Merry Christmas high school sports fans! As 2012 winds down, let’s reflect on some of the year’s more notable high school sports stories in the 913 coverage area. We’ll count down the top 10 stories in two installments. Today, we look at Nos. 10-6. Next Wednesday, look for the top five stories.
No. 10: St. James baseball repeats as 4A champions
St. James Academy’s baseball team was scarcely challenged at the Kansas 4A state tournament over Memorial Day weekend at Salina’s Dean Evans Stadium.
The Thunder, which finished 19-6 and won the 4A title for the second straight season, dominated its way to the crown despite being seeded seventh based on its record entering state.
St. James opened with a 9-0 romp against Trinity Academy from Wichita and then crushed Mulvane 10-2 in the semifinals.
Wrapping up its 4A repeat, the Thunder roughed up Concordia 17-0 in a three-inning, mercy-rule beating.
Alex King went two-for-two with three RBIs in the title-game romp, while Andy Muehlberger went three-for-three with four RBIs.
Meanwhile, Blue Valley North didn’t allow any runs en route to the Kansas 6A title that same weekend at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence.
The Mustangs, 17-8, stunned top-seeded Maize in the state quarterfinals 1-0, roughed up Manhattan 11-0 and then outlasted rival BV West in another 1-0 win for the championship.
No. 9: SM East, Blue Valley sweep state swim crowns
Shawnee Mission East’s girls won the Kansas 6A state swim meet for the third consecutive year, while Blue Valley’s boys and girls repeated as 5-1A champions.
Coupled with the sixth state title in eight seasons for the SM East boys, the Lancers and Tigers swept all four state swim championships in 2012.
A trio of juniors — Sarah Freshnock, TiernanShank and Meg Stanley — led the way for SM East’s girls, who claimed a 44-point win.
All three swam a leg for the gold-medal 400-yard relay along with sophomore Emily Minick, while Shank teamed with senior Lanie Leek, junior Elizabeth Bittiker and sophomore Madeline Peters for a title in the 200 freestyle relay.
Meanwhile, Blue Valley’s girls finished second in the 400-yard freestyle relay led by seniors Beth Houghton, Becca Bond and Helena Bertels and sophomore Katya Vakshteyn.
Senior Payton Meyer, who was the diving runner-up, also helped pad the Tigers’ 41-point win.
Among the 6A boys, seniors Grant Minick, Andrew Hornung and Jack Haverty led the SM East boys in points along with junior Troy DeMoss and sophomore Zack Hollbrook during a 64.5-point team victory.
Finally, senior Austin Averkamp, who was the 100 freestyle champ, and junior Chris Hearl, who won titles in the 100 backstroke and butterfly, powered Blue Valley to a 99-point win.
No. 8: Olathe East softball returns to 6A summit
Led by The Star’s All-Metro softball player of the year, Olathe East reclaimed the Kansas 6A state softball title for the first time in five years.
The Hawks wore the state crown six times in 10 seasons from 1998-2007, including a four-peat from 2004-07, but hadn’t won again before toppling rival Olathe South 5-2 for the seventh championship in program history.
That win avenged the only loss of the season for Olathe East, 24-1, which got beat 5-4 in extra innings during a midseason doubleheader.
The Hawks, who split the two games to win the Sunflower League, hung five runs in the first inning of the 6A title game at Blue Valley West and held on from there.
Seniors Sami Olson, Rachel McGhee and Blair Lewis and junior Greer Hartman had RBIs during the decisive first inning.
No. 7: Aquinas girls golf wins sixth consecutive title
St. Thomas Aquinas won its sixth straight Kansas girls golf championship, claiming a 31-stroke victory ahead of runner-up Kapaun-Mt. Carmel on Oct. 15 at Emporia Municipal Golf Course.
The Saints, which won the final combined 6-5A title in 2007, have won all five 5A-only titles in state history.
Along the way, Aquinas senior Jordan Chael shot 74 and snagged the sixth consecutive singles championship in program history as well.
Gianna Misenhelter, who now plays at Kansas State, won the individual gold three years in a row from 2007-09.
Ali Kruse, who is now at Seton Hall, made it four straight for Aquinas in 2010, while Baile Winslow won state as a junior in 2011 before finishing second to Chael two months ago.
Of course, golf success among Johnson County schools wasn’t limited to Aquinas in 2012.
Shawnee Mission East’s ended a 25-year drought with the 6A title at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wichita, where Kenneth Smith Award winner Anne Willman capped a stellar career with a fourth-place finish (78) to pace the Lancers’ five-stroke win.
Olathe Northwest’s Audrey Judd (74) was the 6A individual champion.
Last spring, Blue Valley North put four golfers in the top seven at state en route to a 15-shot win over rival and runner-up BV West for the 6A team crown.
Zach Tate (73) struck individual gold, Ross Thornton (74) was third, Evan Shartzer (76) snagged fourth and Alex Higgs (77) wound up seventh after a six-way tie with the fifth-lowest round at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City.
No. 6: Three-time champ Meads leads Hawks to title
For two straight years, Olathe East gymnast Allison Meads won Kansas state all-around championships, but she didn’t feel satisfied at the end of either season.
Had the Hawks also won team titles, Meads could have celebrated.
That made her final high school gymnastics meet Oct. 20 in Lawrence the perfect ending to a storybook career.
Led by Meads, who won the all-around for a third straight season, Olathe East totaled 106.775 points and edged runner-up Lawrence Free State by 1.85 points.
It was the Hawks’ first title since 2008 and fifth overall – all since 2002.
Meads, who owns a state-record 12 individual gold medals, also claimed titles on the balance beam, floor exercise and vault, while finishing second on the uneven parallel bars.
Hawks freshman Darby Gertsema was third in the all-around and finished tied for second on the vault and third on the uneven bars.
As a junior, Meads won on the balance beam, floor exercise and uneven bars. She won gold on the floor, bars and vault as a sophomore.