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Kansas' 150 greatest athletes: Reader submissions

  • Published Saturday, August 13, 2011, at 2:27 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at 6:01 p.m.



Who should have been No. 1 on Kansas’ list of greatest athletes?

Kansas 150 Criteria

* The athlete had to excel at one or more sports. Emphasis was placed on achievements, longevity and levels of excellence (high school, college, pro, Olympics).

* Must have been “raised” in Kansas. There was not a hard line on how many years an athlete had to be in the state, but it had to include the years when his or her development in the sport began.

* Collegiate athletes who came to Kansas schools from out of state were not considered. For example, KU’s Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia) and K-State’s Jacob Pullen (Maywood, Ill.) weren’t in the mix.

To mark 150 years of statehood, The Eagle recently presented its list of the top 150 Kansas athletes. We also asked readers for their thoughts on who we should have put in the Kansas 150 but didn’t. Here’s a look at the best of the reader submissions.

Olian Alexander, Wichita (1960-) — Guard on the ’77 Heights title team who boxed for 14 years, losing two title bouts.

Jean Ashley, Coffeyville (1939-) — 1965 U.S. Women’s Amateur champ was on three Curtis Cup teams.

Ken Berry, Topeka (1941-) — Hit .255 over 14 MLB seasons, including two Gold Gloves as an outfielder.

Caroline Bruce, Wichita (1986-) — Won a Kansas record-tying eight golds in high school swimming, reached 2004 Olympics in 200 breaststroke.

Rene Bumgarner, Coldwater (1963-) — Won state sprint titles at Coldwater and Newton, then won two MVC titles while a Shocker.

Natasha Fife, Wichita (1936-) — A three-time Broadmoor Amateur champ who dominated the Kansas women’s amateur scene in the 1950s and ’60s.

Pike Gawthrop, Wichita (1912-) — Considered Wichita’s best athlete of early part of 20th century, played football at WU.

Derrel Gofourth, Parsons (1955-) — Oklahoma State lineman played eight NFL seasons.

Cris Hall, Chanute (1970-) — 11-time state track champion was a double All-American (track, volleyball) at Nebraska.

Bob Hanson, Wichita (1944-) — Won six state individual sprint state titles at East, conference low-hurdles champ at Kansas.

Kirsten Hanssen Ames, Wichita (1962-) — Southeast grad finished third, third and sixth in the Ironman World Championships from 1988-90.

Mark Lewis, Wichita (1955-) — Only American male to compete in Olympic bowling (’88), he won 1988 national amateur and was third in 1989.

J.L. Lewis, Emporia (1960-) — Won more than $7.4 million on PGA Tour, including victories in 1999 and 2003.

Ryan Lilja, Shawnee (1981-) — K-State lineman begins his seventh NFL season with a Colts Super Bowl ring.

Don Lock, Kingman (1936-) — WSU product who hit .238 in eight major-league seasons.

John McBeth, Kingman (1940-) — 1974 world champion saddle bronc rider, member of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Ralph Miller, Chanute (1919-2001) — KU’s quarterback and leading scorer in basketball in the early 1940s.

Les Miller, Arkansas City (1965-) — All-State defensive lineman played 11 NFL seasons.

Rod Nuckolls, Wichita (1957-) — Shocker was in three NCAA championships and played on the PGA Tour from 1981-85.

Iva Pembridge Jarvis, Phillipsburg (1926-) — Trapshooting hall of famer who dominated the sport in the 1950s but still won Kansas titles into the ’70s.

Kelly Pete, Wichita (1944-) — All-Missouri Valley player who helped lead the Shockers to the 1965 Final Four.

Bobby Randall, Gove (1948-) — K-Stater who played five seasons at 2B for the Twins (.257 average).

Linda Shelley, Wichita (1957-) — Synchronized swimmer was part of national champions in duet and team.

Aubrey Sherrod, Wichita (1962-) — Heights basketball All-American may be WSU’s greatest outside shooter.

Randy Smith, Wichita (1953-) — WSU All-American in track and cross country who won a national AAU championship.

Roger Smith, Wichita (1942-) — Trapshooter set the all-time U.S. record in 1983 with 399 out of 400.

Tara Snyder, Wichita (1977-) — Tennis player who reached as high as No. 33 on the women’s pro tour.

Paul Stovall, Wichita (1948-78) — North grad went from Pratt C.C. to Arizona State and played two NBA seasons.

Janie Wagstaff, Mission Hills (1974-) — Was part of the gold-winning 400 medley relay team in Barcelona and was fifth in the 100 backstroke.

Mitch Webster, Larned (1959-) — Played 13 big-league seasons, hitting .263 as an outfielder.

Jay Woodside, Wichita (1939-2004) — Dirt-track racer who’s in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

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