VYPE Kansas – SCK April 2024

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Oxford’s Eva Navrat Ark City’s Madi Jennings El Dorado’s Elisabeth Nobert Wellington’s Madison Baker Maize South’s Hunter Higgins
Northwest’s Keilann Heath Eisenhower’s Carson Wright Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Asher Whitaker Clearwater’s Addison Brown Central Burden’s Kaden Miller
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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!


Olivia Beason – Bluestem HS

It was an awkward midair adjustment for Bluestem’s Olivia Beason at her team’s volleyball jamboree that changed the rest of her season.

“I was coming down and had landed off balance and immediately knew something was wrong,” Beason said. “I tore my ACL.”

Beason turned to Advanced Physical Therapy for her recovery and it was at the recommendation of her mother.

“My mom had previously received care at APT for her shoulder and was under Kambry & Stacy’s care,” Beason said. “She had such a good experience there that she knew that is where she was going to take me.”

While the process was a difficult and challenging one, Beason also saw the light at the end of the tunnel with her appointments.

“It was very motivating when I was at the point in my recovery where I could start weightlifting again,” Beason said. “I was starting to see improvement and recognized how beneficial it was. I also enjoyed when APT had me do the E-stem with ice. It was very relieving and helped manage my pain throughout my recovery.”

APT gradually reduced the amount of time and days of Beason’s rehabilitations, but she still takes what she learned with her at home.

“In the beginning I went to APT three times a week for 30–45 minute appointments,” Beason said. “At around five months into my recovery, I started going only once a week. Now at seven months in I only go once a month, but I continue with daily exercises and weight training while at school and home.”

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.

To locate one of our 23 convenient locations visit or call: aptclinics.com · 855.745.0278 Student of the Month
Student of the Month
To locate one of our 21 convenient locations visit aptclinics.com or call 855.745.0278

YMCA #YiBelong Spotlight

Bill Hageman

For 12 years, Bill Hageman has been volunteering the YMCA and he started because of his kids’ love for sports.

“I started volunteering because my kids love sports and I enjoy sports and it was a great opportunity to spend time together doing stuff we love,” Hageman said. “It’s fun being able to spend time with my kids and to see them develop within dynamics of being part of a team.”

Seeing the kids he coaches grow and develop are some of the gratifications Hageman has as volunteer. Coaching has now become even more of a family affair for Hageman.

“I will even run into kids I previously coached that do not play anymore and it feels good to know you had a positive impact on their youth,” Hageman said. “It’s fun to see these kids develop lifelong friendships through sports and competition. With my youngest playing now, my wife Celia is able to help coach with me which makes game day a fun family affair.”

Some of Hageman’s best memories his own children accomplishing a feat for the first time.

“My favorite memories from coaching are moments of joy with my kids,” Hageman said. “Maya’s first home run, Vincent’s first basket and Hank’s first goal especially considering I was able to be on the field with them when it happened. I was the first person to see them in that moment and the sheer joy and excitement I saw in their face will always be among my favorite moments in being a dad.”



Mulvane’s Madison Phipps

Having played softball all her life, Mulvane’s Madison Phipps is beyond thankful for everything the sport has done for her. Phipps was an honorable mention all-league catcher for the Wildcats last season.

“Softball has also taught me a lot from people skills, working with others, and being a team player,” Phipps said. “In the fall and summer I played for Kansas Fusion and in the spring I play for Mulvane High School.”

With her senior season just starting, Phipps is excited to get to finish it off with the girls she’s always played with.

“Me and the other three seniors have played together for over ten years, so that is something that is very special to me and hard to find,” Phipps said.

Phipps is looking to go out with a bang this season by breaking a couple school records and having fun playing the game she loves.

“The main goal I am focused on right now, is breaking the record of the most hits in the season which stands at 143 hits and I am at 104 hits so far in my highschool career,” Phipps said. “This year I would like to end the season with a higher batting average than last year, one thing I need to improve on is being more of a utility player and being used to more positions and understanding the rules of all of them.”

After high school Phipps plans to continue both her academic and athletic journeys.

“My future plans are to attend Dodge City Community College to further my athletic career and softball as well as an academic career,” Phipps said. “I am wanting to become an ultrasound tech. As well as get my Bachelors in sales.”

Development Promote Teamwork Make New Friends Establish Lifetime
Strengthen Self
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Fitness Habits
Confidence GREATER

Prep Performance of the Month

KIAAA Awards 2024

VYPE 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

Bella Cunningham Wichita Central Christian

Winning an individual state championship was not on the mind of Wichita Central Christian’s Bella Cunningham.

In fact, her goal was to nish inside the top ten.

So what was her reaction when she had won the Class 4-1A title?

“Right after winning, it was very surreal,” Cunningham said. “It was really hard to get my head around as I had beaten some girls who were really good bowlers. As time has gone by, it's been nice to receive all the accolades and to be honored by my school. I can't take all the credit as my coach and my teammates have been so supportive all year.”

Cunningham’s title was historic for the Lions, which have only had high school athletics for a few years.

“I was so surprised and very excited not only for myself but for my school as I am the rst state champion for CCA in any sport,” Cunningham said. “I honestly had no idea where I was ranked after the three individual games. Then we went onto bowl the four Team Baker games and after we nished my coach told me that I had won state.”

To go along with her state bowling title, Cunningham was also a state quali er in tennis, which she believes was bene cial for her bowling success.

“The biggest improvement over the previous season was my spare shooting and my physical game was better as I got stronger,” Cunningham said. “I attribute part of this to also competing in tennis, where I went to state in that sport as well this year. Having the con dence to compete at this level is big, and I was very fortunate to be able to take advantage when it mattered

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)

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Rose Hill’s

Bill Wright

Bill Wright has taught business and coached baseball and football over his many years at Rose Hill High School, but perhaps Wright’s biggest contribution to the district has been rocketathletics.com.

For the past 14 years, Wright and his web design students update scores, stats, schedules and write game stories and previews for each sport in each season and post to the website. The website also has special tabs like college signings and school dances.

In totality, rocketathletics.com is an invaluable tool that coaches, athletes and fans use to follow not only current seasons of Rocket sports, but previous ones as well. To put it mildly, Wright is extremely proud of the work he and his students have accomplished.

“I take pride in the fact that you’ll have a difficult time going online and finding another athletic website for a school our size that has the same history and quality as rocketathletics.com does,” Wright said. “There are some others that are good or even better, but those are usually built and maintained professionally.”

Wright, who is retiring at the end of the school year, spends a significant amount of his spare time updating the website. It’s a job that requires time and dedication.

“I have often said that maintaining the website was a full-time job just by itself,” Wright said. “Every athletic event that takes place results in multiple hours of work. Results have to be collected and prepped for the students. I have been fortunate over the years to have worked with a great bunch of coaches who do whatever is necessary to get me the information that I need in a very timely manner.”

Wright is hopeful that is replacement carries on the tradition that he has built.

“Going forward, I want to see rocketathletics.com survive and then thrive beyond my time at Rose Hill High School,” Wright said. “I have had discussions with our administration about the ‘handoff’ process. I am hoping that my replacement can be hired soon and then be willing to spend some time with me before the end of the school year so that I can show him/her the intricacies of the website.”


Collegiate’s Price Johnson

Wichita Collegiate’s Price Johnson has been proud to represent Collegiate all these years, and knows that anyone who attends will be geared towards success.

“I have gone to Collegiate all my life and the most special thing about the school is the community,” Johnson said. “Every faculty member truly cares about each student. I am proud to have been a part of the Collegiate family for all this time.”

Johnson is a multi-sport athlete, being involved in multiple clubs and athletics throughout the year.

“This year, I was on the varsity bowling team and cross country team,” Johnson said. “Those were two great seasons. I am also running track and playing golf right now. The track team is full of hard workers and I am excited to see what we can do this season. I also play the saxophone. I am a part of a saxophone quartet and as of recently, we are headed to the state competition.”

Being as active as Johnson, fun and memorable moments happen daily, but most of them happen out on the course.

“The time spent with my friends out on the range and on the course are the best,” Johnson said. “At practice, we always focus on improving our game, but we also find ways to have fun.”

Johnson not only has big goals for himself, but for the golf team as well.

“The main goal I am focused on this season is making it to state,” Johnson said. “My teammates are great golfers and they love the game. I am confident we can all make this goal a reality.”



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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.”


Southeast’s Kayla Methman

Wichita Southeast’s Kayla Methman was an honorable mention all-league defender last season for the Buffaloes. Her love for the game has only grown over these past four years.

“I play soccer because I have a lot of love and passion for the sport and it has brought me many friends and amazing memories over the years,” Methman said. “My parents inspire me to play because I want to make them proud and show them that all the sacrifices they have made for me over the years are going to pay off. I couldn’t be more grateful for everything they have done and given to me my whole life.”

Taking the success she had last year and applying it for this season is how Methman prepared herself for a busy spring season.

“This season one of my main goals is to score more goals and have more assists than I did last year,” Methman said. “At the end of the regular season last year I had the most points out of every defender in Greater Wichita Athletic League as a center back and it really motivated me and gave me a confidence boost that I needed in order to help be a good leader for my team.”

Methman’s soccer journey isn’t over yet, as she’s committed to play at the next level after graduation.

“After high school I plan on attending Barton Community College to continue playing soccer and study to become a Dental Hygienist in the future,” Methman said.

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Belle Plaine’s Elizabeth Parsons

Elizabeth Parsons, a track and field athlete at Belle Plaine, joined the track team to stay in shape for other sports year round. Little did Parsons know that she would soon meet her closest friends.

“I’ve been doing track for three years now,” Parsons said. “I do track because I get to make great memories and meet great people.”

Parsons even got to show off to family and friends at a recent meet, where she beat her own record.

“One of the most memorable moments this season was beating my personal record from my first year of shot put with most of my family being present and there to see it,” Parsons said.

Taking it one meet at a time, Parsons is hoping that all her offseason training and hard work pays off in May.

“One of my goals this season is to keep getting better at my events and hopefully make it to state in one of my events,” Parsons said.

After high school, Parsons will continue her academic career at the next level, in hopes of becoming a massage therapist in the near future.

“My plans are to graduate from Belle Plaine, go to Wellspring School for Allied Health, and get my degree and Massage Therapy,” Parsons said.


Eisenhower’s Carson Wright

Eisenhower’s Carson Wright can still remember the second he fell in love with golf. Now, Wright is planning to take his golf career to the next level.

“When I was a toddler I would walk around the house and hit a foam ball with anything I could get my hands on, soup ladles, spoons, sticks, plastic clubs, you name it, I would swing it,” Wright said. “I have played every sport imaginable, but I would just come back to the game of golf. I chose to stick with golf when I was 13 years old. The reason is because I would get too mad at my teammates. I would always tell the people around me that I need a sport where I’m the one in charge and can take the blame for every mistake.”

With family ties to the team, Wright looks forward to every practice, match, and tournament.

“The team won our first tournament of the season against a really good field,” Wright said. “My favorite part of the season is definitely getting to practice every day with my twin brother Owen and younger brother Isaac.”

With one goal on his mind, Wright is determined to accomplish it with his teammates by his side.

“My goals this year are simple,” Wright said. “The most important goal is a team state championship then an individual state championship would be nice but getting a team state championship is the main thing. We have had our eyes on it since freshman year. With Eisenhower not losing anybody from last year we feel a team state championship is very attainable.”

After high school Wright plans to continue competing, as well as continue his educational career.

“My future plans are to attend Creighton University to play golf,” Wright said. “I plan to study business management.”

Where the only thing missing is YOU! Scan Me

Maize South’s Michael Kates

The Maize South boys basketball team had one of its best seasons in the school’s history and guard Michael Kates was a vital component to it. He averaged 14 points and four assists per game.

Kates said that the Mavericks’ journey this season was one he will never forget.

“This was one of the best seasons in Maize South, and although it didn’t end how we wanted it to, I still would do it again with these guys,” Kates said. “Our senior bond that we had graduating eight was special, and all of us will go on to do great things in life.”

There were so many quality victories on Maize South’s resume this season, but there was one that was the most impressive.

“The win that stands out to me was our sub state championship game,” Kates said. “It was the last game I would play at my home floor, and it was fun to play in, the crowd was great everything you could have wanted in your last home game.”

The Mavericks were one of the top-ranked teams in Class 5A all season and went into the state tournament with a title in mind.

But an untimely injury derailed those plans.

“It was unfortunate how our season ended with one of our players Tory tearing his ACL right before state, and it was tough without him losing a key piece, but other guys stepped up,” Kates said. “I think in a different world things would have ended differently for us.”

Circle’s Kya Thornton

Kya Thornton of Circle will not forget her senior season with the Thunderbirds, but it’s a reason that doesn’t have everything to do with the basketball court.

The bond she had with her teammates was indescribable.

“I am extremely proud of my team this year,” Thornton said. “We have had our rough moments but the girls and I came out on top. The togetherness of the whole team was so enjoyable. I looked forward to getting to spend time with all of them and am sad to see school basketball end.

Thornton averaged 13 points and five rebounds per game, while shooting 39 percent from the floor. She finished her career as the seventh leading scorer in the program’s history.

“It was so much fun,” Thornton said. “I loved getting to see them every day and work at getting better. Many times we would get meals together before games and that was the best. I love each and every single one of my teammates and am so proud so see how far they have come. I try to push them as hard as I can and have good expectations so they can become a better player.”

There was one win that Thornton said was particularly gratifying. “The win that first comes to mind, is our win against Andale in our midseason tournament,” Thornton said. “We were down pretty much the entire game and we persevered and fought, and ended taking them into double overtime. Throughout the game I was somewhat frustrated with our lack of success because I know we could beat them. Finally, we found that success in the second overtime.”

Wichita Heights’ SaMiyah Ellis

SaMiyah Ellis of Wichita Heights reached a personal milestone this season when she reached 1,000 points for her career.

It was gratifying for Ellis, who transferred from Wichita Independent, because she proved she can play at a high level of basketball.

Making the jump four classes up and proving I am who I already knew I was inside,” Ellis said. “There was some doubts from others on whether I could do what I did in Class 2A and perform that well in Class 6A. I believe I showed I belong and look forward to hopefully an even better season next year.”

The Falcons, which were one of the top teams in the area, had several memorable moments in 2023-2024, but there was one that stood above the rest to Ellis.

“The overtime win against Bishop Carroll was a big win for us as a team,” Ellis said. “We really hadn’t faced that much adversity and to come together and get a huge win that allowed us to stay undefeated in our league was big.”

While Heights didn’t accomplish its goal of winning a state championship, Ellis feels like this season was a good learning experience.

“We had a great season and we learned so much,” Ellis said. “We will be ready for next season and try to complete our mission as a team.”

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Wichita Classical’s Charlie Graham

Charlie Graham of Wichita Classical is a decorated, multi-sport athlete, where he has received all-state accolades in tennis, soccer and basketball.

What are some of the challenges of navigating not only playing both sports, but excelling?

“One of the biggest challenges of being a multi-sport athlete would definitely be injuries,” Graham said. “Really any injury that occurs in any sport can knock you out of not only that season but also the following season and sport. I experienced this my junior basketball season when I hurt my ankle and it hindered my tennis season as well. Another challenge arises is staying in shape over the

summer for not just one sport but all sports you plan to do during the school year.”

Add in the rigors of academics and life can be overwhelming at times for Graham. But he understands his school work and grades are what’s most important for his future.

“Keeping up with schoolwork and grades is a huge part of playing sports in high school,” Graham said. “You have to manage your homework while also having late practices every night and having late night games usually on school nights. I try to get as much of my school work done at school or immediately when I get home so I can move on and focus about the game or practice later that night.”

If he had to pick his favorite sport, Graham said it was tennis, but it’s a close call.

“Tennis is a much more peaceful sport and I love the guys on my team that I get to hang out with at practice and tournaments,” Graham said.


Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Asher Whitaker

Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Asher

Whitaker has been one of the top golfers in the state over the past three seasons, but there is a reason why he thinks he can take his game to even a higher level in his senior season.

“I want to really improve my putting this year,” Whitaker said. “That was an area of my game that really held me back last year and costed me some better finishes in events. I started working with a different coach this offseason on my putting. I’ve been working with Ryan Rody and he has helped me a lot with the mechanics of the stroke. We’ve also worked a lot of speed control and improving my feel with the putter.”

Getting his body ready for the grind of golf season was another focus for Whitaker throughout the winter months.

“I worked out a lot this offseason to get my body prepped and ready to go,” Whitaker said. “I also started to go to physical therapy to help my back and help me avoid injury. I also did a lot of speed training and worked really hard on trying to gain distance.”

Whitaker, who has signed to play at Oklahoma, took second individually last season at the 5A Tournament, regionals and league. while the Crusaders also placed second.

Those finishes make Whitaker’s goals for the 2024 season pretty simple.

“As a team standpoint, one of the main goals is to always win state, regionals and city league,” Whitaker said. “I would love to see our squad set a new school scoring record and to push each other to be

our absolute best. From an individual standpoint, I want to win state, regionals and city league.”

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Andover Central’s Trevor Sagehorn

Andover Central’s Trevor Sagehorn had a traumatic injury just a few years ago, and after he was healed he knew he had to make a switch.

“I’ve always been into tennis,” Sagehorn said.

“However, it wasn’t until sophomore year after I broke my back during soccer season in which I really started playing. After having a poor season, I decided to start training at Genesis. I met some amazing people playing which is a large reason why I play. My coaches have put so much into me I feel it only fair to give this season everything I have.”

An early season tournament sent a shockwave through the team, but Sagehorn is confident it only made them stronger.

“We lost by seven to the O’Donnell’s in Ark City,” Sagehorn said. “It is just memorable because it stung and has made us work even harder. After training hard all off season we thought we were close, and got our butts kicked. But ever since that day, we have been working hard to hopefully get them back later in the season. Thankfully, it was an early tournament so we could tell what we needed to work on and still have time to change it.”

After injuries and losses, Sagehorn is ready to give this season his all. After countless hours of training, Sagehorn is going for gold.

“We have been really focused on playing against better people in the offseason so that way when we play against the best of the best through the season then we will have seen it before,” Sagehorn said. “We have been working a lot on crashing the net and becoming more effective at the net. We are also wanting to get our first serve percentage to around 70 percent to build better doubles points. And of course we are going for the title.”

Andover’s Anthony Sullivan

What started out as something to kill a little time turned into a love and a passion for Andover’s Anthony Sullivan.

“I started track my seventh grade year and I enjoyed it a lot,” Sullivan said. “I had a very good year and was excited for the next year, but unfortunately that was the year of Covid so I couldn’t do it that year. I have now been playing the sport for five years now and have been on varsity for four years. The reason that I ran track was at first my friends were doing it but then I realized how much I enjoyed it and wasn’t too bad at it.”

While trying to improve skill and times from last year, and make reachable goals for this season, Sullivan has had a busy offseason training for the long road ahead.

“I would say the improvements that I have made this year compared to last year would be in my 400 meter dash race,” Sullivan said. “Some goals that I am focusing on this season is being able to make it to KU relays and also state this year in the open 400 meter dash. I’m hoping I can cut my 400 meter time to a 50 flat. Last year my times for the 400 were in the 54’s. My first meet this year I ran a 53.5, the following week I ran a 52.3. Hoping I continue to get faster times each meet.”

A little undecided on what his future holds, Sullivan is open to anything, and hopes to continue running.

“My future plans after high school, I’m hoping to get a chance to run at a college level,” Sullivan said. “I am going to work this summer and get ready for college in the fall.”

Andover Central’s Cal Shultz

Andover Central’s Cal Shultz has had years of golf experience through friends and family, and when the opportunity to play for Andover Central came he knew he had to take it. Shultz was a state qualifier last season.

“I’ve played golf since I was two years old,” Shultz said. “My dad would take my brother and I to hit balls and putt. We played almost every day. I love the challenge of golf and enjoying it with my family and friends.”

Shultz and the team traveled to Crestview not too long ago, and he walked away with an enjoyable memory of his team placing in the top five.

“My favorite memory would be placing fourth at the Collegiate tournament at Crestview,” Shultz said.

While Shultz spent the offseason playing and training on the course, he knows there is still work to be done before the state tournament.

“My focus will be on improving my chipping and putting before state,” Shultz said.

Shultz has confidence in himself and his team, and his biggest goal is making another appearance at state. To make the stakes higher, they’re hoping to place as well.

“I want to qualify for state and help my team get there as well,” Shultz.

The first team all-league golfer is also involved in basketball at Central, and likes to get involved with the school in other ways as well.

“I enjoy being part of the social media school videos and interviews,” Shultz said.


Northwest’s Keilann Heath

Keilann Heath of Wichita Northwest grew up playing soccer with family, but little did she know that the athletes she played with would help turn her into the player she is today.

“My older brothers actually inspired me to play soccer,” Heath said. “I would always watch their practices with my mom. The club they played for at the time didn’t have a girls team, so I played on a team with just boys for a season or two until they made a girls team. I believe playing with boys built who I am as a player because even if I was a girl they wouldn’t back down and it helped me build thicker skin on the pitch.”

Now a senior, Heath is looking to capitalize on her season, and make it the best she’s had yet.

“Some goals I have are definitely being a better teammate and leader to my teammates over the season on and off the field and also to keep myself to a high standard while playing,” Heath said. “I’m more focused on keeping my mistakes to a minimum especially since I’m a center back and to give 110 percent every game. Post season I really want us to get the regional title again and to hopefully make it to the state tournament.”

While the big wins during the season are always embraced, Heath has focused on making the little moments count as well.

“A memorable moment was definitely during spring break when we had practice,” Heath said. “Me and my teammate Kaelyn Mueller went undefeated in a drill we were doing. Us celebrating after every win and goofing around is a memory I’ll always cherish.”

Heath will get to continue her education and her love for soccer after high school at the next level.

“I’m committed to Newman University on a soccer scholarship and I will be majoring in Diagnostic Medical Sonography with the end goal of becoming an ultrasound tech,” Heath said.

Wellington’s Tatum Rountree Party

The motivation for Wellington’s Tatum Rountree to join SCCDAT was simple.

“I have been in SCCDAT for four years and I initially got involved to build friendships while making a positive impact within my community,” Rountree said.

Much like other schools, the Wellington SCCDAT program offers special events throughout the school year.

“SCCDAT offers a multitude of services such as anti-drinking campaigns, creating the annual safe and sober prom banner, and setting up meetings with community members so that we can discuss how to improve our community,” Rountree said.

The friendships and bonds Rountree has made through SCCDAT have not only been impactful in high school, but they will be lasting.

“I have made several lifelong friendships throughout the course of my membership with SCCDAT,” Rountree said. “It has also given me a chance to be part of something bigger than myself while teaching me how to be a leader.”

While there are serious topics discussed and promoted in SCCDAT, Rountree also said the group is so much fun.

“This group is not only fun but promotes good messages and teaches you how to become an efficient and effective leader within your community,” Rountree said.

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Southeast’s DeJaun Colbert VYPE

DeJaun Colbert, a track and field athlete at Southeast High School, started running track his freshman year of high school and immediately fell in love with the sport.

Now, Colbert is looking back on his memories with the Trojans while also planning for the future.

“I have been running track for four years now,” Colbert said. “I run track because I simply just love doing it. I love the excitement. I love working hard, getting faster, and having goals and times that I need to reach. I run for my whole family including my mom, aunts, and grandmas.”

While taking the offseason to run indoor track, Colbert is ready for the change of environment and weather.

“One of my favorite parts of track is running outdoors once indoor track season is over,” Colbert said.

Colbert has major goals and aspirations for himself, many in which he plans to accomplish at the state meet in May.

“The goals I’m focusing on this season are to win state in the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4x1, to run a 10.30 or lower and break the Southeast High School record,” Colbert said.

With his goals comes more training, and Colbert already knows where he wants to start improving.

“I need to improve on my block start, running form, and maintain speed,” Colbert said. “I want to finish first and every event I win and be the top one in Kansas.”

Colbert hopes to continue his track and academic career after high school.

“My future plans are to run track at LSU in college,” Colbert said.


Campus’ Ethan Peitz

Ethan Peitz, a track and field athlete at Campus High School, fell in love with the sport his freshman year.

Now four years later, he’s ready to say goodbye as graduation is right around the corner.

“This track and field season is most likely going to be my last,” Peitz said. “As I am sad by that, I am also excited for what it’s going to be and has been so far.”

While not having any plans to continue the love of the sport after high school, he hasn’t given up on his final season of track yet. With personal records in three of his events, javelin, disc, and shot put, Peitz is always looking to break his own records going forward.

Still fresh into the season, Peitz is looking forward to competing again himself, while also getting to step into a leadership position that not many can handle, and he is thankful to the coaches at Campus that allow him to do that.

“I really love being in a position on my team where I can help the younger athletes and teach them the techniques they are throwing while also leading them to be the best athletes they can be,” Peitz said.


Campus’ Abigail Nelson

Campus’ Abigail Nelson has always had a history with softball, but decided to take on school ball for the first time this year.

“I have played softball since I was 12, but this is actually my first year playing softball for the school,” Nelson said. “I have played multiple sports but softball is my favorite because it’s simply just fun. I have played some rec ball but I have played for Pitch Perfect for four years now.”

While this adventure is new for everyone, Nelson feels that the relationships with the team are growing game by game.

“The most memorable moment so far this season is just the friendships that are forming with the other girls,” Nelson said. “I am a little shy when it comes to the softball team but after our last win, I feel like I am definitely getting closer with them.”

Softball isn’t in the cards for Nelson after high school, so she plans on making the most of her opportunity.

“I am not going to play softball in college so my goal this season is to have fun and try to improve on my skills as much as possible,” Nelson said. “I am very happy to have this opportunity to be on the team.”

Nelson will be staying local for college as she plans to attend Wichita State to achieve a degree in nursing.

“My future plans are to go to WSU for nursing and get my RN and then eventually get my CRNA so I can be a nurse anesthetist,” Nelson said.


Wichita East’s

Abby Jones

Wichita East’s Abby Jones has seen the competitive swim world for ten years, and she is thankful for the athlete that it has turned her into.

“The people I’ve met along the way have been a great enjoyment and have made it possible for me to come this far,” Jones said. “Swimming is definitely not always easy, but it has given me a strong sense of discipline and resilience to continue to perform day after day.”

Jones’ favorite moment happened just not too long ago where the Blue Aces came away with an impressive victory.

“The most memorable moment from the season so far was when my high school team rallied together to win the Maize Invite,” Jones said. “Everyone was needed and we worked together to come out on top.”

Jones was a first team All-City swimmer last season, and she’s hoping to improve on her times and strokes throughout the rest of the year.

“I’m looking forward to the Kansas High School State meet where I hope to have some nice time drops,” Jones said. This season I’m really focusing on improving the basics. They really add up in the end.”

While still undecided on a major, Jones will continue her academic journey in college.

“This coming fall I will attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and am currently undecided on a major,” Jones said.



Kooper Weaver

Kooper Weaver of Derby has always loved science and that passion has led him to pursuing a career in the health field.

“I think my interest for the medical field sparked when I realized just how gratifying and rewarding it is to help other people out,” Weaver said. “I also really enjoyed some of the medical classes I started taking in school. I realized that I was retaining the information well and actually enjoying learning for the first time in school.”

Specifically to the health field, Weaver would like to become a nurse.

“I find it interesting because it is hands on and I love helping people and find it very rewarding,” Weaver said.

Weaver is taking numerous courses at Derby that will be beneficial for his future.

“I am taking CNA, Sports Med 1&2, and Human Body Systems to help prepare me for this field and because I also just really enjoy science and medical classes,” Weaver said.

In the near future, Weaver is hoping to get a job or internship that could lead to even better opportunities.

“I would love to work as a CNA at Derby Home Health and Rehab once we finish our clinicals,” Weaver said. “I would also love to intern at Wesley or Rock regional down the line once I am in college and getting my degree.”

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Cheney’s Aiden Lynch: KTA “Driving Change” Athlete Spotlight

Aiden Lynch, a golfer at Cheney, didn’t know golf would be playing such an important role in his high school career, but he’s glad he has years of experience under his belt.

“I’ve been playing golf for quite a while,” Lynch said. “I always played as a little kid when my dad took me out and also did junior golf at my course when I was younger too. I didn’t take it too seriously when I was that young just because I didn’t play too much. I started to really take it seriously in the summer going into high school because I knew I wanted to play in high school. I play golf because I found instant joy in the sport when I started to get into it.”

With the season just starting to pick up, Lynch is finding ways to help make practices as enjoyable as they can be.

“Our season hasn’t been going on for very long this year, but my favorite moments are just every day at practices, playing with the team and being competitive with each other, and trash talking a lot with them when we’re playing,” Lynch said. “The group that we have this year is experienced and we’ve played with each other for a while so we have fun together.”

Lynch has the confidence in himself to advance to state this season, and he’s hoping he gets to experience it with his teammates.

“Some of my goals this season are to win a couple of tournaments, I would like my average to be in the mid70s in tournament play, and obviously on the team side of things, go to state,” Lynch said. The team we have this year is definitely capable of making it to state and it would be fun to go back as a team this year after going individually last year.”


Maize South’s Hunter Higgins

From little league to high school, baseball has been a long chapter for Maize South’s Hunter Higgins, but he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

“Baseball has been a part of my sports career from the beginning,” Higgins said. “I’ve played baseball for about 13 years. I’ve always enjoyed the game because of how hard it is. I think baseball is the hardest sport because of how perfect your technique has to be.”

With a couple of changes to the game this season, Higgins is excited to meet some new opponents and make lots of new memories with the team.

“This year has started a little different with new rules on how many games we can play,” Higgins said. “We have only played five games and three of those were part of a tournament. So the season is still fairly fresh with lots of time to make new memories.”

While stats play a big part, Higgins is hoping to lean more into the leadership side of the game.

“My biggest goal this year is trying to be a big part of the team in a leadership position,” Higgins said. “I know what competing for a starting spot is as a freshman so I want all of our young guys to be striving for that.”

While still undecided on what his future holds, Higgins is ready for anything and is excited to see what is in store for him.

“My future plans are still up in the air,” Higgins said. “I trust my Heavenly Father every day to help me make decisions so better believe I’m going to listen for some guidance on this too. I’m pretty confident I will go the football route but as far as school I have no answer.”


Wichita East’s Marcus White

Marcus White, a multi-sport athlete at Wichita East High School, only started running track two years ago. What only started out as a workout for the following football season turned into something much more.

White’s main focus has been football and basketball, but when he found that he wasn’t too bad at track, he joined immediately.

“I haven’t been running track for too long,” White said. “I started running my sophomore year of high school. I really only ran track to get faster for football season.”

White, who was a first team all-league receiver for East this past season, knew he needed something to keep him in shape. Little did he know that joining track would lead him to huge success the following year.

“One of the most memorable moments I have from track and field so far is taking third at the state meet last year,” White said.

While football and basketball season may be over, White still has high aspirations for track season.

“Some goals I have for this season or to break a 14.4 in the 110 hurdles and a 36 and 300s,” White said.

While track may not be in the cards for White after high school, his love for football definitely is.

“I plan to attend Garden City Community College to continue playing football,” White said.

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Bishop Carroll’s Bryanna Bailey: Old Chicago Athlete Spotlight

Swimming has always been a big part of Bishop Carroll’s Bryanna Bailey and her family’s life. After generations of swimmers and swim coaches, Bailey knew she had to follow in the footsteps.

“I swam for a club for 11 years and I’ve swam all four years of high school at Bishop Carroll,” Bailey said. “My grandparents were swim coaches and my dad then became a swim coach. When I was seven I started swimming and I’ve been swimming since then.”

When history repeated itself three times in a row, Bailey knew it was up to her and the rest of the Bishop Carroll team to make it repeat one more time. This led to one of Bailey’s favorite swim memories.

“The most memorable moment of the season so far would have to be winning our first meet of the season at Marion,” Bailey said. “Our team has won that meet all four years I have swam at Bishop Carroll.”

Hoping to end the season off right, Bailey has big goals and aspirations for herself at the state meet.

“My biggest goal for the season would have to be getting top eight at state in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke,” Bailey said. “Also it would be cool if our team got top five at state as well.”

After high school Bailey plans to attend college and continue her educational career.

“My future plans are to go to Wichita State University and study psychology,” Bailey said.


Hutchinson’s Ariana Shankle

Hutchinson’s Ariana Shankle saw substantial growth from when the season started in early January to its completion in late February.

There were several reasons why Shankle improved her game so much.

“I started throwing a reactive ball at the beginning of the season,” Shankle said.

“Learning how to throw a reactive ball was a challenge but I had fun doing it and really improved throughout the season. The areas I improved on with the new reactive ball was my form and my release which in turn made my average and high game improve.”

To go along with the new ball Shankle started to use, there was another factor in her scores going up.

“My high game was a 204 and my high series was a 598 and I improved tremendously on picking up spares,” Shankle said.

Being a senior, Shankle had plenty of memorable moments throughout the season.

“One of my best memories was placing 10th in a scotch doubles tournament with Hayley Waymire,” Shankle said. “Another one of my best memories was helping decide colors for our team apparel my senior year.”

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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

Valley Center Softball

Alyssa Crumbliss: Crumbliss made All-League pitcher as a freshman, All-League DH as a sophomore, and missed most of last season due to injury. Alyssa has also been splitting time at first base, with Korah Nash graduating. At State in 2023, she picked up a save in the semi-final and pitched the first two innings of the Championship game.

Addison Edwards: Addison was a team member of the 2022 and 2023 VCHS State teams and has been catching for the Hornets this season, after Kennedy Johnson’s departure.

Alyssa Gobel: Alyssa was a team member of the 2023 VCHS State team and stole over 20 bases last season and brings speed and quickness to the Hornet defense and base running. She joins the outfield this season with Mykah Klumpp and Ainsley Kraus moving on to college. Alyssa has committed to play next season for Dodge City Community College.

Morgan Thatcher: Morgan made All-League second base in her sophomore and junior seasons and has committed to play at Barton County Community College next season. At 2023 State, Morgan batted .375, drew three walks, and had two RBI enroute to helping VC repeat as back-to-back 5A State Champions.

2024 Valley Center Softball got off to a fast start winning their first nine games. With graduation taking most of the 2023 team, their preseason goal this year was to finish in the west region top four and host a 5A regional. Besides being led by the 4 seniors, returning players include sophomore Abreya Perry (All-State first team outfield as a freshman), and fellow sophomores Avery Davison, Kailee Abasolo, Emily Freeby and Junior Chayln Boone have stepped in at shortstop, outfield and/or pitching, and third base.


-Maci George (North Texas) played an elite third base, had an incredible 15 RBI and batted .600 in six State 5A games.

-Lucy Hooper (U. Minnesota) played a legendary shortstop and lead-off and ended the 2023 State Title with a tripleplay.

-Kennedy Johnson (Hutch-Juco) called the games with the pitchers the past 2 seasons and batted .600 in six State 5A games.

-Tori Turner (U. Harding -Ark) went 24-1 the past 2 seasons and pitched 15+ innings at 2023 State, including the final five.

-Sykora Smith (UNI) pitched an 8-inning complete game (4-1 victory 2022 title) and hit a grand slam in the 2023 title game.

-Head Coach Corey Jones: Announced this will be his final year coaching VCHS Softball. Corey enters 2024 with a 238-139 record and was named the 5A State of Kansas Coach of the Year (Women’s Sports) for both the 2022 and 2023 seasons.



Inman Track

Coming into the season, the Inman Teuton boys track team are the defending boys class 2A state champions. But there isn’t any pressure on the boys at all.

“We graduated every returning state qualifier from our championship team a year ago.,” first year head coach Clayton Cearley said. “We are focused on daily improvement from the young men in our program and are excited to see these young men compete and get better as the season progresses.”


Cearley doesn’t have a lot of pressure on him either. Spending seven years in the junior high ranks, and now being the head man in charge for the Teutons.

“We really commit to the process and try to let the results take care of themselves,” Cearley said. “We believe that if we focus on what we can control, in regard to our improvement on a daily basis, that good things will happen. We push our kids hard on the track and weightroom. This program was built on work ethic and that will continue to be the backbone of our program moving forward.”

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The team isn’t going to let inexperience hinder them at all on their quest to win back-to-back state championships.

“We must focus on daily improvement both physically and mentally,” Cearley said. “This sport isn’t for the weak minded. It is the ultimate grind and our athletes are excited to take on the challenge. If we stay focused on who we are and what our program is about, success will follow in the future.”


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Derby’s Mariah Heron: Davis Moore’s Military Family Spotlight

Mariah Heron from Derby has a close connection to the military as her dad is an active Air Force member.

Every two years, Heron and her family have to move. They have lived in seven different locations in her life, which has been hard.

“It’s hard to adjust to new changes, new schools, making new friends and finding new sports teams to join,” Heron said. “Having family in the military has affected me in good and bad ways. Positively, I get to meet different people, and I also get to see new places that a lot of other people don’t get that option to see. Negatively, you can’t get to attached where you are stationed at, because you will always know that you are going to have to pack up and leave.”

Heron has to find the balance of positive and negative emotions when it deals with her life and the subsequent life changes that happen so often.

“Having a family member in the military is a mix of emotions,” Heron said. “On one hand, I feel incredibly proud of my dad’s service and the sacrifices that he makes for our country. It’s a source of inspiration and admiration. But it’s not always easy. There are times when I miss my dad dearly, especially during deployment or when he can’t be with us for special occasions.”


Mulvane Cheer

In order to make the Mulvane cheer squad, there is a thorough and detailed tryout process.

“During the tryout process, cheerleaders are scored based on their teacher evaluations (shows dependability and leadership in classes), their jumps, and on their performance of a dance, cheer, and chant,” said Mulvane coach Shelley Milledge. “They get one practice to be taught the dance, and one more practice to be taught the cheer and chant. They will have a panel of three judges, the coaches do not judge tryouts. The athletes tryout in groups of two or three. Tryouts take place in early March.”

According to Milledge, it does not matter how good a specific team is. The cheerleaders will be there no matter what to show support and provide an environment for each team.

“Cheerleaders are also very important, because they always show up to support,” Milledge said. “Even if the team is failing and losing, the cheerleaders are there so that they

always have a group of people there supporting them. What makes a ‘good’ cheer squad isn’t necessarily how talented their stunts are or how impressive their jumps are. What does make them good though, is if they are striving to create a positive atmosphere in and out of the game, and if they are there to build others up.”


Halstead Cheer

The Halstead cheer squad was voted the Wichita Small School Cheer Squad of the Year. This year’s team included seniors Gabby Bohrn, Brooklyn Wilkinson, Emilee Wood and underclassmen Mackenzie Ervin, Macy Leep, Piper Morgan, Kadiance Salyers, Delia Stewart, Briley Allmon, Adalley Provo, Piper Schroeder, Madi Rump and Zandri Watkins.

Much like other cheer squads, life is crazy for the Dragons during the fall and winter months.

“In the fall, we practice twice a week with games on Friday’s,” said coach Stephanie Bridges. “During the winter, we have games twice a week sometimes three days a week. Throwing practice in where we can, depending on what performances we have coming up.”

Mulvane’s varsity cheerleaders this year were Abigail Malanchuk (senior), Adyson Parrott, Brynlee Webb, Claire Hansen, Isabelle Colvin, Kamryn Alumbaugh, Katelyn Wyant (senior), Laiken Hladik, Macy Piel, Mariah Cowin (senior), Samantha Kirchner, Savannah Reames, Charli Richardson, Chloe Davis, Makennah Allen, and Sierra Schmidt.

The process to make the team is an arduous one for anyone interested. It includes not just learning a cheer, but showing the basic fundamentals necessary to be a cheerleader.

“Tryouts are in the middle of March,” Bridges said. “They have a total of four hours to learn the tryout material. The tryout material consists of: left and right kick, toe touch, jump of choice, two sidelines and a cheer.”


Cunningham’s Will Wegerer

It does not get lost on Cunningham’s Will Wegerer just what he and his teammates were able to accomplish in 2024.

The Wildcats boys basketball team won their first state title and Wegerer said the ride towards the title was as enjoyable as it gets.

“It was so much fun,” Wegerer said. “Basketball is such a fun sport, and winning makes it even better. So to be able to accomplish what we did and win the first ever state basketball championship for Cunningham was amazing.”

Time and time again, Wegerer and the Wildcats found themselves in precarious positions where they had to dig deep and overcame adversity to become state champions.

“In the first round of state we were down by 17 against Bucklin and I think a lot of people counted us out

at that point, but everyone on the team believed that we could come back, and we did,” Wegerer said. “Again in the semifinals against No. 1 seed Dighton we found ourselves down. At half we were down 2634, but the team believed again and kept fighting and we came out with another win. In the state championship game it was kind of the same story. We found ourselves down 0-9 to start the game, but this time after a few quick buckets we were caught back up by the end of the first quarter. It remained a close game with the lead changing a couple times, but in the end we were able to pull it off.”

Flinthills’ Paige Corter

It was a record-breaking season for Flinthills’ Paige Corter, as she broke the single-game record for points in a game (41 vs. Oxford) and most freethrows made in a game.

But more than that, she and the small group of Mustangs had one of the school’s most successful seasons in recent memory.

“I would describe it as a very great and exciting season,” Corter said. “We were a very small group this year and we all played excellent, everyone took apart of every win we had. I was super excited to play with my team this year. We all were ready to practice every day after school to get better for every game, and I’m really happy that this team has helped me a lot through the years of me playing basketball.”

That Oxford game was a memory that stood out in particular for Corter.

“I remember the coaches asking one of the injured players how many points I had in just the first half and if I remember it was 26 or 28,” Corter said. “And the second half everyone kept giving me the ball to beat the record. I remember our point guard always smiling at me when I made a basket. I was so very happy that people helped me do that.”

Winning 17 games, including one over rival Bluestem, made for a fun ride to close Corter’s high school career.

“We had so much fun this season,” Corter said. “We never hung our heads after losing a game. We always told ourselves we will work harder and win this next one.”

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Kapaun Mt. Carmel Crusaders

Just a year ago, the Kapaun Mt. Carmel Crusaders found themselves in the championship game. But the senior-laden Andover Trojans were too much for the Crusaders.

Kapaun had another chance to write some history, this time capitalizing on the opportunity and avenging last year’s heartbreaking loss.

“It feels so good ever since that day last year I’ve been working my butt off to get back here and win it,” junior guard Corbin Johnson said. “There were so many early mornings, late nights and missed parties, but I knew that’s what it would take to win, and it feels so surreal.”

The junior made sure to finish the season off right this time, scoring 18 points, hitting five threes, and snagging four rebounds.

Johnson wasn’t the only big performer for the Crusaders. Senior William Thengvall continued his insane state tournament run with 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

The win wouldn’t be easy, though.

off the


entered the championship

with a different type of confidence.

After a first-quarter lead of 16-14, Piper would continue to fight back and tie up the game 27-27 at halftime, led by Derrick Jackson’s nine points.

Wichita Independent Panthers

The Wichita Independent girls were victorious, winning their first state championship over Riverside 58-39 in school history.

Coming into the season, former Southeast Buffalo point guard EJ Garnes knew that they had a very serious chance of making the state championship after their berth the year before.

Now, the young head coach is a State Champion.

“To me, it’s just a testament to a great group of young girls that I have that trusted in me and my coaching staff,” Garnes said. “I’m so overwhelmed with joy for them and truly believe this is only the beginning for us.”

The road to get to the state championship wasn’t an easy one. The Panthers entered as the sixth seed with a 19-3 record and matched up with a very experienced Hillsboro team in the first round. The Panthers took care of business 39-36 and would go on to match up with the secondseeded and then undefeated St. Mary’sColgan team, defeating them 48-40.

The Crusaders would finally pull away deep in the second half, limiting the Piper transition game, and some timely threes by Johnson would ultimately give the Crusaders their fifth state title win in school history and the first with legendary coach Steve Eck.

The win set up the Panthers for a meeting with Riverside, who would not have enough for the Panthers to fall 58-39.

“We stuck together all season long,” Garnes said. “Our message has been to stick together. You face so much adversity throughout the season that it almost becomes easy to break apart, but we continue to stick together.”

Independent was led by freshman star Zoey Buckner-Franklin’s 16 points and seven assists. And lone senior Shephie SafiSalumu’s 10 rebounds and six blocks.

For Garnes and Wichita Independent, with one of the youngest teams in the area, the team will 100 percent have a back-to-back championship in their view.

After knocking undefeated Maize South Mavericks 61-55, Piper Pirates game
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Cunningham Wildcats

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 frst-team 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.

“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. “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 backto-back championships as seniors next year.


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.

Cowley College’s Jeff Nwankwo and Ndack Mbengue

Cowley College basketball players Jeff Nwankwo and Ndack Mbengue were named Cowley College’s February Male and Female Athletes of the Month.

Nwankwo was named the Most Valuable Player in the Jayhawk Conference after averaging 18.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. He helped Cowley finish second in the Jayhawk Conference with a record of 21-3, and the Tigers earned a bid to compete at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.

The psychology major has a grade point average of 3.21.

Mbengue was recently named a Second Team All-Conference selection after averaging 12.5 points and 10.4 rebounds on the season. She twice grabbed 24 rebounds in a game and helped the Lady Tigers earn a home playoff game.

The recently crowned Homecoming Queen is majoring in business administration and has a GPA of 3.94.


Valley Center’s Hank Welu: Athlete Spotlight

Consistency is the number one key for Valley Center’s Hank Welu. That is what you get though when you have only one senior on the whole roster.

“I don’t even really realize I’m the only senior,” Welu said. “I’m so close with the team we all just feel as one. It does feel a little weird though when people talk about it because not too often you only have one senior on a baseball team.”

Welu is a center fielder and pitcher for the Hornets and has been a vital part to the team for the last three years.

“He has been a three-year starter for us in the outfield. He has grown into an exceptional leader on the field, in the classroom and in the weight room,” head coach Matthew Robertson said.

Coming off of a season where the senior hit .481 and was named to the all-league and all-state teams, the senior still has a lot to prove and has a few more school records he plans on breaking to go along with his career triples and season triples records.

“I want to produce obviously, but the main thing is I want to stay consistent and bring my best game every single night to help the team as much as possible,” Welu said. “Our team goal as is every year is obviously to be one of the last teams playing in the state tournament.”


Bishop Carroll’s Austin Selenke: Athlete Spotlight

Bishop Carroll’s Austin Selenke has been playing baseball since he was four years old, and last year, one of his many dreams came true as the Golden Eagles won the 2023 class 5A State Championship.

As a senior, he has every intention to get back that feeling from a year ago.

“Austin is a hard-working kid who is a nononsense kind of kid, comes to work every day,” Bishop Carroll head coach Charles Ebright said. “As a player, he is a three year starter in center field and leadoff hitter for us. Austin creates havoc on the Diamond, he has a lot of extra base hits, walks, and stolen bases.”

The senior has helped lead another fast start to the season for the Golden Eagles and continues to be a problem offensively and defensively for opposing teams, while leading his team.

“I love being positive with my teammates,” Selenke said. “If someone struggles, and I see them down on themselves I’ll pick them up. I’ll always bring the positivity.”

The senior has dreams of first team all-state and some other accolades but knows that he would rather win another state championship, playing the way he does.

“The best part of my game is defense,” Selenke said. “I make good reads, and I use my speed to cover the most ground possible, and the ground I can’t cover, my teammates are able to cover. Another one of my strengths is base running. I try to steal as many bases as I can if I think I’m able to.”


Oxford’s Eva Navrat: Athlete Spotlight

Oxford’s Eva Navrat is a player who has kept on working and is a big part of why Oxford has kept up their winning ways.

Navrat’s journey started as a freshman who had a .151 to a seasoned junior with a .372 average. This significant improvement not only showcased her individual growth but also reflects her leadership qualities. As a senior, Navrat has embraced her role as a mentor and motivator for her teammates, inspiring them with her story of progress through hard work and perseverance. Her ability to instill hope and foster a culture of hard work among her teammates is a testament to her leadership skills and the positive impact she has on those around her.

“I believe that the biggest skill I possess while being a leader on my team is my mental toughness,” Navrat said. “While maturing over the years, I have gained confidence, how to stay calm under pressure, and how to focus. This allows me to be a leader toward my teammates by showing how to overcome the errors and challenges, and how to move on and make up for it.”

Navrat’s leadership, evident both on and off the field, has been a long time in the making. She has consistently been a supportive and dedicated teammate, showcasing her commitment to the team’s success and well-being.

“Eva is the kind of kid every coach wants on their team,” Oxford head coach Kelsey Clemons said. “She is kind and positive with her teammates, a lead by example type of kid and is extremely coachable.”

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Clearwater’s Addison Brown: Athlete Spotlight

After a fourth place finish in 2022 and 2023, Clearwater softball is trying to desperately get over that hump.

Thanks to a 6-2 start led by senior catcher Addison Brown, the Indians are rolling early.

“Addison is a competitive and determined softball player,” Clearwater head coach Tyler Hampton said. “She really wants to be successful every time she takes the field and puts a lot of pressure on herself to do so. She loves softball and is super passionate about the sport, she puts the time in and works hard to continue to improve her skills. She has been really good behind the plate and in the leadoff spot in our line up and has caught all 50 games for us the last two seasons behind the plate and has helped our team be very successful.”

The senior has been honored with all-league catcher awards the last two years during her time behind the plate and knows that now as a senior, she has a different mindset she needs to have.

“I am very passionate about this sport, I’ve worked very hard and have been through many obstacles to continue playing softball,” Brown said. “Being on the field and being

able to be the best I can be is very important to me. My parents always say I ‘can’t turn it off’ and they’re right. I’m constantly thinking about it, and how I can be better, and how I can help my team be the best.”


Chaparral’s Tyce Pfaff: Athlete Spotlight

Chaparral’s Tyce Pfaff has been playing the sport he loves since he was four and now as a senior he is seeing the experience pay off.

Pfaff is a four-time letterman for the Roadrunners who started his career as a third baseman as a freshman and sophomore and then later he transitioned to a catcher. During his junior year he averaged .304 at the plate while having a .466 on base percentage and becoming one of the clutchest hitters in the league.

“Tyce is a very versatile player,” head coach Tyler Cubine said. “He’s got a smooth powerful swing and can spray it from gap to gap. He’s a clutch hitter who always steps up in the big moments, and has fully embraced his job defensively and has made huge strides as I think he’s one of the top defensive catchers in our league.”

Despite being one of the top catchers around, the senior has also gotten his respect off the diamond as well.

“As a person, Tyce is top notch,” Cubine said. “He’s never caused me or his teachers any problems and has developed into a good leader. He’s the only kid in his class that’s played baseball all 4 years and was my only upperclassman on the team last year, so he’s had to shoulder the burden of being our leader for a few years. He’s

my first player I’ve had all four years, and he’s the only one that’s stuck with me throughout our rough seasons early on. Tyce Pfaff is Roadrunner baseball. No one has meant more to this program than he has.”


El Dorado’s Elisabeth Nobert: Athlete Spotlight

Last season, El Dorado’s Elisabeth Nobert had a recordsetting season in 2023, as she broke most runs scored in a season for the Wildcats.

She has more records in her sites in 2024, as well as improving El Dorado’s team record.

I have been on the leaderboard for quite of few things and I would like to hold more records here at El Dorado,” Nobert said. “This season I want us to have a winning season.”

Nobert hit .441 last season, with a .536 on-base percentage. She also stole 18 bases and scored 27 runs.

“In my offseason my club offers lots of workouts to get prepared for the spring and summer,” Nobert said. “We start small to get us in shape by doing non-stop conditioning to make us more explosive and to increase our quickness. That’s something key to my game is my speed.”

Being a better defensive player was the focus for Nobert in the offseason.

“My biggest weakness right now is perfecting my outfield skills after my transition from middle infield to outfield - last two years has been a challenge,” Nobert said. “But I have created a love for my new position. The best way for me to working on that was just breaking it down into the smaller fundamentals of the outfield and relearning everything.”


Augusta’s Shane McGuire: Athlete Spotlight

In his debut year as Augusta’s baseball head coach, JD Hand has faced his highs and lows like all new coaches do. Senior player Shane McGuire has been instrumental in smoothing the journey, offering crucial support and leadership along the way.

“Shane has been helpful in my first year as Head Coach at Augusta High School in terms of communication and encouraging his teammates as we adjust to each other,” Hand said. “I am confident that he’s going to have opportunities to play after high school.”

Because of this leadership, McGuire was named to the Player’s Council for the second year in a row.

“Being voted on the Player’s Council is special because it tells me that my teammates trust me to do what I am supposed to do and lead the younger kids to where I am now,” McGuire said.

McGuire, a first baseman, is determined to lead his team to the state championship after an impressive year where he earned first-team all-league and second-team all-state honors.

“Some goals I have are outdoing my stats and mentions from last year and getting past the bump of regionals and making it to state,” McGuire said.


Maize’s Easton Roth: Athlete Spotlight

Maize High School has been a powerhouse in the Wichita Area for the last couple of years, and now, with another good group of players led by senior pitcher Easton Roth, they are looking to bring a championship to Maize.

“Easton is a very driven yet humble type of person,” head coach Rocky Helm said. “He has become a really good leader for our baseball team this season. He is our number one arm and looks to get better each time out.”

Roth is a left-handed pitcher who is coming off of a season where he was named to the second-team all-league. His best game came when he had 10 strikeouts in four innings with eight of them being consecutive.

This season, Roth has continued the dominance and already has 26 strikeouts in 22 innings while only giving up four runs to the 92 batters he has faced.

“I feel like my strengths are knowing what works for me,” Roth said. “I can generally tell early on in the game what is working and what isn’t. I think my other strength is my short-term memory. I work hard to focus on the next pitch and not dwell on what happened during the previous play.”

This mindset from Roth is what he believes can help Maize get over their hump.

“I think personally and as a team, the top goal is to play in the state tournament,” Roth said. “This is not something I have been able to do in my high school career and not something Maize Baseball has done in a while. It’s time for that to change.”


Ark City’s Madi Jennings: Athlete Spotlight

Ark City’s Madi Jennings is a senior who has played softball since she was five years old.

“Madi is known for her hard work on the field, kind-hearted nature, and impressive academic achievements,” head coach Denise Pearson said. “She has the ability to put the ball in play at pivotal moments in the game as a slap hitter. Madi is consistently putting in the effort and time to improve her skills and support her team. Her dedication, calm demeanor, and positive attitude make her a great senior leader.”

As an upperclassman, Jennings has evolved into the senior leader of Ark City’s softball team.

“As a senior, my role on the team is to be a positive leader and role model for the underclassmen so that they can continue this as they go through high school,” Jennings said.

Coming off of an 8-10 record a season ago, Jennings knows that she wants to leave her playing career on a high note.

“This team is different from the rest because we are a team on and off the field,” Jennings said. “Many of us spend time together outside of practice and school, which creates a great dynamic during game time. And the team goal for this season is to continue to play our best for the team and not just ourselves.”

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Wellington’s Madison Baker: Athlete Spotlight

It’s all softball, all of the time for Wellington’s Madison Baker.

Aside from sometime around the holidays, Baker is always working on her game.

“During the off season of high school softball, I play on a travel team the rest of the year/ summer so my only down time is around Christmas and New Year’s,” Baker said. “My main focus has been my pitching and working on new pitches and improving my pitching speed. I have pitching lessons with Whitney Thomas who I have been seeing now for a few years. Whitney has taught me a lot through the years and has really helped me with my pitching.”

Pitching has always been the area Baker worked on throughout the offseason, but she has paid closer attention to her hitting than usual.

“I am always working on trying to improve,” Baker said. “The biggest thing this year I have been trying to focused on other than my pitching is my hitting which I have already seen a lot of improvement in this year.”

Wellington has a lot of new faces this year, including the coaching staff, but Baker is trying to be the leader the Crusaders need.

“I look forward to making more memories with my teammates while also working to make ourselves better on the field,” Baker said. “Our team has a lot of younger players and new coaches, so everyone is learning together and keep improving to see where this season takes us.”


Rose Hill’s Paige Green: Athlete Spotlight

Rose Hill softball’s Paige Green is coming off of a great junior year campaign, where she was selected as a first-team allleague pitcher.

Green has always done what is best for the team and has been that way since she was a freshman when she was asked to become a third baseman with no prior experience.

“With this being my senior year and my fourth year playing for the high school, the underclassmen definitely look up to me,” Green said. “Being a leader for those girls, and the team as whole is not a role that is taken lightly, and definitely makes an impact on the team. It means a lot to me to see the underclassman look up to me and it pushes me to be better for not only myself, but for them and the program as well.”

The senior now uses her varsity experience to dominate with her current stats of a batting average of .400 and on base percentage of .483, while pitching really well with 22 strikeouts already.

“As a leader I feel like I bring experience and a calmness under pressure,” Greens said. “having

played many years of high level softball has helped me to have a good on field awareness and heads up in situational plays. I bring a strong knowledge of the game that is helpful both in practice and game situations, especially for the underclassmen. I also feel like I play well under pressure, pitchers take on a big role, especially under pressure but I have learned to not let that affect me.”

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El Dorado’s Logan Garner: Athlete Spotlight

Logan Garner is a kid that a lot of people around the state know as someone who can really fill up the state sheet – as a basketball player though.

Garner’s primary sport is basketball, a sport where he has now committed to his hometown Butler Community College for his next two years.

The senior is coming off of setting the single season points record for El Dorado High School averaging 20.1 points per game and becoming the AVCTL-4 MVP, while being named to the all-state first-team.

Despite his accolades, Garner remains dedicated to continuous improvement on the diamond, recognizing that past achievements mean little without ongoing effort and commitment.

“Logan is a great kid and person,” head coach Adam McCormick said. “He is a kid who leads by example. He is always picking up his teammates trying to help them get better in any way.”

As a junior, Garner decided he was going to pick his childhood sport back up and immediately picked up where he left off as he was named a first-team all-league outfielder.

“I took off five years before coming back to play my junior year,” Garner said. “My dad really wanted to see me play because that is what he did in college.”


Circle’s Landon Haines: Athlete Spotlight

The Circle High School Thunderbirds are a team that have caught some fire early, already creeping up on their win total from the year before.

Senior Landon Haines and his pitching is a big reason for that.

“Landon Haines is a fantastic kid on and off the field,” head coach Matt Jordan said. “He is a ‘yes sir, no sir’ type of young man who works hard in every aspect of his life.”

Haines is a 6’2, 215 pound right handed pitcher, first baseman and third baseman who is committed to Barton Community College and is turning heads as he is looking like one of the best pitchers in the state.

“He needs to give himself more credit and get used to being the best pitcher in the state,” Jordan said. “Sky’s the limit for Landon.”

The senior is a four-year varsity letterman who is one of those guys who leads by example, and he has the accolades to prove it.

“My freshman year I was second-team all-league, my sophomore year I was first-team all-league, my junior year I was first-team all-league and firstteam all-state and I was also selected to play for Kansas Select,” Haines said.

So far Haines already has 22 strikeouts thanks to his fastball that sits in the 80s and his slider.


Wichita East’s Hayden Flores

Wichita East’s Hayden Flores was a second team allleague forward last season, and she’s looking to take her years of experience and challenge herself to the best year yet.

“I’ve been playing soccer for almost ten years,”

Flores said. “The sport has always been exciting and challenging. being able to build those connections with other teammates on and off the field. High school soccer is something I always look forward to because of how much I enjoy it and how interactive we are with one another.”

Flores has been impressed seeing her team grow together in tough games and situations, and it has led to some nailbiting wins.

“Recently we went against Wichita Heights,” Flores said. “The game was on their half for most of the game but they were able to come back. We went into overtime tied two to two, but we finished it off by scoring the winning goal.”

At the halfway point into the season, Flores is making more goals and finding ways to improve herself and her skills.

my goals for the season is to become an even better player with the ball at my feet and taking on players one-on-one,” Flores said. “I would like to better myself on finishing the ball in the net.”

Flores plans to further her academic and soccer career after high school.

“My plans are to attend Butler Community College playing soccer and getting my prerequisites to become a radiation therapist,” Flores said.


Central Burden’s Kaden Miller: Athlete Spotlight

Kaden Miller of Central Burden has been making the most of the season, making games and practices fun with his teammates and coaches.

“The most memorable part of the season thus far is being around the people I love to be around at practice, games, in the dugout having a good time,” Miller said. “We recently lost a key player on our squad due to football injury and it is awesome to be with him in the dugout and being coached up by him and just listening to someone who knows alot about the sport as he plans to attend Cowley County Community College to pitch next year.”

Looking forward to seeing where the rest of season takes him and the team, Miller is ready to accomplish all the goals this season.

“Some goals I am focused on for this season are to make it to the state tournament in Great Bend,” Miller said. “This has been a really big goal for my team and I throughout high school, we have always gone into the regional tournament as the one seed and have never made it out. Another goal of mine is to be a leader for our team, this year we lost our ace and our leader, Russ Smith, therefore our team needed someone to step up and take the leadership role on the field and I want that to be me.”

Miller will continue his academic and athletic journeys after graduation, in hopes of owning a business in the future.

“I plan to attend Friends University on a wrestling scholarship and study marketing,” Miller said. “I hope to start my own business one day and use this degree to advance my career.”

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Tri-County Basketball Photos

The Tri-County League dedicates itself to giving every person that opportunity to compete in athletics. The Tri-County “March Madness” tournament was held on March 21st and March 22nd at the South YMCA South Farha Center.

Derby’s Connor Webster: “Call of the Wild” Spotlight

Whether it’s mowing yards, playing baseball or fishing, Derby’s Connor Webster spends a great deal of time in the outdoors.

And it all started when he was little.

“I started fishing when I was four years old on my grandfather’s boat,” Webster said. “I started because I liked the boat and there was always candy in the boat so I’d go eat it and then want to go back in.”

For Webster, wanting to be outside is simple.

“I enjoy being outdoors because I love to feel the wind blowing and love to do a lot of activities outdoors,” Webster said.

Webster has several memories that stand out to him, but one stands out the most.

“My favorite memories of fishing are when me and my friends or me and my grandfather compete against each other,” Webster said. “Another one of my favorite memories is catching my big fish and calling my grandpa to come see it and he told me good job and that j made his day.”


Valley Center High School

The Valley Center SAFE program had some special guests help launch their seatbelt campaign this past winter.

“This winter we had Vince and Larry, the crash dummies come to lunch,” said sponsor Kristen Joyal. “During this lunch we had students sign a pledge to wear their seatbelts and we had drawings for gift cards for those that pledged. That same night at the home basketball game we had Vince and Larry at the game, we had a table set up where basketball fans could also pledge to wear their seatbelts. During halftime of the game we had a contest where two students wore the drunk goggles and had to dribble and make a layup before dribbling back to center court.”

There are three times during the school year where seatbelt data is collected.

“In October we do a spirit week that has themes that follow SAFE / SADD - wearing your seatbelt - say no to drugs - don’t drink and drive, etc,” Joyal said. “We have a time during lunch where we ask students to sign a pledge to wear their seatbelts and stay drugfree.”

In April, the Valley Center SAFE also have two special events that promote making smart decisions.

“In April, we are going to have donuts at the beginning of school when students come into the school with the slogan ‘donut forget to wear your seatbelts,’” Joyal said. “In late April we host the ‘After, After Prom Breakfast’, where students can come eat breakfast at LeVenue, instead of driving into Wichita after prom. The purpose of this breakfast is to give kids a responsible way to be with friends the night of prom and hopefully reduce poor decisions. This is a free breakfast for all students.”

The executives of Valley Center’s SAFE program this year are: Abby Anderson (President), Macee Lehr (Secretary), Natalie Webb (Senior Leader), Abigail Soellner (Vice President) and Sara Hershberger (Senior Leader).

ktsro.org/safe Buckle up. Phones down. Have fun. ktsro.org/safe Buckle up. Phones down. Have fun.

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.

Our average class size is 16, but the opportunities created at Butler are boundless.

Kansas Resident Tuition & Fees: $130/credit hour

www.WSUTECH.edu National Center for Aviation Training 4004 N. Webb Road | 316.677.9400 City Center | 301 S. Grove | 316.677.9400 WSU South | 3821 E. Harry | 316.677.9400 National Institute for Culinary and Hospitality Education 124 S. Broadway | 316.677.9400

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