Archive for Thursday, May 30, 2002

Firebird track team finished strong

May 30, 2002


Ballots are in for 20 categories involving Free State High sports and the selections have been made by a panel of one.

Here are your 2001-2002 FSHS award winners, also known as the Rottsies:

Team of the year: Boys track. The Firebirds finished with a flurry, capturing a regional title before taking third at state. Free State challenged for the top prize at state, finishing six points behind champion Shawnee Mission Northwest.

Coach of the year: Steve Heffernan. The cross country and track coach guided the Firebirds' boys cross country team and boys track team to third-place finishes at state meets.

Senior boy athlete of the year: Nick Ens. Ens, the school's all-time leading scorer in soccer, delivered game-winning goals in regional victories over Emporia and Topeka Washburn Rural. He also ran on the gold-medal 3,200-meter relay team at state track and placed fourth in the 800.

Senior girl athlete of the year: Katy Vormehr. An all-state selection in soccer after setting the school record for career goals scored, Vormehr was also a steady setter in volleyball.

Junior boy athlete of the year: Matt Berner. Berner, Free State's quarterback, threw for 1,002 yards and seven touchdowns to help the Firebirds reach the Class 6A state playoffs. He also played shortstop for the Firebirds.

Junior girl athlete of the year: Jayme Lisher. A rare three-sport talent in this age of specialization, Lisher lettered in volleyball, basketball and track. She helped the volleyball team qualify for state and she also qualified for state track in the javelin.

Sophomore boy of the year: Dain Dillingham. A hard-hitting defender in football, Dillingham was a smooth-shooting guard in basketball and the third-leading scorer for the Firebirds.

Sophomore girl of the year: Lauren Abney. In the spring, Abney doubled as a softball player and javelin thrower. She placed fourth at state in the javelin.

Freshman of the year: Ashley Jackson. At state, the standout swimmer placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 free to lead the Firebirds.

Scholar athlete of the year: Ian Brk. The Stanford signee with a 3.95 grade point average and 28 ACT score placed third at state wrestling at 215 pounds.

Comeback of the year: Justin Stevens. A week after being knocked unconscious by Olathe South's Justin Dyer in the 189-pound weight class at the Sunflower League wrestling tournament, Stevens came back to finish second at regional and state. Stevens finished 35-3 with all three losses to Dyer.

Shot/hit/goal of the year: With 2:51 left in overtime, midfielder Nick Ens scored from five yards out after the ball trickled away from Washburn Rural's goalie to lift FSHS to a 2-1 victory in the second round of regional soccer.

Clutch performance: Jayme Lisher. Lisher scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning basket with eight seconds left, to help Free State snare a 44-41 victory over LHS. She made seven of eight free throws in the final 5:37.

Breakthrough of year: FSHS boys soccer. The Firebirds finished 12-6-1 and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in the program's five-year history.

Game of year: FSHS 2, Washburn Rural 1, OT. After Free State dodged several Washburn Rural scoring threats, Nick Ens scored with 2:51 left in overtime in a boys regional soccer contest.

Most improved team: FSHS softball. The Firebirds won five of their final eight games to finish 7-15 for their best record in program history.

Most dominating performance: Emily Wang finished 32-1 en route to the Class 6A state tennis title.

Transfer of the year: Senior Lauren Wright. The top girls scorer in the city at 12.1 points per game, Wright, a Topeka Hayden transfer, shattered the school's record for three-pointers in a season with 47.

Move of the year: FSHS athletic director Steve Grant's decision to play the FSHS-LHS football game at Kansas University's Memorial Stadium. The Firebirds negated the Lions' home-field advantage at Haskell Stadium and rolled to a 16-0 victory. Don't be surprised if every other year FSHS holds its "home" game with LHS at KU.

Goodwill award: During the LHS-FSHS girls basketball game at Free State, referees called 26 jump balls in 32 minutes.

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