Sports in Kansas has released its annual list of player of the year winners across the seven classifications in Kansas. A media panel of over 30 members in Kansas vote to compile finalists and winners each and every year.
Capsules are provided by Conor Nicholl of Sports in Kansas. Media day was handled by Bethany Bowman of Sports in Kansas and Chet Kuplen of Sports in Kansas. Photos by Terry Rinehart for Sports in Kansas.
6A: Grant Stubblefield, Blue Valley Northwest
Blue Valley Northwest junior point guard Grant Stubblefield helped the Huskies to a 6A runner-up finish to Wichita Heights. He averaged 19 points a game. In the fall, Stubblefield enjoyed a big year as the starting running back for the 6A state titlist Huskies with 1,553 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns. He is the school rushing yards and single season touchdown record holder.
At state, Stubblefield easily paced 6A in scoring with 60 points. Northwest finished 21-4. Stubblefield helped BVNW defeat Shawnee Mission Northwest, 58-50. In the semifinals, Northwest held off Lawrence Free State, 51-42. FS had been ranked No. 1 all season and was the consensus favorite. Stubblefield played all 32 minutes and finished 9 of 14 from the field, 2 of 4 from the 3-point line and 6 of 9 on free throws. He added four assists. Stubblefield had a highlighted dunk versus Free State.
Stubblefield was Eastern Kansas League MVP in basketball and top-5 all-classes.
Congratulations Grant Stubblefield on being selected as the Sports in Kansas 6A Player of the Year. We are proud of you. Stay Humble, Stay Hungry! Love Mom & Dad
The Blue Valley Northwest Parent Booster Club Congratulates GRANT STUBBLEFIELD, 6A Player of the Year from Sports in Kansas. BVNS PBC supports all Huskies and we are so proud of Grant, you deserve this honor! BVNW Parent Booster Club, Jeanna Repass President; John Hilton Athletic Director
5A/All-Classes POY: Elijah Brooks, Topeka West
Topeka West senior Elijah Brooks was Kansas’ consensus best player during the 2021-2022 high school season and led Kansas with 25.3 points per game. Brooks was honorable mention all-state as a junior for Topeka West’s state runner-up squad. This time, he helped West to one regular season loss, a December defeat to Topeka Seaman, the eventual 5A state champion. Brooks also paced TW with 7.9 rebounds a contest. He finished second with 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals a contest.
Topeka West coach Rick Bloomquist is in his 45th year of coaching and tenth at Topeka West. Brooks and Bloomquist have helped Topeka West enjoy great success for a program with limited tradition. From 2010-17, Topeka West had 23 total wins. Since then, TW is 15-7, 6-15, 14-8, 21-3, 21-2. Brooks shot 62 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Brooks scored 17.5 points a game in his career. He finished with 1,450 points, 508 rebounds, 197 assists, 131 steals and 74 blocks. That included 43 points in a 67-66 win against Junction City on Jan. 25.
4A: Jack Voth, Buhler
The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Jack Voth delivered 21.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and two assists a contest. Voth shot 52 percent from the field, including 43.4 percent from the 3-point line, and 78 percent on free throws. He took 17 charges. A junior, Voth set the school single game record with 21 rebounds in the sub-state championship game. He set the school record for single season rebounds at 227. Voth was the AVCTL Division III MVP as voted on by the opposing coaches.
Buhler finished 18-5 and advanced to the Class 4A state tournament. On Dec. 21, Buhler defeated McPherson, 50-49, and earned a 68-61 win versus McPherson on Feb. 15. Buhler also beat Andale, 53-43, on Feb. 4. Andale finished as 4A state runner-up to Bishop Miege. Buhler lost to McPherson in the state quarterfinals. Voth has helped Buhler quickly elevate its program. The year before he entered high school, Buhler finished 6-14. Then, Buhler improved to 15-8, 15-6 and 18-5. Before this season, Buhler had lost 27 straight to McPherson since 2005.
Gust Orthodontics and the entire Gust family would like to congratulate Buhler High School G/F Jack Voth on being named 4A Kansas Player of the Year. We are so proud of you—Drs. Jeff and Nicole Gust
We are proud of Smith’s Market employee and family friend, Jack Voth, on being named Kansas 4A Player of the Year. Congratulations, Jack—Smith’s Market (Chris and Gail Barnes)
On behalf of our community, Buhler Auto would like to congratulate Jack Voth, Jr G/F from Buhler High School on an outstanding season and being named 4A Kansas Player of the Year. We are very proud of you, Jack—Grandma and Grandpa
3A: Brett Sarwinski, Galena
Galena senior Brett Sarwinski repeated as 3A Player of the Year after averaging 19.5 ppg, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per contest, including 58 total points combined in his last two games as a Bulldog. Perhaps, the most consistent player with one of the highest basketball IQs in the state over the last three seasons, Galena made three straight trips to the state tournament including two Final Fours and a state runner-up last season. In the 3A quarterfinals, the Bulldogs lost to Thomas More Prep-Marian in a double-overtime contest that came down to a buzzer-beating shot down low. Sarwinski is Galena’s all-time leading scorer, while 6-foot-6 teammate Tyler Little is the Bulldogs’ all-time leading rebounder.
Sarwinski comes from an exceptional family of athletes. Dad, Beau, is Galena’s longtime football coach. Brett and his older brothers were all Shrine Bowl picks. Sister Mia was a first team all-league selection. Galena has reached state the last three seasons, including a state runner-up showing. Sarwinski tallied 32 points – the most at any state tournament game on the boys at any level in 2022. He played 39 of a possible 40 minutes and went 10 of 22 from the field, 5 of 8 from the 3-point line and 7 of 10 from the free throw line. Sarwinski delivered seven rebounds and four assists.
Galena went 11-1 in CNC play and won the league for a third straight year. Sarwinski was top-5 all classes and the only one from below 5A named top-5. Sarwinski edged out Royal Valley 3x all-3A pick Nahcs Wahwassuck in one of the closest votes this season by the media panel voting for POY as the two headlined 3A as the classes best players. Wahwassuck, who originally left for prep school but came back to Royal Valley, was outstanding in 2022 as his season didn’t start until January 2022 after missing the 2021 half of the season because of being granted eligibility from KSHSAA after leaving to prep school.
Red Onion in Galena would like to congratulate Brett Sarwinski as repeating as the 3A Player of the Year. Congrats to all of the Bulldogs and coaches on another outstanding year!
Gravy’s Place in Galena on 316 S. Main Street would like to congratulate Brett Sarwinski on being named the 3A POY back-to-back. Congrats to Galena on making it back to the state tournament for the third season in a row!
Galena High School would like to congratulate Brett Sarwinski as the 2022 Sports in Kansas 3A Player of the Year! Go Bulldogs, congrats on another tourney appearance!
2A: Brekyn Ratzlaff, Hillsboro
Last season, ten 2A players earned first or second team all-state honors. Seven were seniors. Hillsboro’s Brekyn Ratzlaff was a second team selection. This winter, Ratzlaff, a junior, emerged as the best player on 2A’s best team. Ratzlaff helped longtime coach Darrel Knoll win his fifth state title. Hillsboro won back-to-back titles for the first time in school history. Hillsboro was wire-to-wire as the 2A favorite and No. 1-ranked team. Hillsboro split with Hesston for the team’s lone loss. Hillsboro finished 25-1. Ratzlaff was SIK’s Most Outstanding Player of the state tournament.
Ratzlaff paced Hillsboro with 17.1 points and 2.9 assists per game. He delivered 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals a contest. Ratzlaff was an extremely efficient shooter with 55 percent from the field, 40 percent from treys and 81 percent from the foul line. Ratzlaff’s dad was a standout player for Hillsboro in the ‘90s.
1A-1: Derek Hoelting, Olpe
Olpe’s Derek Hoelting was part of a historically great senior class that led the Eagles to back-to-back football and basketball championships. Olpe became the first program in Kansas annals to win 11-man football and 1A basketball in back-to-back years.
The 6-foot Hoelting earned unanimous first team all-league and was 1A-I Most Outstanding Player in the state tournament. Olpe had four decorated seniors: Hoelting, Damon Redeker, Ted Skalsky and Eli Foraker.
In football, Skalsky was Top 11 all-classes and back-to-back 1A Defensive Player of the Year. Redeker was 1A Offensive POY, first team all-state quarterback/safety in the fall and honorable mention all-state basketball last winter. Hoelting was a key running back. Foraker was known for his high basketball IQ.
Hoelting, Redeker and junior Truman Bailey all averaged at least 12 points a contest. Olpe finished 25-1 and won its last 25 contests after a season-opening loss to St. Marys, the eventual 2A runner-up. Entering state, Hoelting delivered 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 steals a contest.
At state, Hoelting had 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting and 12 rebounds in a 51-21 quarterfinal win versus Troy. In the semifinals, Hoelting finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds in a 68-38 win versus Macksville. In the championship, Hoelting finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds on 11 of 17 shooting. Olpe won 66-42. Hoelting by far led the 1A-I state tournament in scoring with 63 points.
Olpe finished second all-time in 1A boy history for total scoring margin at the state tournament and fewest points allowed. Plus, the Eagles tied for the second-biggest margin of victory in a state finale in 1A boys’ history.
Congrats to Derek Hoelting of Olpe HS from Mautz Crop Agency of Harford, Kansas for being named 1A-I Player of the Year.
Congratulations Derek for being the 1A-I POY, we are very proud of you! Love, Mom, Dad, Camden, Colby and Dex!
1A-II: Jaxson Brandl, Tribune-Greeley County
Tribune-Greeley County junior Jaxson Brandl delivered a remarkable season where he led the Jackrabbits in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. The 6-foot-2 Brandl helped Greeley County defeat Hanover, 56-55, in the Class 1A, Division II state championship. GC finished 24-2 and had an 11-win improvement from last season. Brandl helped GC set school records for single season made 3s and attempted.
Overall, he delivered 22.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.6 steals, 2.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. For his career, the 6-foot-2 Brandl has 1,525 points, 746 rebounds, 224 steals, 143 assists and 102 blocks. In a rarity, Schreiner paced her team in all five categories. For perspective, only five NBA players in ’73-74 have led a team in all five statistical categories.
He has averaged at least 19 points a game in every season. Brandl earned first team all-state (top-five) last winter. He finished sixth in Kansas for all classes and second in 1A-1/II for scoring. Brandl was the all-classes leading scorer at state with 76 points.
Kansas has five high schools and four counties in Mountain Time Zone. For the first time ever, two MT schools, Greeley County boys and 3A Goodland girls, captured state championships in the same season. Greeley County was unranked in the preseason top-10 by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. Defending champion Hanover was the substantial state favorite. Brandl was the SIK Most Outstanding Player of the 1A-II state tournament.
Hanover has not lost to a non-Centralia team in more than two years. Brandl showcased great passing out of the post for 3s in the semifinal win against Almena-Northern Valley. He scored 31 points in the championship. He has finished second team all-league as a freshman, then first team each of the past two seasons. Brandl was a SIK 1A-II Player of the Year finalist as a sophomore. Greeley County won its third all-time title, behind 1968 and 2011. The year before Brandl came to high school, Greeley County finished 8-14. Since then, they are 16-9, 13-9 and 24-2. This season tied ’09-10 for the best winning percentage in school history.
Congratulations Jaxson! We are so proud of you on turning your dreams into reality. All of your hard work is paying off and you cannot be more deserving. We love you! – Dad, Mom, Hannah, & Mattie
Congratulations! We could not be more proud of the player you have become. Your success on the court came from your hard work and determination. We are proud of you J-man. Love Grandma & Papa.
Congratulations Jaxson!!! We are so proud of you!!! Keep up the hard work and never be satisfied!!! Papa would be proud!!! We love you! – Buddy, Angel, Jailyn, and Haidyn