High School Sports

Catch up with past KC Star Scholar-Athlete winners and see what they’re up to now

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As The Star honors its 2019 Scholar-Athletes, we also check in with the winners from a decade earlier.

We caught up with Morgan Johnson, a former Platte County basketball and volleyball player, and Rick Settle, a former Olathe East quarterback and all-state outfielder.


Platte County

Residence: Indianapolis

Currently: After completing school at the Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine, Johnson moved to Indianapolis last week to begin her residency.

Family: “Just my dog,” she said. Johnson has an Australian Shepherd named Oliver.

Morgan Johnson.JPG
Morgan Johnson

High school: It’s a lengthy resume. Johnson led Platte County to the Missouri Class 4 girls basketball state championship. She graduated as the Pirates’ all-time leader in scoring, rebounding and blocks, earning The Star’s All-Metro player of the year honors.

“It had been a goal of ours for several years, and that’s what made it so special,” Johnson said. “A lot of us had been teammates since middle school.”

There’s more. In volleyball, she was also a two-time all-state player. Academically, she was No. 1 in her class, with a 4.0 grade-point average.

College: Where should we start? Johnson forever inked her name in Iowa women’s basketball history, breaking a few school records and placing among its top 10 in virtually every major statistical category. She established new program marks in blocks, career games played and career starts, never missing a game during her four-year career with the Hawkeyes.

And she was productive, too. Johnson ranks fourth in program history in rebounds and ninth in all-time scoring.

“I loved, loved, loved my time there,” she said. “It was just as hard as I expected, and I was just has busy as I expected doing pre-med and college sports. But that’s kind of how I thrive.”

Sports now: No more competitive basketball, she says. “It hurts my joints too much.” But she will occasionally lace up her shoes for a recreational men’s league game.


Olathe East

Residence: Fort Worth, Texas

Currently: In line with his studies at Texas Christian, Settle works for Luther King Capital Management Headwater, a private equity firm that facilitates growth in small businesses.

Family: Settle has a longtime girlfriend. He recently became an uncle for the first time.

Rick Settle.jpg
Rick Settle

High school: The letterman’s jacket ran out of space. Settle earned four letters in baseball, three in football and even one in bowling. He also ranked atop a class of 511 with his 4.75 weighted grade-point average.

In baseball, he was voted all-state as an outfielder. In football, he played on both sides of the ball — quarterback and defensive back — and was named an all-Sunflower League player. He was also president of the National Honor Society.

College: Settle backed up NFL quarterback Andy Dalton at TCU, which certainly limited his playing time. He ran for his only college touchdown during a game in 2011. He played through his junior year before taking an internship with LKCM as a senior, officially hanging up his cleats. While he was at TCU, the Horned Frogs reached the Fiesta Bowl, their first BCS bowl game. A year later, they beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to cap an unbeaten season.

“My college sports career was not very illustrious and was a humbling experience for me personally,” Settle said. “But I look back on it, and I still leveraged learning moments that parallel the work I’m in now. I still apply the same grit and grind every day in what I do.”

Sports now: The trips to the gym remain a regular part of life. But given that his job requires travel across the country, it allows little time for organized team sports.

Previous boys winners

1984: Danny Bellus, Washington

1985: Marlon Washington, Schlagle

1986: Brad Hinkle, Olathe South

1987: Jeff Witkop, Blue Valley North

1988: Jeff Drbohlav, Cass-Midway

1989: Tom Kreamer, SM East

1990: Shaon Fry, Oak Grove

1991: Aaron Hodges, Harmon

1992: Mike Wilson, Center

1993: Nate Minnis, Blue Springs

1994: Matt Mendlick, Olathe South

1995: Steve Fein, SM Northwest

1996: Josh Alpers, Blue Springs

1997: Brandon Wier, Olathe North

1998: Daniel Parris, Lee’s Summit North

1999: Corey Crandall, Fort Osage

2000: Tommy Hottovy, Park Hill South

2001: Jeff Durbin, Olathe South

2002: Justin Dyer, Olathe South

2003: Adam Perkins, Liberty

2004: Larry Hall, Center

2005: Louis Caputo, Blue Springs

2006: Aaron Trigg, Blue Valley West

2007: Scott O’Donnell, Oak Park

2008: Riley Reynolds, Blue Springs South

2009: Rick Settle, Olathe East

2010: Roy Wedge, Lawrence

2011: Aaron Thornburg, SM Northwest

2012: Zach Herriott, Rockhurst

2013: Nathan Butler, Leavenworth

2014: Sam Guinn, Blue Valley Northwest

2015: Dalton Schoen, Blue Valley Northwest

2016: Jacob Bohlken, Smithville

2017: Jacob Boyd, Smithville

2018: Jacob Sykes, Rockhurst

Previous girls winners

1984: Suzanne Meyer, Center

1985: Angela Cox, Olathe North

1986: Gretchen Prather, Liberty

1987: Tricia Lillygren, Raytown South

1988: Lisa Arel, Lee’s Summit

1989: Melanie Ornes, Lee’s Summit

1990: Amy Fowler, Bishop Miege

1991: Amy Cook, Lansing

1992: Angie Popek, SM Northwest

1993: Lisa Petty, Lawson

1994: Lisa Davies, Oak Grove

1995: Lindsay Thornton, SM West

1996: Kelly Andra, SM Northwest

1997: Elizabeth Baker, Pembroke Hill

1998: Lauren Jackson, North Kansas City

1999: Andrea Tietjen, Excelsior Springs

2000: Katherine Hoffman, Notre Dame de Sion

2001: Shea Swoboda, Winnetonka

2002: Jill Tyner, St. Pius X

2003: Tegan Stuart, Raymore-Peculiar

2004: Toni Picerno, Lee’s Summit

2005: Katie Martincich, Bishop Miege

2006: Erin Birmingham, Park Hill South

2007: Ali Pistora, Tonganoxie

2008: Allison Mayfield, St. Thomas Aquinas

2009: Morgan Johnson, Platte County

2010: Megan Yohe, Liberty

2011: Alexandra Keane, Notre Dame de Sion

2012: Lexie Oak, St. Pius X

2013: Cassie Wait, Gardner-Edgerton

2014: Arianna Person, St. James Academy

2015: Dorian Bailey, St. Teresa’s

2016: Jenna Gray, St. James Academy

2017: Carlie Queen, Summit Christian Academy

2018: Kate Walsworth, Barstow

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