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  • Topeka West's Cusick twins, Seaman's Druse named Dan Key Farmers Insurance Agency Athletes of the Week

    Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer

    By RICK PETERSON                                                                                                              

    TopSports.news

    CusicksleagueTopeka West's Miles and Ian Cusick are the Dan Key Farmers Insurance Agency Boys Athletes of the Week after winning city and Centennial League doubles titles. [Submitted]

    IAN and MILES CUSICK, Topeka West

    Ian and Miles Cusick, junior twin brothers, teamed up to win the city tennis championship in No. 1 doubles for the second straight season.in last Thursday's city tournament at Kossover Tennis Center.

    The Cusicks took an 8-1 win over Washburn Rural's Kyler Knudtson and Nick Luetje in the championship match, helping the Chargers win a share of the city team title with Rural.

    The Cusicks followed that up with a second straight Centennial League doubles title at Emporia on Tuesday.

    Bethany DruseSeaman junior Bethany Druse is the Dan Key Farmers Insurance Agency Girls Athlete of the Week after setting a school record and a current state best in the 800 meters in 2:15.19 last Friday. [File photo/TSN]

    BETHANY DRUSE, Seaman

    A junior, Druse set the Seaman school record in the girls 800 meters in last Friday's Bob Camien/Claudia Welch Invitational at Seaman.

    Druse won the event in a time of 2 minutes, 15.19 seconds to eclipse the previous school record of 2:16.2.

    Druse's time was the best girls 800 meters clocking in the state this spring.

  • Baseball starts off TSN's Shawnee County Best of the Best Coaches project

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON                                                                               TSN MVPs Shannon Nichol Ad

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize Shawnee County's all-time coaching greats in 14 sports 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 15, with the Top 10 in all categories announced in late July and August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best, click on: https://linkto.run/p/20HCOVC1 while 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 coach in Shawnee County history has to start with former Seaman coach Steve Bushnell and former Silver Lake coach Alan Cunningham, who combined for an amazing 15 state titles.

    SteveBushnellnewCurrent Seaman athletic director Steve Bushnell (standing), with former star Ben Carlson, led the Vikings to nine Class 5A state championships as Seaman's baseball coach. [File photo/TSN]

    Alan CunninghamAlan Cunningham

    Bushnell led Seaman to nine Class 5A state championships before stepping into the athletic director's position at Seaman while Cunningham coached Silver Lake to six 3A titles.

     But the list of top coaches certainly doesn't end there, with 10 of the 11 coaches on the nomination list producing at least one state championship.

    Silver Lake's C.J. Hamilton is best known for being the winningest football coach in Kansas history, but he also won three state baseball titles.

    The late Brett Cowdin won titles at both Hayden and Topeka West while Bill Arnold (Hayden), Craig Cox (Shawnee Heights), Ryan Schmidt (Shawnee Heights), Bill Barr (Silver Lake) and Alton Haun (Washburn Rural) all won a pair of state championships.

    Vote for your favorite candidate at https://linkto.run/p/20HCOVC1 while readers also have the option of writing in a name.

    Vote as many times as you wish, with the only requirement that eligible candidates must have coached in Shawnee County as a head coach or assistant coach.

    Final selections will be based on reader vote as well as input from TSN contributors and current and past local sports media professionals.   

    Votes will be accepted through July 15 before TSN publishes our Best of the Best lists in July and August.

    NEXT UP: Women's basketball (ballot will be published on TopSports.news on June 28).

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  • Women's basketball next up in TSN's Best of the Best Coaches project

    Rick Peterson

     

    By RICK PETERSON                                                                                                                                           TSN MVPs Shannon Nichol Ad

    TopSports.news

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Over the coming weeks, TopSports.news will recognize Shawnee County's all-time coaching greats in 14 sports as part of our Best of the Best project. Readers will have the opportunity to vote through July 15, with the Top 10 in all categories announced in late July and August. To cast a vote for the Best of the Best Women's Basketball Coach click on https://linkto.run/p/90HCOVC1  while email votes/nominations will be also accepted at This 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 high school basketball coach in Shawnee County history.

    LorenZieglerLoren Ziegler coached Silver Lake to five state girls basketball titles over three decades. [Silver Lake Schools]

    KevinBordewickWRKevin Bordewick coached Washburn Rural to a second Class 6A state basketball and his ninth state title overall in the 2021-2022 season. [File photo/TSN]

    BillAnnannewBill Annan led Washburn Rural to three Class 6A girls state basketball titles before moving on to the Division I level as an assistant coach. [Oklahoma State Athletics]

    RickStreckerHayden Hall of Famer Rick Strecker coached the Wildcats to three girls state basketball championships. [File photo/TSN]

    Or to look at it another way, there's a whole bunch of favorites.

    Former Silver Lake coach Loren Ziegler coached the Eagles to five state crowns over three decades, one of five former or current county coaches who have won multiple state championships.

    Bill Annan coached Washburn Rural to three Class 6A state titles before going on to a long and continuing career at the Division I level while Rick Strecker coached Hayden to three 4A state titles and Mike Goehring (Topeka West) and Kevin Bordewick (Washburn Rural) have won two state titles.

    Bordewick, who won his second basketball championship this past season, also served as an assistant coach on all three of Annan's title teams in addition to winning seven state volleyball titles.

    There are 11 candidates listed to pick from at https://linkto.run/p/90HCOVC1  while readers also have the option of writing in a name.

    Vote as many times as you wish, with the only requirement that eligible candidates must have coached as a head coach or assistant at one of the county's 10 high schools.

    Final selections will be based on reader vote as well as input from TSN contributors and current and past local sports media professionals.   

    Votes will be accepted through July 15 before TSN publishes our Best of the Best lists in July and August.

    NEXT UP: Men's basketball (ballot will be posted on June 29).

     

    Related Stories and Videos

  • TopSports.news to tackle challenge of picking county's Best of the Best prep coaches

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Last summer TopSports.news took on the task of honoring hundreds of Shawnee County's all-time great athletes in more than 20 sports as part of our Best of the Best project.

    As rewarding as that project was, however, there was something missing -- the high school coaches, both head coaches and assistants past and present -- who have helped hundreds if not thousands of county athletes achieve athletic greatness.

    Logo 3

    KevinBordewickWRWashburn Rural's Kevin Bordewick has coached nine Class 6A state championship teams in volleyball and girls basketball. [File photo/TSN]

    CraigCoxBBCurrent Seaman basketball coach Craig Cox has led five teams to state championships in basketball and baseball, including the Class 5A basketball title this past season. [File photo/TSN]

    Ben MesekeFormer Hayden coach Ben Meseke (right), talking with former Wildcat coach and athletic director Jerry Simecka, coached Hayden to 12 state titles in basketball and cross country. [File photo/TSN

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

    This summer we will try to correct that ommision, with TopSports.news planning to publish Best of the Best coaches lists in 14 different sports.

    As was the case a year ago, TSN will rely heavily on our readers for their input in rating the best coaches in the history of the county.

  • Bulldawgs' Horak named TopSports.news Fall Male Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Rossville star Torrey Horak, who helped lead the Bulldawgs to back-to-back Class 2A state football championships, was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Male Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Washburn University.

    Horak2Former Rossville star Torrey Horak, the TSN Fall Male Athlete of the Year, helped lead the Bulldawgs to back to back undefeated Class 2A state football championships. [File photo/TSN]

    A star quarterback and defensive back, Horak was a four-year starter for the Bulldawgs, helping lead Rossville to 13-0 records as a junior and senior.

    Horak was the TopSports.news Shawnee County co-offensive player of the year as a senior after completing 85 of 132 pass attempts for 1,337 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushing for 1,008 yards and 14 TDs on 102 attempts despite missing time with a shoulder injury.

    "Torrey will go down as an all-time great performer in is a rich football history at Rossville,'' Bulldawg football coach Derick Hammes said. "However, Torrey's personal attributes may outshine his onfield accomplishments. Torrey has displayed an uncanny maturity throughout his career.''

    Horak has signed a football letter with Central Missouri. 

    Horak had a cumulative high school grade point average of 3.8.

    Other candidates:

    Alejos 002Tylan Alejos

    TYLAN ALEJOS | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Evan and Tia Alejos 

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.10

     A 5-foot-9, 190-pound running back/defensive back, Alejos was an All-Shawnee County Top 22 and  All-Centennial League first-team selection after rushing for 1,327 yards on 202 carries and scoring 18 total touchdowns lat fall. Defensively Alejos recorded 40 tackles (16 solo) and had a pass interception. Alejos rushed for 400 yards and scored eight touchdowns in a Centennial League victory over Highland Park. Alejos will play his college football at the University of Kansas after accepting a preferred walk-on offer from the Jayhawks.

    Birdwhistle Bush JaqSon 002Jaq'Son Birdwhistle-Bush

    JAQ'SON BIRDWHISTLE-BUSH | Topeka West

    PARENTS Dr. Christopher and AliShia Bush 

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.415

     "Jaq'Son has been an excellent example of character, leadership and work ethic as a student-athlete at Topeka West,'' said Ryan Kelley, who coached Birdwhistle-Bush at West. "In four years of being his football coach, Jaq'Son never missed a workout or practice, summer or fall. Even through tough times where the program struggled to experience success in terms of wins and losses Jaq'Son remained positive and worked hard every day. We at Topeka West are extremely proud of Jaq'son.'' Birdwhistle-Bush caught 12 passes for149 yards and a touchdown as a senior. Birdwhistle-Bush will attend Kansas State University.

    CarterBrianmugCarter Brian 

    CARTER BRIAN | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Tom and Susan Brian

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 4.27

    Brian was the Lions' quarterback as a junior and senior, leading Cair Paravel to a perfect season and the Kansas Christian Athletic Association state title last fall. "He is a determined individual who is not afraid of difficult possibilities and that effort created the building blocks for a very successful senior season,'' Cair Paravel coach Doug Bonura said. "Carter's leadership at the quarterback position helped secure his team's undefeated season. Brian earned TopSports.news All-Shawnee County honors, throwing for 2,515 yards and 51 touchdowns. Brian plans to play football at Ohio Northern University. 

    JaceMooremug 2Jace Moore

    JACE MOORE | Seaman

    PARENTS: Russ and Jana Moore

    SPORT: Cross country | GPA: NA

    "Jace led our cross country team in every competition of his senior year,'' Seaman coach Luke Wiens said. "Jace is a fiery and passionate leader and an intense competitor who chose to compete in our sports (cross country and track) despite having the skills and athleticism to contribute in a variety of other sports.'' Moore was an All-Shawnee County pick in cross country last fall and was the Centennial League champion in the 3,200 meters in track as a senior. Moore plans to compete in track and cross county for Washburn University.

    TannerNewkirkmugTanner Newkirk

    TANNER NEWKIRK | HAYDEN

    PARENTS: Kevin and Nealy Newkirk

    SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 3.84

    Newkirk was a four-time state medalist in Class 4A cross country for the Wildcats, including top-three finishes his final three seasons. Newkirk finished second in 4A as a sophomore, won the state title as a junior and finished third individually his senior season. A two-time city champ in cross country, Newkirk also won three state championships and set two Class 4A state meet records as a senior in track and field. Newkirk will run track and cross country at the University of Kansas. "Tanner Newkirk is a one of a kind athlete,'' Hayden cross country and track coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "What makes Tanner so special is his ability to want to get better. Tanner is always trying to find a way to get better at some thing and is never satisfied.''

    JarinSandersJarin Sanders

    JARIN SANDERS | Shawnee Heights

    PARENTS: Robbie and Courtney Sanders

    SPORT: Football | GPA: 3.7

    Sanders was a star running back for the T-Birds as a senior, cracking Shawnee Heights' top five in several rushing categories. Sanders ran for 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and also caught 31 passes for 240 yards and four TDs. Sanders carried the ball more than 30 times in big wins over De Soto and Blue Valley Southwest. Sanders was a team captain and earned first-team All-Shawnee County and United Kansas Conference honors. Sanders was also a two-year starter at point guard for Shawnee Heights' basketball team, earning All-United Kansas Conference honorable mention. 

    Porter 002Porter Schafersman

    PORTER SCHAFERSMAN | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Scott and Autumn Schafersman

    SPORT: Soccer| GPA: 3.53

    Schafersman helped lead Washburn Rural to a second-place finish in the Class 6A state tournament, scoring 23 goals on the season, which tied for second in school history, en route to earning first-team All-City, All-Centennial League and All-6A recognition. Schafersman, who also had 13 assists, was the Centennial League player of the year and the 6A forward of the year. "Porter had one of the best individual seasons in Washburn Rural soccer history, which was instrumental in one of the best seasons in school history,'' Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. Schafersman registered five three-goal hat tricks as a senior, all in Centennial League play, as the Junior Blues recorded just their second-ever undefeated regular season. 

     

  • Two-time state champ Krueger TopSports.news Winter Female Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Former Washburn Rural basketball standout Emma Krueger was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Winter Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday at Washburn University during the Topeka Shawnee County Sports Awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

    EmmaKruegerAwardWashburn Rural product Emma Krueger (right) was named the Topeka Shawnee County Winter Female Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet at Washburn. [File photo/TSN]

    Krueger was a four-year starter for Washburn Rural, winning Class 6A state championships as a freshman and senior.

    "Emma has a work ethic second to none,'' Washburn Rural coach Kevin Bordewick said. "She is one of a handful of athetes that truly plays hard all the time. Emma is a great leader. She leads by her example and holds teammates accountable to the same work ethic.

    "She took pride in being our defensive stopper and did whatever it took for our team to succeed.''

    As a senior Krueger averaged 8.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.6 steals.

    Also a soccer standout, Krueger will play college basketball at Grand Canyon University.

    Krueger finished high school with a 4.15 grade point average.

    Other candidates:

    JaleyBarkleynewmug 2Jaley Barkley

    JALEY BARKLEY | Cair Paravel Latin

    PARENTS: Shane and Valerie Barkley

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 4.53

    "Jaley is a fantastic leader and worker,'' Cair Paravel coach Brian Ewing said. "She knew my expectations for her senior year and led the team through her dedication and desire. Jaley has always been a hard worker during the season but out of season as well. She put up tens of thousands of shots during COVID, which showed up in her stats this past season. Jaley loves to interact with, and encourage, the younger kids, especially the girls. She knows that eyes are on her for not only how she plays on the court but how she leads throughour her school day and practice.'' Barkey will play college basketball next season for Sterling College.

    CelesteGonzalez 2Celeste Gonzalez

    CELESTE GONZALEZ | Highland Park

    PARENTS: Raul Gonzalez and Clara Caro

    SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 4.2

    Gonzalez posted a 17-7 record as a senior and was a two-year letter-winner for Highland Park's girls wrestling team. Gonzalez won the Centennial League indiviual championship at 191 pounds her senior season, qualified for the Class 6A-5A state meet with a runner-up regional finish and earned All-Shawnee County honorable mention. "She had a desire to demonstrate dominance on the mat but was friendly to everyone off the mat,'' Highland Park coach Shannon Keller said. Gonzalez, who also earned All-City honorable mention in soccer, plans to attend college at Washburn University.

    rylee 002Rylee Murray

    RYLEE MURRAY | Seaman 

    PARENTS: TJ and Sonya Murray

    SPORT: Wrestling | GPA: 3.34

    Murray was Seaman's first Centennial League girls wrestling champion as a junior and the first Viking to secure her place on the state podium in her final season of wrestling, finishing fifth in Class 6A-5A. Murray posted a two-year record of 40-10, with 29 wins coming by pin. Murray is also a softball standout for the Vikings and will play softball at North Central Missouri College. "Rylee is a multi-sport athlete who gives absolutely nothing but her best in everything she does,'' Seaman girls wrestling coach Jordan Best said. "Her commitment to leadership is second to none and she gained respect by pushing everyone to be their best while keeping a smile on her face and lifting the spirits of her teammates as well.''

    MacySmithnewmugMacy Smith

    MACY SMITH | Hayden

    PARENTS: Rob and Cindi Smith

    SPORT: Basketball GPA  3.86

    Smith missed most of her junior season with an ACL injury, but returned to turn in a solid senior season for the Wildcats. "Macy was the primary ball-handler for our team and was relied heavily upon to score for us,'' Hayden coach Carvel Reynoldson said. "She tore her ACL her junior year so she had a comeback season of sorts. As the knee got stronger she played a bigger role and improved defensively.'' Smith averaged 12 points and was also a team leader in assists. Smith earned All-Shawnee County Top 10 honors and was a second-team All-Centennial League pick, Smith was also a soccer standout for Hayden. 

    TaeThomasSr.PicTalayah Thomas

    TALAYAH THOMAS | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Tobian and Stephanie Thomas

    SPORT: Basketball | GPA: 3.71

    Thomas was a three-sport standout for Topeka High, handling place-kicking duties for the Trojans in football and starring as point guard in basketball and as a forward in soccer. "She has made some historical memories at Topeka High,'' said Hannah Alexander, Thomas' basketball coach at High. "She has led our girls basketball program to the state tournament all four years of high school. She has an 88-8 record overall. She is a true leader on and off the floor. She is destined for greatness.'' A first-team All-Shawnee County selection, Thomas averaged 14.5 points, 2.9 assists and 2.9 steals as a senior. Thomas will play college basketball at Northwestern Oklahoma.  

    Umscheid Kendra 002Kendra Umscheid

    KENDRA UMSCHEID | Topeka West

    PARENTS: Kevin and Shelly Umscheid

    SPORT: Bowling | GPA: 3.725

    Umscheid helped Topeka West reach the Class 5A-1A state bowling tournament as a senior. "Kendra is a great team player,'' Topeka West coach Alyx Nash said. "She sets high goals for herself and those around her. She creates a positive mindset and a supporting environment to motivate herself and team to their goals. She represents herself on the lanes, in the classroom and in her everyday actions to the best of her abilities. Her accomplishments are and will continue to be a reflection of this.'' Umscheid plans to study computer science at Wichita State University. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Vikes' Unruh tapped as TopSports.news Fall Female Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Seaman state tennis champion Grace Unruh was named the TopSports.news Topeka Shawnee County Fall Female Athlete of the Year during Wednesday's awards banquet and Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Washburn University.

    Unruh finished her high school career as the Seaman record-holder for the most varsity tennis wins.

    Unruh teamed with Lauren Sweeney to win the Class 5A state doubles championship as a senior, with the Viking duo posting a perfect 36-0 record.

    Unruh placed fourth in 5A state doubles as a junior.

    "It was an honor to coach Grace,'' Seaman coach Jamie Robinson said. "She works hard at improving all facets of her tennis game and physical training by researching and tweaking new techniques. Grace told me she wants to have a strong tennis legacy behind at Seaman High School. Grace will accomplish that mission.''

    Unruh, who also swam at Seaman, will play tennis at Fort Hays State. She finished high school with a 4.05 grade point average.

    Other candidates:

     Bird Khloi 002Khloi Bird

    KHLOI BIRD | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Ricky Cole and Lezlie Oetting

    SPORT: Cross country | GPA: 4.12

    Bird transferred to Washburn Rural as a sophomore and has been a three-time All-City/All-Shawnee County selection in cross country while helping the Junior Blues win three straight city team titles, a Centennial Leaue championship and a Class 6A regional team title. Bird posted a 14th-place individual finish in the 6A state meet last fall. In track Bird was a state qualifier as a junior and senior, earning a state medal in the 4 x 800 relay as a junior. "Khloi has been an important part of our cross country and track programs the past three years,'' Rural cross country coach Matt Swedlund said. "Her consistent high-level performances were key contributions to our team's success.'' Bird plans to run cross country and track at Butler Community College.

    AnnaNewcomeAnna Newcome 

    ANNA NEWCOME | Topeka West

    PARENTS: Scott and Patricia Newcome

    SPORT: Tennis | GPA: 4.36

    Newcome qualified for the Class 5A state tournament as a senior, posting a third-place finish in 5A regional singles competition. "Anna has an excellent work ethic,'' Topeka West coach Kurt Davids said. "She shows up to her commitments on time, every time with a positive attitude and an open mind. Anna was an accomplished leader as well, setting an impeccable example in the classroom as well as on the court. Anna's junior season was cut short by COVID restrictions. Beyond the initial disappointment, Anna became even more focused and determined to not be denied a trip to the state tournament.'' Newcome plans to attend the University of Nebraska.

  • West's Brooks earns TopSports.news Winter Male Athlete of the Year honor

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Recent Topeka West graduate Elijah Brooks, honored as the 2021-2022 Mr. Kansas Basketball by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association after a record-setting 2021-2022 season, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn.

    ElijahBrooksWRFormer Topeka West star Elijah Brooks was named the Topeka Shawnee County Winter Male Athlete of the Year Wednesday night after a record-setting senior season. [File photo/TSN]

    Brooks averaged 25.3 points during his senior season and put together a string of 30-point games with a high of 43 points.

    Brooks, the TopSports.news Shawnee County and Centennial League Player of the Year, led the Chargers to back-to-back Class 5A state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2021.

    Brooks is West's single-season record-holder (581 points) and career leading scorer (1,450 points).

    "Elijah has shown enthusiasm and work ethic that has been commendable and sincere,'' West coach Rick Bloomquist said.

    Brooks will play his college basketball at Division I North Dakota.

    Other candidates:

    RichardCartermugRichard Carter

    RICHARD CARTER | Topeka High

    PARENTS: Richard and Margaret Carter

    SPORT: Swimming | GPA: NA

    Carter was a varsity swimmer all four seasons at Topeka High, earning second-team All-City recognition two times. Carter competed in the Class 6A state tournament as a senior in the 400-yard free relay. Carter scored a total of 582 points during his swimming career for the Trojans. Carter competed primarily in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100 free, the 200 free and and the 100 butterfly. Carter plans to attend Grove City College.

    TrentDuffeynewTrent Duffey

    TRENT DUFFEY | Hayden

  • Canady, Jeffries named TopSports.news Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year

    Rick Peterson

    By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Topeka High product NiJaree Canady and former Topeka West star Kadence Jeffries, who combined for eight career state titles, were selected as Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athletes of the Year Wednesday night at Washburn University.

    NiJaCanadySeaman 1Former Topeka High star NiJaree Canady, who led the Trojans to back-to-back Class 6A state softball titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

    KadenceJeffries500Topeka West graduate Kadence Jeffries, who won six Class 5A-1A state swimming titles, was named the Topeka Shawnee County Co-Spring Female Athlete of the Year Wednesday night. [File photo/TSN]

    Canady has helped lead Topeka High to back-to-back Class 6A state softball championships, the first two state softball titles in school history, while being named the Gatorade Kansas Softball Player of the Year both seasons.

    Canady has earned All-City, All-Centennial League and All-State softball honors all three of her high school seasons and also earned All-State honors and played in three state tournaments in basketball, scoring more than 1,000 points, before bypassing her senior season to concentrate on softball.

    "Nija is the true definition of a student-athlete,'' Topeka High softball coach Shane Miles said. "Any kid who can further their education at Stanford University is doing something right in the classroom and on the field. When Nija chose Stanford she was not looking at the next four years, but the next 40 years.''

    Jeffries will go down in history as one of the greatest high school swimmers in Topeka history, winning six individual Class 5A-1A state championships in as many tries over her three-year career.

    Jeffries swept the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events in all three of her state meet appearances, earning first-team All-State honors all three seasons.

    "Kadence is always encouraging teammates to try new things as well as help demonstrate skills,'' Topeka West coach Courtney Johnson said. "She is always cheering for people from her team as well as other schools.When Kadence gets medals she goes up to each person on the stand with her and congratulates all her fellow competitors.''

    Jeffries plans to swim collegiately at Division I Nebraska-Omaha.

    Other candidates:

    Bagshaw SR pic 002Campbell Bagshaw

    CAMPBELL BAGSHAW | Washburn Rural

    PARENTS: Bill and Jenner Bagshaw

    SPORT: Softball | GPA: 4.29

     Campbell has helped lead the Washburn Rural softball team to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 6A state tournament and has also helped the Junior Blues win two state basketball championships. Bagshaw hit .468 this past softball season with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 17 runs batted in and 38 runs scored. "Campbell Bagshaw is the epitome of sports excellence, whether it is on the softball field, basketball court or in the classroom,'' Rural softball coach Liz Stover said. "Campbell is a player that when the game is on the line, not only does her team want her at the plate, but she wants the bat in her hands. Through it all, Campbell has maintained an air of dignity and grace, finishing in the top 10 percent of her graduating class.'' Bagshaw will play college softball at Kansas.

    TarynBurkhardtnewmugTaryn Burkhardt

    TAYLOR BURKHARDT | Silver Lake

    PARENTS: Vince and Nancy Burkhardt

    SPORT: Softball | GPA: 3.94

    A multi-sport athlete at Silver Lake, Burkhardt was a four-year varsity letter-winner in softball. Burkhardt helped the Eagles post a pair of runner-up finishes in the Class 3A state tournament. She has been an All-State selection in 3A and a two-time All-Mid-East selection and a TopSports.news All-Shawnee County first-team honoree as a senior. Burkhardt hit .479 as a senior with six doubles, 28 runs scored and 15 runs batted in. Burkhardt was also a volleyball standout for the Eagles as well as a member of Silver Lake's dance team. Burkhardt plans to play college softball at Johnson County Community College. 

  • Hayden's Newkirk named TopSports.news Spring Male Athlete of the Year

    Rick Peterson

     By RICK PETERSON

    TopSports.news

    Tanner Newkirk, who won three Class 4A track championships as a senior distance runner at Hayden, was selected as the Topeka Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year Wedneday night at Washburn University.

    NewkirkFridayFormer Hayden star Tanner Newkirk, the Topeka Shawnee County Spring Male Athlete of the Year, won four individual Class 4A state titles in his high school career, including three wins in the 2022 state track meet at Wichita. [File photo/TSN]

    Newkirk capped his high school track and field career with a record-setting perormance in the 2022 Kansas state track meet at Wichita State's Cessna Stadium, winning three events and setting two Class 4A state meet records.

    Newkirk won the 3,200 meters in 8:58.88, No. 5 all-time in Kansas, won the 1,600 in 4:12.25 and the 800 in 1:55.0.

    The Hayden star added a fourth state medal in the 4 x 800 relay, helping the Wildcats finish fifth in that event.

    Newkirk was a four-time state medalist in 4A cross country, with a state title and three top-three finishes.

    "Tanner Newkirk is a one of a kind athlete,'' Hayden track and cross country coach DeJuan Gardenhire said. "What makes Tanner so special is his ability to want to get better.''

    Newkirk will run track and cross country at the University of Kansas.

    Other candidates:

    DagenBrewerDagen Brewer

    DAGEN BREWER I Seaman

    PARENTS: Matt and Heather Brewer

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: NA

    Brewer turned in an outstanding senior baseball season, helping lead Seaman to a 20-3 record, a share of the Centennial League championship and an 18th straight berth in the Class 5A state tournament. Brewer was tapped as the Shawnee County and the Centennial League player of the year. He also earned first-team All-Class 5A honors from the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches. Brewer earned first-team All-Shawnee County and All-Centennial League honors as a junior and was a second-team KABC All-Class 5A selection. Brewer has committed to Johnson County Community College to play his college baseball.

    TorreyHorakTorrey Horak 

    TORREY HORAK | Rossville

    PARENTS: Terry and Wendi Horak

    SPORT: Baseball | GPA: 3.8

    Probably best known as Rossville's star quarterback in football, Horak was a first-team All-Class 3A pick in baseball as a senior after receiving honorable mention his junior year. "His talent was evident this season as a first-team All-State player in both of those sports and he will go down in the top 10 in several single-season baseball categories, including home runs, walks, on-base percentage and runs,'' Rossville baseball coach Eammon Bradley said. "Torrey is one of the best leaders I've ever been around. He commands a presence among his peers and is an example of how to serve his team. He brings energy every day, whether it's at practice or a game.'' Horak will play college football at Division II Central Missouri.