Past and present Topeka athletes honored at Sports Award Banquet

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A few Topeka High School alums were honored nearly 50 years after their graduations Thursday night. There hasn’t been a Trojan inducted into the Topeka Shawnee Hall of Fame in 5 year, but Clardy Vinson, Steve Tilford and Judy Dyer made up for lost time.

It's been over 40 years since Steve Tilford first started racing bicycles -- and winning championships. A few decades later, the US Mountain Bike hall of famer hasn't slowed down.

“I'm pretty much the first generation of people on the planet that have been able to exercise their whole lives. Like Clardy, when he got done with college, there wasn't really an avenue for him to go any further than that,” said Tilford.

Clardy Vinson, the two-time All-American track star says this is the first time he’s ever celebrated his athletic achievements with his family. He prides himself the most on his academic achievements, eventually becoming a school administrator at his alma mater.

“It's an opportunity for them to learn a little more about my athletic career. As far as standing next to Judy and Steve, if I had had Judy's speed I would have been really good. If I could convince Steve to come out for cross country I could've been a really good coach,” said Vinson.

Judy Dyer reigns as the finest female track performer in Topeka High history -- a top ten national long jumper her senior year. Although she attended Texas Southern University, she thanked Washburn in her speech for helping her stumble upon another passion when visiting their campus.

“I have to say thank you to Washburn University for having those hurdles on the track that day because that started my career as a hurdler for the 1968 Olympic team,” said Dyer.

Despite their state, national and world accolades, these Trojans agreed this honor from home stands out.

High School Athletes of the Year:

Overall Male Athlete: Tucker Horak, Rossville
Overall Female Athlete: Taylor White, Silver Lake
Outstanding Fall Male Athlete, Tucker Horak, Rossville
Outstanding Fall Female Athlete, Taylor White, Silver Lake
Outstanding Winter Male Athlete, Bailey Kelly, Seaman
Outstanding Winter Female Athlete, Jordan Lenherr, Hayden
Outstanding Spring Male Athlete, Tommy Hunter, Hayden
Outstanding Spring Female Athlete, Hailey Reed, Seaman
Most Inspirational Male Athlete: Alex Shiekh, Shawnee Heights
Most Inspirational Female Athlete: Jaylynn Evans-Patterson, Seaman