June 20, 2024

Dodge City’s Foster named finalist for distinguished award

(Courtesy of Kpreps.com)

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Kpreps.com is pleased to announce the finalists for the ninth annual Get Busy Livin’ – Kpreps Player of the Year Award in conjunction with the Dylan Meier Foundation.

The 2019 award finalists include Quinn Buessing of Axtell, Turner Corcoran of Lawrence Free State, Landon Everett of Canton-Galva, Jordan Finnesy of Plainville, Beau Foster of Dodge City, Tyler Green of Mill Valley, Max Kalny of St. James Academy, Bryce Krone of Bonner Springs, and Ty Lindenman of Shawnee Mission Northwest.

The award is in honor of Dylan Meier, a former All-State quarterback at Pittsburg High School and starter at Kansas State University who died in a hiking accident in 2010 at the age of 26. The annual award goes out to one Kansas high school senior who not only has shown excellence on the field but also has demonstrated the values that Dylan embodied and Get Busy Livin’ (GBL) strives to promote: adventure, fitness, curiosity and a daily zest for life experiences.

Dylan Meier – GBL Player of the Year Award winners:
2018 – Jace Friesen, Basehor-Linwood
2017 – Carter Putz, Bishop Miege
2016 – Will Schneider, Shawnee Mission North
2015 – Tucker Horak, Rossville
2014 – Denzel Goolsby, Bishop Carroll
2013 – Austin Chambers, Shawnee Mission West
2012 – Brad Strauss, Lawrence
2011 – Kole Schankie, Madison

Players from around the state were nominated. The GBL committee then narrowed the list of candidates to nine.

“The Dylan Meier Foundation and the selection committee have done a tremendous job in selecting this group of nine finalists,” Kpreps editor Matt Gilmore said. “Each of these student-athletes are not only among the top players in the state, but also exude many of the attributes of the Get Busy Livin’ philosophy in their everyday lives.”

“Every year we are honored to be a small part of this award, and all of the nominees should be extremely proud of this distinction.”

The award is made possible by The Dylan Meier Get Busy Livin’ Foundation and Kpreps.com.

In addition to the award, the Dylan Meier Foundation will host the tenth annual Get Busy Livin’ 5K at 9:30 AM on Saturday, September 12th at Hutchinson Field in Pittsburg. The race was postponed from its original date of May 11th given the COVID-19 public health crisis.

For more information, visit https://www.getbusylivin.org/2020gbl5k

Here is a look at each of the finalists’ accomplishments on and off the field.

2019 Kpreps – Get Busy Livin’ Player of the Year Award Finalists

Quinn Buessing, QB, Axtell

In recent Kansas history, few athletes have enjoyed the all-around achievements like Axtell senior Quinn Buessing. In football, Buessing passed for 7,978 yards with 134 career touchdown passes. Buessing came within 16 completions and nine touchdowns of the all-time eight-man state record. He did, though, break the Kansas record for eight-man career completion percentage (64.9).

Last year, Buessing accounted for 61 touchdowns as Axtell lost to Osborne in the Eight-Man, Division II state championship game. It marked the program’s best finish since 1993. Axtell battled injuries throughout the year, and even defeated rival Hanover in the regular season contest in which Buessing exited in the first quarter with a concussion. The win halted Hanover’s 43-game winning streak, an eight-man state record.

As well, Buessing took sixth in state cross country with a time of 17 minutes, 19.03 seconds. He helped Axtell cross country to a state runner-up finish.

“This past season was something special, and without convincing my teammates to go out as well there is no way we would have achieved both runner-up in cross country and football runner-up,” Buessing said. “Because of that, I come into each day wanting to make myself better in the many facets of life all while helping others better their life.”

Buessing cleared 1,000 career points in basketball. In track, Buessing enjoyed great success, notably at the ’19 state meet. Last year, he earned a second-place finish in the 3,200-meter run and had three other top-nine placings in the distance events.

In an extreme rarity, Buessing had offers from four colleges for football and three for cross country/track. Buessing elected to play football at Highland Community College. He plans to major in exercise science.

Buessing’s honors include a two-time Kpreps Eight-Man, Division II all-state selection at quarterback, the Sports in Kansas Eight-Man, Division II Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, and a Shrine Bowl selection. Buessing is the eighth all-time Axtell player picked for the Shrine Bowl.

However, Buessing said the Get Busy Livin’ Award would mark “the most prestigious award I have won.”

“From what I have read Dylan Meier was similar to myself in many ways,” Buessing said.

This spring, Buessing had goals to break school records in the 800 and 1,600 meters. His all-time bests in those events were 2:01 and 4:40. Instead, COVID-19 precautions cancelled the season. Buessing’s family has long worked a dairy farm.

“Living on a dairy farm one day to the next can bring a whole slew of new challenges, and if not prepared for that, that day can be horrendous,” Buessing said. “Dylan had an outlook on life that nothing could stop him and that he wanted to help others because he was given that talent. Like him, I too have that outlook.”

During COVID-19, Buessing has picked up a full-time job working construction and helping out on the family dairy farm. Buessing and his brothers work out four days a week, each day “with something different and more challenging.”

“My life has always been busy with school and sports and working on the dairy farm,” Buessing said. “Now without school I have found numerous things to keep me busy. Aside from my work I have found time to pick up my hobbies I had to give up due to being busy in high school with sports and homework with those being hunting and fishing.”

Turner Corcoran, OL, Lawrence Free State

Lawrence Free State offensive lineman Turner Corcoran was Kansas’ consensus top recruit for the class of 2020. Corcoran helped the Firebirds to 10-1, 10-1 and 8-2 records in the last three seasons.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder was played in the 2020 All-American bowl and enrolled at Nebraska in January. Corcoran earned 17 Power 5 offers and was listed as the nation’s No. 47 overall recruit by the 247Sports Composite rankings, an industry leader.

“I would incorporate the GBL award by living life to the fullest after reading what happened to Dylan Meier, I would say to live life like tomorrow is not promised,” Corcoran said. “Death does not care who you are or what you are doing with your life, it will take you at your highest or lowest point in life.”

Landon Everett, QB, Canton-Galva

Canton-Galva senior quarterback Landon Everett engineered easily the biggest comeback in Kansas state championship history last fall. Canton-Galva trailed St. Francis, 36-0, in the Eight-Man, Division I title game. The Eagles scored 66 unanswered points to win the state title by 30.

“There for a little bit, I was worried, but you have always got to believe in what you are doing,” Everett said. “So, we just kept believing.”

Everett, a two-time Kpreps Eight-Man, Division I All-State selection and the Sports in Kansas Eight-Man, Division I Offensive Player of the Year, hurt his right (throwing) shoulder in the semifinal game against Madison. He had limited practice time and had to drive 80 miles round trip to Hutchinson everyday after practice to reduce swelling. For state, Everett wore an AC shoulder pad strapped around his body.

“He is a warrior,” Canton-Galva coach Shelby Hoppes said after the state game. “I couldn’t be more proud of him. It brings tears to my eyes.”

In the contest, Everett finished 10 of 19 passing for 197 yards with three scores. He rushed 17 times for 148 yards and four TDs. For the season, he passed for 1,378 yards, rushed for 1,252 and accounted for 56 offensive scores.

Notably, Everett has served as a volunteer firefighter and wants to become a firefighter in his career. As a junior, he helped the Eagles defeat Lebo, 54-6, in the playoffs. That same day, he responded to a 2:30 a.m. fire alarm in Galva.

Jordan Finnesy, QB/DB, Plainville

Jordan Finnesy started for three years as Plainville’s quarterback and was a two-time state champion wrestler. Finnesy was beloved by the Plainville fan base, and he felt similarly about his town. Finnesy and his sister were part of a single-parent home for some of his childhood.

“My mom has made me the man that I am today,” he said.

Finnesy went on several mission trips with his youth group. The first one came in San Marcos, Texas, where he rebuilt houses that were damaged from a hurricane. The second came in Denver where a group cooked food, visited with homeless and delivered care packages to as many homeless people as possible.

“This experience was very eye-opening and taught me to always help people who are less fortunate than I am,” Finnesy said.

In late February, Finnesy concluded his career with a Class 3-2-1A state wrestling title at 182 pounds at Fort Hays State University. Once the match concluded, Finnesy turned to the Plainville crowd and blew two kisses. Finnesy believed it was the best way to thank the Cardinals. Finnesy is the third, two-time wrestling titlist in Cardinals history. He posted a combined record of 114-7 in his final three seasons.

“All that they have done for me throughout my four years,” Finnesy said.

In football, Finnesy finished his career with 7,357 total yards, most in the storied Mid-Continent League history, according to MCL archives. By 18 yards, Finnesy bested Cardinal great Hayden Friend. Finnesy replaced Friend as the Cardinals’ quarterback in 2017. Norton’s Jace Ruder, currently a University of North Carolina quarterback, is third all-time at 6,975 total yards.

In his four years, Plainville finished as state runner-up and then state semifinalist the last three falls. Every year, Plainville played Smith Center in the regular season, and then again in the state semifinals. Finnesy elected to play football at Washburn University. He would like to become a high school counselor and coach football and/or wrestling.

He has a 3.9 GPA and has earned 24 college credits. Grant Stephenson is head Plainville coach and assistant wrestling coach. Stephenson said Finnesy’s “work ethic and determination to do a job right” stands out among the athletes he’s coached. Finnesy worked at the local Dairy Queen and did various jobs around the community and saved money to buy a car.

“Winning the Get Busy Livin award would be a huge accomplishment and honor to me,” Finnesy said. “I would love to win this award for not only myself but also my family and community. It would be a great honor to end my senior year on and kick off my college career.”

Like all Kansas athletes, Finnesy was unable to participate in spring sports because of COVID-19 restrictions. He missed track season. Finnesy has tried to stay at home as much as possible. Normally, Finnesy did school work until around 12. Then, he completed his Washburn football workout at a family friend’s home gym.

Beau Foster, QB/DB, Dodge City

Dodge City football had consistently been a .500 program with coach Dave Foster since he posted an 11-1 record in his first season in 2010. In ’18, the Red Demons posted a three-win improvement to 6-4 with Dave’s son, Beau, as the starting quarterback.

Before ’19, Beau knew he wanted to play college football but had received little interest. After his junior year, Beau said he “worked harder than I ever had before.” His teammates did the same.

“After a great summer of workouts and the 30-mile hike we endured together, the team really came together and created a bond,” Foster said. “When the whole team finished the hike is when I knew we had something special because it meant that everyone was bought in.”

A week before the season, a mom of a Dodge City player asked Foster what he believed the Red Demons’ record would be.

“Without having to think twice I told her that I thought we’d go undefeated,” Foster said. “She was very surprised and thought maybe I was joking and asked if I was serious. I responded by telling her that our team had something extraordinary, and that as long as we stayed focused and didn’t get ahead of ourselves, we had a chance to accomplish something truly great.”

Dodge City achieved a perfect regular season, won the Western Athletic Conference title and went 9-1 as one of the state’s big surprises. Foster earned WAC Offensive Player of the Year and a Shrine Bowl honor. He signed for Fort Hays football, the same place his dad played. Dodge City had several memorable wins.

The Red Demons beat Wichita Heights in overtime, kicked a field goal late to beat Great Bend and knocked off rival Garden City in the Hatchet Game. The Garden City contest featured a 90-minute delay and 50 mph winds.

Foster earned Kpreps Class 6A All-State honors after passing for 1,537 yards and rushing for 1,120 yards with 25 combined touchdowns.

“I am exceedingly proud of what we were able to accomplish on the field during that season, but what I’m most proud of is a small bible study group that I had started my junior year with just a few of my teammates,” Beau said. “I’m especially proud of this group because what started out as a small gathering turned into the whole team by the end of the season. The priest from our local Catholic Church even did a private mass for our group the Friday before we played the hatchet game.”

Foster said he loves the “Get Busy Livin’” motto that Dylan Meier set. He would like to teach younger kids to be like Dylan Meier and “take advantage of each day.” Even with COVID-19, Foster plays to go to Prayer and Action during the summer.

“There are many people in need of assistance right in our own communities. During this week we help do jobs for the sick, poor, and elderly,” Foster said. “I love this mission trip because of the interaction you have with the people you are helping and the other volunteers. I hope to one day have the opportunity to be a leader of Prayer and Action for a summer. I want to create a habit of living by this motto so that it is instilled in me for the rest of my life and I can become an example of it.”

Tyler Green, RB, Mill Valley

Mill Valley senior Tyler Green enjoyed a memorable senior year in football and wrestling. In the fall, Green helped the Jaguars win nine consecutive games after a 1-3 start and capture the Class 5A state title. He rushed 193 times for 1,375 yards and 15 scores, all team bests. Mill Valley collectively averaged 240 rushing yards a game and 6.1 yards per carry. It marked a huge increase from 132 rushing yards and 4.0 yards per carry in ’18.

In the 40-31 state championship win against Wichita Northwest, Green tallied 19 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown.

In wrestling, Green helped the Jaguars capture the first team state title in school annals. Coach Travis Keal has coached Jaguar wrestling since the school opened 20 years ago.

Green, who did not place at the ’19 state tournament, won the 195-pound championship in Class 6A this winter. He finished with a record of 21-6 and defeated Washburn Rural’s Gavin Carter, 6-4, in the finals. Carter (40-1) had earned a regional wrestler of the year award. Green’s title clinched the team wrestling title.

Green signed to play football at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League he labeled his “dream.”

Mill Valley principal Tobie Waldeck said students like Green “are not common.” In 31 years, Waldeck said he “would be hard pressed” to find better scholarship candidates.

On the gridiron, coach Joel Applebee said Green was his teams’ 2019 offensive player of the year, lifter of the year, and most inspirational award winner.

Green has been a part of the leadership council the last two years, which is voted on by the players and represents the ideals of Jaguar football and servant leadership. Green was a National Honor Society member and has 30-plus community service hours.

Green said the GBL award goes beyond the playing field.

“No matter how many accolades I receive for athletics, those awards remain bound within the world of a game,” Green said. “However, an award for character transcends the game and represents the man with a legacy. As such, the GBL Award constitutes this philosophy and to be honored as a man in the light of Dylan Meier with his passion to make the most of life in every sense is a blessing and an award in itself.”

Max Kalny, OL, St. James Academy

In 2019, St. James Academy opened 1-2 and had an injury to quarterback Jack Moellers. At that point, the Thunder was 3-10 since the start of 2018. However, St. James finished the season 4-3 in the Eastern Kansas League, the state’s best conference.

Notably, the season turned in Week 4 with a 28-27 upset victory against Bishop Miege, the eventual 4A state champions.

The Thunder rushed for 163 yards a game and 4.7 yards per carry, up from 128 yards and 4.1 yards an attempt in ’18. Offensive lineman Max Kalny served as a captain.

“On paper, this could be seen as a negative year, but this was more than crucial,” Kalny said. “As a senior class, we were able to re-establish a ‘physical, fast, fearless’ culture that we had been lacking for some time.”

Kalny had contact from Stanford and the Ivy Leagues and especially had interest from the Air Force Academy. Kalny had planned to attend Air Force; however, when he received his test results, Kalny learned he was diagnosed with asthma and could not join the military.

Around the middle of October, Kalny received a preferred walk-on offer from Stanford.

“Immediately after I thanked the coach, I knew Stanford was the right place for me,” Kalny said. “The rest of the season, I thrived on and off the field with the help of my coaches, teachers, and family. The season allowed me to grow not only as a football player but as a leader and a man. Finally, as the admissions results came in, I was informed that I had been accepted into Stanford University.”

Kalny said he would be “more than grateful” to win the GBL honor. Once COVID-19 occurred, Kalny has responded with various chores, long term projects and Stanford workouts. Kalny and his brother took time to create a makeshift gym on the family land using logs and branches. He also started new hobbies, such as baking, cooking and crocheting. Kalny, also the school president, has worked with his co-captain and SJA administration to honor the seniors later this summer.

“Max is the most selfless player I have ever coached or been around as a teacher/coach in 20 years,” St. James coach Tom Radke said. “…He is a young man that his peers and younger students/athletes look up to and WANT to be around.”

Kalny has worked with Monarch Inventory Services for more than four years. He began the three-year Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program and worked as a LOT Assistant Trainer until recently.

“To win this award would be able acknowledge the efforts I’ve put in when no one else was watching. Not only would it benefit me, but if I was to win this award, I hope it would be able to show the benefit of striving to be our best in every aspect of our lives,” Kalny said. “The key word is striving, because I know I’m never perfect; however, I constantly strive to be my greatest in everything I can do. Life is more than football, more than academics, and more than service. Life is about living life to the best of your ability.”

Bryce Krone, RB/LB, Bonner Springs

Bonner Springs’ Bryce Krone helped the Braves to a 7-3 record and was nominated for the Fontana Award, given to the Kansas City metro area small class player of the year.

Krone finished the season with 2,452 rushing yards and 31 scores concluding his career with a 44-carry, 270-yard, two-touchdown performance in a playoff loss to eventual champion Bishop Miege.

On the season, he also registered 112 tackles on defense and delivered more than 100 yards and on every special team. Krone credited his offensive line for helping him become the school’s all-time rushing leader.

He will attend Missouri Western to play linebacker and major in business finance. He carried a 3.62 GPA.

Assistant coach Kyle Razak said he was always impressed with Krone’s positive and outgoing personality and strong communication skills, among other attributes.

“Winning the GBL would mean a ton to me,” Krone said. “It would prove what hard work and dedication can get you in this game. I have been grinding in the weight room 24/7 my whole career, and when you see it translate onto the field and are able to be recognized for what you have done it just adds a cherry on the top.”

“I have been working out in the mornings at 5 A.M., powerlifting, and out for track,” he added. “It would also be another gratitude towards my lineman and coaches for leading me on the right pathway. Lastly to be able to bring home an amazing award with deeper meaning behind it in which I represent in my life.”

Krone has always looked to try new things, including food and snowboarding on double black diamonds. While Krone said COVID-19 has “wrecked the world,” his reaction was to “roll with the dice.” Krone was hoping to win state in all three throwing events this spring, though sports were cancelled because of COVID-19.

“We get to live in history right now, and tell this story when we are all older,” Krone said.

Ty Lindenman, WR, Shawnee Mission Northwest

Last season, Shawnee Mission Northwest finished 7-3 and had its first winning record since a 6-5 mark in 2010. It marked the most wins for the program since finishing 9-2 in ’07.

Additionally, SMNW continued to enjoy a big turnaround from 1-9 in ’15 to 1-8, 4-5 and 5-6 before the breakthrough. The Cougars averaged 37 points per game behind head coach Bo Black, his son, quarterback Ty Black, and receiver Ty Lindenman.

Lindenman finished as the state’s leading receiver in 2019 with 70 receptions for 1,358 yards and 16 scores. He had interest on multiple levels and eventually decided to take a preferred walk-on spot at the University of Illinois.

Lindenman served as part of Cougars Commitment for Community, SMNW Leadership Council, along with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life and Peer Model for High Need Elementary Students.

“As I see some of the words that describe the Get Busy Livin’ lifestyle I would say that is how I have always lived my life,” Lindenman said. “I was a three-sport athlete all four years of high school. Always staying busy on the field and in the classroom, I never really did anything else most days. I am continuously looking for ways to better myself and the people around me.”

Lindenman earned a 4.17 GPA, including Advanced Placement classes in calculus and economics. He has also battled through adversity in his own home as his older sister has fought thyroid cancer since 2013. SMNW baseball coach Domenic Mussat said Lindenman’s leaderships “goes above and beyond what is expected.”

“Whether in the classroom, on the football field or throughout the community Ty Lindenman perpetuates the culture that Shawnee Mission Northwest High School strives to achieve in all areas of selflessness, putting others before yourself while maintaining a positive work ethic and holding yourself accountable to raise the high bar of success for those around you,” SMNW principal Dr. Lisa Gruman wrote in a reference letter. “As Vince Lombardi once said, “Everyone has the will to win, but very few have the will to prepare to win.” Ty Lindenman is one of the few, one of the elite who possess this.”