To say Ryan Schadler from Hesston had a big athletic year would be an understatement. On the football field in the fall, he ran for over 2,400 yards, a nightmare for defenders. In the winter, he helped lead the Swathers to an undefeated state championship basketball season. In the fall, Schadler won state titles in the 400-meters, and long jump at the state track meet.
For his efforts, he was awarded the 2014 Barry Sanders Male Athlete of the Year award at the Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.
“All of us were deserving,” said Schadler. “The other two guys are great athletes and well deserving of the award so it’s a true honor. It’s pretty awesome to be here for the Johnny Bench Award. I grew up playing 2006 NCAA Baseball, and you’d play My Player and be a catcher and win that award and see it on video games, so that was kind of cool to sit here and watch that, especially with all the amazing pro athlete that are here today. It’s a testament to hard work and believing in yourself.”
Schadler will be heading to Wichita State University in the fall to run track for the Shockers.
In the fall, Schadler’s football career came to an end with a first round playoff loss to eventual state semifinalist Horton. But the Hesston running back didn’t need a deep playoff run to put up some impressive numbers. Averaging over 14 yards per carry on the year, Schadler needed little space to turn on his speed and head for the end zone.
“My favorite was probably running for 525 yards against El Dorado and 7 touchdowns was my favorite individual memory,” said Schadler. “As a team, the homecoming game against Kingman we were down 21-6 early and we really fought back and came back. I had some pretty incredible runs that were just blocked perfect.”
On the basketball court, Schadler was one of two seniors on a team that provided a season for the ages. The Swathers stayed undefeated through a narrow victory over Beloit in the state title game.
“That was probably the (most fun) couple of months I’ve ever had,” said Schadler. “They look at Ryan Schadler as a football athlete or a track athlete. But honestly, I probably had the most fun winning the state championship and going 26-0 under (Greg) Raleigh. That was an incredible season.”
At the state track meet, Schadler shined on his future home track at Cessna Stadium. It was no wonder the Shockers wanted him in black and gold. Schadler took first in the 400, and the long jump, as well as taking second in the 200 and third in the 100.
“I’m excited to get to go to places like Drake Relays and Oregon Relays, possibly Penn Relays, some of the most historic track meets with Olympians competing, that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch and compete there,” said Schadler. “It’s nothing like state track though, with 3,000 athletes, it’s pretty incredible and I’m going to miss that. That was a truly incredible weekend to compete at.”
Schadler joins two other Hesston natives as high school athletes of the year at this banquet. Laurie Koehn from Hesston was one of the greatest basketball players of all time playing at Moundridge and won the Lynette Woodard High School Female of the Year award in 2000. Christi Lehman has a state record in the pole vault and won the award in 2001.
“They were both amazing athletes as well, so it’s great to be in company like that,” said Schadler.