Athlete of the year: Kain Anderson, Free State High
His senior year included the second-fastest 1,600 meters time in Class 6A (4:16.7) and the fourth-best 3,200 time (9:26.19) — both school records. Anderson finished his successful Firebirds career with four 6A state medals.
Coach of the year: Mike Spielman, Baldwin
Though the Baldwin boys didn’t defend their 2011 4A state championship, they came awfully close, taking second at this year’s state meet. Spielman’s bunch, led by the performances of Dayton Valentine, Asher Hannon, Tosh Mihesuah, Jake Mindez, Chad Berg, Joel Halford, Brian Wright, Ben Hartzell, Joe Pierce and Ethan Hartzell, finished just five points behind state champion Buhler.
Kain Anderson, Free State — A cross country and track star at FSHS, Anderson’s final weekend running for the Firebirds at state included a silver medal in the 1,600, bronze in the 3,200, fifth place in the 800 and contributing to the Free State 4x400 relay team’s seventh-place finish.
DayShawn Berndt, Free State — One of the top sprinters in Kansas, Berndt’s 21.42 in the 200 this season was the best time in 6A and his 48.35 400 (at state) was second only to Wichita Southeast state champ Steven Calloway. To go with his 400 silver medal, the senior took fourth at state in the 200 and was part of the FSHS seventh-place 4x400 relay team.
Parker Brush, Mill Valley — With a mark of 15 feet, the Jaguars senior broke the MVHS pole vault record. Brush went on to win a 5A regional championship as a vaulter before finishing as the state’s runner-up to Wichita Bishop Carroll’s Nick Meyer.
Asher Hannon, Baldwin — A Frontier League and 4A regional champ in the 100 and 400, Hannon’s senior year at BHS ended with four state medals. He ran on the silver-medal 4x400 relay team, as well as the fourth-place 4x100 relay, took fourth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 400.
Steven Hill, Lawrence — A 6A regional champion in both the long jump and triple jump, the LHS senior set new personal records in both events at state to finish his prep career. Hill secured silver medals with a long jump of 21-10.5 (second to 22-2.75 by Manhattan’s Logan Mahan) and a triple jump of 45-11 (second to 46-1.5 by Derrick Davis, Junction City).
Blake Hocking, Lawrence — A Kansas Relays, Sunflower League and 6A regional shot put champion, the Lions senior took second at state with a mark of 53-9.5 (Blue Valley West’s Brian Beckmann won with 55-7.75). He won a league title in the discus and finished third at state in his secondary event.
Dallas Natt, Ottawa — The defending 4A state champion in triple jump, the junior successfully defended his crown this year with a mark of 46-6.25. Natt also finished second in 4A in long jump (22-7.5, second to Cheney’s Hunter Veith, 22-9.25).
Ashton Proctor, Mill Valley — His senior season included a new MVHS record in the 400: 49.62. A Kaw Valley League champion in his signature event, Proctor’s 49.68 performance at the 5A state meet left him hundredths of a second behind the champion, Bishop Carroll’s Matt Denning (49.68).
Dayton Valentine, Baldwin — Finished his junior season at state as 4A’s best shot putter (55-2.25) and discus thrower (166-1). Valentine also secured Frontier League and regional titles in those events, and had the second-best marks in 4A for the season in shot (58-2) and discus (175-0).
Angel Vasquez, De Soto — The Wildcats junior, who won a 4A state cross country championship in the fall, followed that up in the spring with state crowns in both the 1,600 (4:24) and 3,200 (9:36).
Dakota Cop, McLouth; Dylan Jacobs, Tonganoxie; CJ Meeks, Mill Valley; Tosh Mihesuah, Baldwin; Patrick Rachford, Tonganoxie; Manny Romero, Lawrence; Stan Skwarlo, Free State; Tyler Stockman, Tonganoxie; Marc Walbridge, McLouth; Derek Webb, Eudora.