The following students were nominees for the 2017 Sportscasters Club Scholarship for their respective school. The nominees were chosen by the faculty and staff at each of their schools. The winners are chosen by the Sportscasters Club members. The banquet to honor these student athletes takes place on Wednesday, May 31st.
Ryan Wilson: Football (4), Basketball (4), Track & Field (3.5), Tennis (1)
Ryan embraced the mentality of being a multisport athlete. In hoops, he helped the Cowboys earn their highest finish at state since 1992. Abilene grabbed third place at the Class 4A Division One state tournament. His performance throughout the year earned him a spot on the second team for All-State. For the North Central Kansas League, he was a three-time first team selection. On the gridiron, Ryan was a first team pick in the NCKL his final two seasons. The Cowboys advanced to the Class 4A-I playoffs both years. He was a vice president of the student council, a National Honor Society inductee and Honor Roll student. He was also a part of SPURS and the Lowe Rangers. Ryan used his basketball knowledge to coach multiple youth basketball teams at the YMCA. He’s going to Bethany College to play basketball and he wants to major in pre-law. He is the son of Ron and Andrea Wilson.
Jessica Hayes: Volleyball (4), Basketball (4), Track & Field (4)
Jessica left her mark, not only on the floor, but on Abilene. She became the all-time leader in kills for a single season and career. The two-time All-State first teamer propelled Abilene to an appearance in the Class 4A-I state tournament and a 37-5 record. Although the Cowgirls fell short in pool play, she made the all-tournament team. As a sophomore, she was a second-team All-State selection and in her freshman year, she made the honorable mention list. In the NCKL, she was a first team member all four years. For track and field, Jessica qualified for state in javelin three times. She was a NCKL champion as a junior. On the basketball floor, she earned an All-NCKL first team honor. Around the high school, she was a member of FCA, Booster, SPURS, Spanish Club, National Honor Society and prom committee. She made the Honor Roll in all four years as well. Jessica helped with youth group mission trips and other work at Faith Lutheran Church for six years. For sports-related events, she was a member of SLAM Basketball Fundamentals and volunteered her time to run the scoreboard at various volleyball tournaments and track meets. She continues her career at Emporia State University to play volleyball. She plans to major in general business. She is the daughter of Ryan and Jamie Hayes.
Parker Base: Football (4), Basketball (4), Baseball (4)
Parker contributed in every sport while at Abilene. In football and baseball, he lettered all four years while being a letterman in basketball for two seasons. He was an All-State honorable mention selection in both football and basketball. At the Salina Invitational Tournament, he was named most inspirational player and was placed on the all-tournament team. He was an All-NCKL pick for basketball and was honorable mention for offense and defense on the gridiron. On the diamond, he started as an All-NCKL honorable mention player and became a three-time All-League selection. Parker was on the Honor Roll for four years while also being an academic letter winner. He was an inductee for the German National Honor Society. He helped with SLAM ball for the Abilene Recreational Center for four years and the Glow Run for St. Andrews for one. He moves on to Butler Community College to play baseball and major in sports management. He is the son of Dan and Maryann Base.
Kathryn (Kadi) Relph: Cross Country (1), Basketball (4), Softball (3), Track & Field (1)
Kadi worked hard to finish her career with a few honors. She made the All-County first team this past season in basketball. On top of that, she was an honorable mention selection for the Heart of America League. She was the vice president for the Future Farmers of America. She was the member for the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and PALS. She was CNA certified and made the ‘A’ Honor Roll. She was named the 2017 Valedictorian. She volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bowl for Kids Sake, FFA Organized Blood Drive, Love Chloe Foundation, FFA Easter Egg Hunt and Boosters Club Athletic Tournaments. She plans to move on to Bethel College for basketball and major in nursing. She is the daughter of David Relph and Stephanie Ferguson.
Tyler Weems: Golf (4), Basketball (4)
Tyler was a force on the golf course and basketball floor. He qualified for state four times and medaled in two golf state tournaments. He won the Heart of America League championship. In hoops, he was an All-State honorable mention pick. Also, he has an honorable mention selection for the HOA League and All-County. He was a member for many school groups, such as National Honor Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Friends of Rachel, FCA, FFA, Relay for Life and PALS. He won the Big Brother of the Year Award and earned the FFA Greenhand Degree. He volunteered for CAPS auction, Booster Club track meet and basketball tournament, St. Elizabeth Fall Festival, Brookville Rodeo and served as St. Elizabeth alter server. He is going to stay in Salina and go into the professional pilot program at Kansas State Polytechnic Salina. He is the son of Chris and Julie Weems.
Sydney Omli: Volleyball (4), Basketball (4), Softball (4), Cheer (4)
Sydney flexed her muscles in more ways than one. At the Class 2A state powerlifting meet, she was able to break a record. Out on the diamond, she was an All-State second team pick at catcher. In the Heart of America League, she was placed on the All-League first team her junior year while making the second team in 2017. For basketball, she earned All-State honorable mention. She made the All-County honorable mention list for both basketball and volleyball. She was a member of FCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National Honor Society and yearbook. She made the ‘A’ Honor Roll. At First Covenant Church, she was a part of the leadership team and was a children’s leader. She was a community ambassador and helped with vacation bible school and Gravity youth group. She participated in a Mexico mission trip as well. She wants to major in elementary education at Fort Hays State University. She also is joining the cheerleading squad. She is the daughter of Tom and Susie Omli.
Grace Ivey: Track & Field (4), Volleyball (4), Basketball (4)
Grace certainly proved that she has hops throughout her high school career. She won state in the high jump in 2015. She didn’t repeat in the event in 2016, but she finished as a runner-up. In 2017, she tied for fifth to close out her high school track career. On the volleyball court, she was an All-County selection, getting a spot on the first team. In school, she helped with student council and played a big role in yearbook. She was on the Honor Roll for three years. She volunteered her time at Catholic Charities, Relay for Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She’s ready to go to Washburn University to major in kinesiology and be on the track and field team. She is the daughter of Jerry and Cara Ivey.
Stratton Brown: Cross Country (2), Basketball (4), Tennis (4), Track & Field (1)
Stratton ended his high school career as a state champion. The Knights lost their first game to Hesston and won the next 25, claiming the school’s first state basketball championship since 1981. He was an All-County first team selection. Sacred Heart settled for second place in 2016, but Stratton won Class 3-2-1A state tennis championship that year. He went 62-0 to end his high school career, claiming his second-straight state crown. He is one of just three Saline County players to win two tennis titles. He finished as a state runner-up as a freshman and sophomore. In cross country, he helped the team take second at state back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014. As a sophomore, he took 10th at the state meet. For student council, he served as the Senior Class Officer. He was a member of the National Honor Society and USTA Player Council. He was on the High Honor Roll early semester while at Sacred Heart. He is ready to continue his tennis career at Creighton University. He plans to major in finance. He is the son of Greg and Margaret Brown.
Gabrielle Diederich: Track & Field (4), Volleyball (4), Basketball (1)
Gabrielle did damage as a javelin thrower. She broke the school record with a throw of 138-0 at state track. She took the bronze medal for the toss. She lettered in all four years for track and field, qualifying for the state meet. On the AAU circuit, she was named an All-American. She was also a Junior Olympic National Champion. For volleyball, she was a three-time letter winner, earning a spot on the All-County honorable mention list. She was a Kansas Volleyball Association All-State Academic first team member and she won the NAIA Champion of Character Award. She participated in choir, band, jazz band, musicals, forensics and was a Junior Civitan President. She earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and Patrick S. Gilmore Band Award. She was a National Honor Society member and the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Ambassador. In forensics, she was a state finalist and in the classroom, she was on the High Honor Roll for four years. In Relay for Life, she was an event chair, accountant and team captain. She helped with CYO and played in the Salina Municipal Band. Gabrielle is going to Notre Dame to be in track and field and major in business. She is the daughter of Dan and Gerilyn Diederich.
Casey Knoth: Basketball (4), Soccer (4), Cross Country (1)
Casey went above and beyond on the basketball court. After helping Salina Central to a fourth-place finish at the Class 5A state tournament in 2016, she was selected as the Sports in Kansas 5A player of the year. Her play allowed her to be selected as the AVCTL-I player of the year. Central also took fourth in 2017. She received numerous awards from various publications. She was a two-time All-State pick while also being a first teamer in the AVCTL three times. At the Salina Invitational, Casey was placed on the All-Tournament team three times and was named MVP in 2016 and 2017. Off the floor, Casey was a Kansas Honor Scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. In her four years in the classroom, she earned academic honors. She volunteered her time to help with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay For Life and Youth Academy. Casey doesn’t have a college picked out yet, but she expects to major in nursing. She is the daughter of Bob and Leslie Knoth.
Brayden Neuschafer: Basketball (4), Golf (4), Football (1)
Brayden shined on the basketball floor. In the AVCTL-Division One, he was a three-time first team selection, including an honorable mention pick as a freshman. He was named the AVCTL-I MVP after the 2015-16 season. At the Salina Invitational Tournament, he was a member of the all-tournament team all four years, being named MVP twice. He helped Salina Central go to the Class 5A state tournament the past two seasons. In 2016-17, the Mustangs had their most regular-season wins in more than 55 years. In the state, Brayden was a two-time first team All-State selection in Class 5A. Following his senior campaign, he was selected for three All-Star events: Central Kansas High School All-Star Classic, North Central Kansas All-Star Game and Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game. In state golf this year, he took eighth with a 74. In his freshman year, he was a part of FFA and student council. He participated in the Maroons spirit group. He was a Kansas Scholar and an Honor Roll student all four years. He helped with various events, such as Relay for Life, the CAPS auction, basketball camps and junior golf. Brayden intends to go to Kansas State University and major in business. He is the son of Daran and Kendra Neuschafer.
Emma Cain: Basketball (4), Volleyball (4)
Emma played a key role in Salina Central’s state tournament runs in 2016 and 2017. With the help from Emma, the Mustangs grabbed fourth at the Class 5A state tournament in the past two seasons. She was a two-time All-Salina Invitational Tournament Team member. After being an All-County honorable mention selectin in 2016, Emma capped her career by being a first teamer as a senior. Also, she was an AVCTL-I second team member her senior year. For other school activities, Emma was a Kansas Honor Scholar and National Honor Society participant. She also made the Honor Roll. She helped with Relay For Life, coached young athletes and did many things with the First Covenant Church in Salina. She is going to Kansas State University to major in architecture. She is the daughter of Brad and Ericka Cain.
Cameron Munk: Tennis (4)
Cameron topped off her high school career with plenty of accomplishments. Cameron qualified for the Class 5A state tournament and went 2-2. She helped the Cougars claim the AVCTL-I team championship by taking the doubles crown. The team also grabbed the regional title. She lettered all four years and was an All-AVCTL pick in her junior and senior seasons. Off the court, Cameron has been a Link Leader for three years and the chairman for the Education Committee. She’s a member of the National Honor Society while being a four-time academic letterer and consistently being on the President’s Honor Roll. Cameron lettered in Drama for three years and served as the secretary. She volunteered at the Rolling Hills Zoo for three years and at Vacation Bible School for four years at First Covenant Church. Next for Cameron is Emporia State University, where she plans on majoring in elementary education. She is the daughter of Rod and Cindy Munk.
Justin Sullivan: Football (4), Baseball (4), Basketball (2)
Justin excelled on the gridiron in his four years. After being named as an All-State honorable mention pick in 2015, he played his way to the All-State team his senior season in 2016. Also, he was a two-time All-AVCTL first team selection at linebacker. Justin gets one more chance to play football as a high schooler, being selected for the 44th annual Kansas Shrine Bowl. In addition to his honors across the state, the team voted him as the most inspirational player and defensive MVP. On the diamond, Justin powered South to a third-place finish at state in Wichita. He ended his baseball career with first-team All-AVCTL honors. Even off the field, Justin taught kids at baseball and football camps. He’s helping with Play Day at Schilling Elementary. On top of that, he chats with elementary students about the importance of setting and reaching goals. Justin plans to play football at Kansas Wesleyan University. He has his major slimmed down to kinesiology or biology. He is the son of Patrick and Brenda Sullivan.
Claire Olson: Basketball (4), Track & Field (3)
Claire finished her basketball career strong, earning an All-AVCTL honorable mention selection her senior year. She excelled on the defensive end, being picked by her teammates as the defensive MVP in 2016 and 2017. Also, she was the overall MVP of the team after her senior campaign. On top of her two years as a letter winner, Claire was an All-County honorable mention selection this past season. On the track and field circuit, she was a three-time letter winner. She also qualified for state this year in two events, placing fifth in the triple jump for Class 5A. In the classroom, she was a four-time academic letter winner and a member of National Honor Society. She volunteers her time at Petcos for dog pet adoptions. Claire is ready to go to Hutchinson Community College on a track and field scholarship. Her major selection is radiology technology. She is the daughter of Maureen and Ron Olson.
Southeast of Saline
Kylee Thaxton: Volleyball (4), Basketball (4), Track & Field (3)
Kylee bloomed throughout her time at Southeast of Saline. As sophomore she was an All-County selection and repeated two more times. The Lady Trojans made the Class 3A state tournament with an 18-5 record in Kylee’s junior year. She made the All-NCAA first team as a junior and senior and earned All-State honorable mention her final year. At the track and field level, she was a three-time state qualifier. She placed eight in javelin her sophomore year and followed that up with a sixth-place mark as a junior. Around the school, she volunteered with various school clubs. She also helped at youth volleyball and basketball camps. She was a member of National Honor Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life, Science Club and Varsity Club. For National Honor Society, she was the secretary. She also won the Big Brothers Big Sisters award three times. In academics, she was an Honor Roll student for four years and was all-league academic for two. She won the Presidential Award for academics and claimed the Kansas Volleyball Association Academic Award. Kylee continues her basketball career at Bethany College while majoring in biology and chemistry. She is the daughter of Casey and Tammy Thaxton.
Brooks Garretson: Baseball (4), Football (4), Basketball (2)
Brooks was a three-year starter on the diamond. During that time, Southeast of Saline claimed the North Central Activities Association title three times. He was named to the All-NCAA first team for his efforts in his senior season. During the summer, he played American Legion Baseball for four seasons. The squad picked up Zone championships three times and went on to play at state twice. On the gridiron, he started for two years. Football picked up three league titles. For basketball, the Trojans placed third at the Class 3A state tournament the last two seasons. He was a member of the FCCLA, choir and National Honor Society. He also won the Dane Hansen Award. He was a coach as well, leading the Powder Puff football team. He volunteered his time around church and with 4H. He made various videos for school programs and he wants to continue on that path, majoring in filmmaking and education at Bethany College. He is the son of Mike and Juanelle Garretson.
Kendall Schlesener: Softball (4), Volleyball (4), Basketball (1)
Kendall greatly achieved on and off the floor. During her time in USSSA softball, she was a state champion five times and took third twice. She was named the state tournament MVP last year. For the Lady Trojans, she was a two-time All-League first-teamer, helping Southeast of Saline take third in 2016. Southeast of Saline won the NCAA softball title four times and volleyball crown twice. She was a team captain in both sports. She was the president for National Honor Society, officer for Big Brothers Big Sisters and class senator for student council. She was a member of the Science Club as well. As for academic achievements, she was a Governor’s Scholar and Kansas Honor Scholar while boasting a 4.0 GPA in all four years. She won the Citizenship Award, George Eastman Young Leaders Award and the NCAA All-League Academic Award. Kendall volunteered with various events, including First Covenant Church youth group, Relay for Life and Robert J. Dole YCLI. She served as a Sunflower Bank Community Ambassador and taught young softball players how to pitch. As for other events, she helped with Salina Chamber of Commerce Junior Leadership, Salvation Army Christmas Toy Drive and Numana. She’s going to the University of Kansas to major in pharmacy. She is the daughter of Scott and Trina Schlesener.