Area athletes of the week

Ashley Johnson

Free State High

Class: Senior

Sport: Golf

The week: Amid crisp temperatures Monday at Stagg Hill Golf Course in Manhattan, Johnson still shot a 95 at the 6A regional tournament, finishing in eighth place and securing her second straight trip to the state tournament, to be held Monday in Olathe. She’s been the Firebirds’ top golfer all season, and returning to state had been her year-long goal.

Comment: “She works harder than any golfer I’ve ever had in the four years I’ve been coaching,” FSHS coach Steve Grant said. “She she worked hard throughout the summer, on her putting and chipping, and all her hard work has paid off.”

Tyler Rush

Lawrence High

Class: Senior

Sport: Soccer

The week: Rush’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. Three minutes into the Lions’ double overtime game against Leavenworth on Tuesday, Rush took the ball, spun away from two defenders and beat the Pioneer goalkeeper with a crossing shot. It was Lawrence’s first win since Sept. 17 and its first goal since a 1-1 tie with Free State Sept. 26.

Comment: “He’s our workhorse,” LHS coach Keith Nelson said. “He’s been, what I consider our leader.”

“He has a great attitude and really has a mind for the game. I gave him a shot, and he came through.”

Tyler Jackson


Class: Senior

Sport: Football

The week: The fullback came up with the big plays last week against Baldwin, rushing for 216 yards on just 13 carries, including a 44-yard romp in the first quarter. His 16-yard score in the fourth put the Cardinals ahead 32-20, but they were unable to hold on against the Bulldogs, losing their first game of the season, 33-32. Jackson’s been a bruiser all season, averaging 12 yards a carry for 651 yards.

Comment: “He’s not a real big kid, he’s only about 180 pounds, and he’s not Michael Johnson, but he’s got decent speed and he’s got great balance and knows where the hole is,” Cardinals coach Gregg Webb said.

“When you’re running in the middle of traffic you’ve got to know where the blocks are coming and you’ve got to trust that those guard and tackles are going to be where they’re supposed to be.”

Holly Oakleaf and Kalie Harris


Class: Seniors

Sport: Tennis

The week: The pair won the 4A regional title in Topeka on Monday, beating teammates Carissa Venable and Jamie Lawrenz, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1. Both teams ripped through the tournament field, but it was Oakleaf and Harris that pulled out the final. Oakleaf, who won the state doubles title in 1999, and Harris, a singles player last year, improved to 28-4 this season.

Comment: “At that tournament, both those doubles teams were a level above the rest of the tournament,” Bulldogs coach Ginny Honomichl said. “They just played some awfully good tennis.”