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New LHS Hall of Fame class happy to be included among Wildcat greats

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone
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(From left) Dennis Stiles, John Lohse, Jason Burk and Krystal Bowes-Grojean were inducted into the Louisburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame last week.

When Dennis Stiles, John Lohse, Jason Burk and Krystal Bowes-Grojean returned to Louisburg High School and Wildcat Stadium last Friday night, memories came rushing back.

It was hard for them not think back to what was all like. The four former Wildcat athletes created plenty of memories for themselves and left a lasting impression on LHS athletics.

They were each officially inducted into the Louisburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame and were recognized at halftime of last week’s football game against Piper. They became the first class since 2008 to be inducted into the hall.

The USD 416 Endowment Association, which oversees the LHS Athletic Hall of Fame, announced the class last summer and they were the top four vote getters in this year’s voting.

“Louisburg has a history of great athletes,” said Damon Dennis, a USD 416 Endowment Association board member. “We had a good cross-section of both young and older voters this year that really took their job seriously. The four athletes chosen represent several generations of former Wildcats and each one were dominant in their particular era and sports. The Endowment Association is excited to get the Hall of Fame going again and plan on some big things in the future.”

Dennis Stiles

Stiles, who is a member of the Class of 1969, lettered 4 years in football and track and 3 years in basketball. His senior year he was named all-league and all-state in football and was co-captain on the Wildcat team that finished the year 4-4.

As a sophomore, he played on the varsity basketball team, which went 12-0 in league play, finished the year 20-3 and were district champions. He earned honorable mention all-state honors his sophomore and junior seasons and was second-team all-state his senior year. Stiles was at one time the school’s career scoring leader.

Stiles competed at the state track meet as a junior and senior where he placed fourth in the discus his senior year. He previously held school records in the discus and triple jump. He also received a football scholarship to Kansas State University.

“Just to be considered is an honor,” Stiles said. “But, to be selected, I am thankful to the people who were part of the selection process. I was totally shocked when Damon gave me the news.

“As far as proud moments, it was just being part of teams that were just trying to compete. We didn’t always win, but I enjoyed the friendships that were built. As a sophomore, I played on a basketball team made up of mostly seniors, but we went undefeated in league and finished with a 20-3 record. It was just a great group of guys.”

John Lohse

Lohse, a member of the Class of 1995, lettered all four years in baseball and was selected to represent Kansas in the all-star baseball classic his senior year. He was an all-league pitcher and centerfielder for the Wildcats his sophomore through senior years. He had a .510 average his junior and senior seasons, with 10 home runs his junior year and 12 more his senior season.

In football, Lohse was a 3-year letterwinner. He was an all-league wide receiver his junior and senior seasons. In his senior year, he had 850 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns and was later selected to represent Kansas in the Metro Classic All-Star Game.

Lohse was also a 3-year letterwinner in basketball and was an all-league selection his junior and senior seasons. He averaged a double-double his junior and senior years.

Post-graduation, Lohse attended Pittsburg State on a baseball scholarship and played on the Gorilla team for four years. He was selected to the all-MIAA team his sophomore and junior seasons before injuring his shoulder his senior year.

He had a .315 average his junior and senior seasons. In his first collegiate at-bat his freshman year, Lohse hit a game-winning grand slam to give Pitt State its first win over Missouri Southern in five years.

“Being inducted into the Louisburg Hall of Fame was a honor,” Lohse said. “All the sweat, tears and practices just to get to this point is all worth it. That’s not counting the relentless hours my dad Rich worked with me at home as well. We spent many hours in the backyard playing catch and working on stuff. My parents never missed a game and I was glad my parents, wife and my three kids were present for the induction. I have always taught my kids to give 110 percent at everything you do. Practice makes perfect.

“I had a lot of favorite memories. Whether it was winning sub-state my junior year in basketball and going to state, or being selected to play in the Metro Classic football game and being selected as the Kansas MVP or scoring four touchdowns my senior year against Wellsville on homecoming. I have so many great memories that I could go on and on, but I couldn’t have done it without the great coaching and teammates I had.”

Jason Burk

Burk, who graduated in the Class of 1999, was a 4-year letterwinner for the Louisburg track and field team and qualified for state in all four years in four events. He accumulated 12 state medals, 16 regional track medals and 14 Frontier League medals. Burk was selected to the Kansas City All-Metro track team in 1998 and 1999.

During his senior season, Burk was a state champion in both the triple and long jump. He won the triple jump with a leap 48 feet and the long jump with a mark of 22-5. He also finished fifth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the high jump.

As a junior, Burk won a state championship in the triple jump with mark of 46 feet and won three more state medals. He took second long jump, fourth in the 100 dash and sixth in the 200 dash. As a sophomore, Burk won state medals in the triple jump (second), long jump (fourth) and 4×100 relay (third). He was a member of the 4×100 team that took second at state as a freshman in 1996.

At one time, Burk held seven school records. He currently holds school records in the triple jump, high jump and long jump. Burk holds the school record for most points in a season with 326.

Burk also played football, where he was a part of bi-district, district and regional championship teams.

“It was a great honor and a proud moment for me and my family when we found out,” Burk said. “It gave me a great feeling of accomplishment. I would like to thank Doc D and everyone who was involved in the ceremony. It turned out amazing.

“My favorite memory was my freshman year at regionals when I missed the school record in triple jump by a half-inch. I had a personal record that day and the reaction I got from coach (Aaron) Webb was priceless. That was the moment Webb and I knew the rest of my high school career was going to be great. My proudest moment was going to state my junior year by myself and taking seventh in the team standings.”

Krystal Bowes-Grojean

Bowes-Grojean, who graduated in 2001, was a 4-year letterwinner in track before she was offered a scholarship on the Wichita State track and field team.

In her senior season at Louisburg, Bowes earned three state medals, including a second-place finish in the javelin with a throw of 145-10. She was also third in the discus with a toss of 126-9 and fifth in the shot put at 37-5. As a sophomore and junior, she finished sixth in the discus at state. In all, Bowes racked up five state medals in her high school career before moving on to Wichita State. She is the current Louisburg record holder in the javelin (146-10) and discus (137-11).

At Wichita State, she earned academic All-American honors and was a team captain all four years. Bowes was a two-time NCAA national qualifier and finished fifth in the javelin and was second in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2006.

In 2004, Bowes took first in the MVC in the javelin and fourth in the discus. In 2003, she won the Missouri Valley Conference discus title, was second in the javelin and fourth in the hammer throw. Bowes was also a member two Shocker teams that won conference titles.

In volleyball and basketball at LHS, Bowes was a 3-year letterwinner in each sport and earned first-team all-Frontier League honors each season.

“It’s a pretty amazing honor to be selected for the Hall of Fame, knowing that there have been some awesome athletes to come out of Louisburg and now to be recognized as one of them, truly is humbling,” Krystal said. “You know, when you’re in high school and just doing the work you need to do to get the job done on the field/court, you don’t think about the level of competition you can set for the next generations. At least I didn’t until my name got put on the wall for those school records and having them still there is pretty sweet. I just have high expectations of myself and where I wanted to go with it all and a lot of support from my family helped.

“You know having to write down everything I accomplished over my four years at LHS, and then to go on to WSU and add them all up was pretty fun to think back on. All the road trips to sub-state and state, no matter what the outcome, the memories that I have and the coaches to help me get there I will never forget. It may have even brought some tears to my eyes thinking about all the fun we use to have.

“But I think most of all my favorite thing looking back at it all was knowing that I had two parents in the stands at all of my games, sitting on those hard bleachers cheering us on through it all. So for that I’m thankful and will always remember I’m one BAC.”

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