An astounding 57,652 votes were cast in the sixth annual Catchy Awards and all 28 winners have been selected. The nominees were selected by the CatchItKansas.com but every single winner was selected by you, the fan.
Here are this year’s Catchy Award Winners.
Football Player of the Year: Zeke Palmer, Bishop Carroll
Palmer led his team to an undefeated 13-0 record and Carroll’s first state championship since 1978. His 2,333 passing yards and 22 touchdowns to 2 interceptions was good enough to oust his competition in the Catchys. He also punched the ball in 13 times on 533 rushing yards.
Volleyball Player of the Year: Katelyn Loecker, McPherson
Loecker garnered the most votes by leading the Lady Bullpups to a state championship and 42 wins on the season. Loecker was a nightmare matchup on the court due to her size and strengths. She will attend Oklahoma State University to play basketball.
Boys’ Cross Country Runner of the Year: Gage Garcia, Bishop Carroll
Garcia was an animal on the cross country course, as proved by his regional championship, fourth place finish at state and second place finish in the Wichita City League. He also took 15th in the Rim Rock Gold race. He exemplified Bishop Carroll distance running, a program that continually breeds great runners.
Girls’ Cross Country Runner of the Year: Kaelyn Balch, Bishop Carroll
A word often associated with Kaelyn Balch is champion. She is a Wichita City League champion, regional champion and state champion. She was a force on the cross country course and often blew other runners out of the water during competition. This is Balch’s second Catchy Award.
Girls’ Tennis Player/Duo of the Year: Courtney Lubbers, Bishop Carroll
Lubbers had a terrific season as she walked through the regular season and played her way to a regional title. From there, she took second at the 5A state tournament.
Girls’ Golfer of the Year: Carly Hill, Bishop Carroll
Hill shot a 90 to take third at the City League championship, then backed up that performance with a second place regional finish and a fifth place finish at state.
Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year: Ian Daley, Kapaun Mt. Carmel
Daley led the Crusaders to a third place finish at state and another City League championship for Kapaun. He finished third in the league with 12 goals.
Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year: Conner Frankamp, Wichita North
With more than half the votes in the category, this is Frankamp’s second Catchy Award. The University of Kansas-bound sharp shooter set the Wichita City League record with 2,295 points. He scored 655 points in his senior season, good for a 31.2 points per game average. He led his team to the 6A state tournament.
Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year: Paige Lungwitz, Maize
A late voting push gave Lungwitz her first Catchy Award. She led her team to a 21-4 record and a trip to the 6A state tournament, where the Lady Eagles finished fourth. The offense was commanded by Lungwitz, the clear leader for Maize this past season.
Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Jake Spitz, Wichita East
Spitz’s name is now associated with the best in the history of the Wichita City League. He holds many league records and led the Blue Aces to its 15th state championship. This is his second Catchy Award. Spitz also helped East to its fifth-straight City League title.
Boys’ Bowler of the Year: Daniel Herman, Great Bend
Herman garnered more than half of all votes in this category, and with good reason. The state champion bowled a 759 series at state with a 270 high game. With that effort, he led the Panthers to the team state title.
Girls’ Bowler of the Year: Kirsten Allan, Buhler
A 706 series and a high game of 269 earned Allan the state championship. The Lady Crusaders finished third as a team behind Augusta and Bishop Carroll, but Allan set herself apart as the best girls’ bowler.
Wrestler of the Year: Zac Gentzler, Andover Central
One single career loss landed Gentzler at Oklahoma State University. He won his fourth straight state championship with a 45-0 record in 2012-13. He had stiff competition in this category, as the nominees combined for five total losses. Gentzler dominated each tournament he entered, including the Newton Tournament of Champions in January.
Girls’ Swimmer of the Year: Madison Hutchison, Bishop Carroll
Hutchison has now won her second Catchy Award. She finished the 2013 state meet with a great line: First place in 200 medley relay, second place in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke. She was also the City League champion in the 100 butterfly.
Boys’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year: Trevin Wiens, Meade
Wiens dominated the sprints at the state championships in May. With wins in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes, Wiens set himself apart from the rest of the state as the best track athlete of the year.
Girls’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year: Katherine Dillard, Bishop Carroll
The 800-meter monster diversified her portfolio with state championship wins in not only the 800, but the 1600 as well. She was also a regional and league champion in both events. This is her second Catchy Award.
Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year: Reagan Kaiser, Hays
Kaiser won with more than half of the votes in the category. It’s a pretty impressive feat considering that talent she was up against. Kaiser set herself apart by leading the Lady Indians to the state tournament.
Softball Player of the Year: Jessi Haffner, Bishop Carroll
Haffner led the Lady Golden Eagles to the team’s third straight state championship. She is now 3-0 in state championship games. Haffner did it all with a 0.99 ERA with 93 strikeouts and 41 RBI, six home runs with a .536 batting average. She struck out just once at the plate.
Boys’ Tennis Player/Duo of the Year: Ben Davidson and Max Pyle, McPherson
Davidson and Pyle walked into the state tournament and left with a runner-up finish. This pair was a powerhouse as it lost just nine games in the Smoky Valley regional tournament.
Baseball Player of the Year: Mitchell McIntyre, Wichita Northwest
McIntyre was arguably the best pitcher in the Wichita City League as he finished with a 6-1 record and allowed just 7 runs all year. He struck out 74 batters and walked just 14. He is committed to play at Wichita State University.
Boys’ Golfer of the Year: Sam Stevens, Kapaun Mt. Carmel
A league, regional and state championship earned Stevens his second Catchy Award. The state championship was his most impressive as he shot a 4-under 67 at Brookridge Golf Course in Overland Park.
6A Team of the Year: Wichita South Girls’ Basketball
One loss and a state championship are tough to argue with. It was the Lady Titans’ first title since 1978. The team had to defeat perennial power Wichita Heights three times, including once in the state title game. The Lady Titans’ finished 24-1.
5A Team of the Year: Bishop Carroll Football
The Golden Eagles captured its first state championship since 1978 and did it in dominated fashion. The team went 13-0 and beat Bishop Miege in the state championship an embarrassing 60-21.
4A Team of the Year: Holton Football
The 4A football state champion faced a gauntlet in 2013, and it was Holton that emerged as the best. The Wildcats finished the season 14-0 with a 21-0 win over Eudora in the title game.
3A Team of the Year: Hutchinson Trinity Boys’ Cross Country
The Hutch Trinity runners left everyone else on the trails to find their own way. The Celtics won the 3A state championship by an astounding 35 points. This team was also a regional champion.
2A Team of the Year: Smith Center Girls’ Basketball
The Lady Red marched through the regular season and entered the state tournament with a 21-2 record and finished the season 24-2 with a state championship. The model of consistency, Smith Center scored 61, 62 and 63 points in three games at state.
1A Team of the Year: Norwich Girls’ Track
Behind the legs of Mackenzie Klaver, Norwich won a state championship with 53 points, 14 ahead of second place Valley Heights.
Story of the Year: Bishop Carroll’s Kaelyn Balch defeating Valley Center’s Morgan Wedekind by 2/100ths of a second in 5A State Cross Country. Read it here
In what will go down as one of the best state championship races in Kansas high school history, Balch won the 5A state championship by coming back in the final 500 meters of the race to win by 2/100ths of a second.