Archive for Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: Top athletes announced for Linny’s

July 13, 2005

And we're back.

Last week, the first half of this year's Linny awards was announced as many team honors were bestowed upon Tonganoxie and McLouth teams.

Because all the awards couldn't fit into one column, many of this year's winners were saved for this week's edition.

With this installment, the Linnys are complete with the announcing of individual winners.

Most inspirational athlete

And the nominees are:

Garrett Palmer. A senior during the 2004-05 school year, Palmer played defense for the Tonganoxie High football team and was part of that dream play in which he scampered 99 yards for a touchdown on a fumble return.

Palmer, though, gained notoriety on the wrestling mat. A grappler all four years at THS, Palmer posted a 2-17 record during his freshman campaign, but improved drastically on that mark the next three years. Palmer advanced to state each of those seasons and finished his final year with a 28-12 record.

His defining moment in wrestling came in the first round of this year's state meet. Palmer upset the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the state, Concordia's Weston Fleming, and later won another match at state before falling one round shy of a medal.

Palmer made his state run without his mother, Ruth, who died of lung cancer more than a month before the state tournament.

Christy Weller. The freshman didn't waste time in her first year of prep sports. Weller advanced to state in cross country and track -- not a bad year for a rookie.

Days before Tonganoxie's top cross country runner advanced to state, she injured her knee during a PE class.

With her knee wrapped up with layers of athletic bandage, the show went on for Weller. She was at that starting line in Wamego with so many other Class 4A runners ready to tackle the golf course's running path. Although Weller didn't finish, she started. Despite being in considerable pain, she still made a stab at running at the state meet.

Hunter Samuels. Another wrestling senior, Samuels posted winning records his first three seasons, but had no state appearances to show for them. In February, Samuels broke that trend with a state trip to Wichita and was a match away from the medal round.

In the middle of his high school career, while playing baseball in the spring of 2003, Samuels collided with a teammate going after a fly ball and injured his spleen. That forced Samuels to stay away from athletics for five or six months, which kept him out of contention for the state youth wrestling tournament that summer.

Of course, Samuels recovered from that injury and was stronger than ever his junior and senior years.

And the Linny goes to:

Garrett Palmer. Picking the winner of this award was far from easy. Weller and Samuels showed their true colors of determination as well. A sports fan easily could rally behind all three, but Palmer, who overcame a rough freshman year on the mat, also made it through a tough senior season off the mat.

Play that produced the most decibels during a game

And the nominees are:

Kelley Stauch's 3-point shot at the buzzer in the state basketball tournament. Down by three against Buhler, Tonganoxie had just a few seconds to move the length of the court and put up a three for the tie. Stauch took a pass from a teammate and, with the help of the backboard, knocked in a three right in front of the THS student section. Salina's Bicentennial Center is a large venue, but the building rocked with the roar of Chieftain fans celebrating the big shot.

Garrett Palmer's touchdown run in the state football playoffs. After the crowd realized what was transpiring, it was pandemonium in Topeka as Palmer took a fumble recovery the length of the field and put THS on the board first against heavily favored Hayden.

Ali Pistora's shot in substate basketball. A packed house in the Basehor-Linwood gymnasium erupted -- at least the Chieftain faithful -- as Pistora's jumper pushed the substate championship game against Sumner into overtime.

And the Linny goes to:

Stauch's three-pointer. Stauch was in a high-pressure situation that put the Tonganoxie crowd into a loud frenzy.

Best male supporting athlete,

And the nominees are:

Travis Schultz. Schultz has been an intricate part of the THS soccer team throughout his high school career. He also could be found helping the 4x400 Tonganoxie relay team earn medals in track.

Kaleb Lawrence. The enthusiastic Lawrence was at the heart of Tonganoxie's defense on the football field. And, when the depth chart became depleted in the backfield on offense, Lawrence stepped in to run at fullback for the Chieftains. He also contributed as a short-distance runner on the track team.

Daniel Workman. A football and basketball player at Tonganoxie, Workman didn't receive the fanfare other athletes did because of where he played. In football, Workman was on the offensive line at center and played at defensive end, amassing 52 tackles on defense. He also was in the front line in basketball, muscling for rebounds and scoring inside for Tonganoxie.

Levi Huseman. Run, run, run. Huseman has participated in track and cross country, as well as basketball during his career at THS. And his junior year, he played soccer instead of cross country before coming back to cross country his senior year.

And the Linny goes to:

Daniel Workman. The name says it all. Workman flew under the radar during his career, but his work ethic helped him be a major contributor in football and basketball.

Best female supporting athlete

Laura Jeannin. More commonly known as LJ, Jeannin stepped into the shoes of her sister, Katie, taking on the role of setter in volleyball and guard in basketball. She also played outfield in softball and ran track. Jeannin didn't lead the volleyball team in kills or the basketball team in points. Rather, she assisted the players who racked up the kills and scored plenty of points.

Amanda Hart. The chatterbox of the Tonganoxie volleyball team, Hart kept her teammates laughing, while at the same time provided some key defense for the Chieftains.

Ashlee Murphy. As a freshman, Murphy served all 15 points of a freshman game, a major accomplishment for any volleyball player. Also a softball player at THS, "Murph" played at various positions during her softball career and helped Tonganoxie reach the substate finals last fall.

And the Linny goes to:

Ashlee Murphy. Not an easy category from which to pick a winner, but the vocal "Murph" gets the nod this year.

Coach of the year

And the nominees are:

Harry Hester. The McLouth football coach is the only nominee to post a losing record, but Hester has done wonders with a program that broke extensive home and overall losing streaks in Hester's second season at MHS.

Mark Elston. With several seniors graduated from Elston's best season in 2003, Elston returned with an even better squad last year that finished the year at 9-2, the school's best record in years.

Randy Kraft. The second-year Tonganoxie girls basketball coach crafted the Chieftains' best season in school history at 22-4.

Jeremy Goebel. The Tonganoxie wrestling coach had a mix of youth and experience on the mats last winter. Goebel took his three seniors to state and posted the school's best performance in Wichita with overall points and with Tonganoxie's highest placer -- Ross Starcher in second place.

Tiffany Parker. Parker and husband, Brandon, took Tonganoxie volleyball to the substate finals for the fourth consecutive year. The team again was so close to a state berth and the Parkers posted their best record at THS with a 30-8 mark.

And the Linny goes to:

Randy Kraft. It's hard not giving the award to a coach who guided Tonganoxie girls basketball back to state with a fourth-place finish in only his third season at THS.

Female career athlete

Laura Jeannin. She was a four-sport athlete at Tonganoxie. Need I say more?

Stephanie Thompson. A three-sport athlete at McLouth, Thompson was part of the McLouth's most successful team -- softball.

Emily Nitzsche. While at McLouth, Nitzsche played volleyball and softball. She now will play volleyball and softball at Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Ashley Alloway. Softball was her main sport, but Alloway also competed in volleyball and basketball. She will continue to play softball at Coffeyville Community College. In addition, she was named MVP for the 2003 American Softball Association National tournament.

Addie Heim. Heim has played volleyball, basketball and softball throughout her career at THS. In the process, she became the team's all-time career points leader

Leigh Anna Thompson. The standout pitcher at McLouth also helped the Bulldogs on the volleyball and basketball courts throughout her prep career.

And the Linny goes to:

Addie Heim. The Hy-Vee/Sunflower Broadband Channel 6 scholar-athlete of the year has been a top female athlete throughout her career. Now, she'll take her basketball skills to Baker.

Male career athlete

And the nominees are:

Andy Kolman. A runner at THS, Kolman led the way for the Chieftains in cross country and was a top runner in long-distance events on the Chieftain track team throughout his career.

Kirk Rodell. A senior last year, Rodell can do it all. He played soccer, basketball and baseball and was a place-kicker on the football team during a portion of his high school career. The scrappy player shined in each of his sports, but likely will play collegiately in baseball.

Ross Starcher. A successful wrestler throughout his career, Starcher has four state appearances to his credit. In addition, he put up big numbers as a quarterback in football this year.

Kaleb Lawrence. Although he also participated in track, football was Lawrence's passion. He received several all-league, all-area and all-state honors in football. He will play at Butler County Community College this fall, but eventually would like to play at Kansas State. That can be just a dream for some, but Lawrence has a legitimate shot.

And the Linny goes to:
Kirk Rodell. The all-around athlete has left quite a mark on Tonganoxie in his four years.

Female athlete of the year

Addie Heim. The kills leader in volleyball and points leader in basketball at THS, Heim was a force to be reckoned with.

Ali Pistora. The sophomore nearly helped her volleyball team to state, guided the basketball team to state and won two medals at the state track meet. That's not too shabby a year.

Madison Weller. Weller performed well for the Tonganoxie volleyball team, but had the most success in basketball, as she had a smooth outside shot and could play tenacious defense, especially in the postseason.

And the Linny goes to:

Ali Pistora. Winning medals in javelin and high jump at state put the icing on the cake for the top performer.

Male athlete of the year

And the nominees are:

Kevin Stewart. The McLouth junior dazzled Bulldog fans with his footwork on the football field, amassing roughly 1,000 yards during his junior year. He also was a top player in basketball and baseball.

Kirk Rodell. Rodell had a hot bat in baseball, and also assembled some high single-game point totals in basketball. Rodell again was a top player on the soccer field this season.

Ross Starcher. Oh what a year. Starcher, in his first year as Tonganoxie's starting quarterback, rushed for more than 1,000 yards. And to top that, he took second at the state wrestling meet in the 171-pound division.

And the Linny goes to:

Ross Starcher. Starcher has been a standout athlete throughout high school, to the tune of four state wrestling appearances, but this was his breakout season.

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