Varsity Kansas

AVCTL II Moments of the Year: The top athletic feats from Wichita’s suburban schools

Maize South boys basketball (top left), Andover Central’s Easton Leedom, Andover girls golf (bottom left) and Valley Center girls soccer (bottom right)
Maize South boys basketball (top left), Andover Central’s Easton Leedom, Andover girls golf (bottom left) and Valley Center girls soccer (bottom right) The Wichita Eagle

AVCTL II has some of the top high school athletic programs in the Wichita area, and the 2018-19 school year produced some of its top accomplishments.

Here are AVCTL II Moments of the Year.

City League Moments of the Year

AVCTL I Moments of the Year

Andover’s sophomore stars near golf history

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Andover sophomore Tiffany Chan won the Kansas Class 5A girls golf state championship with a 5-over, 76 on Tuesday at Hesston Golf Park. (Oct. 16, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Throughout the 2018 girls golf season, one topic kept coming up: Andover’s sophomore class.

The Trojans had individual champions at the AVCTL II, regional and state tournaments. All three were from different Andover sophomores, including Tiffany Chan, who won the Class 5A individual state title at 5-over 76.

Alivia Nguyen won the league title, and Shauna Lee won the regional. The three along with junior Kelsey Hawley finished runner-up to St. Thomas Aquinas in the team standings by seven strokes.

The group returns next season revamped and looking to get over the hump, stop Aquinas’ two year run and capture the Trojans first title since 2007.

Three-headed monster clinches championship

Andover Central high school basketball
Andover Central’s Easton Leedom (left), Xavier Bell (center) and Braden Belt (right) all average about 15 points a game for the Jaguars. (Feb. 5, 2019) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Opponents knew the trio of Easton Leedom, Braden Belt and Xavier Bell accounted for almost all of Andover Central’s scoring, but stopping it was another story.

The Jaguars won their first boys basketball state championship in school history beating Bashor-Linwood 58-47 in the Class 5A title game. Bell was named to the Eagle’s Top 5 team. Leedom was selected as Andover Central’s Male Athlete of the Year. Belt was a KBCA All-Star and scored the most points in the title game with 20.

All three eclipsed 1,000 career points in the 2018-19 season, and all three will go down among the best players to come through Andover.

The Jaguars’ state run included a dramatic regional championship victory over Maize South, quarterfinal win over Pittsburg and semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Maize.

Ark City silences doubters with regional football title

Arkansas City has been known for its historic wrestling team, a baseball team with back-to-back regional titles and a surging boys basketball team, but football was seemingly an afterthought.

In 2019, the Bulldogs put many of those doubters to bed with a 28-6 Class 4A regional championship over Coffeyville. Ark City finished its season 4-7 with a loss to McPherson but inspired the community.

Ark City plays against almost exclusively bigger schools throughout the regular season in AVCTL II play. In 2019, the Dogs played five teams in Classes 5 and 6A. When they got to 4A, they found more success with the win over Coffeyville and a shocking first-round upset of No. 4 Mulvane, 29-26.

Goddard goes for history with wrestling title No. 5

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Fresh off a record-breaking performance at last year’s state championship, the Goddard High School wrestling team is looking to meet high expectations again in 2019. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

The Goddard wrestlers turned toward the camera with all five fingers extended.

The Lions won their fifth straight Class 5A state championship in 2019 with 225 points, fending off Arkansas City and Maize. It wasn’t the record-setting performance from a year ago, but this year’s Goddard lineup produced a pair of state champions, five runners-up and four top four finishers.

That is 11-of-13 in the top four of each respective weight class.

Goddard’s headliners included senior 170-pounder Troy Fisher, who won his second state title and capped a 33-3 record and All-Metro selection. Junior Jason Henschel also won his second title, at 113 pounds.

This was the only year the Fisher brothers, Troy, Jace and Jerrdon, could compete in the same starting lineup before Troy heads to Northwestern.

Trudo turns motivation into golf championship

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Eisenhower’s Tyler Trudo Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

On his final hole of the round, Tyler Trudo knew he needed a birdie to force a playoff and keep his state title hopes alive.

He faced a chip-in, and he sunk it. He went on to beat Emporia’s Gentry Scheve in the playoff to seal his title in his final high school tournament, shooting a 4-under 67.

Trudo, a two-time All-Metro selection, needed the championship after a year of up-and-down play, including the week before at Eisenhower’s Class 5A regional where he finished ninth at 5-over 76. He dropped nine shots in a week.

Trudo was only one of the top golfers in a loaded 5A field that included a pair of future Kansas State players along with former champions. He had to do it on his own, too, after Eisenhower failed to qualify for the state tournament as a team.

Trudo was named the Eisenhower Male Athlete of the Year.

Maize South boys soccer blazes maverick path to title game

The Maize South boys soccer team will play for the 5A title after beating St. James Academy on Friday in Topeka. Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Maize South entered the Class 5A state championship game knowing it was the underdog, and it finished that way, but the fact that the Mavericks got there was reason enough to celebrate.

Maize South finished runner-up to Blue Valley Southwest after suffering a 6-0 loss. The Mavericks finished their season 17-4-0 with a state semifinal win over Kansas City power St. James Academy 5-4 in penalty kicks.

The Mavs’ postseason run also featured a regional title win over rival Eisenhower in double overtime and a 3-1 win over Great Bend in the state quarterfinals.

Seniors Andrew Bliss and Bryce Bowman were named to the Eagle’s All-Metro team for their outstanding contributions to the team in helping Maize South to school history.

With wealth of emotion, Valley Center takes third

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Valley Center girls soccer team Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Valley Center was one of the feel-good stories in Kansas high school soccer.

Playing under coach Steen Danielsen for the final time before he headed to Concordia as athletic director, the Hornets reached the Class 5A semifinals and finished in the top three for just the second time in school history.

Valley Center lost 2-0 to eventual champion St. James Academy in the semifinals but beat Hays in penalty kicks to reach the state quarterfinals and went to McPherson and pulled out a 1-0 win to get to state.

The Hornets rallied around their seniors and coach, knowing every game could be their last together, and that seemed to charge them through the season and playoffs. Valley Center had the most All-Metro selections of any team in the Wichita area, with three making the cut in Emily Breault — who was named Valley Center’s Female Athlete of the Year — Kelsey Ray and Kyrah Klumpp.

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.