More than 55,000 votes were cast in this year’s Catchy Awards, and the results are in! Check below for the best individual and team performances from around the state in 2015.
Best Football Player: Tyler Burns – Wichita Trinity
Burns piled up 1,662 rushing yards as a senior for Trinity, with 31 touchdowns scored in a variety of ways. On the defensive side the future Kansas State Wildcat chipped in 56 tackles and four interceptions, and will join his brother Morgan in Manhattan in 2015.
Best Volleyball Player: Keiryn Swenson – Maize
An All-Metro and All-State selection this past season for the Eagles, the three-sport star notched 386 kills, 42 aces and 24 stuff blocks in her senior season. While she’ll be dropping volleyball to focus on track and basketball at Arkansas, Swenson is still one of the state’s best all-around athletes.
Best Boys’ Cross-Country Runner: Riley Osen – Winfield
Osen helped provide the Vikings with a third consecutive cross country title in Class 4A, cranking out a time of 16:02.02 in early November at Wamego Country Club. The performance marked an improvement of 31 seconds from Osen’s previous year’s state time, following in the footsteps of back-to-back titles from teammate Josh Hanna. Osen cruised to victory 23 seconds ahead of the second place finisher.
CARLY FLAKE PICTURE
Best Girls’ Cross-Country Runner: Carly Flake – Andover
Flake overcame both asthma and Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a painful condition in which connective tissue to rubs against the thighbone, to win both the 1600 and 3200 meters at the Emporia regional meet in 2015. While she missed the podium with a 9th place finish at state in the 3200, Flake was only a sophomore last season and will definitely be a name to watch moving forward.
Best Boys’ Soccer Player: Alek Santo – Rose Hill
Santo helped lead the Rockets to their first ever state championship with a 1-0 victory over Bishop Miege in the Class 4-1A final. The senior captain was named First Team All-State as a defenseman, and has signed to play collegiately for Cowley County Community College in 2015.
Best Girls’ Golfer: Makena Mucciaccio – Goddard Eisenhower
Mucciaccio is headed to the University of Central Oklahoma to play for the Bronchos, but not before completing a stellar career for Goddard Eisenhower. Mucciaccio is a three-time All-League selection for the Tigers, and placed third twice and eighth once at the state tournament.
STEFFEN AND NACHTIGAL PICTURE
Best Girls’ Tennis Player/Duo: Jessica Steffen & Kendra Nachtigal – Buhler
Steffen and Nachtigal rolled to the Class 4A state doubles title last October, defeating Winfield’s Victoria Lybarger and Jenna Groene 6-4, 6-1 in the final. The duo finished 32-3 on the season, and with Steffen and Nachtigal both returning for their senior and junior seasons respectively, the pair of Crusaders will have a target on their backs heading into next year.
Best Boys’ Basketball Player: Dean Wade – St. John-Hudson
The 6’9 Wade finished his high school career with 1,749 points and 752 rebounds, helping St. John to an 86-6 record and three consecutive state titles. Wade is a two-time All-State player for the Tigers, and will head into his freshman season at Kansas State as the reigning Gatorade Kansas High School Player of the Year. As a senior he averaged 25.2 points and 9.5 rebounds, despite playing less than 20 minutes per game.
Best Girls’ Basketball Player: Keiryn Swenson – Maize
Swenson was a two-time All-Metro selection on the hardwood, and helped lead the Eagles to a 24-1 season and the Class 6A state title game for the second consecutive year. As a senior, the Arkansas commit averaged 14.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, as her 6’2 frame proved an intimidating presence at the rim.
Best Boys’ Swimmer: Gavin Smith – Rose Hill
The first-ever state champion for a Rockets program in just its fourth season, Smith won the 2014 Class 5-1A 100-yard butterfly with a time of 52.72. He then went on to claim titles in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Butterfly once again, recording times of 21.45 and 51.86 respectively. Smith was named First-Team All-State in 2015, along with teammate Noah Baden.
AUSTIN COOK PICTURE
Best Wrestler: Austin Cook – Smoky Valley
Cook was untouchable in his final two seasons for the Vikings, going 47-0 as a junior and 43-0 as a senior, on the way to claiming back-to-back Class 4A state championships. Wrestling in the 182-pound weight class this past season for Smoky Valley, Cook pinned Ethan Deterding of Hays to secure the gold. He will wrestle at Wisconsin-LaCrosse next season.
Best Boys’ Bowler: Noah Brooks – Derby
Brooks already has a Class 6A title under his belt, winning the championship as a sophomore. He was dethroned this past season by the perfect game of Wichita Northwest’s Cody Hubbard, finishing third at state with a 737, but still helped Derby to a regional title and a third place finish at state.
Best Girls’ Bowler: Rebecca King – Wichita Heights
Over her four seasons with the Falcons, King was consistently one of the best bowlers in the state among all classifications. She capped off her career in 2015 with a 714 series and a Class 5-1A state championship, and also owns three regional titles and four perfect games. King will bowl at Newman next season.
Best Baseball Player: Connor Lungwitz – Maize
At 6’5, 205 pounds, Lungwitz and his power fastball went 6-1 with a 0.97 ERA as a senior for the Eagles. Over his career, the right-hander finished 13-2 with a 1.13 ERA, and seven complete games. Drafted in the 35th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers, Lungwitz has elected to attend college and will play for Todd Butler at Wichita State.
Best Softball Player: Brooke Eberhardt – Augusta
Named All-Metro as a pitcher in 2013, Eberhardt slid over to first base for her senior season and didn’t miss a beat. Hitting a whopping .624 with five home runs and 46 RBI, Eberhardt played a pivotal role in helping the Orioles repeat as Class 4A-Division 1 champions. In 2015 she was recognized as the MVP of AVCTL Division III and First-Team All-State.
Best Boys’ Track and Field Athlete: Creighton Sanders – Wichita Heights
A four-sport athlete for the Falcons who also participates in swimming, baseball, and football, Sanders put together an outstanding junior season. In late May he won the Class 5A javelin title with a throw of 204-11, and also finished second in the 110 meter hurdles at 14.59. While Sanders’ collegiate future is likely on the gridiron as a ball-hawking safety, few question his ability to play almost any sport at the next level.
Best Girls’ Track and Field Athlete: Keiryn Swenson – Maize
It probably wouldn’t be fair just to say that Swenson set the Class 6A record in the javelin last season. A more accurate description would be that she obliterated the record, topping the previous all-time high by almost 13 feet. Her 162-5 heave was the fifth best in the country this season, and each of her five scoring throws at state bested the previous state record.
Best Boys’ Golfer: Kale Reynolds – Maize
Reynolds is already widely recognized as the owner of the best individual score in Kansas high school golf history, with a 7-under 63 at the Salina Invitational in 2014. He was the Class 6A individual state champion that season, and finished sixth at state this year. Reynolds will be heading to Lawrence for college where he will play for the Kansas Jayhawks.
Best Girls’ Swimmer: Taylor Kostboth – Wichita Trinity
Kostboth ran away with this Catchy, notching almost 70 percent of the vote, and with good reason. Named First-Team All-State in 2015, Kostboth won the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.99, and helped Trinity’s 200 freestyle relay to a second-place finish. She also finished third in the 100 breastroke and swam on the Knights’ 400 freestyle relay.
Best Boys’ Tennis Player/Duo: Stratton Brown – Salina Sacred Heart
Brown is one of our younger winners, just completing his sophomore season for the Knights. But despite his youth, he owns a track record that few in the state can match, with back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Class 3-2-1A state championship. Each of Brown’s losses came to Kansas City Christian’s Johnny Goodwin, now heading into his freshman season at Texas. As a sophomore, Brown finished the season with a stellar record of 28-2.
Best Girls’ Soccer Player: Jami Reichenberger – Bishop Carroll
Reichenberger was one of the top goalkeepers in the state almost from the moment she stepped on campus, and capped off her career at Carroll with a phenomenal senior season. Overall, she allowed just 24 goals over 78 career games and helped lead the Golden Eagles to a third-place finish at state this season with a shutout of Maize South. Reichenberger will play next season at Butler County Community College.
Best Boys’ Multisport Athlete: Tyler Burns – Wichita Trinity
Burns’ talents on the gridiron are well-documented, as evidenced by his decision to continue his football career at Kansas State, but he’s more than capable in other arenas. In 2015, Burns defended his Class 4A state title in the long jump, with a leap of 21-8 ½ at the state meet in Wichita. He also won a regional championship in the 100-meter dash, and finished sixth at state with a time of 11.11.
Best Girls’ Multisport Athlete: Keiryn Swenson – Maize
Basketball. Volleyball. Javelin. Swenson did it all this past season, and she did it all exceptionally well. Her individual accolades are listed above for each of the three sports, but the bottom line is the future Arkansas Razorback is simply one of the most talented athletes the state has seen in the past several years.
6A Team of the Year: Wichita East Boys’ Basketball
Much like the Blue Aces cruised to the Class 6A state title in 2015, they ran away with the Catchy for team of year with 70% of the vote. Led by the star power of Xavier Kelly, Zach Jackson and Samajae Jones, East hammered Lawrence 58-43 at Charles Koch Arena for their first state title since 2005.
5A Team of the Year: Wichita Heights’ Boys’ Swimming
The Falcons dominated the Class 5A state meet in February, piling up 287 points to overwhelm second place Blue Valley Southwest by 76 points. Heights won five of the 12 events, including all three relays. Bryce Blattner finished with four total state championships, grabbing gold in two relays, the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke. It was the first team state championship in program history.
4A Team of the Year: Rose Hill Boys’ Soccer
Rose Hill finally got over the hump last season, defeating Bishop Miege 1-0 for the Class 4-1A state championship. The Rockets had advanced to the semifinal round in six of the past seven years, and lost to that same Bishop Miege team the previous season. Behind senior goalie Geoffrey Stitcher and Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year Alek Santo, Rose Hill outscored its opponents 75-7 in the regular season.
SCOTT CITY PICTURE
3A Team of the Year: Scott City Boys’ Basketball
2015 capped off one of the best five-year runs in Kansas high school basketball history, as the Beavers knocked off Wichita Collegiate 60-48 to claim the Class 3A state championship. Scott City has now appeared in five consecutive title games, and owns four of the last five 3A titles. Seniors Trey O’Neil and Sloan Baker were one of the most lethal scoring duos in the state, and led the Beavers to a 25-1 season.
2A Team of the Year: Salina Sacred Heart Boys’ Golf
The Knights put on a show at the Class 2A state golf championship in Emporia, firing a 295 that bested second-place Kansas City Christian by a staggering 31 strokes. Brooks Brown led the way with a 70 that topped the individual leaderboard, while Grant Herrenbruck, Cole Elmore and Quenton Shaw all finished in the top ten as well.
1A Team of the Year: Hoxie Girls’ Basketball
To say that Hoxie has dominated Class 1A over the past four seasons doesn’t do the Lady Indians justice. With a state-record 95 consecutive wins stretching back to December of 2011, head coach Shelly Hoyt has now notched four state championships in a row. Hoxie’s smallest margin of victory last season was 14 points in the title game against Centralia, and in early January they defeated Wichita County 100-11.
Best Performance of the Year: Wichita Trinity Running Back Tyler Burns scores in every phase of the game against Wichita Independent in first five minutes
On September 12, Tyler Burns and the Trinity Knights kicked off their ballgame at 7:00 pm against Wichita Independent. Before five minutes expired on the clock, Burns had already scored on an 88-yard kickoff return, a 53-yard reception, and a 55-yard interception return. He would go on to add a one-yard rushing touchdown early in the second quarter, as Trinity hammered the Panthers 55-0.
Story of the Year: Trinity’s Taylor Kostboth overcomes herniated disks to win state swimming title Kostboth has battled painful bulging discs in her lower back for the better part of three seasons, spending time with several physical therapists in an effort to alleviate the discomfort. As a senior in 2015, she overcame the pain to seize her first state title, winning the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.99. That result marked an improvement of .23 seconds from her qualifying time, and she went on to claim First-Team All-State honors.