Topeka West Sports Hall of Fame class inducted

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka West’s 23rd Induction Ceremony welcomed eight new members to its Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Inductees are being recognized for their individual and athletic achievements for the Chargers.

Seven former athletes and the 1967 gymnastics team are now in the hall. Their images and statistics will be cemented in the school’s history forever.

Like Tony Barry, who is recognized for stepping up and taking over as quarterback for the football team in the early 1980s. He lettered three years in football and two years in basketball. He went on to play basketball at Emporia State University.

“We were successful because the coaching staff believed in us, we believed in the coaches, we believed in each other,” he said during his speech. “Our team was a team of 45,100 -- not one person thought they were more important than the other.

Jeff Benson went on to win the City, League, Regional, and State Singles Championships in tennis his senior year after tearing his ACL his junior year at the John Newcombe Tennis Academy in Texas. He came back, rehabbed, and ended up dominating his senior season. He was named to the Prince High School All America Team.

Misty Caryl-Lingerfelt’s name is now in the hall after her efforts on the basketball court. She was 1st Team All-City, All-League, 3rd Team All-State, and was inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame in 2012. She also ran for the cross country team for two years. She played basketball at Washburn University upon graduation in 1994.

“I want to say the beauty of athletics is the lessons we learn that we take into our adult life. That’s the nice thing about high school sports. You’re not a kid forever and you grow up and you think I learned that lesson because of that person,” she said during her speech. “And all the coaches that are here today, whether I had you or not, there’s a player somewhere that still says your name.”

The 1967 gymnastics team who won four straight city championships is in the hall of fame.

Former Boys’ Gymnastics Coach Bill Allen was honored as well. He coached the 1975-76 City Champions, was a football assistant and track assistant. Coach Allen passed away in January from COVID-19.

Katie Freund’s legacy will live on. She was 6th in the state in 2000, 5th in 2001, and 11th in 2002 in golf.

Long-time contributor to Topeka West, Rome Mitchell, is cemented in the history of the school.

Three-sport athlete Daniel Heflin is there too. Heflin is the current home run record holder at T-West, was 1st Team All-State and All-City one year. He started first base on the 2003 State Championship baseball team along with playing football and basketball for the Chargers.

“When you talk about teams, talk about working together, sports is a microcosm of society. I have friends, I have brothers that come from different economic backgrounds, different races, and different religions. And what happens you go out into the workforce? It’s the exact same thing,” he said.

For the full introduction at the Topeka West Auditorium -- click here.

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