthy of spots on the TopSports.news Best of the Best Top 25 list for men's track and field, including a handful that could have been picked No. 1 without raising many eyebrows.

    But when all was said and done, the only local star to compete in the Oympic Games got the nod.

    Preston Carrington, now known as Syed Abdul Mutfi, was a star in basketball for both Topeka High and Wichita State, but saved his biggest achievements for track and field, placing fifth in the long jump in the 1972 Olympics.

     Preston CarringtonPreston Carrington (Syed Abdul Mutfi) [File photo

    Carrington, who won a state high jump title at High and placed third and sixth in the NCAA meet for the Shockers, made the '72 USA Olympic team and took second in the Olympics qualifying round with a personal-best jump of 26 feet, 11.75 inches, which would have been good for a silver medal if it had come in the finals.

    In addition to his prowess in the long jump, Carrington also posted career-bests of 9.5 seconds in the 100-yard dash, 14.0 in the 120-yard hurdles, 6-foot-8.75 in the high jump and 48-0.75 in the triple jump.

    Marcel CarterMarcel Carter [File photo]

    Mikey HofferMikey Hoffer [Huskers.com]

    Shawnee Heights sprint legend and Florida All-American Marcel Carter earned the No. 2 spot on the Top 25 while former T-Bird and current Nebraska star jumper Mikey Hoffer garnered the No. 3 position, just ahead of former Highland Park and Oregon star hurdler Jared Huske and Topeka High and K-State middle distance star Clardy Vinson.

     Jared HuskeJared Huske [Submitted]

    Huske won the Readers Choice Award while Carrington ranked No. 2 and Hoffer third in reader votes.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES

  • NCAA champ, Olympian Douglas tops TSN men's wrestling list

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Melvin Douglas is one of the biggest names in amateur wrestling history, leaving an indelible mark on the high school, college and world stage.

    That made the Highland Park legend a clearcut choice for the No. 1 spot on the TopSports.news Shawnee County Best of the Best Top 25 men's wrestling list.

    Douglas was a three-time state high school individual champion and went on to claim a pair of NCAA Division I championships for Oklahoma, a world championship and a pair of Olympic berths for Team USA.

     Melvin DouglasMelvin Douglas [Facebook]

    Tanner GardnerTanner Gardner [Stanford Athletics]

    Tagen Lambotte2Tagen Lambotte [USD321.com]

    Former Shawnee Heights two-time state champ and three-time Stanford All-American Tanner Gardner garnered the No. 2 spot on the Top 25 while four-time Rossville state champ Tagen Lambotte is No. 3.

    Bishop Murray, who won three individual state titles and a team crown for Washburn Rural, and former Topeka High two-time state champ and Missouri Valley national champ Beau Vest round out the top five.

    BishopMurraypinBishop Murray [TSN file photo

    Bishop Murray, one of three members of the Murray family to earn berths in the Top 25, was the Readers Choice winner, edging his former Rural teammates, Gavin Carter and Jacob Tangpricha, for that honor.

    Here's a look at the Top 25 and Readers Choice Awards:

    TSN TOP 25 BEST OF THE BEST MEN'S WRESTLERS

  • Celebration of Willie Nicklin's life set for Aug. 14 at Topeka High

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Family and friends will gather at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, in the Topeka High gymnasium to celebrate the life of Trojan basketball coaching legend Willie Nicklin, who passed away on Dec. 10, 2020 at the age of the 92.

    Attendees are asked to enter the gymnasium through the west doors off Western Avenue.

    WillieNicklinA celebration of the life of Topeka High coaching legend Willie Nicklin, who passed away in 2020, will be held in the THS gymnasium on Aug. 14. [Submitted]

    Nicklin taught and coached at Topeka High from 1965 to 1991, taking over as the Trojans’ head coach in 1970 and leading High to state titles in ‘73 and ‘86.

  • TopSports.news' Best of the Best project hits the gridiron

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/DYZA53LEEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Who's your pick as the all-time greatest football player in Shawnee County history?

    Do you favor players like Tom Dinkel, Troy Wilson or Michael Wilhoite, who all played in the Super Bowl, or perhaps other former college stars and NFL alums like Kyle McNorton, Trey Lewis, Lamar Mady or Warren Seitz.

    MichaelWilhoite3Michael Wilhoite

    KyleMcNorton1Kyle McNorton

  • Race begins for TSN's Best of the Best women's cross country list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/HUDRYDFXEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Former Shawnee Heights superstar Trisa Nickoley was a four-time Class 5A state cross country champion and never lost an individual state high school race in either cross country or track.

    But while Nickoley is a great place to start TSN's Battle of the Best race to name the all-time best women's cross country runner in Shawnee County history, the former T-Bird and Missouri Tiger star is certainly not the only contender.

     TrisaNickoleyHOFTrisa Nickoley

    AveryCliftonAvery Clifton

  • Field wide open for TSN's Best of the Best men's cross country list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/EGVCXSSVEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    There's a long list of athletes who deserve consideration as the top men's cross country runner in Shawnee Country history.

    The tough part will be picking just one.

    Topeka West grad Robbie Hays, Seaman's Grant Cain and Washburn Rural's Jacob Morgan were all two-time state individual champions, with both Hays and Morgan going on to compete in the NCAA Championships.

    Rob HaysRob Hays

    Jacob MorganJacob Morgan

  • Best of the Best project heads to first tee for women's golf voting

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/0O6AJV5HEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Washburn Rural and Hayden have combined to win 10 state team championships and six individual state titles, so it shouldn't be a big surprise to see the Junior Blues and Wildcats well-represented on the ballot to pick the greatest women's golfer in Shawnee County history. 

    There's former Rural stars like former state champs Megan Lucas and Adin Stromgren and multi-time state medalist and current Kansas standout Abby Glynn to pick from, while Brooke LaRue was a two-time state champ for Hayden and Wildcats Caroline Setter and Lauren Falley also won state titles.

    Abby GlynnAbby Glynn

    Rachel StousRachel Stous

  • NCAA champ, All-American among top women's soccer candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/9MB02JDDEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Women's soccer at the high school and college level have not been around nearly as long as other sports, with the first Kansas State High School Activities Association state tournament not held until 1993 and several state colleges not starting soccer until later.

    But there's still no shortage of candidates to pick from in the TopSports.news Best of the Best women's soccer poll.

    Former Shawnee Heights star Leea Murphy was part of an NCAA national championship team at North Carolina while another former T-Bird, Jessica Mainz, earned All-America honors for Washburn University. 

    Jessica MainzJessica Mainz [Washburn Athletics]

    Darby HirschDarby Hirsch [Fort Hays State Athletics]

  • Wide range of men's soccer candidates for TSN's Best of Best list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/JGII7WCUEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Limiting the men's soccer candidates to just 25 for TSN's Shawnee County Best of the Best ballot was an extremely tough task.

    After all, every player on a team is equally imperative to a soccer team's success, from the players up front that do most of the scoring, to the defenders and goalkeepers whose job it is to keep the opponent from scoring.

    And although we eventually did come up with a list of 25, there's probably another 25 players, if not 50 or more, that could have easily found their way onto the ballot.

    Fortunately, readers have the opportunity to write in candidates to make sure their favorites get their just due.

    Nati ClarkeNati Clarke [Sporting Kansas City Academy]

    Austin Halsey2Austin Halsey [Baker University Athletics]

  • Best of the Best women's swimming candidates made big splash

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/CVR1E070Email votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Shara Stafford was a multi-time state swimming champ for Topeka High before going on to become a 13-time All-American for Florida and Missouri and a part of a NCAA national championship team for the Gators while Shannon Suddarth was a six-time state champion for Hayden and went on to become a nine-time All-American at Notre Dame.

    Stafford and Suddarth are part of a long line of local stars to make their mark as club and high school swimmers before going on to star at the collegiate level, including Topeka West state record-setter and Virginia product Emily Dicus, former Hayden and Nebraska standout Kristin Strecker and Washburn Rural and Kansas standouts Haley Molden and Sammie Schurig.

    Shara StaffordShara Stafford [FloridaGators.com]

    Shannon SuddarthShannon Suddarth [Submitted]

    Emily Dicus2Emily Dicus [TheSwimPictures.com]

  • National champ, All-Americans head list of TSN softball candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/3RGD7LY9Email votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Shawnee County has long been a hotbed for outstanding fast-pitch softball players and teams, dating back to legendary women's basketball coaches Billie Jean Moore and Patty Dick, who starred for the nationally-renowed Ohse Meats team, through former college stars like Stacey Slavens, Laura and Dianna Klamm, Latisha Yarnell, Brenda Stolle, Sherri Spangler, Susan Punzo, Kathy Mohler, Taylor Zordel, Chris Torrez and former Washburn Rural star Lisa Carey, who led Oklahoma to an NCAA national championship.

    Lisa Carey [Submitted]Lisa Carey [Submitted]

     

    Lauren MillsLauren Mills [GoShockers.com]

    Latisha YarnellLatisha Yarnell [Washburn Athletics]

  • Best of the Best men's swimming ballot loaded with state champs

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on:  https://linkto.run/p/65AV2OBQEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Former Topeka High superstar Glenn Trammel set the standard for Shawnee County's men's swimmers, winning five individual state titles from 1982-85 before going on to become a seven-time All-American at Kansas.

    But while Trammel has to be on the short list of contenders to be named the top men's swimmer in county history, he has plenty of company.

    Glenn TrammelGlenn Trammel [Submitted]

     John Martin SchmidtJohn Martin Schmidt [Miner Athletics]

  • State champs, college stars top TSN women's tennis candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/HUDFYLSXEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    There's certainly a few names that pop out when talking about the greatest women's tennis players in Shawnee County history.

    Sheri Norris was a three-time state champion for Topeka West and went on to earn All-America honors at Arizona State and play on the professional circuit while former Hayden star Brooklyn Hunter became the first city girls player and one of a select few statewide to capture four state singles championships.

    Sheri Norris2Sheri Norris [Submitted]

    BrooklynHunterBrooklynHunter [Lopers.com]

    Madeline HillMadeline Hill [Washburn Athletics]

  • Tennis greats past and present headline TSN men's poll

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/4PBM2JDDEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Candidates to be named the best all-time men's tennis history include a host of multi-time state champs to college Hall of Famers to longtime stars on the amateur circuit.

    The hard part is deciding who gets the nod.

    Tommy HunterTommy Hunter [Washburn Athletics]

    JohnGranthamJohn Grantham [Submitted]

  • Olympian Dyer, Nickoley headline women's track candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/1L492R3GEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    The race to be named the best women's track and field athlete in Shawnee County history should be a great one.

    Topeka High product Judy Dyer was an Olympic hurdler while Topeka West's Sarah Heeb is a former American record-holder in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and former Shawnee Heights star Trisa Nickoley was one of the most decorated athletes in Kansas history, winning 13 state track gold medals without ever losing a state individual race and setting the all-time best in the 800 meters (2 minutes, 06.67 seconds).

    JudyDyerJudy Dyer

    Trisa NickoleyTrisa Nickoley [MIssouri Athletics]

  • County legends dot list of TSN Best of Best men's track candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/DMB1UK5FEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Deciding who gets your vote as the best men's track and field athlete in Shawnee County history may come down to what events you prefer.

    If you're a fan of the sprints, the county has produced some of the state's all-time bests, including Marcel Carter (Shawnee Heights), Mark Pickens (Topeka West), Joe Reagan (Seaman), Duke Tibbs (Topeka High), Ryan Irvin (Seaman) and 2021 three-time state champ Jeremiah Smith (Shawnee Heights) while the Kansas all-time state list is also dotted with local products, including Jared Huske (Highland Park), Antoine Dulan (Washburn Rural) and Rasheed McAlpin (Shawnee Heights).

    Marcel CarterMarcel Carter [Submitted]

    If you lean more to the distance races, Clardy Vinson was a star at Topeka High and went on to become a member of a relay team that set a world record, while Topeka West's Winston Tidwell ranks No. 4 on the all-time state list in the 800 meters.

    Preston CarringtonPreston Carrington [Submitted]

    Mikey HofferMikey Hoffer [Nebraska Athletics]

  • National champ, college stars highlight TSN volleyball candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/4XB1UK5FEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Shawnee County has been a hotbed for outstanding women's volleyball, with county high schools combining for 24 state championships while a long list of local products have gone on to achieve success at the collegiate level.

    That makes picking the top player in county history a formidable task.

    Shawnee Heights products Jazz Sweet, Megan Cooney and Faith Rottinghaus teamed up to help lead the T-Birds to a Class 5A state championship before Sweet went on to help Nebraska win a NCAA national championship, Cooney made it to the NCAA Final Four for Illninos and Rottinghaus has earned All-MIAA honors for Division II power Washburn.

    Jazz SweetJazz Sweet [Huskers.com]

    Dani McHenryDani McHenry [Washburn Athletics]

    Kaylee MannsKaylee Manns [Iowa State Daily.com]

  • Olympian Douglas, All-American Gardner top men's wrestling poll

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/6KQ59I2TEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Most any conversation about the rich history of men's wrestling in Shawnee County starts with former Highland Park great Melvin Douglas, a three-time state high school champ for the Scots, a two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma, a former world champ and a two-time Olympian.

    But Douglas is just one of many local grapplers who carved out their own outstanding legacy in the sport.

    Melvin DouglasMelvin Douglas [Facebook]

    Tanner GardnerTanner Gardner [Stanford Athletics]

    Tagen Lambotte2Tagen Lambotte [USD321.com]

    There's former Shawnee Heights two-time state champ Tanner Gardner, who went on to become a three-time All-American at Stanford, while Tagen Lambotte was a four-time state champ for Rossville before wrestling for Iowa.

  • Murdock, Tilford, Nelson among top at-large Best of Best candidates

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/0TG9IJG3Email votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Over the past couple of weeks TopSports.news has published ballots for its Best of the Best project in all of the Kansas State High School Activities Association-sanctioned sports that Shawnee County High Schools currently compete in.

    But some of the top athletes in county history performed in athletic endeavors outside that realm.

    Hayden product Margaret Thompson Murdock was a silver medalist in the 1976 Olympic Games as a shooter while Tom Bunger (Washburn Rural) and Caitlin Morrisey (Topeka West) also excelled in that sport.

    Margaret MurdockMargaret Murdock

    Steve TilfordSteve Tilford

  • Women's bowling candidates aplenty for Best of the Best honor

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/L5BF2JDDEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Topeka has long been regarded as a bowling town, producing a long list of women's and men's stars.

    And although women's bowling in Topeka might lack the pro starpower of men's bowlers like Chris Barnes and Bob Benoit, there's no shortage of candidates for the distinction of being named the TSN all-time best in Shawnee County history.

    Terri Sandgren, Jeannine Wettengel, Natalie Bennett, Maggie (Fritton) Crawford, Paulette Mazur, Jody Ditch and Chelsie Bahr are among a large group of bowlers who have carved out impressive amateur careers while there's also a long list of state champions and contenders since local schools launched high school bowling in 2006.

    Kelsey MutherKelsey Muther 

    Kelsey Muther and Rachel Barber were two of the Capital City's early high school stars while city standouts Kristi Renyer, Jessica Thompson, Carly Schmidtlein, Ashton Anderson, Whitney Prockish and Lauren Buchanan all captured state championships and Carla Bortz was a two-time state runner-up.

    WhitneyProckishWhitney Prockish

    MakenzieMillard1Makenzie Millard

  • Barnes, Benoit lead impressive list of men's bowling candidates for TSN's Best of the Best list

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/02GF7NJREmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Chances are, if you're a bowler in Topeka you've probably heard of Chris Barnes and Bob Benoit.

    After all, Barnes is a PBA Hall of Famer and still competing and winning while Benoit, now the head coach at Seaman, was a very successful pro as well, bowling the tour's first televised 300 game.

    ChrisBarnes2Chris Barnes [Twitter]

    BobBenoit3Bob Benoit [PBA Facebook]

  • Healthy, happy Thomas excited for second season with Gophers

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Despite the jaw-dropping stats that he put up at Topeka High, former Trojans superstar running back Ky Thomas knew that making the jump to Division I football at Minnesota would be an adjustment.

    The COVID-19 pandemic, which hit shortly after Thomas arrived on Minnesota's campus, complicated that transition, as did a labrum injury.

    Ky ThomasKy Thomas

    But as the 6-foot, 205-pound tailback prepares for his second college season, Thomas feels like that process is finally complete and that he's ready to show what he can contribute to the Gophers.

    "It probably took me until now, the whole year,'' Thomas said this week during a trip home to Topeka. "Now I'm comfortable, now I know the system and now I know how everything goes and I know what to expect.''

  • TSN's Best of the Best project turns focus to men's basketball

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/QT6XB7WCEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    Who is the greatest men's basketball player in Shawnee County history?

    That's a toughie!

    Is it Topeka High product Fred Slaughter, who started on John Wooden's first NCAA national championship team at UCLA, or former Hayden star Tom Meier, who helped the Wildcats post a perfect 25-0 season before going on to lead Washburn University to an NAIA national championship.

     Tom MeierTom Meier

    KyleWeems4Kyle Weems

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

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/7NXPFJZLEmail votes/nominations will also be accepted atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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

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

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

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

     BrendaShaffer DahlBrenda Shaffer-Dahl

    TatyanaLegette1Tatyana Legette

  • Baseball starts off TSN's Shawnee County Best of the Best project

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time greats in 25 sports/categories as part of our Best of the Best project. The project gets under way with baseball and readers will have the opportunity to vote through July, with the Top 25 in all categories announced in August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/87MXCEBI  Email votes/nominations will be also accepted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

    The list of contenders to get the nod as the top baseball player in Shawnee County history has to start with New York Yankees World Series hero Mike Torrez and American League All-Star and Gold Glove winner Ken Berry.

    MikeTorrezMike Torrez

    KenBerryKen Berry

  • Rossville's Sherer honored as Spring Male Athlete of the Year

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Recent Rossville graduate Alex Sherer, who ended a brief but memorable high school tennis career with a state championship, was honored Wednesday night as the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year.

    AlexShererSpringRossville's Alex Sherer, TopSports.news' Topeka Shawnee County Male Spring Athlete of the Year, is interviewed by master of ceremonies Bruce Steinbrock Wednesday night. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Sherer got his first opportunity to play high school tennis as a senior, playing for Hayden as a co-op player during the regular season before representing Rossville in the postseason, with his father, Jesse, serving as his coach.

    Sherer made the most of his opportunity, winning the Class 3A-1A state singles title to give Rossville its first-ever state tennis champion.

    He posted a 36-2 record on the season and will play college tennis at Kansas Wesleyan University.

    Sherer was also the "Voice of the Bulldawgs,'' broadcasting many Rossville sports events.

  • Vikes' Anderson honored as Most Inspirational Female Athlete

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    After advancing to the state tournament in one sport, claiming a state title in another and compiling a 4.11 grade point average, recent Seaman graduate JahnAsia Anderson was honored Wednesday night as TopSports.news' Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspiratonal Female Athlete.

    DSC_5219.jpgSeaman product JahnAsia Anderson, named the 2021 Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Female Athlete Wednesday night, is interviewed by Bruce Steinbrock. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    Anderson went out for track and field for the first time as a senior and became a Class 5A state champion in the shot put and also was a starter for the Vikings' state qualifying basketball team.

    "JahnAsia's work ethic is second to none,'' Seaman girls track coach Rick Brading said. "On most days she was the last one to come in from practice. For JahnAsia to win a state championship after being slowed by (an) elbow injury is just amazing.''

    Anderson was also a four-year member of a Seaman basketball team that qualified for three straight state tournaments.

    "Although undersized as a post player, she wasn't afraid to bang around and do the dirty work,'' Viking baksetball coach Matt Tinsley said.

    Other Most Inspirational Female nominees:

    JaNeysha HendrickJaNeysha Hendricks

    JANEYSHA HENDRICKS | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Antwaun and Nicole Jones

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.4

    The Trojans' point guard, Hendricks helped Topeka High post a pair of second-place finishes in the Class 6A basketball tournament as well as a semifinal berth in 2020 before the state tournament was canceled. "She is a true leader on and off the floor,'' Topeka High coach Hannah Alexander said. "She leads by example and is an amazing floor leader. Her stats are usually overlooked, but this girl makes everyone around her better. She has a knack for making passes that do not look like they should be there or be open.'' Hendricks, who averaged 4.5 assists her senior season, plans to attend Tabor College and play basketball for the Bluejays.

  • T-Birds' Hicks honored as Most Inspirational Male Athlete

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Shawnee Heights product Aidan Hicks was honored as TopSports.news' Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Athlete of the Year Wednesday after bouncing back from major heart surgery early last fall to end his high school career as a state medalist in track and field.

    DSC 5248Shawnee Heights product Aidan Hicks does is interviewed by Bruce Steinbrock after being named the Topeka Shawnee County Most Inspirational Male Athlete Wednesday night. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

    "In September, Aidan found out he had major leakage in two of his four heart valves,'' Shawnee Heights football coach Jason Swift said. "He had major heart surgery and was told his football career was over, but with tremendous rehab he might be able to throw in track in the spring.

    "Aidan took care of his body, worked hard on recovery and rebuilding the 20 pounds he lost and had a great senior year in track.'' 

     

    Hicks capped his senior season with a fourth-place state finish in the Class 5A boys javelin throw and plans to compete in track and field at Emporia State.

    Other Most Inspirational Male nominees:

    Dawson Adams mugDawson Adams

    DAWSON ADAMS | Hayden

    PARENTS: Ryan and Melissa Adams

    SPORT: Cross country and track and field | GPA: 3.46

    A two-time All-City pick in cross country, Adams was a Class 4A state placer in both cross country and track and field. "Without Dawson we don't accomplish what we did as a boys team this season,'' Hayden cross country and track coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "Dawson would be the first one to practice and the last to leave. Dawson would always be there for everybody to cheer them on and made sure everybody had a positive mindset no matter if it was practice or a meet. Many of our newcomers would look up to Dawson and would ask him about race strategy, motivation or anything related.'' Adams plans to run in college at the University of Saint Mary's.

    KaidenBrown 2Kaiden Brown

    KAIDEN BROWN | Rossville

    PARENTS: Christopher and Michelle Brown

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.3

    Brown was an All-Class 2A linebacker for the state-champion Bulldawgs and a two-time state-champion powerlifter while also establishing himself as a leader in his school. "As a new administration took over at Rossville High School, students were sought for their leadership ability to establish a positive culture within our building,'' Brown's nomination form stated. "As a freshman, Kaiden was identified as a student who not only could lead, but would accept the responsibility to lead by example. With Kaiden you get the student who will stand up for what's right even when it isn't popular among his peers.'' 

  • State champion Smith named Winter Female Athlete of the Year

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Rebekah Smith, who helped lead Washburn Rural to a pair of Division I state championships and won an individual title as a senior, was recognized as TopSports.news' Topeka Shawnee County Winter Female Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet at the Maner Conference Center.

    1. Rebekah Smith State Finals Action ShotWashburn Rural team and individual champion Rebekah Smith was named the TopSports.news Winter Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

    Smith posted a third-place finish in the Division I state wrestling tournament as a junior (170 pounds) and earned the 155-pound state championship as a senior, helping Washburn Rural capture the team championship both seasons.

    Rebekah Smith is the definition of excellence at Washburn Rural,'' Junior Blues girls wrestling coach Damon Parker said. "In 2021 she was the most dominant wrestler in her weight class in the state. Rebekah has set the bar that all other Shawnee County wrestlers will be reaching towards for years to come.'' 

    Other Winter Female nominees:

    RhenCalhoonmug

    RHEN CALHOON | Hayden

    PARENTS: Brian and Stacey Calhoon.

    SPORT: Basketball GPA  4.02

    Calhoon, a four-sport athlete, averaged 12 points and 8 rebounds as a senior for Hayden's basketball team, earning second-team All-City honors. "Rhen represented Hayden well this year as she came on strong,'' Hayden girls basketball coach Carvel Reynoldson said. "She turned into our go-to player down the stretch and played very tough basketball.'' Calhoon was also a state medalist in tennis and played soccer and participated in track and field in the spring. Calhoon plans to attend Barton County Community College in the fall and play tennis after placing seventh in singles for the Wildcats her senior season.

    IsabellaCarter2Isabella Carter

    ISABELLA CARTER | Highland Park

    PARENTS: Tim and Ambroja Watson

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.0

    As a senior, Carter helped provide exceptional leadership as Highland Park's basketball team fought severe numbers issues in a winless season. "Isabella showed up and helped lead the team through a difficult season,'' Highland Park coach Sanetra Jackson said. "She faced adversity the last two years but fought through the season.'' Carter was a four-year letter-winner for the Scots in basketball while also playing volleyball and soccer. Carter plans to attend Hesston Community College next school year and will play soccer.

  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Spring Male Nominees

    SPRING SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

     Lukas BrennanLukas Brennan

    LUKAS BRENNAN | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Greg and Joy Brennan

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 4.31

    Brennan batted .405 and compiled a 3-2 pitching record with 37 strikeouts as the Trojans posted a breakthrough season, advancing to a Class 6A regional final. "It's difficult to truly define Lukas' impact on our program,'' Topeka High baseball coach Cody Miller said. "Lukas was our team captain this year and represented everything a leader should be. He was always incredibly positive, but he'd give the team a kick in the pants if we needed it. I'm very proud to have been his coach and am very grateful for his leadership in turning around a program that was 2-19 two years ago to what we are now.'' Brennan, who also played soccer for the Trojans, will continue his academic career at Kansas.

    E4xm9NjWYAca3wdAzarion Perkins

    AZARION PERKINS | Highland Park

    PARENT: Linda Perkins

    SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 3.26

    Perkins capped his high school tennis career with an appearance in the Class 5A state tournament after posting a fifth-place finish in doubles in regional competition. "Azarion Perkins showed excellence as a leader throughout his senior year with boys tennis team and school,'' Perkins' nomination form stated. "Azarion showed selflessness as he progressed his own tennis skills by not only applying what he learned to advance his own skills but he used what he learned to instruct the novice players on the team so that they, too, could advance their skills. Azarion is a true leader both on and off the tennis courts.''

    Connor PruyserConnor Pruyser

    CONNOR PRUYSER | Silver Lake

    PARENTS: Curtis Pruyser and Colleen Dewey

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 3.6

    Pruyser was an All-Class 3A first-team pick this season after posting a 6-1 record with a 2.5 earned run average and 49 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched for the Eagles. "Connor exhibits excellence on and off the baseball diamond,'' Silver Lake coach Tyler Seele said. "Connor is a very respectful young man that treats everyone he encounters in a positive manner. Connor has a good attitude and demeanor when he competes on the diamond. He is a great leader for the younger guys in our program to look up to and to learn from. Connor is a good teammate, a positive role model and a fierce competitor.''

     EthanRottinghausmug 2Ethan Rottinghaus

    ETHAN ROTTINGHAUS | Shawnee Heights

    PARENTS: Michael and Theresa Rottinghaus

    SPORT: Golf | GPA: 4.16

    Rottinghaus compiled an average score of 86 as a senior for the T-Bird golf team, earning first-team All-United Kansas Conference honors after helping Heights win the UKC team championship and earn a berth in the Class 5A state tournament with a second-place team finish in regional competition. Rottinghaus carded rounds of 86 and 82 to finish 28th in the state meet. "Ethan excelled for the Shawnee Heights golf program as a three-year letterman,'' Shawnee Heights golf coach Jason Swift said. Rottinghaus plans to continue his academic career at Wichita State.

    Marquel Russell mugMarquel Russell

    MARQUEL RUSSELL | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Jason Russell and Shanna Bigler

    SPORT: Track and field | GPA: NA

    Russell capped an outstanding career as a hurdler for Washburn Rural with the Class 6A state championship in the 110-meter hurdles in a career-best time of 14.79 seconds, his third state medal in the 110s in as many state appearances. Russell was a two-time city and Centennial League champion and was the state runner-up as a freshman and took fourth in 6A as a sophomore. "Marquel was a major contributor on a boys team that has been city champs four years in a row, won a league championship for the first time in 27 years and finished fourth at this year's state meet,'' Washburn Rural coach Keith Wetzel said.

     Alex Sherer graduationAlex Sherer

    ALEX SHERER | Rossville

    PARENTS: Jesse and Julie Sherer

    SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 3.6

    Sherer got his first opportunity to play high school tennis as a senior, playing for Hayden as a co-op player during the regular season before representing Rossville in the postseason, with his father, Jesse, serving as his coach. Sherer made the most of his opportunity, winning the Class 3A-1A state singles title to give Rossville its first-ever state tennis champion. He posted a 36-2 record on the season and will play college tennis at Kansas Wesleyan University. Sherer was also the "Voice of the Bulldawgs,'' broadcasting many Rossville sports events.

    SkylerSpechtSkyler Specht

    SKYLER SPECHT | Hayden

    PARENTS: David and Megan Specht

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 4.0

    Specht was a standout in both baseball and football for the Wildcats, earning postseason recognition in both sports. Specht hit nearly .400 this spring for the Wildcats, helping lead Hayden to a berth in the Class 4A state tournament. "Skyler is a hard-working student-athlete both in the classroom and on the fields,'' Hayden baseball and football coach Bill Arnold said. "He has great hand-eye coordination and is a great team player. Very competitive.'' Specht plans to attend Benedictine College this fall and play baseball.

    Speaker TristonTriston Speaker

    TRISTON SPEAKER | Topeka West

    PARENTS: Randy and Colleen Speaker

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 3.64

    Speaker batted .419 as a senior for the Chargers with six doubles and a triple and stole 23 bases in as many attempts while compiling a .903 fielding percentage at shortstop. "Triston has been a leader on our team since he was a freshman,'' former Topeka West coach John Tetuan said. "He started every game at shortstop for us for three years. We could always count on him as a vocal leader and a great leader by example. He loved to work hard to better himself every day, always wanting to do extra work. He has hit consistently over .400 over his career. Triston is the player every coach wants on their team.''

    CadinWorcestermug 2Cadin Worcester

    CADIN WORCESTER | Seaman

    PARENTS: Casey and Cassey Worcester

    SPORT: Track and field | GPA: 3.82

    Worcester earned a pair of state medals in the Class 5A state championships this spring, placing third in the high jump and running on the Vikings' sixth-place 4x100-meter relay. Worcester received All-Shawnee County first-team honors. Worcester tied for the seventh-best high jump in Seaman history at 6-foot-4. "Cadin is genuinely a competitor and always rises to the occasion,'' Seaman track and field coach Scott Petersen said. "He was a model of consistency and improved all year steadily from his effort in practice.'' Worcester also was a soccer standout for the Vikings, earning first-team All-City and All-Centennial League honors after recording 12 goals and seven assists.

     Connor Pruyser action

     CadinWorcesteraction

     AlexShererTW

  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Inspirational Females

    MOST INSPIRATIONAL: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

    JahnAsia Andersonmug 2JahnAsia Anderson

    JAHNASIA ANDERSON | Seaman

    PARENT: Kellum Ireland

    SPORT: Basketball and track and field | GPA: 4.11

    Anderson went out for track and field for the first time as a senior and became a Class 5A state champion in the shot put. "JahnAsia's work ethic is second to none.'' Seaman girls track coach Rick Brading said. "On most days she was the last one to come in from practice. For JahnAsia to win a state championship after being slowed by (an) elbow injury is just amazing.'' Anderson was also a four-year member of a Seaman basketball team that qualified for three straight state tournaments. "Although undersized as a post player, she wasn't afraid to bang around and do the dirty work,'' Viking baksetball coach Matt Tinsley said.

    JaNeysha HendrickJaNeysha Hendricks

    JANEYSHA HENDRICKS | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Antwaun and Nicole Jones

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.4

    The Trojans' point guard, Hendricks helped Topeka High post a pair of second-place finishes in the Class 6A basketball tournament as well as a semifinal berth in 2020 before the state tournament was canceled. "She is a true leader on and off the floor,'' Topeka High coach Hannah Alexander said. "She leads by example and is an amazing floor leader. Her stats are usually overlooked, but this girl makes everyone around her better. She has a knack for making passes that do not look like they should be there or be open.'' Hendricks, who averaged 4.5 assists her senior season, plans to attend Tabor College and play basketball for the Bluejays.

  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Fall Male Nominees

    FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING MALE NOMINEES

    E4xlOZLX0AAvRYHEliseo Barreno

    ELISEO BARRENO | Highland Park

    PARENTS: Ruben and Yohanna Barreno

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.36

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

    EthanHensyelmugEthan Hensyel

    ETHAN HENSYEL | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Brian and Sherri Hensyel

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 4.31

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

    RobbieKeysSenior 054Robbie Keys

    ROBBIE KEYS | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Robert and Bev Keys

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: 3.98

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

    Mehrens JulienMehrens Julien

    JULIEN MEHRENS | Topeka West

    PARENTS: Andre and Allison Mehrens

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.29

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

    JeronPoteete2Jeron Poteete

    JERON POTEETE | Seaman

    PARENTS: NA

    SPORT: Soccer | GPA: NA

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

    DesmondPurnellDesmond Purnell

    DESMOND PURNELL | Hayden

    PARENT: Etoi Purnell 

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.32

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

    BoReevesmugBo Reeves

    BO REEVES | Rossville

    PARENTS: Todd and Karol Reeves

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.8

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

    AddisonSiggAddison Sigg

    ADDISON SIGG | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Chad Sigg and Michelle Criqui

    SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.90

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

    HunterWohlerHunter Wohler

    HUNTER WOHLER | Shawnee Heights

    PARENTS: Brian and Jami Wohler

    SPORT: Football | GPA: NA

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

    RobbieKeysaction

     AddisonSiggaction

     BoReevesaction

     

     

     

  • Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards: Fall Female Nominees

    FALL SPORTS: OUTSTANDING FEMALE NOMINEES

    AubreyBahnerSrPict 003Aubrey Bahner

    AUBREY BAHNER | Silver Lake

    PARENTS: Darwin and Antoinette Bahner

    SPORT: Cross Country | GPA: 4.0

    Bahner was a cross and track standout for Silver Lake, earning four varsity letters in both sports for the Eagles. In cross country Bahner was a three-time Class 3A state qualifier and a two-time state medalist, earning medals in all but one meet over those two seasons. She was also a state qualifier in multiple events in track. "Aubrey methodically works hard to get better every day,'' Silver Lake cross country coach Kevin Brokaw said. "She makes every team she is part of better. She is truly a quality individual.'' Bahner will attend Tabor College, where she plans to compete in both cross country and track.

    SaraEggenbergerSara Eggenberger

    SARA EGGENBERGER | Shawnee Heights 

    PARENTS: Melinda Clemens

    SPORT: Golf | GPA: 4.45

    Eggenberger earned second-team All-City recognition as a senior. "Sara brings a positive level of energy and spirit to practice and meets,'' Shawnee Heights golf coach Jane Yi said. "Sara is focused and determined, often practicing many hours a week on her own time. She has a sense of friendliness and fair play, often treating people courteously especially when they are not doing so well. Sara's healthy perspective and cheerful demeanor have made her a wonderful “cheerleader'' on the team. Sara also puts the same positive and hard work attitude into her studies.''