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Archive for Thursday, June 4, 1998

ROTTINGHAUS COLUMN

June 4, 1998

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Here they are. Your 1997-98 Lawrence High athletic award winners.

The selections were made by a panel of one and, coincidentally, the awards -- the Rottsies -- are named after him.

And now, the envelope please:

Team of the year: Boys basketball. The Lions finished with a 16-6 record, including victories over eventual state champions Olathe East (Class 6A) and Kansas City Wyandotte (5A), in Mark Vancuren's first year at LHS. LHS shot 51 percent from the field and connected on 107 three-pointers. The season featured an eight-game winning streak and a 101-point outburst against Tulsa (Okla.) Will Rogers.

Coach of the year: Dick Wedel. After his top two players left the girls tennis team just before the season, Wedel molded Brooke Seymour and Beth Panella into state contenders. Seymour, Sunflower League runner-up in No. 1 singles, placed second at state and Panella was fourth. Without an assistant because of budget cuts, Wedel managed to coach 19 girls in the fall and 23 boys in the spring.

Top male performer: Senior Todd Heitshusen. A two-time all-league performer in basketball, Heitshusen averaged 17.8 points a game to lead the Lions in scoring for the second year in a row. The Emporia State signee finished his prep career with 812 points to rank No. 2 on the school's scoring charts. His 61 three-pointers for a season and 94 for a career are school records. A second baseman in baseball, Heitshusen batted .391 and had a team-high 32 RBIs for the Lions.

Top female performer: Senior Kizzie Ricks. She survived four events at the state track and field meet. Headed to Tennessee State in the fall, Ricks won the 100 high hurdles, placed second in the 300 low hurdles, fourth in the 200 and ran a leg on the 4x100 relay team that placed sixth. She holds the school record in the 100 hurdles (14.4), 300 hurdles (45.19) and 200 (24.87). In basketball, Ricks was a defensive force with her shot-blocking ability.

Junior male athlete of the year: Swimmer Jonathan Hemphill. Hemphill became the school's first state champion in an individual event in the 1990s when he placed first in the 500 freestyle in 4:40.05. He also placed second at state in the 200 free with a school-record 1:44.82 time.

Junior female athlete of the year: Swimmer Kim Miller. Miller became a three-time Sunflower League champion in the 100 butterfly and won that event at state in 58.82 seconds for a school record.

Sophomore male athlete of the year: Chris Williams. A year after placing 60th at the state cross country meet as a freshman, Williams came back his sophomore season and won the Class 6A cross country title in 16 minutes, 40 seconds. He also won the 3,200-meter run at the 6A state track meet.

Sophomore female athlete of the year: Dani May. A setter in volleyball, point guard in basketball and catcher in softball, May will be a player to watch at LHS the next two years.

Comeback player of the year: Adam Wilmes. During a pickup basketball game in October, Wilmes broke both bones in his lower left leg. Sidelined the first eight games of the basketball season, Wilmes joined the Lions in midseason and averaged 9.9 points a game to supply an inside offensive threat. He scored 17 points in the sub-state final against Kansas City Schlagle.

Game of the year: LHS 14, Leavenworth 11, 10 innings. In a baseball regional final, Lawrence led 6-1 before Leavenworth scored seven runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to lead 9-6. The Lions rallied with three in the sixth to force extra innings. After both teams scored in the eighth, LHS clinched a state berth with four runs in the 10th.

Shot of the year: Todd Heitshusen's game-winning three-pointer with .3 seconds left in the Lions' 70-69 victory over eventual state champion Olathe East, igniting an eight-game winning streak.

Twins of the year: Jim and Laura Rhodes. Jim, a first-team all-Sunflower pick, averaged 15.6 points a game for the Lions' boys basketball team and Laura was top scorer for the LHS girls. Rhodes, a rare four-sport letter winner, was a second-team all-league pick in volleyball and third-team all-league pick in basketball. Laura also played soccer and threw the javelin for the track team. She placed second at state track with a school record 129 feet, 3 inches.

Workhorse award: Adrian Garcia. A born lineman, the 6-foot-1, 257-pounder converted to running back and rushed for 1,063 yards on 220 carries and had 15 touchdowns to lead the LHS football team. He rushed 41 times for 226 yards and three TDs in a 28-7 victory over Olathe South.

Black and blue award: Senior Kyle Cook. A human magnet, he took 21 charges in basketball and was hit by 12 pitches in baseball. In the baseball regional final against Leavenworth, Cook was hit by pitches in his final four plate appearances.

Comeback of the year: In boys soccer, LHS trailed Free State 3-1 before scoring two goals -- by Dakota Loomis and Jon Welch -- in the final 5:40 of regulation -- to force overtime and win 5-3.

Surprise of year: Lawrence High's stunning 5-2 baseball loss to Free State.

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