With the tenth annual Catchys voting coming to a close this week, CatchitKansas travels back in time to highlight some notable Catchys Award winners from different years. This story highlights the 2009 Catchys winners.
Long before tens of thousands of voters chimed in to vote across 32 categories, the second annual Catchys award winners were announced.
Best Football Player - Blake Bell – Before he was “The Belldozer”, the former Bishop Carroll quarterback was on the top recruits in the country. In his final high school season, Bell threw for 2,752 yards and 32 touchdowns, earning himself a spot in the Under Armor All-American game. He continued his career at the University of Oklahoma where he gained the affection of many Sooner fans for his ability to use his 6’6” 250 lbs size to punch the ball into the endzone. Bell moved to tight end before his senior season in Norman and the move landed him a spot in the NFL after being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is currently entering his third season in the NFL.
Best Boys Basketball Player - Perry Ellis – After just his freshman season, Ellis was voted the best basketball player in the 2009 Catchys. He would go on to lead the Falcons to four-straight state championships and be the four-time Kansas high school player of the year. Ellis amassed 2,231 points and 984 rebounds during his career at Wichita Heights. He went on to be his class valedictorian and a McDonald’s All-American. During his time at the University of Kansas, Ellis helped the Jayhawks continue their streak of consecutive Big 12 conference championships and was an All-American his senior year. He went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, but has played for the Dallas Mavericks summer team, Charlotte Hornets organization, and has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2017 NBA summer league.
Best Girls Basketball Player - Joanna McFarland – McFarland claimed the 2009 Catchys award after her senior season at Derby High School. She was a dominant force for the Panthers, averaging 26.8 points and 17.6 rebounds per game during her senior season. McFarland was an all-state selection each year of high school and followed her older sisters’ footsteps while earning a scholarship to a Big 12 institution. At Oklahoma, she helped the Sooners make four NCAA Tournaments and the 2010 Final Four.
Best Baseball Player - Garrett Gould – Gould captured the 2009 Catchys Award after a stellar high school career with the Maize Eagles. Straight out of high school, he signed a $900,000 bonus with the Los Angeles Dodgers after being selected by the club in the second round of the MLB Draft. The righty spent six seasons in the Dodgers organization. Gould returned to the mound for in 2016, joining the Wichita Wingnuts.
In 2009, the “Best Team” categories were dominated by Wichita Heights Boys Basketball and Wichita Collegiate boys basketball. The Falcons had just begun their dynasty with future Kansas Jayhawk Perry Ellis. Heights marched through its GWAL schedule undefeated and rolled through the 6A state tournament, where it beat league rival and defending champion Wichita Southeast for the third time in the 2008-09 season.
Wichita Collegiate entered the 3A state tournament undefeated. The Spartans fought through three single-digit victories as they won the 3A title and completed a 26-0 season.
The 2009 Catchy Awards saw the introduction of the “Story of the Year” category. The inaugural winner was the tale of the 2008-2009 Great Bend girls basketball team. The Lady Panthers entered the 5A state tournament as a No. 8 seed only days after team trainer Ryan Dunlap died from a heart attack. The Panthers beat the top seed and their league rival, Liberal, in their first game of the tournament. They upset Emporia in the semifinals before falling to third-seeded Bishop Miege in the championship.