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By RICK PETERSON

TopSports.news

Six former state champs, a pair of baseball All-Americans, a Major League Baseball alum and a current Division I football standout headline the opening men's picks in TopSports.news' Shawnee County All-Time Top 100 project.

TSN's first group of 10 Top 100 honorees includes athletes who participated in seven different sports, including recent stars Tanner Newkirk of Hayden, Tre Richardson of Highland Park and Desmond Purnell of Hayden, who are currently participating at the college level.

The first men's Top 100 selections also include Washburn Rural product Austin Halsey, one of the city's most decorated soccer athletes, as well as former MLB pitcher Larry Miller, college baseball All-Americans Jordan Cooper (Shawnee Heights) and Ben Carlson (Seaman) and NCAA cross country qualifiers Jacob Morgan (Washburn Rural) and Rob Hays (Topeka West).

TSN SHAWNEE COUNTY ALL-TIME TOP 100 MEN’S ATHLETES

AustinHalseyTop100 2Former Washburn Rural soccer All-American scored 57 goals in his high school career and went on to play at Baker University. [BakerWildcats.com]

91. AUSTIN HALSEY, Washburn Rural

Halsey was an All-City, All-Centennial League, All-State and All-America pick in soccer, ending his high school career as Washburn Rural's career leader in goals scored (57) and single-season goals (30) and tied for third for single-season assists (16). Halsey was a member of the Junior Blues' 6A state championship team in 2012 and led Rural to a second-place team finish in '14 before going on to play at Baker. Halsey was the Gatorade Kansas Soccer Player of the Year as a senior and was selected to play in the High School All-American game. Halsey went on to play 83 career games for Baker, including the NAIA National Tournament, and was named the 2018 Champions of Character Award.

 JacobMorganTop100 2Washburn Rural product Jacob Morgan was a two-time Class 6A state cross country champion and went on to compete in the NCAA Championships for Colorado State and Kansas. [Kansas Athletics[

92. JACOB MORGAN, Washburn Rural

Was a two-time Class 6A state cross country champion and ran in the NCAA Cross Country Championships for both Colorado State and Kansas. Won back to back Class 6A state individual titles as a junior and senior for Washburn Rural (2010 and '11) and was a four-time state medalist, never finishing lower than ninth and going undefeated as a senior. Morgan twice earned All-Big 12 and All-Region honors for the Jayhawks.

LarryMillerTop100 4Topeka High grad Larry Miller pitched three seasons in the Major Leagues and nine years in the minors. [Topps]

93. LARRY MILLER, Topeka High

Miller pitched three seasons in the Major Leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets with a career earned run average of 4.17 and also spent nine seasons in the minors, compiling a record of 58-51 with a 3.43 ERA. Miller played for legendary manager Casey Stengel with the Mets.

TannerNewkirkTop100 2Former Hayden distance star Tanner Newkirk won four state titles for the Wildcats, including three track titles as a senior. [File photo/TSN]  

94. TANNER NEWKIRK, Hayden

Newkirk won three Class 4A state track and field titles as a senior for Hayden in 2022, sweeping the three longest individual events -- the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Newkirk who also won a state cross country championship, pulled off the rare distance triple in Class 4A, winning the 3,200 meters in 8 minutes, 58.88 seconds, the 1,600 in 4:12.25 and the 800 in 1:55.0 while setting state meet records in the 3,200 and 1,600 and posting the No. 5 time in state history in the 3,200. Newkirk is currently running track and cross country for Kansas. 

TreRichardsonTop100 2Tre Richardson was a three-sport star for Highland Park before earning first-team All-America honors at Hutchinson last fall. [File photo/TSN]

95. TRE RICHARDSON, Highland Park

Richardson graduated from Highland Park in 2023, starring for the Scots in football, basketball and track and field. As a senior Richardson helped Hi Park post a breakout 6-3 season in football and a third-place state finish in the Class 5A state basketball tournament before he won a pair of gold medals and added second and fourth-place finishes in track. Richardson was a first-team junior college football All-American last fall at Hutchinson Community College and is currently at Washburn, where he plans to double up in football and track.

DesmondPurnellTop100 2Former Hayden star Desmond Purnell earned All-Big 12 honorable mention for Kansas State football last fall. [K-State Sports]

96. DESMOND PURNELL, Hayden

After starring for Hayden in football, the 2021 graduate signed with Kansas State, where he started all 13 games at linebacker last fall and earned All-Big 12 honorable mention. Purnell finished fifth on the team with 52 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss, a half sack, an interception, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, one teturned for a TD. Purnell compiled 811 rushing yards, 469 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns and 80 tackles as a senior for Hayden.

JordanCooperTop100 2Former Shawnee Heights and Wichita State star pitcher Jordan Cooper pitched nine minor league seasons, advancing to the AAA level. [Submitted photo]

97. JORDAN COOPER, Shawnee Heights

A four-time baseball All-Stater for Shawnee Heights, Cooper was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the 2008 draft and was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the ninth round of the 2010 draft after playing at Wichita State. Cooper earned second-team All-America honors as a sophomore at WSU after posting a 10-3 record with a 2.01 earned run average. Cooper played nine seasons of professional baseball including, seven seasons as a member of the Cleveland Indians’ organization.

RobHaysTop100 3Former Topeka West state champion and Kansas State distance standout Rob Hays finished third in his age group in the 2022 Boston Marathon and also set a record in a 100-mile ultra marathon. [Submitted photo]
 
98. ROB HAYS, Topeka West

Hays was a standout distance runner for Topeka West and Kansas State and continues to pile up accomplishments in his 50s. Hays, an assistant principal at Topeka High, finished third in his age group in the 2022 Boston Marathon with a personal-record time of 2:45.41 and also set a national age-group record in a 100-mile ultra marathon. Hays won back to back Class 6A state individual cross country titles in 1983 and '84 for Topeka West and went on to run in the NCAA Championships and earn All-Big 8 honors twice in the steeplechase for Kansas State.

BenCarlsonTop100 2Former Seaman two-time state baseball champ Ben Carlson earned All-America honors for Missouri State. [Missouri State Athletics]

99. BEN CARLSON, Seaman

Starred for Seaman in football and baseball and went on to earn All-America baseball honors for Missouri State. Carlson played in the minor leagues two seasons after being drafted in the sixth round by the Cleveland Indians before playing linebacker for Emporia State's football team. Played in 11 games for the Hornets making a team-leading 85 tackles. He had six tackles for loss and had a interception and a fumble recovery.

JackBybeeTop100 2A Purple Heart recipient in World War II, Jack Bybee became one of the premier polo players of his era. [File photo]

100. JACK L. BYBEE, Washburn Rural

Bybee, a World War II veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart, was called “one of the most spectacular” polo players in the Midwest while with Topeka’s Old Ironsides team for two decades. Bybee once said about polo: “It’s got all the thrills of any other sport, with horses thrown in for good measure.’’ Bybee passed away in 1981.

UPCOMING TOP 100 TENTATIVE SCHEDULE

July 11 -- Women's No. 81 through 90.

July 12 -- Men's No. 81 through 90.

July 13 -- Women's No. 71 through 80.

July 14 -- Men's No. 71 through 80.

July 15 -- Women's No. 61 through 70.

July 16 -- Men's No. 61 through 70.

July 17 -- Women's No. 51 through 60.

July 18 -- Men's No. 51 through 60.

July 19 -- Women's No. 41 through 50.

July 20 -- Men's No. 41 through 50.

July 21 -- Women's No. 31 through 40.

July 22 -- Men's No. 31 through 40.

July 23 -- Women's No. 21 through 30.

July 24 -- Men's No. 21 through 30.

July 25 -- Women's No. 11 through 20.

July 26 -- Men's No. 11 through 20.

July 27 -- Women's No.10 through 1.

July 28 -- Men's No. 10 through 1.

 

 

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