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  • State placers headline 2023 All-Shawnee County girls track and field

    Rick Peterson



    Shawnee County girls track and field athletes came up short of winning a state championship in the 2023 state meet at Wichita, but it was still a noteworthy weekend for the local contingent.

    BethanyDruseState1Seaman senior Bethany Druse (1715) was a triple state medalist in Class 5A, including a second-place finish in the 800 and a third in the 4x400 relay. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    TaMijaNicholsState1Shawnee Heights senior Ta'Mijha Nichols looks up at the Cessna Stadium scoreboard after finishing second in the Class 5A girls 100 for the second straight season. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    AlaJahBrooksState2Ala'Jah Brooks (1741) finished a very close second in last weekend's Class 5A 400 meters and also finished fourth in the 200. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    NatalieHillebertState1Hayden junior Natalie Hillebert (left) exchanges congratulations with Andale's Maddie Schrandt after last Saturday's Class 4A girls 400-meter dash in Wichita. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    County athletes finished second in four events while 19 of 24 members of the All-Shwnee County first team went home with state medals in four different classes.

    Seaman senior star Bethany Druse was the state runnerup in the Class 5A 800 meters and was a medalist in three events while Shawnee Heights senior Ta'Mijha Nichols and Topeka West senior Ala'Jah Brooks also posted second-place finishes in 5A and Hayden junior Natalie Hillebert was a state runnerup in 4A.

    Druse finished second in the 5A 800 in 2 minutes, 17.29 seconds and also helped Seaman post a third-place finish in the 4x400 relay (4:06.07) and a sixth in the 4x800 relay (9:57.46).

    Heights' Nichols was the runnerup in the 5A 100-meter dash for the second straight season (12.17) while West's Brooks finished second in the 5A 400 (57.77) and Hayden's Hillebert placed second in the 4A 400 (58.83). Brooks added a fourth-place finish in the 200 (25.66).

    Seaman sophomore Jaida Stallbaumer finished fifth in the 5A 100-meter high hurdles (16.04) and teamed with sophomore Ryin Miller, junior Taylin Stallbaumer and Druse for the third-place finish in the 4x400 relay while senior Leah Spurlock and sophomore Taylie Heston teamed with Druse and Miller for the sixth-place showing in the 4x800 relay.

    Washburn Rural sophomores Payton Fink, Rylee Ismert and Brooklyn Nolte teamed with senior Madeline Carter for a fifth-place finish in the 4x800 relay (9:52.27).

    Topeka West senior Makinsey Jones finished sixth in the 5A high jump (5-0) while Shawnee Heights senior Taylor Rottinghaus took seventh in the 5A 400 (61.65).

    Silver Lake junior Ava Rottinghaus placed sixth in the 3A girls javelin (126 feet, 2 inches) and ran on the Eagles' fourth-place 4x400 relay (4:11.98) while Eagle junior Kaibryn Kruger placed sixth in the triple jump (34-10).

    Rossville senior Amelia Foster was also a double 3A medalist, finishing sixth in the 800 (2:24.53) and eighth in the 400 (61.37).

    Hayden sophomore Rae North earned an eighth-place medal in the 4A 400 meters.

    All-Shawnee County selections were picked on the basis of meeting minimum standards established by local coaches as well as coaches' recommendations and performances in postseason competition.


  • State champions headline 2023 All-Shawnee County boys track and field team

    Rick Peterson



    Seven athletes who had a hand in eight state titles, including five multiple-event state champs, headline the 2023 All-Shawnee County boys track and field team.

    JakeMullerState2Hayden senior Jake Muller (right) won his second Class 4A 300-meter hurdles state title last Saturday, one of his three state gold medals on the day. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    FinnDunsheeState3Hayden junior Finn Dunshee (left) was the 4A 100-meter dash champ and also won state titles in the 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays last weekend. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    Hayden senior Jake Muller and junior Finn Dunshee took home three gold medals apiece, posting individual wins to go with two relay victories, while Wildcat sophomores Jensen Schrickel and Liam Stegman teamed with Muller and Dunshee for the two relay titles, including a Class 4A state meet record.

    TreRichardsonState2Highland Park senior Tre Richardson (middle) won the Class 5A boys 100-meter dash last Saturday at Cessna Stadium, the first of his two state titles on the day. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    TreRichardsonState5Highland Park senior Tre Richardson won the Class 5A long jump, finished second in the triple jump and scored 33 total points in the state meet. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Highland Park senior Tre Richardson turned in a monster individual 5A state performance, winning a pair of state titles and posting a runnerup finish while scoring 33 points by himself to outscore 22 other 5A schools.

    JacksonEsquibelStateShawnee Heights junior Jackson Esquibel won the Class 5A state title in the 3,200 meters and finished second in the 1,600 last weekend. [Photo by Brent Maycock/KSHSAA Covered]

    BatsonState3Topeka West sophomore Alesecio Batson won the Class 5A triple jump championship last weekend in Wichita. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Shawnee Heights junior Jackson Esquibel and Topeka West sophomore Alesecio Batson also won 5A state titles, with Esquibel also recording a second-place finish as 16 members of the All-Shawnee County team earning state medals.

    HaydenRelayState1Hayden's Liam Stegman, Jake Muller, Jensen Schrickel and Finn Dunshee won Class 4A state titles in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays last Saturday in Wichita. [Photo by Kyle Grunert/Special to TSN]

    Muller won the second 300-meter intermediate hurdles state title of his career in 38.41 seconds while Dunshee won the 4A 100-meter dash in 10.84 and Muller and Dunshee teamed with Schrickel and Stegman to win the 4x100 (42.65) and 4x400 relay championships while setting the 4A meet record in the 4X400 relay (3:20.99).  Schrickel also finished third in the 400 (49.63).

    Richardson won the 5A 100-meter dash in 10.73 seconds and the long jump at 23 feet, 4.50 inches, finished second in the triple jump (46-5.75) and fourth in the 200 dash (22.49).

    Esquibel won the 5A 3,200-meter run in 9 minutes, 18.67 seconds and added a runnerup finish in the 1,600 (4:15.26) while Batson won the 5A triple jump at 48-4.25.

    Topeka West senior Lenny Njoroge finished second in the 5A 3,200 (9:21.24) and added a fourth-place finish in the 1,600 (4:22.45) while Shawnee Heights senior Jordan Garvin finished second in the 5A 300 hurdles (39.68) and Washburn Rural junior Jamond Lane was second in the 6A discus (167-6).

    Washburn Rural junior Josh Sulzen-Watson finished fourth in the 6A discus (157-4) and fifth in the javelin (168-6). 

    Cair Paravel Latin sophomore Ben Roeder, who competed for Topeka High during the regular season and CPLS in the postseason finished fourth in the 2A 200-meter dash (23.43) and fifth in the 400 (50.70).

    Shawnee Heights senior Jeremiah Smith, a former state champ, posted a fifth-place finish in the 5A 100 (10.95) while T-Bird junior Alex Dittman took fifth in the 5A javelin (165-9) while Hayden senior Joe Otting earned a 4A state medal with an eighth-place finish in the discus (142-11) and Washburn Rural freshman Liam Morrison took eighth in the 6A 300 hurdles (46.39).

    Also earning berths on the All-Shawee County boys first team were Seaman senior Branen Moore, junior Aaron Merritt, sophomore Bryce Cochran and Peyton Holmes, Washburn Rural seniors Easton Dial and Davin Johnson and junior Colin Rausch, Highland Park senior Keijuan Johnson and Topeka High senior V'Ante Peoples, juniors Jaziah Mack, Logan Murray,and Travis Shyne and freshman Malachi Murph.

    All-Shawnee County picks were based on meeting minimum performance standards as well as coaches' recommendation and postseason performances.


  • Three-time picks headline 2023 All-Shawnee County boys golf first team

    Rick Peterson



    Three-time first-team selections Myles Alonzo of Topeka West, Bryce Badsky of Silver Lake and Alex Valdivia of Shawnee Heights headline the 2023 All-Shawnee County boys golf team. 

    FxpSQhvXwAcDrgsThe 2023 All-Shawnee County boys golf team: Front left -- Myles Alonzo, Topeka West; Tyler Lincoln, Shawnee Heights; Alex Valdivia, Shawnee Heights; Jonathan Hart, Rossville; Hayden Glynn, Washburn Rural; Andrew Burdett, Washburn Rural; Bryan Tyrell, Washburn Rural. Not pictured: Bryce Badsky, Silver Lake. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    BryceBadskynewBryce Badsky, Silver Lake

    Valdivia, a senior, and Alonzo, a junior, earned individual medals in the Class 5A state tournament while Badsky, a junior, earned his third straight individual medal in the 3A state meet.

    Washburn Rural, which won its 13th straight city team championship, is represented on the All-Shawnee County team by seniors Andrew Burdett and Bryan Tyrell and junior Hayden Glynn while Shawnee Heights senior Tyler Lincoln and Rossville sophomore Jonathan Hart round out the eight-member first team.

    Lincoln was the 2023 city individual champion while Hart placed fifth individually in the 3A state tournament and led the Bulldawgs to a fifth-place team finish.

    All-Shawnee County capsules:

  • Hayden's Sandstrom, Shawnee Heights' Esquibel named Rising Stars of the Year

    Rick Peterson



    Hayden's Lauren Sandstrom and Shawnee Heights' Jackson Esquibel, who both recently completed their junior years of high school, were selected Thursday night at The Foundry as the Dan Key Farmers Agency girls and boys 2023 Rising Stars of the year.

    Fxlf830X0AEdjPtHayden's Lauren Sandstrom (left) and Shawnee Heights' Jackson Esquibel (right) pose with Dan Key Thursday night after being named the 2023 Dan Key Farmers Agency Rising Stars of the Year. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Sandstrom and Esquibel were picked from seven girls and boys finalists chosen from weekly Rising Stars who were selected through the 2022-2023 school year.

    Sandstrom was a three-sport standout for Hayden, earning a Class 4A state doubles championship with Emily Sheetz last fall and helped lead the Wildcats to a state tournament berth in basketball and a third-place state finish in soccer.

    Esquibel capped a big year as a distance runner for Shawnee Heights last weekend at Wichita State's Cessna Stadium with a Class 5A state track championship in the 3,200-meter run and a second-place finish in the 1,600. Last fall Esquibel was a state medalist in the 5A cross country meet, finishing eighth.

    Other girls finalists included Rossville three-time state wrestling champion Kendra Hurla, Silver Lake three-sport stars Makenzie McDaniel and McKinley Kruger, Seaman four-sport standout Anna Becker, Washburn Rural 2022 volleyball and basketball state champ Zoe Canfield and Highland Park basketball star Amelia Ramsey.

    Hurla, McDaniel, Kruger and Canfield recently completed their junior years of high school while Becker and Ramsey recently finished their sophomore years.

    Other boys finalists included Washburn Rural state wrestling champion Easton Broxterman, Topeka West state triple jump champion Alesecio Batson, Seaman football and baseball standout Max Huston, Washburn Rural star quarterback Branton DeWeese, Shawnee Heights football and wrestling standout Allen Baughman and Hayden football star and track and field state champion Jensen Schrickel.

    DeWeese and Baughman recently completed their junior years of high school while Broxterman, Batson, Huston and Schrickel completed their sophomore years.

    The Dan Key Famers Agency also recognized Shawnee County state team champions from the the 2022-2023 school year.




  • Final TSN Shawnee County high school boys track & field honor roll 2023

    Rick Peterson




    100 METERS

    TreRichardsonState2Highland Park senior Tre Richardson (middle) won the Class 5A state title in the 100-meter dash, one of his two gold medals and four top-four finishes at state. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Richardson, Highland Park            10.49

    Smith, Shawnee Heights               10.74

    Dunshee, Hayden                          10.76

    Peoples, Topeka High                    10.96

    Merritt, Seaman                             10.99

    200 METERS

    Richardson, Highland Park          21.5

    Murph, Topeka High                     22.16

    Cochran, Seaman                        22.34

    Smith, Shawnee Heights              22.35

    Peoples, Topeka High                  22.53

    400 METERS

    Schrickel, Hayden                         49.63

    Roeder, Cair Paravel                     50.70

    Roney, Washburn Rural                51.72

    Benz, Shawnee Heights                51.89

    Chooncharoen, Washburn Rural   51.96

    800 METERS

    Esquibel, Shawnee Heights           1:59.55

    Moore, Seaman                             2:00.12

    Johnson, Washburn Rural             2:00.55

    Anderson, Seaman                        2:01.30

    Stuke, Seaman                               2:01.5

    1,600 METERS

    Esquibel, Shawnee Heights            4:15.26

    Njoroge, Topeka West                     4:17.71

    Dial, Washburn Rural                      4:33.13

    Johnson, Washburn Rural               4:33.46

    Walker, Seaman                              4:39.05

    JacksonEsquibelState1Shawnee Heights junior Jackson Esquibel was the state champion in the Class 5A 3,200 and the runnerup in the 1,600 while Topeka West senior Lenny Njoroe (right) was second in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    3,200 METERS

    Esquibel, Shawnee Heights           9:18.67

    Njoroge, Topeka West                    9:20.08

    Johnson, Washburn Rural             9:51.59

    Dial, Washburn Rural                     9:51.97

    Jowers, Seaman                          10:05.32

  • Washburn Rural's Cope repeat pick as Centennial League player of the year

    Rick Peterson



    Senior Emmerson Cope, who helped lead Washburn Rural to a second straight runnerup finish in the Class 6A state softball tournament, has been named the Centennial League player of the year for the second straight season by league coaches.

    EmmersonCopepitchingHaydenWashburn Rural senior Emmerson Cope has been named the Centennial League softball player of the year for the second straight season after helping lead the Junior Blues to a second straight Class 6A championship game. [File photo/TSN]

    ReaganChapmanWashburn Rural freshman Reagan Chapman has been named the Centennial League newcomer of the year. [File photo/TSN]

    Cope is joined on the first team by Rural senior Piper Titsworth and freshman Reagan Chapman, who was also named the Centennial League newcomer of the year after helping the Junior Blues post a 21-4 record this spring.

    Topeka High seniors Alesia Alvarez and Adisyn Caryl were both repeat picks on the all-league first team, as was Hayden senior Alyssa Droge.

    Hayden junior Ava Delgado also earned a spot on the all-league first team, along with Manhattan's Kierra Goos, Reagan Neitzel and Avery Hafliger and Junction City's Ava Deguzman.


  • Final TSN Shawnee County high school girls track & field honor roll 2023

    Rick Peterson




    100 METERS

    TaMijaNicholsSHSenior Ta'Mijha Nichols of Shawnee Heights was the Shawnee County leader in the girls 100-meter dash for 2023. [File photo/TSN]

    Nichols, Shawnee Heights         11.96

    Marshall, Topeka High                12.74

    Steiner, Seaman                         12.84

    Torres-Hill, Topeka High             13.07

    Ross, Silver Lake                        13.22

    AlaJahBrooksCity5Topeka West senior Ala'Jah Brooks was the 2023 Shawnee County leader in the girls 200 and 400-meter dashes. [File photo/TSN]

    200 METERS

    Brooks, Topeka West                  25.38

    Nichols, Shawnee Heights          25.88

    Hillebert, Hayden                         26.53

    Marshall, Topeka High                 26.70

    Steiner, Seaman                          26.76

    400 METERS

    Brooks, Topeka West                    57.26

    Hillebert, Hayden                          58.15

    Rottinghaus, Shawnee Heights    60.00

    Fredrickson, Washburn Rural       60.01

    Foster, Rossville                           60.27

    BethanyDruseCity3Returning senior state champion Bethany Druse of Seaman was the Shawnee County leader in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs for the 2023 season. [File photo/TSN]

    800 METERS

    Druse, Seaman                             2:15.46

    Foster, Rossville                            2:24.53

    Carter, Washburn Rural                 2:25.99

    Fink, Washburn Rural                    2:27.51

    Ismert, Washburn Rural                 2:28.92

  • Four city players earn All-Centennial League first-team baseball honors

    Rick Peterson



    Four city players earned first-team recognition on the All-Centennial League baseball team, including three players from Class 6A state qualifier Topeka High..

    NatePlankintonCampus2Topeka High junior pitcher Nate Plankinton was named to the All-Centennial League first team after helping lead the Trojans to a Class 6A state tournament berth. [File photo/TSN]

    IsaiahKincadeCampusTopeka High junior Isaiah Kincade (21) earned All-Centennial League first team honors for the 16-7 Trojans. [File photo/TSN]

    ElijahKincadeTHighCampusTopeka High senior Elijah Kincade (32) has been named to the All-Centennial League first team after helping the Trojans reach the Class 6A state tournament. [File photo//TSN]

     CooperGrace2Hayden sophomore Cooper Grace earned a berth on the All-Centennial League first team. [File photo/TSN]

    Topeka High put juniors Nate Plankinton and Isaiah Kincade and senior Elijah Kincade on the the 11-member first team, selected by league coaches, after the Trojans posted a 16-7 record and earned their first trip to state in more than seven decades.

    Hayden, which went 11-6 on the season, is represented on the first team by sophomore Cooper Grace.

    Topeka High is represented on the second team by junior Matt Genrich while Hayden put seniors Konnor Becker and Jackson Summers on the second team and Washburn Rural put junior Kyle Walker, senior Zach Sharshel, sophomore Sam Bettis and senior Ty Weber on the second 11.

    Hayden senior Braydn Rose and Washburn Rural seniors Dayten Smoot, Aiden Rea and Kaleb Wellshear earned all-league honorable mention. 

    Centennial League champion Manhattan, which put a league-high five players on the first team, swept the individual awards.

    Manhattan senior Kyler Horsman was named the league player of the year while junior Jake Wolcott was named the newcomer of the year and Don Hess the coach of the year.


  • West's Batson soars to Class 5A state title in second state appearance

    Rick Peterson



    WICHITA -- Topeka West's Alesecio Batson went home disappointed after his state track and field debut as a freshman in 2022.

    BatsonState3Topeka West sophomore Alesecio Batson soared to the Class 5A state title in the boys triple jump on Friday at Cessna Stadium. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    On Friday Batson left Cessna Stadium as a state champion, jumping 48 feet, 4.25 inches to win the Class 5A boys triple jump as Batson and city rival Tre Richardson of Highlanf Park (46-5.75) went one-two in the event.

    Even though he wasn't happy with his '22 state performance, Batson said it was a big help heading into his return to the state meet.

    "It really helped me because I hadn't been in a lot of really big events like this,'' Batson said. "Last year coming here I came in with like a 43-5 as a freshman. I was really nervous, scared, the wind was blowing and I ended up jumping like a 39 and it was really bad.

    "This year I came in and I had a really big boost of confidence because I had been here before and I was more confident now.''

    Batson served notice on Friday's opening jump that he was going to be the man to beat and went on to go wire to wire for the win.

  • Rural caps ninth straight state trip to Final Four with 4-1 win over Manhattan

    Rick Peterson



    After a tough 1-0 semifinal loss to eventual Class 6A state champion Mill Valley on Friday, Washburn Rural soccer ended its ninth straight trip to the 6A Final Four with Saturday's 4-1 win over Centennial League rival Manhattan in the third-place game at the Stryker Complex.

    Rural soccer Washburn Rural senior Mackinly Rohn (center) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring the game's first goal in Saturday's 4-1 win over Manhattan in the Class 6A third-place game. [Photo by Rick Peterson Jr./KSHSAA Covered]

    "Our goal every year is to be in the Final Four and just lay it on the line,'' Washburn Rural coach Brian Hensyel said. "(Friday night) we played one of the best teams in the state, Mill Valley, and went toe to toe with them. They found a way to get a goal and we didn't. We have nothing to be ashamed of. 

    "You want to finish your season on a win. We've been lucky enough to come here and win a game each time for a long time. We'll keep knocking on the door and hopefully in the next few years we'll kick it down and get a first place. But I'm proud that they came back today and got a win against our rival."