High-SchoolPlayer-of-the-Year: Kansas

Kansas Boys Track AOY: Jonny Giess

June, 21, 2012
6/21/12
5:34
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Jonny Giess

THE BASICS

School: Blue Valley Northwest
(Overland Park, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Event(s): Jumps
Height: 6-foot-6

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Giess captured the high jump at the Class 6A state championship meet this spring with a clearance of six feet, 10 inches. He also won a regional championship with a jump of seven feet, one inch, which ranked as the nation’s No. 1 performance among prep competitors in 2012 at the time of his selection.

Academic excellence: Giess has maintained a 4.08 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: Also a basketball standout, he has volunteered locally on behalf of tornado disaster relief, an area homeless shelter and the Special Olympics.

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Kansas Girls Track AOY: Alli Cash

June, 20, 2012
6/20/12
5:34
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Alli Cash

THE BASICS

School: Shawnee Mission West
(Overland Park, Kan.)
Grade: Junior
Event(s): Distance/middle-distance
Height: 5-foot-7

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Cash won three individual Class 6A state championships this spring and led the Vikings to a fifth-place finish as a team. The state’s Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, she won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.51, the 1,600-meter run in 4:52.31 and the 3,200-meter run in 10:46.71. Cash also anchored the 4x800-meter relay to first place in 9:24.28 and finished third in the adidas Dream Mile.

Academic excellence: Cash has maintained a 4.56 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: She has volunteered locally on behalf of an area soup kitchen and a peer leadership program for physically challenged students.

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Kansas Softball POY: Allison Stewart

June, 6, 2012
6/06/12
5:32
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Softball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 48 fellow Gatorade State Softball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Allison Stewart

THE BASICS

School: Olathe East (Olathe, Kan.)
Grade: Sophomore
Position: Pitcher
Height: 5-foot-11

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Stewart led the Hawks (24-1) to the Class 6A state championship this past season. She batted .532 with five home runs, a school-record 52 RBI and a slugging percentage of .873. In the circle, the First Team All-Sunflower League selection posted a 13-0 record with a 0.20 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 69.1 innings pitched. She allowed 28 hits, issued nine walks and recorded two no-hitters.

Academic excellence: Stewart has maintained a 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of the Olathe East 21st Century Leadership Program, she has volunteered locally at a homeless shelter and food bank, as a youth mentor and as a youth softball coach.

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Kansas Baseball POY: Collin Wiles

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
5:31
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in this winner based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011-12 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 47 fellow Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Collin Wiles

THE BASICS

School: Blue Valley West (Overland Park, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Position: RHP/SS
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 185 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Wiles led the Jaguars (21-3) to the Class 6A state final this past season. He posted an 8-0 record on the mound with a 0.10 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. A 2011 First Team All-State selection, Wiles also batted .375 with 11 RBI and 10 runs scored.

Academic excellence: Wiles has maintained a 3.08 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A devoted member of his church community, he has assisted in relief efforts for earthquake victims in Haiti.

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Eye on POY: Kansas Baseball

May, 26, 2012
5/26/12
3:41
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Justin Burba
Senior outfielder, Haysville Campus (Wichita)

2012 Team record: 18-4
2012 Team standing: Lost in first round of Class 6A state tournament

2012 Batting average: .500
2012 RBI: 23
2012 Runs: 28

Academics: B-plus average
Collegiate destination: Oklahoma

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 Second Team All-League; 2011 Area Code Games Participant

Collin Wiles
Senior RHP/shortstop, Blue Valley West (Overland Park)

2012 Team record: 20-1
2012 Team standing: Will play in Class 6A semifinals on May 26

2012 W-L record: 8-0
2012 ERA: 0.10
2012 Strikeouts: 76
2012 Innings: 49.33

2012 Batting average: .375
2012 RBI: 10

Academics:
B average
Collegiate destination: Vanderbilt

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: 2011 First Team All-State; 2011 First Team All-League

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Baseball Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Garrett Cleavenger: Senior LHP, Lawrence (KS)
Nolan Barrientos: Senior third baseman, Bishop Carroll (Wichita)
Ryan McBroom: Senior second baseman, Maize (Wichita)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.

Kansas Girls Soccer POY: Lexi Aiman

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
5:15
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this spring's Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2012 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 27 fellow Gatorade State Spring Girls Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.
For the 22 Gatorade State Fall Girls Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Lexi Aiman

THE BASICS

School: Blue Valley West (Overland Park, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5-foot-2

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Aiman led the Jaguars to a 15-1-2 record entering the Class 6A state quarterfinals, scheduled for May 22. She scored 20 goals and passed for 26 assists through 18 games. The 2012 Eastern Kansas League Most Valuable Player, Aiman was also the 2011 EKL Co-Offensive Player of the Year and a 2010 Class 6A First Team All-State selection when she led Blue Valley West to its second straight state title. She entered the state quarterfinals with 60 goals and a school-record 81 assists in her prep soccer career.

Academic excellence: Aiman has maintained a 3.96 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: An accomplished violinist, she has volunteered locally as part of a fundraising campaign for breast cancer research and as a youth mentor and soccer coach.

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Eye on POY: Kansas girls soccer

May, 17, 2012
5/17/12
10:28
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Girls Soccer Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Lexi Aiman
Senior midfielder, Blue Valley West (Overland Park, Kan.)

2012 Team record: 14-1-2
2012 Team standing: Class 6A Northeast Regional final vs. Blue Valley Northwest on Thursday

2012 Goals: 17
2012 Assists: 20
Career goals: 57
Career assists: 75

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Fort Hays State University (Hays, Kan.)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Averaging 2.3 points per game through 16 games this season. 2011 Eastern Kansas League Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Four-time First Team All-Eastern Kansas League selection. Three-time Northeast Kansas Soccer Association First Team All-Region selection.

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Kansas Boys Hoop POY: Perry Ellis

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
5:34
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

Return of the POY, Perry Ellis, Wichita Heights, Kansas
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSPerry Ellis is the three-time returning Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
THE WINNER: Perry Ellis

THE BASICS

School: Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Power forward
Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 225 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: The state’s three-time returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Ellis led the Falcons to a 23-2 record and a fourth consecutive Class 6A state championship this past season. He amassed 29 points and seven rebounds in a 67-60, title-clinching victory against Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.). The McDonald’s All-American averaged 25.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game. Also a three-time returning Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, he shot 67.0 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from 3-point range and 78.3 percent from the free throw line. Ellis is the first boys basketball player in the nation to win Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors four times in the award program’s 27-year history.

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Eye on POY: Kansas boys basketball

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
10:58
AM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Return of the POY, Perry Ellis, Wichita Heights, Kansas
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSPerry Ellis is the three-time returning Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Perry Ellis
Senior power forward, Heights (Wichita, Kan.)

2011-12 Team record: 20-2 (Class 6A)
2011-12 Team standing: No. 40 ranked team on ESPNHS FAB 50; Class 6A first round vs. Olathe East on Thursday

2011-12 Points per game: 25.7
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 9.9
2011-12 Assists per game: 1.7
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.0
2011-12 Steals per game: 0.9

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: University of Kansas

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Led the Falcons to a state record 62 consecutive victories. Nets his 25.7 points on a remarkable 13.2 shots per contest. Faced a schedule of opponents with a .528 winning percentage. 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year. No. 31 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2012 McDonald’s All-American. 2009, 2010 and 2011 Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. 2009, 2010 and 2011 Class 6A state champion. 2010 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Roster member. 2011 adidas Nations Camp invitee. 2009 and 2011 Elite 24 Hoops Classic selection.

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Kansas Girls Hoop POY: Katelyn Loecker

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
5:17
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For her 50 fellow Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Katelyn Loecker

THE BASICS

School: McPherson (Kan.)
Grade: Junior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Loecker led the Bullpups to a 22-1 record entering Wednesday's first round of the Class 4A state tournament against Girard (Kan.). She averaged 16.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.9 steals and 1.3 blocks through 23 games. A returning Class 5A Second Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, Loecker helped McPherson to a third-place finish at the 2010 Class 4A state tournament during her sophomore season.

Academic excellence: Also a volleyball standout, Loecker has maintained a 4.23 weighted GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: In addition to donating her time as a youth basketball instructor, she has volunteered on behalf of her church, as part of breast cancer research fundraisers and at a community Thanksgiving dinner.

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Eye on POY: Kansas girls basketball

February, 23, 2012
2/23/12
3:24
PM ET
The window on the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year race is closing, and the search for elite student-athletes is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Katelyn Loecker
Junior forward, McPherson (Kan.)

2011-12 Team record: 18-1 (Class 4A)
2011-12 Team standing: Class 4A state tournament begins on March 7

2011-12 Points per game: 17.1
2011-12 Rebounds per game: 8.1
2011-12 Assists per game: 3.6
2011-12 Blocks per game: 1.5
2011-12 Steals per game: 3.0

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Oklahoma State University (verbal)

How she’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Shooting 51.3 percent from the field, 35.0 percent from 3-point range and 70.5 percent from the free throw line. Her 17.1 points and 3.6 assists produce 42.8 percent of McPherson’s 56.8 points per game. No. 29 ranked forward in Class of 2013 as rated by ESPNHS. 2011 Class 5A Second Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. 2010 Class 5A Honorable Mention All-State selection as named by the KBCA. Averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a sophomore, leading the Bullpups (22-3) to a third-place finish at the 2011 Class 5A state tournament.

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Kansas Boys Soccer POY: Austin Clifton

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
5:22
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed this past fall's Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 29 fellow Gatorade State Fall Boys Soccer Player of the Year winners, click here.

THE WINNER: Austin Clifton

THE BASICS

School: Northwest (Wichita, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 160 pounds

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Clifton led the Grizzlies to a 21-0 record and the Class 6A state championship this past season. He scored 28 goals and passed for eight assists, including a hat trick in a 3-1 win over Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) in the state semifinals. An All-American selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, he is a two-time First Team All-State honoree. Clifton, who transferred to Northwest from Wichita South (Wichita, Kan.) after his sophomore year, concluded his two seasons as a Grizzly with 51 goals and 18 assists.

Academic excellence: Clifton has maintained a 3.55 GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally with the Meals on Wheels Association of America, the Northwest Booster Club and as a mentor and coach for special-needs children.

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Eye on POY: Kansas boys soccer

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
3:33
PM ET
The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Evan Wright
Senior goalkeeper, Blue Valley (Stillwell, Kan.)

2011 Team record: 11-7-3 (Class 5A)
2011 Team standing: Lost Class 5A state championship game

2011 Goals allowed (AVG.): 29 (1.41)
2011 Saves (PCT.): 152 (84.0)
2011 shutouts: 5
Career shutouts: 11

Academics: A average
Collegiate destination: Saint Louis University

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Posted a shutout in the 5A state semifinals against Kapaun Mt. Carmel (Wichita, Kan.). 2011 NSCAA All-American selection. 2011 First Team All-State selection.

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Return of the POY: Kansas' Perry Ellis

January, 27, 2012
1/27/12
4:10
PM ET
Return of the POY, Perry Ellis, Wichita Heights, Kansas
Kelly Kline/ESPNHSPerry Ellis is the three-time returning Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
The 2011-12 Gatorade State Boys Basketball Players of the Year selection process is underway, and what better way to kick off coverage than with profiles of returning underclassmen winners? Repeating is no guarantee, but here's a snapshot of what this year’s challengers can shoot for.

Name: Perry Ellis
School: Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)

Grade: Senior
Position: Power forward

Height: 6-foot-8
Weight: 220 pounds

Notes: 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 Gatorade Kansas Boys Basketball Player of the Year. No. 30 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. Three-time Class 6A First Team All-State selection as named by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. Three-time Class 6A state champion. 2010 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Roster member. 2009 Elite 24 Hoops Classic selection.
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Kansas Boys XC ROY: Jacob Morgan

January, 23, 2012
1/23/12
5:34
AM ET
A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.

For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.


THE WINNER: Jacob Morgan

THE BASICS

School: Washburn Rural (Topeka, Kan.)
Grade: Senior
Height: 5-foot-8

THE PILLARS

Athletic achievement: Morgan raced to a second consecutive Class 6A individual state championship with a time of 15:28.50 this past season. A four-time All-City selection as named by The Topeka Capital-Journal, he placed 15th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional championships in 15:28.50. Morgan also won the Rim Rock Farm High School Cross Country Classic in a course-record time of 15:13.18. He finished ninth at the 2009 Class 6A state meet as a sophomore and fourth in 2008 as a freshman.

Academic excellence: Morgan has maintained a 4.10 weighted GPA in the classroom.

Exemplary character: A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society, he has volunteered locally as part of his school’s tutoring program, as a fundraiser for the athletic program and on behalf of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

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