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  • WU's Jaycee Ginter first-team All-American, Marrit Mead third-team pick

    Rick Peterson



    Washburn softball sophomore pitcher/utility Jaycee Ginter, a former Shawnee Heights star, and sophomore third baseman Marrit Mead, a Santa Fe Trail product, were part of 54 student-athletes from 43 different schools who were named to the 2022 NFCA Division II All-America team released Wednesday by the coaching organization.

    Ginter was a first-team at-large selection, becoming the first Ichabod to earn NFCA All-American first-team honors and Mead was selected as an at large third-team selection.

    Jaycee Ginter no noWashburn sophomore softball star Jaycee Ginter, a Shawnee Heights product, has been named a first-team NCAA Division II All-American. [File photo]

    MarritMeadWUWashburn sophomore star Marrit Mead, a Santa Fe Trail grad, has been named a third-team NCAA Division II softball All-American. [File photo]

    The Ichabods finished the 2022 season 45-15, winning the MIAA regular season championship before making their fifth NCAA postseason appearance.
    This past season, Ginter became the third Ichabod to be named the MIAA Player of the Year and a unanimous selection as an All-MIAA First Team pitcher/utility player and was recognized as a NFCA Top 25 Player of the Year nominee.

    Ginter was a  first-team NFCA all-region selection and a first-team D2CCA/CoSIDA all-region selection, finishing the season with a 30-7 pitching record and breaking the Washburn single-season win total while striking out 290 in 2341/3 innings setting, also a school record.

    With the bat, Ginter led the Ichabods with 57 runs batted in and was second with 10 home runs, batting .385 with 65 hits, scoring 41 runs and adding 15 doubles with a .601 slugging percentage.

    Ginter led the Ichabods with 18 multi-RBI games while recording 18 multi-hit games. She was named the MIAA Pitcher of the Week four times and was also named to the MIAA Tournament All-Tournament squad.
    Mead was a first-team all-region selection by the NFCA and the D2CCA, earning first-team all-MIAA honors at third base for the second-straight season.

    Mead led the Ichabods with 84 hits to finish sixth in the nation and her 23 doubles was an Ichabod single-season record and second in the nation.

    She was one of three players to start all 60 games for the Ichabods this season and led the Ichabods with 61 runs scored, setting a Washburn single-season record. She collected 40 RBI and led the team with 22 stolen bases, 125 total bases and a .470 on base percentage recording 26 multi-hit games and 10 multi RBI games.

    Mead was a D2CCA third -team All-American as a freshman.
    2022 NFCA Division II All-Americans

  • Former West, WU standout Johnston to take reins of Rural tennis program

    Rick Peterson



    Former Topeka West and Washburn University tennis standout Brad Johnston has been named the head girls and boys tennis coach at Washburn Rural, taking over for longtime head coach Kevin Hedberg, who is retiring after 32 years at the school.

    FTeZO3uWYAAgmSNNew Washburn Rural boys and girls tennis coach Brad Johnston talks to his team Monday afternoon. Johnston is a former Topeka West and Washburn University standout. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Johnston was a four-time state medalist for Topeka West, graduating in 2004, and a two-time All-MIAA first-team selection for Washburn University, qualifying for the NCAA tournament four straight years.

    Johnson, who most recently coached at Landon Middle School, holds a bachelor's degree from Washburn and a master's from Fort Hays State University.

    "I'm proud for the opportunity to lead this tradition-rich program,'' said Johnston, who met with his new team Monday afternoon. "Following in coach Hedberg's footsteps will be challenging, but I'm ready to hit the ground running. Tennis has been my life for so long and to be given this opportunity makes my hard work feel complete. 

  • WU baseball looking to capitalize on first NCAA Tournament appearance

    Rick Peterson



    MAGNOLIA, Ark. -- It was a long time coming, but Washburn University baseball is finally in the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament field.

    Now the Ichabods just want to take advantage of that opportunity.

    "I've had confidence in these guys all year,' and we've got a great team,'' Washburn senior standout Brett Ingram said. "I think the last couple of weeks we really got tested against some really really good teams. We took care of business against all the teams we knew we had to take care of and I think nobody's more deserving of this than us.''

    IchabodBBjubeWashburn's baseball team reacts to its first-ever selection to the NCAA Baseball Tournament during Sunday's selection show. The Ichabods open their tourney bid at 6 p.m. Thursday in Magnolia, Ark. against Southern Arkansas. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

    Washburn had to wait until late in Sunday night's selection show to see its name pop up on the screen, which was a relief to Ichabod coach Harley Douglas, whose team had narrowly missed the field in previous seasons.

    "My first two years here and my last year playing we were right there,'' Douglas said. "We finished fifth (in the region) and they only took four and we finished seventh when they only took six and we finished ninth when they took eight. But I felt like we played ourselves into it (a national bid) over the last couple of weeks.''

    Washburn will play its first-ever NCAA postseason game at 6 p.m. Thursday as the No. 7 seed in the Central Region tournament and will take on the host team, No. 2 seed and No. 8-ranked Southern Arkansas at Walker Stadium.

    "I don't think our guys are really scared of anybody,'' Douglas said. "I think they really embrace the opportunity to compete with anybody in the country.''

  • Kelly leaving Topeka West football post, accepts spot on Ichabod staff

    Rick Peterson



    Ryan Kelly confirmed Monday night that he has stepped down as Topeka West's head football coach to accept a position on Craig Schurig's staff at Washburn University. 

    "It happened really fast,'' Kelly told TopSport.news. "The past year or so it's been in my head and in my heart to look to possibly get back into college football. There's a lot about being a head high school coach that I do enjoy, but I just felt that this might be the right fit.''

    RyanKellyRyan Kelly

    Kelly, a former Topeka West star, has served as the Chargers' head coach for five seasons after previously coaching at Benedictine, his college alma mater.

    "I happened to talk to Craig Schurig and there was an opportunity to come on staff in a capacity that fit really well for me in accordance to my schedule and the fact that I'll still be teaching in (USD) 501,'' Kelly said. "This was a role that has some flexibility and it just seems to fit right now.

    "If I'm going to get back into the college game, knowing how this profession works, I know that it's going to happen in this type of capacity.''

    Kelly is hoping to continue teaching at Topeka West and help out any way he can with the Chargers' student-athletes and the West program.

    "I plan to be at Topeka West, which I'm excited about,'' he said. "I remain very hopeful that I get to stay at Topeka West and I know that I can still be a crutch for the kids, I can still be a crutch for the program in the time that I am there during the day, especially in the early weeks of the fall semester when things really get going. I plan to be any help I can.''

    Kelly said his role at WU initially will be to assist Ichabod assistant Dane Simoneau with the offensive line, but he said he's up for anything Washburn needs him to do.

    "Whatever position coach Schurig needs me to fill, that will be my assignment,'' Kelly said.

    Kelly said he regrets the timing of the move, but said it was something he felt he needed to take advantage of.

    "Trust me, this was not an easy deal at all,'' Kelly said. "The timing is terrible, and I'm sorrowful for that. At the same time, there comes a time where you have to do what's best for you and your wife and your family and this just seems to be the right time and the right fit.''

    Kelly, whose Chargers were 3-6 last fall, said he felt the Topeka West program has made progress over the past several seasons. 

    "We did some good things at Topeka West,'' he said. "I think we've improved it. Is it where we want it to be? No, but in the last five years we've been able to improve the program in a lot of areas that might now show up on the scoreboard necessarily.''

    Now Kelly is eager to get started in his new role with Washburn, which is coming off a 9-3 season and a berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

    "One thing I've always respected about coach Schurig is he does tend to really keep it in the family,'' Kelly said. "And even though I'm not a Washburn alum I'm really appreciative of the opportunity because he knows me from being a Topeka kid, I was recruited by Washburn back in the day, I'm very familiar with their staff and it's an opportunity I'm really excited about.'' 

  • Washburn softball set to kick off NCAA Division II Tournament bid

    Rick Peterson



    MIAA regular-season softball champion Washburn will make its fifth NCAA postseason appearance and the second since the 2018 when the Ichabods open play at 2 p.m. on Thursday against Minnesota State in Claremore, Okla.

    Washburn (45-13) is the No. 5 seed while Minnesota State (46-12) is the No. 4 seed.

    WUsoftballanthemWashburn University's softball team will begin its NCAA Division II Tournament bid at 2 p.m. Thursday at Claremore, Okla. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    The other two teams in the sub-region is the region's top seed Rogers State (47-9) and the No. 8 seed Winona State (38-15).

    The winner of this four-team regional will take on the winner of the other Central Regional being played in Edmond, Okla. The four teams there are No. 2 seed Central Oklahoma (45-10), No. 3 seed Augustana (47-8), No. 6 seed Arkansas Tech (39-17) and No. 7 seed Southern Arkansas (37-16).

    The two regional winners will face each other in a best two-of-three series starting May 19 at a site to be determined.

    The Ichabods had their school-record 24-game winning streak snapped at the MIAA Tournament going 3-2 over the weekend, with both losses coming to Rogers State, including a ninth-inning walk off in the MIAA Tournament Championship game.

    Former Washburn Rural coach Brenda Holaday is in her sixth season as the Ichabod softball coach, recording a 178-114 overall record and going 91-41 in MIAA contests.

    Holaday led the Ichabods to their first MIAA regular-season title in her second year in 2018 and the fourth in school history this season. She has also led the Ichabods to NCAA Regional berths in 2018 and this season, the fourth and fifth appearances in school history.

    The Ichabods recorded their first 40-win season since 2002 when the Ichabods went 48-11.

  • Huggins sets save record as Ichabod baseball advances in MIAA tourney

    Rick Peterson



     Washburn baseball is moving on in the MIAA Tournament after defeating Central Oklahoma, 6-2, in Game 2 of the MIAA best-of-three quarterfinal series.

    The rest of the conference tournament will be a double elimination bracket hosted by Central Oklahoma Thursday through Sunday.

    Washburn will play Central Missouri at 12 p.m. Thursday.

    HugginsFormer Washburn Rural standout Dalton Huggins set Washburn's career save record as the Ichabods advanced in the MIAA Tournament. [File photo by Kyle Manthe/TSN]

    Washburn Rural product Dalton Huggins made Washburn program history in Saturday's win, becoming the all-time career saves leader for the Ichabods as he recorded his 11th save since joining the Ichabods in 2020.

    After the Bronchos (29-21) went down in order in the first inning, they benefited from some free passes in the second inning and loaded up the bases with a walk and back-to-back hit by pitches. A third hit batter of the inning brought in the first run of the game. Braden Babcock took over on the mound and got out of the inning with a strikeout and fielder's choice to mitigate any more damage.
    The script flipped in the third inning as it was 31-18 Washburn's turn to capitalize on free bases.

    After Connor Scott hit a one-out triple, Cal Watkins was hit by the pitch and Brett Ingram was walked on four pitches to load the bases. Quinn Waterbury followed with a walk and picked up an RBI that evened the score. With two outs, Parker Dunn sent the first pitch of his at bat through the right side to drive in two runs and give the Ichabods a 3-1 advantage.
    Washburn went up 4-1 in the fourth frame as Easton Bruce hit a leadoff single and moved to third on a groundout and fly out before scoring on Watkins' single that dropped into left field.
    The Bronchos cut the deficit in half after they scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth.
    Central Oklahoma threatened again in the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs, but John Cross left all three runners stranded as the inning ended on a groundout.
    Washburn went down quietly in the top of the eighth still in front, 4-2. Huggins worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth and struck out two in the process.
    The Ichabods tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth to go up, 6-2. Scott legged out an infield single and advanced to second on Watkins' sacrifice bunt. Ingram drove in a run with a single to left field and moved up to second on a groundout. Zion Bowlin reached on a throwing error that allowed Ingram to score Washburn's sixth run of the afternoon.
    Huggins returned to the bump to close out the game and ended the game on seven pitches to clinch the series win for Washburn.
    Washburn landed nine hits in the game and limited Central Oklahoma to four. Scott went 2-4 with two runs scored. Watkins was 2-3 at the dish and scored once and drove in one run. Ingram had a hit, two runs, an RBI, and two walks in the game.
    Babcock earned the win and threw four and 2/3 innings in relief and allowed one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Huggins tossed two clean innings to close out the game and received his fourth save of the season. 

  • Washburn University softball earns berth in NCAA National Tournament

    Rick Peterson



    MIAA regular-season champion Washburn University has earned an at-large selection to the NCAA National Softball Tournament for the second time since the 2018 season and the fifth time in program history.

    Tournament starting times will be posted on wusports.com as they become available.

    WUsoftballjubeWashburn softball is headed to the NCAA National Tournament, earning the No. 5 seed for a sub-regional in Claremore, Okla. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    The Ichabods will travel to Claremore, Okla. for the sub-region hosted by Rogers State starting on Thursday.

    Washburn (45-13) will be the No. 5 seed in the regional and will face No. 4 seeded Minnesota State (46-12), which also earned an at-large invitation to the Central Region.

    The winners of the two sub-regions will then meet for a best two of three series starting May 19.  

    The NCAA 2022 championship will be played May 26-31 at Regency Athletic Complex in Denver, Colorado. 

    Washburn finished the regular season 24-2 in the MIAA, winning its third MIAA regular season title.

    The Ichabods fell in the MIAA Tournament championship game on Sunday to Rogers State, dropping the Ichabods' record to 45-13 this season.

    Claremore, Oklahoma Sub Regional -- Hosted by Rogers State

    1. Rogers State (47-9)
    4. Minnesota State (46-12)
    5. Washburn (45-13)
    8. Winona State (40-15) 

    Edmond, Oklahoma Sub Regional – Hosted by Central Oklahoma

    2. Central Oklahoma (45-10)
    3. Arkansas Tech (39-17)
    6. Southern Arkansas (37-16)
    7. Augustana (47-8)

  • Ginter twirls no-hitter as WU softball advances in MIAA tournament

    Rick Peterson



    Not even a 50-minute mid-game rain or a two-hour starting time delay could slow down the No. 23-ranked Washburn Ichabods as they rolled to an 8-0 win over Emporia State behind Jaycee Ginter's no-hitter  in the opening game of the 2022 MIAA Softball Championships.

    Washburn, the No. 1 seed and MIAA regular season champions, will face Missouri Western on Friday at 4 p.m. The Ichabods have won 23 straight games.

    JayceeGinterNEJaycee Ginter threw her second career no-hitter for Washburn in Friday's 8-0 MIAA tournament win over Emporia State. [Photo courtesy of Washburn Athletics]

    Ginter, a former Shawnee Heights star, tossed her second no-hitter in a Washburn uniform, improving to 29-3 in the circle while striking out three and needing just 76 pitches in the game.

  • Eight Washburn players earn All-MIAA baseball honors

    Rick Peterson

    All MIAA release[Washburn Athletics]



    Eight Washburn University baseball players received recognition on the 2022 All-MIAA Baseball Team, released Thursday afternoon by the conference office.
    Three Washburn players earned All-MIAA second team accolades.

    Senior third baseman Brett Ingram earned a second-team nod for the second consecutive year as he has put together a career season, surpassing his stats from the previous two years combined. He has started all 47 games and leads the team with a .369 batting average, 72 hits (fifth in the MIAA), 48 runs, 17 doubles (sixth in the MIAA) and 24 multi-hit games. He is also second on the team with 43 runs batted in and 11 home runs. On March 13 at Northeastern State, Ingram was a grand slam shy of hitting for the home run cycle as he finished the game 5-7 with three homers, four runs, and six RBI.

    Pitchers Dalton Huggins and Casey Steward both earned their first all-conference award and joined Ingram on the second team.

    Huggins, a Washburn Rural product, has recorded an impressive senior season on the mound for the Ichabods as he ranks in the top-10 among MIAA pitchers in 11 different stat categories. He has a conference-low 3.22 ERA to go with a team-leading 79 strikeouts (third in the MIAA). He's held opponents to a .220 batting average (third in MIAA) and a conference-low 46 hits and 25 runs. The southpaw is 5-1 with three saves in 58.2 innings of work. Against Fort Hays State earlier this year, he struck out a career-high eight batters and allowed just one run, one walk, and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.

  • Jaycee Ginter MIAA Player of the Year, Brenda Holaday Coach of the Year

    Rick Peterson

    all_miaa_copy.jpgGraphic courtesy of Washburn Athletics



    The 2022 MIAA softball champion Washburn Ichabods placed six members on the All-MIAA team including the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year as announced by the conference office Wednesday.

    Sophomore pitcher/outfielder Jaycee Ginter, a former Shawnee Heights star, was named the MIAA Player of the Year and was a unanimous selection All-MIAA first-team as a pitcher/utility player, becoming the first Ichabod to win the award since Tish Williams in 2009 as a junior and only the third Washburn softball player to win the MIAA top honor, with Jenny Klamm named in 1993.

    This season Ginter leads the nation in pitching wins with 28, which also ranks second out of all the NCAA divisions. Ginter has recorded a 28-3 overall record with 21 complete games and a school-record 256 strikeouts with a 1.61 ERA.

    At the plate Ginter leads the Ichabods with 53 runs batted in, hitting .386 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and a .683 slugging percentage. Ginter was also a first-team selection as a sophomore in 2021.

    Coach Brenda Holaday was the unanimous pick as the MIAA Coach of the Year, her second COY honor since 2018, after leading the squad to a 42-11 regular season record and a 24-2 mark in conference play for the Ichabods' third MIAA title. The Ichabods were tabbed sixth in the MIAA preseason poll.
    Sophomore third baseman Marrit Mead repeats as a first-team selection after winning the honor in 2021.

    Mead leads the nation in doubles with 22 and is fourth in the nation with 79 hits. This season Mead leads the Ichabods with a .427 batting average, scoring a team-high 56 runs while driving in 40 runs and stealing 21 bases and drawing a team-best 21 walks. Mead was also selected to the newly-formed MIAA Gold Glove team at third base.
    Senior designated player Ashton Friend also repeats as a first team All-MIAA pick from the league's coaches after recording a .336 batting average with a team-high 14 home runs. She is second on the team with 50 RBI and has a .651 slugging percentage. Friend is ranked 21st in the nation in home runs and 22nd in the nation in RBI.
    Junior Paige Robbins was a second team All-MIAA pick after batting .393 with 44 hits and eight doubles while driving in 21 runs.
    Earning honorable mention All-MIAA honors were sophomore shortstop AutymnSchreiner and junior second baseman Hadley Kerschen. Schreiner enters the postseason with a .329 batting average with 47 hits and eight doubles while driving in 20 runs. She has been hit by a pitch 13 times this season, which is an Ichabod single-season record. Kerschen is batting 3.19 with 35 RBI and 53 hits while scoring 37 runs.
    2022 MIAA Softball Awards