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Friday, April 18, 2014

Kansas' 150 greatest athletes: Final reader suggestions, survey results


Here’s a final look at some reader suggestions for outstanding Kansas athletes who didn’t make The Eagle’s list of 150 greatest athletes from the state. You can find biographies and photo galleries of the Kansas 150 at Kansas.com  .

Lorraine Davidson, Buhler (1959-) — Won four events as a sophomore in the 1975 Class 3A track meet to single-handedly win the team title for Buhler. She won 10 overall state track events, one of nine Kansans to win that many.

Elwyn Dees, Lorraine (1914-95) — Held the state high school shot put record for two decades and never lost a conference dual or meet at Kansas (1932-35). He won the national championship as a senior.

Al Littleton, Wichita (1926-2009) — State high school golf champ at North, two-time city and two-time Kansas Amateur champion while a four-year player at the University of Wichita. Was a PGA professional for 47 years and coached the Shockers for 17 years.

Conrad Nightingale, Halstead (1945-) _ Twice a state-champion miler, Nightingale was part of K-State’s world-record setting distance medley relay team in 1967 and competed in the steeplechase at the 1968 Olympics.

Henry Wiebe, Newton (1937-) — Outstanding sprinter at Newton High who held the state’s 220 yards record. Later an All-American in sprints and hurdles at Missouri.

At Kansas.com, we asked readers to submit their top three selections from our top 10. Based on your list, Jim Ryun would've been No. 2 and Glenn Cunningham moved from No. 10 to No. 4.

Reader top 10 Eagle rank

1. Barry Sanders 1

2. Jim Ryun 3

3. Walter Johnson 2

4. Glenn Cunningham 10

5. Lynette Woodard 5

6. Jackie Stiles 6

7. John Riggins 8

8. Maurice Greene 7

9. Lynn Dickey 9

10. Jim Bausch 4

Of the 15 next generation athletes we selected, readers placed Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell atop the list, followed by just-signed Kansas City Royal Bubba Starling. Heights' Perry Ellis rounded out the top three.

Next Generation Vote %

Blake Bell 32

Bubba Starling 17

Perry Ellis 16

Gary Woodland 12

Bryce Brown 6

Conner Frankamp 5

Andy Dirks 2

Joe Fisher 2

Tiffany Bias 2

Diandra Milliner 1

Jack Sock 1

Matt Byers 1

Tyler Caldwell 0

Aaron Crow 0

Victor Ortiz 0

Compared to our southern and northern neighbors, readers preferred Kansas' top-10 list.

Best state Vote %

Kansas 60

Oklahoma 36

Nebraska 4

Along with the omissions, readers were passionate about those athletes they felt were misranked.

Among the overrated: Lynn Dickey, DeAngelo Evans, Steve Henson and Jackie Stiles

Underrated? B.H. Born, Darren Daulton, Steve Fritz, Cleo Littleton, Billy Mills, Terence Newman, Darren Sproles

Multiple readers thought the big debate was between No. 12 Nolan Cromwell and No. 9 Dickey:

"For years (Cromwell) was known as the best athlete in the NFL."

One Walter Johnson supporter, who ranked Sanders No. 3, had this to say:

"Walter Johnson is a LEGEND, 110 shutouts, nobody will ever break that record.... My granddad used to tell me about him back in the 50s and 60s. Barry Sanders — great, great running back — a legend 60 years from now? Don't think so."

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