The Wichita Sports Commission annually gives out a female athlete of the year award (Lynette Woodard award) and a male athlete of the year award (Barry Sanders award) to graduated seniors.
The finalists are Heights’ Jhasmin Bowen, Carroll’s Sarah Balderas and Kapaun’s Mackenzie Maki for the girls. The male finalists are Heights’ Evan Wessel, Andover Central’s Boston Stiverson and Rose Hill’s Brady Foltz.
Who would you choose? If I were voting, I’d pick Balderas and Wessel. That’s not dogging any of the other finalists — all are wonderful athletes. But I think Balderas and Wessel are outstanding multi-sport athletes. And Wessel was a Top 11 football pick and an All-State basketball selection.
Finalists for college female athlete of the year are Cowley’s Roslandy Acosta, Butler’s Cindy Benitez, Newman’s Laryssa Ferreira and Wichita State’s Tonya Nero.
College male athlete of the year finalists are: Cowley’s Josh Gracia, Butler’s Cornellius Carradine, Newman’s Noah Smithson and Wichita State’s Graham Hatch.
Finalists for professional athlete of the year are the Wild’s Randy Kelly, the Wingnuts’ Ryan Patterson and the Thunder’s Matt Robinson.