VYPE Kansas – NCK April 2024

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Smoky Valley’s Adrian Hazelwood Salina Sacred Heart’s Hillsboro’s Dawson Boldt
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Salina South’s Sadie Xaysongkham
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520 S. Santa Fe Ave., Suite 400 Salina, KS 785-452-7366 SalinaRegionalSportsMedicine.com It takes hard work, passion, and drive to do what you love. Sometimes it takes retraining your mind and body. At Salina Regional Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, our comprehensive care includes education to prevent injuries, sports performance enhancement, and the healing and preservation of damaged joints through surgery and rehabilitation. When you’re sidelined by injury, our focus is getting you back in the game. GETTING YOU BACK IN THE GAME.

Salina South’s Sadie Xaysongkham

Not many athletes can say they fell in love with their sport at a young age, but for Salina South’s Sadie Xaysongkham, she always knew the game of softball would be for her.

“My love for softball started when I first watched my sister,” Xaysongkham said. “After that, my dad got a team together and we started playing, and as I got older, my love for softball grew. The girls on my team have been with me for over 10 years, they make me want to get better and they’re the reason I love my sport.”

The honorable mention second baseman spent the offseason training her physical and mental game.

“Some things I’m focused on this season are definitely my hitting and getting more confident with it,” Xaysongkham said. “I have a problem with getting in my head and not performing 100 percent so I’m working on improving that every day. I’m also working on talking a lot more to the girls on my team, picking them up, encouraging them, and giving them advice.”

While accomplishing the goals and achieving the accolades matter to Xaysongkham, the most important piece of the game happens with the people off the field.

“I play mainly for myself, softball is like a safe space for me, I have the ability to go on the field, be myself and just let loose,” Xaysongkham said. “I also play for my family, softball has brought my family closer and has brought us people that are now family. Going out on the field, doing something great and knowing that I made my family happy is the best feeling ever and every time I go out, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to play.”

Xaysongkham plans to attend Fort Hays State University to continue her academics in the fall.

“After high school, I plan on going to FHSU,” Xaysonkham said. “They have a great radiology program that I’d like to attend and become a sonographer.”


Elyria Christian’s Landon Schneider

The bond that Elyria Christian’s Landon Schneider has with his dad is the main reason why he is such an outdoorsman.

“From a young age my dad would take me hunting and fishing,” Schneider said. “Even though I could not walk to the designated spot, he would put me on his shoulders and carry me along with all of his equipment. His passion and desire to allow me to enjoy the sport gave me the same love for hunting and fishing that he had.”

The peace and tranquility the outdoors brings Schneider is just one of the reasons why he is passionate about his hobby.

“The outdoors for me is a place of peace,” Schneider said. “Being outdoors has taught me a lot about the different animals but it has also taught me important lessons such as patience and making the best of different situations. While being outside I can relax from everyday life and admire God’s beautiful creation.”

Fishing and hunting is just one layer to Schneider’s enjoyment of the outdoors. There are also work commitments, as well.

“I spend a lot of time hunting and fishing and am thankful to be able to participate in shooting sports through McPherson this coming season,” Schneider said. “I like to boat and camp in the summers. Throughout the year I work with cattle and horses.”

There are several memories with family that stand out to Schneider, but there is one in particular with his dad that he is particularly fond of.

“One of my favorite times hunting was when my dad and I went to Colorado to go elk hunting,” Schneider said. “On this trip we hiked many miles and camped out in the backcountry. This was one of my favorite times because of the scenery but also because it gave me a chance to be alone with my dad doing something we both enjoy.”

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Junction City High School

Hellas Construction continues to make a huge impact in the Sunflower state of Kansas. The Junction City Blue Jays are sporting a new Matrix Helix synthetic turf field with a paved into place Cushdrain below the surface, which helps the field drain better and reduce concussions.

“I think in this day in age, anything you can possibly do to help player’s safety, you try to do it,” said Junction City athletic director Matt Westerhaus. “I’ve had nothing but positive comments from coaches and players.”

Westerhaus will be the first to tell you Blue Jay Stadium is the talk of the Midwest when it comes to athletic facilities.

“Our community loves our new high school and new facilities,” Westerhaus said. “We’re very proud to call this home. When we designed this, we really thought about the gameday experience. I think everyone who has visited Junction City High School this past fall walked away with the ‘wow factor’ about the facility we have provided our students. The kids are excited that they get to play and practice here every day.

The experience Junction City had was Hellas was second to none.

“I loved working with Hellas,” Westerhaus said. “From beginning to end they were great to work with, making sure we had everything squared away.”

Clay Center’s Isaac P zenmaier carried a stroke average of 84 last season, which propelled him to four top ten nishes, as well as making the cut in the 4A Tournament.

So what’s next for the player his coaches and teammates refer to as “P z”?

“This year my goal for the team would be making it to state for the third year in a row,” P zenmaier said. “One of my individual goals is winning a tournament.”

Clay Center head coach Dick Ahlberg described P zenmaier’s game as explosive, but more than that, he’s a valued member of the Tigers’ team.

“He is a good leader on and o the course,” Ahlberg said. “I can't tell you how helpful he was last season, when I was recovering from some medical issues. Isaac is not sel sh, and I trust him completely.”

Distance has never been a problem for P zenmaier, but being able to be more consistent was the focal point for his o season.

“There are many things I’d like to improve on this year,” P zenmaier said. “My main focus for the year is my ball striking. I was able to work on this a lot in the o season while hitting on the simulator. During the o season I’ve been trying to get plenty of swings in on the simulator and also going to the course to play when the weather is good.”

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How to Prevent “Bleacher Butt”

If you’ve ever attended a sports event, concert, or school function, chances are you’ve encountered the uncomfortable reality of “bleacher butt.” After sitting on hard, unforgiving bleachers for an entire event, that achy, sore feeling sets in. Even if you haven’t experienced this, school sports and athletic seasons are ramping up, and you may experience bleacher butt in the near future. It is vital to have strategies to reduce this pain so you can enjoy every event you attend!

Why Does it Hurt to Sit on Bleachers?

Bleachers can cause low back, leg, and butt pain when sitting. There are several reasons for this. Bleachers do not have backrests, which causes poor posture when sitting in them. People tend to slouch forward, hurting the butt and lower back. The glute muscles are also being compressed between the bones in your pelvis and the hard bleacher seat, which can cause pain. This compression can cause circulation loss, numbness, and tingling in the butt and legs. Sitting in bleachers is similar to sitting for prolonged periods at a sedentary job. However, offices tend to have ergonomic chairs at least. Muscles and joints can get stiff and cause pain whenever our bodies move very little.

How to Make Sitting on Bleachers More Comfortable

Unfortunately, there’s no magical solution to make sitting on a hard, uncomfortable surface more comfortable. However, there are solutions to cope and make it as comfortable as possible. Here are some ideas:

Bring a Cushion!

Cushions, as simple as they are, provide a padded surface that helps to distribute weight evenly across the sit bones. The

cushion could be a one-inch thick piece of foam or a bleacher seat with a cushion and backrest. Cushioned seats for bleachers may be your ticket to comfort while you watch your favorite events for the rest of the summer.

Try for Better Posture

You should be mindful of your posture to minimize discomfort while sitting in bleachers (and other seats). Good sitting posture involves engaging the core muscles, not slouching, and keeping your spine vertical from the hips to the neck and head as much as possible. You should shift your weight from side to side and stretch if you feel uncomfortable. Building strength and stamina for postural muscles, like the abdominal muscles, help maintain good posture for longer.

Be Active Before and After the Event

A great way to make bleacher sitting more comfortable is to do something active right before and right after sitting. This will minimize stiffness and pain from sitting through stretching and getting adequate

blood flow to your muscles. You could walk or play a sport, but warm up properly first!

Stand Up Occasionally

One of the best ways to reduce the painful bleacher butt is to take breaks to stand and walk during the event, hopefully at an intermission or half-time. You should aim to stand every half hour or so. You could take a walk to the concession stand or the bathroom. Of course, you can stand up and cheer for your favorite team! However, be mindful of the people behind and to the side of you to not block their view if they are not standing.

While bleacher butt is an all-too-common issue, it doesn’t have to ruin your event experience. By understanding why sitting on bleachers can be painful and trying out these practical tips for comfort, you can now make the most of your time at sporting events, concerts, or any other bleacher-seated occasions. Remember, a little preparation and mindfulness go a long way in ensuring a pain-free and enjoyable experience!


Maylin Owen – Salina Central HS

Maylin Owen, who was an honorable mention all-league selection last season for Salina Central, has focused on becoming a better offensive player this season.

She scored 10 goals, with four assists in 2023.

“One area I hope to improve on this year is taking shots from a distance,” Owen said. “I want to get in the mindset of looking to shoot from outside the goalie box more often. I have been putting time into practicing these types of shots outside of the season.”

Owen started playing soccer at a young age, so she has every intention of soaking up her last season with the Mustangs.

“I have loved soccer from a very young age, and especially with it being my senior season, I hope to give it my all and leave it all on the field,” Owen said. “A goal I have for our team is to connect and play together. I want everyone to give their best effort and have fun.”

As a senior, Owen said she has a responsibility to lead the younger players in the program.

“I am looking forward to being a leader for the underclassmen and showing them what it means to be a part of a team,” Owen said. “I want to make a positive impact and soak in all of the last moments with my teammates.”

Drew Chrisman, PT, DPT

Favorite sport: Track and Field

Favorite activity/exercise to get in easy movement: Commuting to work on my bike has been a great way to get the blood flowing, get some easy cardio, and provide an opportunity to mentally transfer from home to work and vice versa.

Sports you played in high school: Mid-Distance Track, Cross Country

What you treat/specialize in: I treat general orthopedics, but I love working with high school athletes struggling with knee pain. I had the same struggle and never visited a PT, so athletes succeeding here means a lot to me.

Best tip for high school athletes: Strive for great posture and always stretch your calves.

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Marion’s Tessa Mendoza

Marion’s Tessa Mendoza has years of experience, and she proved it last year being named a first team all-league softball player for the Warriors.

“Baseball has played a big role in my family, and after watching my older brother play I decided to start playing softball,” Mendoza said. “Even though my dad didn’t fully understand the differences between baseball and softball, he helped me as much as he could. My dad and my brother have been my biggest supporters and are the reason I play the game.”

Making the memories with her teammates and coaches has been Mendoza’s favorite part of the game so far this season.

“Being able to laugh and mess around with my teammates has been the highlight of my season,” Mendoza said. “I also love that I have been given the opportunity to know people that I would not normally hang out with, and have grown to love every single one of them.”

As her senior year comes to an end, Mendoza is spending it to the fullest and making every moment count.

“My goals this season are to enjoy playing the game with the people I love and help others improve while I’m working on my struggles,” Mendoza said. “I want to make the best of my last year at Marion.”

Mendoza doesn’t want to give up her softball journey just yet, however she is focused on her education after high school.

“I am attending Newman University in the fall and pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice and psychology,” Mendoza said. “I am hoping to be a part of their softball program but am planning to focus on my academics.”


Minneapolis’ Joel Abell

Joel Abell of Minneapolis has been looking forward to track season all year. Getting to grow as an athlete and his relationships with his teammates is something he strives to do each and every spring season.

“My favorite part of the season so far is my team and the relationship outside of the sport,” Abell said. “We spend a lot of time together and like I said there’s not a lot of us so we get to know each other pretty well. We just finished working our Junior High track meet and we had a blast.”

Having ran for Minneapolis for quite some time, Abell is ready to settle back into some of his favorite events.

“I’ve been a long distance runner at Minneapolis since junior high so I’ve had a decent amount of training in both their cross country as well as track programs,” Abell said. “There’s only a few distance runners for our track team so the few we have are responsible for almost everything longer than a 400 meter.”

With a handful of meets coming up, Abell is hopeful that he will meet some goals and cut off some times.

“Some goals for the year in my mile time is probably a 4:25,” Abell said. “I’ve been consistent on running a little slower than that but once I compete in some larger meets I think I’ll cut off some time.”

Abell will be taking his studies to Kansas State University next fall to study agronomy.

“Next year I plan to attend K-State and graduate with an agronomy degree,” Abell said. “After that I plan to be either an agronomist or an AG teacher.”


Congratulations to the Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team on winning the NJCAA National Championship.

The Lady Blue Dragons finished the season 37-0 and defeated Northwest Florida State College 88-80 in overtime in the title game. Of Hutchinson’s 37 wins, 31 were by doublefigures and the Lady Dragons averaged nearly 78 points per game.

Freshmen Kiki Smith, from Topeka High School, and Hailey Jackson led the Blue

Women’s BasketBall

Dragons in scoring, averaging 17.6 and 12.9 points per game respectively. In the title game, Smith and Jackson combined to scored 48 of the Lady Blue Dragons’ 88 points.

Hutchinson had three more Kansas players on its roster: freshman forward Madi Denison from Minneola, sophomore Bree Hornya from Liberal and sophomore guard Brynn McCormick from Cheney.

The Lady Blue Dragons are coached by John Ontjes, who was a former player at Hutchinson CC. This was Ontjes’ fourth title game appearance, but the first time he and his team have broken through.


Rose Hill Baseball

Since 1998, Scott Carr has been the head baseball coach at Rose Hill High School.

The Rockets are coming off of a 16-5 season a year ago. Seniors Scotty Carr, Cooper Nace, Rhett Briggs, Cameron Mock and Blake Struble will be pivotal for the Rockets and their leadership.

“This team is special because they want the best for each other,” Carr said. “With so many folks being so self-centered these days, we are fortunate to have a group of


16, 17 and 18 year old’s that celebrate each other’s successes. This group of seniors reminds me a lot of our very successful 2016 senior class. Like 2016, this senior class is pretty athletic but they are much better people so seeing them have success on the field is well deserved.”

The Rockets do have some questions, when it comes to some of their infield.

“We have big shoes to fill in the middle infield,” Carr said. “Jayden Jones and Cameron Jewell were critical to our

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success. We are still seeking for the right guys to fill those spots so we can keep scores low and allow pitchers to pitch to contact.”

Rose Hill is looking to get the bats going this season as well, after a little bit of a tough time at the plate for the team.

“With much success last season, we were a below average hitting team,”

Carr said. “With a senior heavy group we hope to improve to take a little pressure off our pitching staff.”


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Butler Community College’s Ericka Mattingly

After a successful season as a basketball player for Butler Community College, Ericka Mattingly returned in 2020 to be an assistant coach with the Grizzlies.

Mattingly, who led Wichita South to four straight Class 6A championships from 20132016, just completed her third season on Mike Helmer’s staff. During her three years on staff, Mattingly has assisted Butler to a 62-24 record and helped develop three NJCAA AllAmericans.

As a player, Mattingly played one season with Butler and was named an NJCAA Third Team All-American.

She led the team in scoring at 14.5 points per game on 41 percent field goal shooting and 31 percent three-point shooting.

Mattingly also added a teambests of 6.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.8 steals per game on the season. Mattingly led Butler to a 21-10 record and NJCAA Division I Region VI Quarterfinal appearance.

After she left Butler, Mattingly went on to play at UMKC, where she became a first team All-WAC performer, averaging 20 points, six assists and three steals per game – all of which was the first time in history a player led the league in all three categories.

Whether you come for a degree or to take a few gen eds, Butler has hundreds of courses guaranteed to transfer to any Kansas public university, taught by faculty who know their students’ names.

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McPherson’s Tyler Brown: Coach of the Month

McPherson tennis coach Tyler Brown has been around the sport his whole life and has been coaching since 2002 when he was fresh out of college.

Brown’s coaching style is exactly what has led to a lot of the successes of the Bullpups.

“Sometimes players need someone to be there for them, showing them compassion and heart to lean on,” Brown said. “There are other times when players need someone who will push them with some tough love. It really depends on the player and situation at hand. I feel flexibility is key, being able to read situations and players is what it takes to get the most out of them.”

Brown and the Bullpups have the secret to success figured out.

“The number one thing is surrounding your program with coaches and community members that are bought into what you are trying to accomplish

The MAC advantage is another key to the success that coach Brown has had.

“In McPherson we have an organization called, Mac Advantage Tennis Club, it has been in place in McPherson for over 25 years,” Brown said. “I was hired for a summer job, it later became my goal for the club to hire as many school coaches as


at a very young age. Some of the years we have won a State title is due to players being a part of the club and the game of tennis since their Pee Wee days. These long term relationships and time spent playing creates one of the best feeder programs in the state, in my opinion. Most places hope to just have a middle school

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“Our job is to help improve quality of life,” says orthopedic surgeon Travis Rump, D.O. “We do everything we can to help people get back to the things they enjoy.”

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Salina Sacred Heart’s Walker Tuttle

Salina Sacred Heart’s Walker Tuttle has known golf since he was young. Tuttle had many friends to play with and adults to look up to, and now he’s playing at a higher level of his own.

“I’ve been playing golf since I was a kid,” Tuttle said. “When I was growing up all my friends played golf and we would go to camps and clinics together. I had a lot of family friends that were older than me that played as well, one of the reasons I played was because I looked up to them.”

Looking back on last year, Tuttle can still taste the victory of a state win.

“Our season is just getting started but my favorite moment of last season was winning state,” Tuttle said. “This is a goal our team had been looking forward to all year and it was awesome when we accomplished it.”

Hoping to add on to last year’s accomplishments, Tuttle has endless goals for the rest of the season.

“One of my goals this season is to shoot even par or better in a tournament,” Tuttle said. “Another goal of mine is to take top five at state. I am also trying to improve my mental game which I know will lead to better scores.”

Individually, Tuttle had a season to remember last year as well.

“Last year I was first team All-State in 2A, averaged an 18-hole score of 78 last year, took fourth at state in 2023, and placed second at regionals in 2023,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle plans to take his studies to Lawrence in fall.

“I plan on attending the University of Kansas to major in Finance,” Tuttle said.

has bowled for many years, but this past season was the first one that he took seriously.

“I tried to make strives to become a better bowler,” Boor said. “Showing up to practice early, staying after practice for a little. Going bowling even when we didn’t have practice just to work on things I knew I needed to.”

Growing as a bowler also meant becoming more skilled. Boor certainly made strides with that aspect of his game this year.

“Some things I had improved on was my ability to put a spin to the ball,” Boor said. “I first started the season as a one-handed bowler, but while in the process of learning, switched to two-handed. I found I was able to get that spin I wanted and hit strikes more often.”

From the beginning of the season, Boor already saw growth from his previous seasons.

“My highest game was a 162 back in January,” Boor said. “Which I don’t think starting out was too bad.”

While Boor will still bowl casually after he graduates in May, he is looking to start his career after high school.

“My plans for next year are going to Vo tech,” Boor said. “I want to become a mechanic. My dad inspired me to become one.”

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Chapman’s CJ Holm

CJ Holm, a track and field athlete at Chapman, started his first few years of spring sports on a baseball field, and it wasn’t until recently that he decided he needed a switch.

From playing under the field lights to placing at meets in high jump and long jump, Holm took the new opportunity and ran with it.

“I started participating in track my junior year after playing baseball all of my life,” Holm said. “The reason I started doing track was so I could hang out with all of my friends.”

In just a short time, Holm’s favorite memories came from the big state meet at the end of the season.

“My most memorable moment thus far has been my experience at the state track meet last year,” Holm said.

Only competing for one year, Holm made big strides in his goals and accolades from last season.

“Last year my season best in high jump was 6 ‘4, I also placed third at league and fourth at regionals,” Holm said.

After experiencing the state meet from last season, Holm is looking forward to competing and hopefully placing in all of his events.

“This year my goal is to come home with a state medal in two events this year, being long jump and high jump,” Holm said.

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McPherson State Basketball

25-0 always has a good ring to it. Now, as state championships, head coach Kurt Kinnamon is adding his seventh state championship ring to his trophy case.

The McPherson Bullpups would have to get through the then 22-2 defending champion Hugoton Eagles.

Down 11 points with less than four minutes to go, the Bullpups were able to put together a crazy comeback to force overtime, ultimately winning 65-59.

“That was the best high school basketball game I have been a part of,” Kinnamon said. “Both teams left all they had on the floor, and it was worth the price of admission.”

“It was crazy, but our guys were tough,

and I knew that we could get the job done,” junior Gabe Pyle said. “We powered through the comeback and got the win, and it was amazing.”

Pyle continues the family tradition of championship rings after this win.

“At the beginning of the season, it was never our main goal,” Pyle said. “Our main goal was to win state, and being undefeated was just the cherry on top of an amazing season.”

The junior all-league co-MVP Pyle


Moundridge State Basketball

New coach, no problem for the now back-to-back class 2A state champion Moundridge Wildcats.

One year after legendary coach Vance Unrau retired, first-year head coach Dustan Kanitz and the Wildcats are still the team to beat in class 2A.

“I would say there were high expectations,” Kanitz said. “The Moundridge community loves the game of basketball. The passion and support they give make the pressure enjoyable. I wanted this to happen for our community. Good basketball brings so much joy and momentum to our town.”

This wasn’t just a lucky run for Kanitz and his Wildcats. He knew the whole time that this team could be very special despite losing two previous co-players of the year in class 2A.

“I knew going into last summer that

we were going to have all of the pieces to be a talented team,” Kanitz said. “It all just fell into place for me and this team. Our God is awesome, and it was just as He measured the steps for us all year. The Lord gets all of the glory in this story.”

With a record as absurd as 7-1 in state championship games in school history, Kanitz had every player chomping at the bit to win the eighth state championship for the school and the first for him.

Thanks to a huge third quarter, giving them their largest lead of 15, the Wildcats would be able to hold off the unbeaten Lyndon squad from any type of comeback.

“These boys bought into the defensive style that we wanted to play early this past summer,” Kanitz said. “It was satisfying to see them be able to make

went on to score 17 points on 5-10 shooting and added seven rebounds for the Bullpups.

The rest of McPherson’s all-league first-team trio, Kyden Thompson and Cory Muehler, added 13 points and 19 points, respectively.

The Bullpups will lose five seniors but return Pyle and a few other key players as they look to bring championship number eight to coach Kinnamon’s regime.

our opponents uncomfortable for every catch and every shot attempt.”

The cherry on top for Kanitz was that he was able to have both of his sons, Kreighton and Kaizer, on the team as well, stating that it was an “extra special” feeling.


In a game where Cunningham led for most of the game, the title hopes were slowly becoming realer and realer for a team full of kids that knew they wanted to be a part of history again.

“It was crazy for sure,” junior all-league frstteam guard Luke Albers said when talking about winning the frst state title in school history. “It’s an honor to be a part of a great team like this and have awesome fans.”

After a 60-55 win over Lebo, the dream came true for Albers and hs teammates.

The Wildcats, just a few months removed from heartbreak in the state football championship game, the emotions were a little bit different this time.

Hanover State Basketball

“We were all so pumped and in shock that we had just won the state championship,” the junior said. “It was a great feeling for sure, it gives you the chills when you saw all of those Cunningham fans in the stands cheering.”

The Wildcats, coming in as the fourth seed knew that they had work to get to the promise land.

“Our goal this year was to make it to state and we did that, but we wanted to win some games while we were there,” Albers said.

Smoky Valley’s Adrian Hazelwood

The 2023-2024 season was the last one for Smoky Valley’s Adrian Hazelwood, but in her mind, it was by far the most enjoyable one.

“It was the most fun season I have had in all four years,” Hazelwood said. “Not only were we very successful on the court, but off the court we became so much closer. From our freshmen to our seniors we all became best friends and I believe that’s what contributed to our success. I would not trade this season for anything.”

The Vikings won the CKL this season and beating the team that had been the best was key in doing so.

“The one win that stands out the most to me was our one point victory against Hillsboro,” Hazelwood said. “Hillsboro was our previous league champion and multi-time state qualifier. This was an important win to make it easier to win the league. Everyone in the state of Kansas thought this would be a landslide for Hillsboro but we came off the tip-off with a 10-0 run. We continued this run through the game and won.”

Aside from beating Hillsboro, there were other memories that stood out to Hazelwood.

“Some specific moments that stood out to me this season were winning the Sterling Invitational Tournament Champions for the first time in school history,” Hazelwood said. “We also were fortunate to win the league for the first time since 1987 in arguably the toughest league in the state, the CKL. Another moment that was very exciting was winning the first round substate at Santa Fe. We came in as the six-seed, playing the three-seed, and after being up by one at halftime we finished by winning by 20-plus points.”

“The first game started out slow for us but then we got things figured out and had to come out and play the number one seed, Dighton, and after that, that’s when we knew we had a shot at the whole thing.”

Albers and his fellow first-team all-league teammate junior Will Wegerer led the way for the Wildcats as they scored 23 and 27 points. The pair will look to lead Cunnngham to back-to-back championships as seniors next year.


For McPherson’s Cory Muehler, there is only one way to describe the 2023-2024 Bullpup season: it was a dream.

“We had our storyline we had to accomplish based on how last year ended and we weren’t going to stop until we accomplished it,” Muehler said.

From winning the 4A Tournament, to playing a quality schedule, there were so many memorable moments that stood out to Muehler. But there is one in particular that will forever be impactful to him.

“I had gotten fouled on a shot in the fourth quarter and as I got to the line Coach Kinnamon sent our subs to the scorer’s table to come get us seniors for the last time,” Muehler said. “I made the first and Kyden Thompson was walking by and said I should miss this last one to play just one more possession. So I put up the shot right and we got the offensive rebound and I ran to the same side wing and got the kick out. Right before I let it go I got a rush of emotions. Even though I missed it I’m still thankful I got one last possession.”

Muehler averaged 15 points, five rebounds, two points and two assists for the Bullpups, but like the rest of the team, the statistics and accolades didn’t matter to him.

“It was by far the most fun season I’ve ever had,” Muehler said. “I loved seeing a couple of my teammates get up for a crazy amount of dunks and I loved how our team played together. It was awesome to be this successful with zero big egos on the team.”

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Beloit High School Cheer

Beloit cheerleader coach Jody Vowinckel says a quality cheerleading program is vital to the athletic experience and she has the proof to back it up.

“Studies have shown that cheerleaders can play a significant role in winning games by leading the crowd to support and encourage the players,”

Vowinckel said. “Beloit cheer has effectively led our fans to cheer on our teams at every game resulting in a powerful atmosphere for our teams on the field and court.”

The coaches at Beloit agreed that the Trojans cheer squad brings out the best in home football and basketball games.

“Our cheer squad plays a significant role in what makes Friday night lights so special in Beloit. The energy they bring each week is awesome. They are the hardest working cheer squad in the state,” said head football coach, Brad Gober.

Throughout the fall and winter, Beloit has a rigorous practice and game schedule, including a lot of travel.

“In the fall we practice twice a week with games every Friday,” Vowinckel said. “In the winter, we practice one to two times a week with games every Tuesday and Friday. In January, we travel with the basketball teams to Colby for the Orange and Black basketball tournament and six games are cheered over the course of three days. Of course, post season basketball brings a very hectic game schedule, as well.”

The 2023-2024 cheer squad was: senior Jayden Brooks, juniors Hattie Anderson, Kat Gray, Barbara Guirao, Christina Keller, Ashlyn Loomis and Tatum Seyfert, sophomores Barklee McMillan and Ava Sloan and freshmen Reagan Cheney and Savannah Smith.


KIAAA Awards 2024

coverage area winners in bold

District Athletic Director of the Year Award Winners

District 1 Justin Seuser CAA, Buhler

District 2 Mike Gillman CAA, Lawrence

District 3 Annette Gonzales CAA, Shawnee Mission North

District 4 David Swank, Pratt

Middle School Derek Berns, Abilene

Kansas Athletic Director of the Year

David Swank, Pratt

NIAAA State Award of Merit

Shawn Steiner CAA, Dodge City

Art Newcomer Promising Athletic Director

Mark Mahoney, Shawnee Mission South

Logan Hernandez RAA, Minneola

Carp Winner

Fran Martin, KSHSAA Retired

Michelle Kuhns, Hellas

Sportswriter of the Year

Rick Peterson, TopSports.net

Sportscaster of the Year

Adam Kadavy, Western Kansas Broadcast

KIAAA Jack Dresslar Scholarship Winners

District 1 Bryce Beisner,* Beloit HS

District 2 Emma Slade, Mission Valley HS

District 3 Anjali Singh,* Olathe North HS

District 4 Abigail Koontz, Newton HS

(* represents those nominated as the section 5 scholarship candidates)


Marion’s Gavin Wasmuth

Marion’s Gavin Wasmuth has been playing baseball for as long as he could remember. It’s more than a hobby – it’s a passion.

“Watching, playing, and just being around the game is what I loved most growing up,” Wasmuth said. “Playing travel baseball every summer since elementary school only grew my love to play. Now, I play for my high school team, and have started for the better part of all four years.”

Big developments needed to happen on and off the field for the team, and Wasmuth is positive that that happened at the beginning of the season.

“This year, we needed to look within ourselves and find our identity, and I think playing in Wichita to start the season was a step in the right direction,” Wasmuth said.

A goal every athlete and team has at the top of their checklist is a shot at the state championship game, and things aren’t much different for Wasmuth.

“Going back to the state tournament is the goal every year,” Wasmuth said.

Outside of baseball, Wasmuth is involved in numerous other sports throughout the year.

“I also play cross country and golf for the school, and Club Ice Hockey for Wichita Jr. Thunder,” Wasmuth said.

Wasmuth plans to take on Lawrence in the fall to continue his education.

“I plan to study sports media and journalism at the University of Kansas this fall,” Wasmuth said. “I also plan to play club ice hockey at KU.”

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Chapman’s Tanith Elliot

Chapman’s Tanith Elliot has been involved in track and field for quite a few years now, and her talents show in every event she participates in.

“I’m a thrower and a sprinter, and I would like to think I’m half decent at both, and I don’t feel like you meet or see a lot of people who participate competitively in both areas at the same time,” Elliot said. “I started track and field because it was fun and kept me in shape along with giving me more time to spend with my friends, but I keep doing track because of the community and family feeling that surrounds me along with the constant push to become better at everything I do.”

Elliot has aspirations to break a couple records and make herself known at the state meet before the season is over.

“My main goal for this season is to make it out of high school with my discus school record,” Elliot said. “It is currently 133’11”, and I really think I have a shot. I also want to place in the top three at the state meet again this year for 4A.”

While growing as an athlete throughout the spring season is important, Elliot also goes out of her way to make sure she’s everyone’s biggest supporter.

“I try to show leadership on my team by always being positive, optimistic, and encouraging,” Elliot said. “I know it sounds cliche, but I want people to know I will always be in their corner with a smile, even when things aren’t going their way. I show this by trying to watch all my teammates’ different events they are also involved in, along with helping them celebrate their personal victories even if I’m not having the greatest day myself.”

Elliot plans to continue her academics in Manhattan in fall to become an educator in the future.

“Next year I am planning on going to Kansas State University. I’m planning on majoring in elementary education and minoring in horticulture,” Elliot said.


There’s just one place where students are students first, where athletics are played with purpose and perspective, and where young athletes develop the discipline and confidence they need to be leaders in life.

That place is the high school in your community.

High school sports: A winning part of a complete education. This message presented by the Kansas State High School Activities Association and the Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Abilene’s Kyson Becker

After making it to state in 2023 and losing to Fort Scott 3-2, ending a tremendous season for the Abilene Cowboys.

Senior Kyson Becker was a huge reason a year ago that his team made it to state, especially after his walk-off suicide squeeze bunt secured their trip to the Class 4A state championships.

“Everybody dreams of being in that position to send your team to state or win a big game and I think I was more excited for the opportunity than I was scared,” Becker said.

Becker is a great outfielder and pitcher for the Cowboys, but is also a great leader for them as well because of all the varsity and high-level baseball experience he has.

“I feel proud because as a high school player you have the younger class who looks up to you and I want to be a role model for them,” Becker said. “I bring experience in high pressure games for the team, and being able to overcome adversity and having a short

memory with what happens in the game.”

Becker has received the team’s Ace Award the last two years as well as being named to the all-league team and class 4A allstate team.


Hillsboro’s Dawson Boldt

Hillsboro’s Dawson Boldt has always been a player who is known as “silent but violent’ throughout high school.

“Dawson is a quiet, but fierce competitor who will do whatever it takes to help the team win,” head coach Daniel Moss said. “He is a great teammate who is willing to help the younger players whenever he can.”

No matter what goes on and off the field, Boldt has always been seen as a great player and person.

“This means a lot to me because I take great pride in my character and work ethic,” Boldt said.

Boldt is a center fielder, shortstop and pitcher who brings a lot of power, consistency and leadership to the Trojans.

“My goals are to do my job on offense and defense for the team’s success,” Boldt said. “Our team goal is to get better each and every day and keep high intensity every day in practice.”

The senior was selected as an all-league secondteam and an all-state honorable mention outfielder last season.

Despite the team struggling, Boldt is having another great year with a batting average of .431, on base percentage of .482 and fielding percentage of .982.

Boldt knows that he can help his Trojans stack some wins before he heads off to college next season.

“I am planning to play baseball at Baker University,” Boldt said. “I chose this college because they have a great program and coach who is experienced and serious about winning.”


Abilene’s Hannah Walter

Hannah Walter first started playing softball 11 years ago, and now as a senior she knows that the clock for her high school career is counting down.

Walter is a very aggressive outfielder and base runner, as she likes to steal and delay stealing to get around the bases. She came into high school as a catcher, but knew that if she wanted to play varsity she would have to learn to be an outfielder.

“My freshman year my coaches gave me the opportunity to play on Varsity, but I wouldn’t be a catcher,” Walter said. “So I spent the next couple weeks learning to be an outfielder. It took a lot of patience and mental toughness to learn this new position, but I learned to love it and have been an outfielder since.”

From then on, Walter continued to do everything her coaches asked of her, and did it with a smile on her face.

“Hannah is willing to play whatever position she is asked to play,” Abilene head coach LouAna Tapin said. “She has been our starting centerfielder for three years. She is very versatile and is a true ‘utility’ player.”

Now as a senior, Walter continues to be versatile and has upped her leadership as well.

“I am a very vocal leader, especially on the field,” Walter said. “I am always talking and I can guarantee everyone at the complex can hear me. I try to be as encouraging as I can because when someone has an error or messes up a play, they can always do better the next play. This type of leadership I believe is very important within a team.”

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Salina Sacred Heart’s Cooper Ivey

Salina Sacred Heart came into the season as one of the most exciting teams around and have lived up to that billing with a quick 10-0 start.

Senior Cooper Ivey is one of the many moving parts that has helped their start.

“Cooper is a very hard-working young man who loves to compete on the field,” head coach Dalton Dooley said. “He is a very versatile player who can play first base, third base and also pitch.”

Ivey has been starting his whole career for the Knights.

“Coach trusts me to play wherever he needs me,” Ivey said. “I was a first baseman my first two years but was able to move to third base last year and this year because my brother was a first baseman and we needed him to play.”

After losing in the regional finals a season ago, the Knights have come back with championship aspirations.

“My personal goals are to help my team make a deep run in the postseason,” Ivey said. “With my experience I am able to help the younger players adapt to the high school games and be in position to make the right plays.”

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Southeast of Saline’s Bryna Baird

Southeast of Saline’s Bryna Baird put a whole new meaning behind playing for someone you love, and she proves herself every time she’s up to pitch.

“Softball has its ups and downs, but it always seems constant in my life,” Baird said. “I play for a woman whom I concede to my biggest fan, who lost her battle with cancer in July of 2022. I now dedicate every game I play to her because she is the reason I have confidence in this sport. I fell in love with this sport when I started pitching at nine.”

While Baird has the hope and pride to play every game to the fullest, she’s excited to see that fire in all of her teammates as well.

“The most memorable moment this year has been watching my senior teammates have the grit and determination on their faces to make it back to the state tournament again,” Baird said. “Each game, we get hungrier and hungrier.”

Baird spent the offseason training and conditioning for spring ball,

and she has numerous goals she’s hoping to cross off the list this season.

“This year, I have focused on achieving a higher batting average,” Baird said. “I have also been focusing on the spin of my ball and critiquing my best pitches. Overall, I want to increase all my statistics. I would like to return to the state tournament and bring

home gold as a team.”

Baird also has big goals and aspirations for her future after graduation.

“I plan to attend Wichita State University in the fall,” Baird said. “I will major in nursing and minor in business and entrepreneurship. I plan to become an aesthetic nurse practitioner and own my own practice.”

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Concordia’s Caleb Hanson

Concordia’s Caleb Hanson has been playing baseball since he was in elementary and has played with his group of friends his whole life.

“Caleb is a senior leader on our team who is honest and loyal to all the school programs he’s a part of,” head coach Dustin Bender said. “He has a big heart and is willing to always lend a hand to anyone in need. I’ve enjoyed coaching and teaching this fine young man and he’s been a great role model for his younger peers. He’s certainly a credit to his family, our school, and our community.”

The senior is a pitcher and outfielder for the Panthers, who is coming off of a year where he had a .518 batting average and a 94% fielding percentage, which helped him be recognized as an all-league outfielder.

But last year’s accolades aren’t something he wants to dwell on.

“One of my goals this year is to have at least a 97 percentage fielding percentage and for a team goal, we want to be league champs,” Hanson said.

Now as a senior, Hanson has had to develop his leadership skills, as much as he has developed on the field.

“As a leader, I like to stay positive and keep my teammate’s heads up,” Hanson said.

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Ellsworth’s Peyton Coonrod

Ellsworth’s Peyton Coonrod considers herself a pretty effective defensive player, so now her focus is becoming a better player at the plate.

“I am working to be better at being able to step up to the plate with the mindset of a line drive every time,” Coonrod said. “I think once I become confident enough and with enough focused effort in

practice every day I’ll be better about not popping the ball up or hitting infield grounders as much.”

The bond that Coonrod feels with her teammates, as well as seeing everyone’s growth, makes softball season so enjoyable.

“I get so pumped when softball season comes around because I am able to improve my skills while also having a blast with

some of my best friends,” Coonrod said. “Not only have I been able to enjoy the sport I love throughout high school, but I have gained and grown in many close relationships with my classmates and underclassmen.”

Coonrod credits her past teammates for helping her becoming the player she is today. She wants to have the same kind of impact on Ellsworth’s underclassmen this season.

“In my first three years of playing, I had so many older teammates I could depend on and look up to not only on the field, but for anything I needed off the field too,” Coonrod said. “I want to be able to provide that for my teammates this year.”

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Ell-Saline’s Cruz Bradley

Ell-Saline’s Cruz Bradley is a senior who just wants to win.

The Cardinals, who have struggled recently, have a group of guys this year that want to turn that losing culture around.

“I try to improve losing ways by asking my coaches to push towards the spots we struggle in,” Bradley said. “After practice every day and after every home game I am out on the field working on the mound and batter’s box and trying to keep the field clean by throwing rock and other things off the field. As a team coming from a losing record the past years we have decided we want to have a .500 record at the end of the season.”

Bradley is a senior leader for the Cardinals, who is a left fielder and prides himself in his ability to track fly balls and communicate with his teammates.

“I try my best to help everyone on the team as much as I can to help improve their skill and for them to better themselves,” Bradley said.

The senior also has goals for himself.

“A personal goal of mine is to improve my at bats and just better myself as a whole,” Bradley said.

So far, that is exactly what Bradley has done at the plate. The senior has eight RBI’s and has an on base percentage of .794.


Beloit’s Brodie Schroeder

Beloit’s Brodie Schroeder is one of the seniors who has put in consistent work throughout the years and is finally seeing his progress pay off.

“He has a positive personality that people want to be around,” head coach Brandon Cox said. “As a player, Brodie has been a fun to coach. It is easy to see his dedication and enthusiasm for the game of baseball every time he steps on the field. It has also been rewarding to watch his growth throughout the four seasons I have coached him.”

Schroeder is a senior pitcher and second baseman for the Trojans who has been very

versatile while playing for Beloit.

The senior also has an infectious energy and leadership about him.

“My strengths are leading, being outgoing and being verbal, I like to keep things up beat and have fun,” Schroeder said. “I take pride in who I am and how I am seen by others. I love to lead and be an example to younger kids whether they are a year younger than me or 10. I love leading our team and I have it pretty easy with the teammates I have.”

Schroeder’s leadership has really helped kickstart the season with a great opening first half of the season.

“It makes me proud because I really strive for greatness and want to be the best me as possible,” Schroeder said. “I would do anything to make my team better whether it’s practice or a game.”


Ellsworth’s Emma Moore

Starting in the third grade, Ellsworth’s Emma Moore has always loved playing softball.

Moore is a pitcher, third baseman, and shortstop for the Bearcats.

“Emma is a great player who has a high IQ for softball,” head coach Ken Cravens said. “She can play all positions on the field, she pitches, plays infield, and outfield for our team. She is a motivated student and works hard to lead by example in school and on the field.”

The senior has always been a solid player on the field as she has lettered all four years as well as being named first-team all-league the last two years and being named to the all-state team last season as a junior.

Now as a senior, her play and leadership will be magnified.


“As a leader, I try to bring the energy to the table,” Moore said. “I remind my team daily that your best, won’t be your best tomorrow because we should continue to get better every day. This year especially, we are working on our confidence and swag in winning or losing situations. I want my team to be proud to be a Bearcat every day and I want them to know that we are all proud of them as well.”

With no plans to play at the collegiate level, the senior is determined to conclude her softball career on a

high note. She’s making her mark at the plate, boasting an impressive batting average of .667, an on-base percentage of .750, and a slugging percentage of .933.

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