A Decade of the Catchys: 2008

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 2008 Catchys winners.

Long before tens of thousands of voters chimed in to vote across 32 categories, the first annual Catchys award winners were announced.
In the inaugural year, the Catchys were presented with 30 categories including “Best Game of the Year”.

Among the big-name individual winners were Arthur Brown, Anthony Cantele, Romero Cotton, Logan Watkins, and Tiffany Bias.

Best Football Player – Arthur Brown – Fresh off his senior season, Brown was moving on to the Miami Hurricanes where he would spend two seasons under Randy Shannon. The former Wichita East stand out transferred to K-State upon the return of Bill Snyder to the sidelines. Brown’s college career highlights were intercepting Robert Griffin III to seal setup a game-winning field goal in 2010, a 2012 Big 12 Championship, and the honor of being named to Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 as the 56th pick and has been a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, and Seattle Seahawks organizations.

Best Boys Soccer Player – Anthony Cantele – After graduating from Kapaun Mt. Carmel, Cantele was headed to Missouri State on a soccer scholarship after establishing the Kansas state record for goals in a career (118) in his four-year career. Cantele later transferred to K-State to play kicker, where in 2010 he scored a touchdown on a fake field goal against the Bears. He proved to be a reliable kicker while finishing out his career with 96-straight field goals made to break the school record and was a Lou Groza award semifinalist in 2012. Following his time with the Wildcats, Cantele participated in NFL camps with the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New York Jets. He is now the head soccer coach at Kapaun Mt. Carmel after serving as an assistant under legendary Kapaun coach Alan Shepherd.

Best Girls Basketball Player, Best Girls Track Athlete, Best Girls Multi-Sport Athlete – Tiffany Bias – Bias dominated the high school ranks from the moment she enrolled at Andover Central. On the basketball court, she helped the Jaguars go to three-straight state tournaments and won two Class 4A state titles. Bias totaled 1,780 points, 452 steals and 592 assists on the way to a 91-8 record at Andover Central. She also won multiple state championships in track and field. Bias went on to play basketball for the Oklahoma State Cowgirls and was picked 17th overall in the 2014 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury.

Best Wrestler – Romero Cotton – Cotton’s term at Hutchinson High School will forever be tough to top. He not only was the running back on a four-time state championship football team, but also a four-time state championship wrestler for the Salthawks. Cotton wrestled in college for Nebraska and Nebraska-Kearney and also played football for Hutchinson Community College. The Hutchinson native became a three-time NCAA Division II national championship wrestler. Today, Cotton is a mixed-martial arts professional fighter for Bellator.

Best Baseball Player – Logan Watkins – Watkins was standout football and baseball player at Goddard High School. On the gridiron, Watkins was a speedy quarterback and kick returner for the Lions. Watkins thrived on the baseball diamond and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization in the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. He made his Major League debut for the Cubs on August 4, 2013 and has 103 MLB at-bats to his name with one home run versus the St. Louis Cardinals off of Justin Masterson. Today, Watkins plays in the Detroit Tigers organization.

In 2008, the “Best Team” categories were dominated by juggernaut football teams in Hutchinson and Smith Center. The Salthawks won their fourth-straight 6A state title in 2007 and won two Class 5A state titles in 2008 and 2009. The Redmen won five-straight state titles from 2004-2008. At the time of the first annual Catchys, Smith Center was in the middle of their 79-game winning streak that was the nation’s longest at the time. Their performance versus Plainville in 2007 saw the Redmen score 72 points in the first quarter setting a national high school record and breaking a record that was set in 1925.

The “Best Game of the Year” category winner was the Wichita Southeast versus Wichita East overtime thriller at Koch Arena. In those days, when these two teams got together it is almost guaranteed to be a classic. Southeast got handled in this basketball game and was outplayed. At one point the Blue Aces held a 16-point lead on Southeast. With Southeast down by four with 3.5 seconds to go, Adonis Gantt drove down the court for the Golden Buffaloes. He heaved up a 3 and got fouled in the act of shooting. The 3 went in and Gantt made the free throw to send the game to overtime. Gantt then hit four consecutive free throws in the last 30 seconds of overtime to lead Southeast to an 84-82 victory. The Golden Buffaloes would go on to win the Class 6A state championship that season under legendary coach Carl Taylor.