Varsity Basketball

Wichita’s Perry Ellis headlines 2019 Kansas high school hall of fame class

One of the greatest high school basketball players to come through Wichita is being immortalized.

Wichita Heights grad Perry Ellis is one of five inductees into the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) Hall of Fame class for 2019.

Here is the full list of folks who will be inducted next year, either at an upcoming state championship or locally, in their hometowns, at their request:

Perry Ellis, Wichita Heights, basketball

Ellis is one of the most accomplished high school graduates in Wichita history. He helped the Falcons to four straight basketball state championships, then was class valedictorian at Heights.

He earned a Division I scholarship to the University of Kansas, where he became an all-time great for the Jayhawke, too.

During high school, he was named a McDonald’s high school All-American and four-time Gatorade Player of the Year. He was a four-year starter at Heights, winning four City League titles and scoring 2,231 points in the process.

Oscar Birt, Girard, official

Birt has served as a track and field official since 1960. He has helped lead more than 800 meets and fired his starter pistol more than 40,000 times, which helped him earn the title of Master Starter through the Missouri Valley Officials Association, according to a KSHSAA news release.

Marcel Carter, Shawnee Heights, track and field

Carter was a record-setting sprinter for the Thunderbirds during his high school career at Shawnee Heights from 1985-89.

He was the only male runner to win the 200-meter dash four straight years. He was also named a state champion in the 100, 400 and 4x100 meters. All of those accolades culminated in a team title for Shawnee Heights in 1989.

His Shawnee Heights records have not fallen in 29 years. After his high school graduation, he went on to become an All-American at the University of Florida.

Fred Cottrell, Conway Springs, coach

Cottrell has been a coach in the Wichita area for more than 50 years. He has spent time at Conway Springs and Douglass, where he won 12 state championships and was runner-up five times.

Across coaching 48 years of football, 43 of track and field, 29 of basketball, six of baseball and two of cross country, Cottrell was part of more than 1,400 varsity contests, the KSHSAA said.

Erik Nielsen, Sumner Academy, band

Nielsen was one of the great high school musicians in Kansas history. He started with the oboe and harp before also learning the xylophone and glockenspiel in the marching band.

He also played in the symphonic band, pep band, jazz band and orchestra in his time at Sumner. The KSHSAA release states Nielsen never received less than a “1” rating in any KSHSAA music festival.

Nielsen finished his high school career with a 4.14 GPA before earning degrees in harp, oboe and conducting at Julliard and Curtis Music Schools.

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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.