Thirty winter sport finalists for the 2017 Semoball Awards are revealed
Another 30 student-athletes have joined an elite group as the winter sport finalists for the 2017 Semoball Awards were announced on Thursday.
The newest group of nominees were revealed during a live broadcast on SEMO ESPN Radio.
Finalists were selected from boys basketball (10), girls basketball (10), girls swimming and diving (5) and wrestling (5).
Winners will be announced at the July 8 event at Bedell Performance Hall at the Southeast Missouri State River Campus.
Oran boys basketball senior Max Priggel, who was named the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Class 2 Boys Basketball Player of the Year after leading the Eagles to a state title, was live in studio for the announcement. Priggel, who was also announced today as an All-Southeast Missourian pick, is a first-time nominee.
"It means everything to me and it's a really big privilege," Priggel said. "I'm really proud of it and excited to get to do this in my last year in my last chance. I'm thankful to get to do this and it's an honor."
Priggel averaged 19.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, 2.3 assists per game and 1.9 steals per game. He knocked down 47 percent of his shots and converted 3-pointers at a 36-percent clip. In addition to being named Class 2 POY, he was also the Scott-Mississippi Conference Player of the Year. He was the only player among the 85 Semoball Awards finalists already announced to lift a state trophy this year.
"[Winning the championship] is definitely one of the coolest feelings I've had in my life and I'm glad that all of my teammates got to experience it together," Priggel said. "We had a really strong bond there."
For Sikeston's Josh Stinnett, July will hold his first trip to the Semoball Awards, but Thursday marked his second nomination. Already a finalist from the fall in Football Defense, Stinnett -- who also participated in Thursday's radio broadcast -- put together an outstanding wrestling season to garner a nod among the five grappling finalists.
Stinnett's story is unique as well, as his season ended in frightening fashion when he broke a vertebrae seconds into his third-place bout at the Class 3 state tournament. He is now in a brace and recovering slowly but steadily, and the Awards will give him an opportunity to celebrate all he has achieved as a three-sport athlete.
"It's really nice," Stinnett said. " ... Wrestling is kind of more of an individual sport -- you set your goals, you decide how hard you work, if you're going to pull weight. It's more important for me to be satisfied with myself in my mind rather than what other people think, and I'm happy with how the season went and how my career went. It's nice to have people tell me I did a great job, but it's more satisfying for me to know that I gave it everything."
Two-thirds of the selections will be making their first appearance at the Semoball Awards, but there is also a contingent that is quite familiar with the event.
That group is led by Morgan McAtee, a senior swimmer at Poplar Bluff who has the distinction of becoming the first ever four-time Awards finalist.
Three-time finalists include McAtee's swimming teammate Taylor Norwood, Sikeston's Fred Thatch in boys basketball and, in girls basketball, Kennett's Heidi Shetley and Sikeston's Tyeshia Mitchell.
Other student-athletes who are returning from 2016 are Poplar Bluff's Raegan McAtee (girls swimming), Naylor's Callee Pickrell (girls basketball), Oran's Leah Cauble (girls basketball), and Poplar Bluff's Willie Lucas (boys basketball).
Wrestling features an entirely new set of nominees, something that a group of five seniors ensures will occur again next year.
Thatch was the 2016 Semoball Awards Boys Basketball Player of the Year, and his numbers were impressive again this winter as he posted 25.1 points per game, 12.1 rebounds per game, 5 assists per game and 3 steals per game. He was honored as the SEMO Conference Boys Player of the Year and a Class 4 All-State selection.
Norwood is also shooting for back-to-back top honors. The 2016 Semoball Awards Girls Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Year Was a Show-Me Conference champion in the 200-yard individual medley and backstroke, as well as multiple relay wins, and was named the conference meet's MVP. At state she earned all-state finishes in both the 100-yard butterfly and 200 IM with a pair of eighth-place finishes.
Sixteen different schools are represented among the 30 student-athletes.
The event's keynote speaker will be former St. Louis Cardinals shortstop and World Series MVP David Eckstein.
Tickets are on sale online at semoball.com/awards, where you can also go to see our fall sport finalists, nominate spring sport finalists or get more information, including the winners and nominees from the previous three years.
The Semoball Awards are brought to you by presenting sponsor SoutheastHEALTH, official bank sponsor First Midwest Bank and title sponsors Athlon Sports, the St. Louis Cardinals, SEMO ESPN Radio, rustmedia and your local newspaper.
Armani Vermillion (Advance, Jr.)
Tallon Fonda (Caruthersville, Jr.)
Mardareyon Clark (Charleston, Jr.)
Marshon Morrisey (Ellington, Sr.)
Jad Kenny (Kennett, Sr.)
Max Priggel (Oran, Sr.)
Willie Lucas (Poplar Bluff, Sr.)
William Rogers (Saxony Lutheran, Sr.)
Dylan Keller (Scott City, Sr.)
Fred Thatch (Sikeston, Jr.)
Connor Watkins (Charleston, Jr.)
Chaylea Mosby (Dexter, So.)
Rylee Stafford (Jackson, Jr.)
Heidi Shetley (Kennett, Sr.)
Callee Pickrell (Naylor, Jr.)
Jentri Worley (Neelyville, So.)
J'Kayla Fowler (Neelyville, Jr.)
Leah Cauble (Oran, So.)
Tyeshia Mitchell (Sikeston, Sr.)
Katelyn South (Twin Rivers, Jr.)
GIRLS SWIMMING AND DIVING
Phoebe Law (Cape Girardeau Central, Fr.)
Megan Peters (Notre Dame, Sr.)
Taylor Norwood (Poplar Bluff, Jr.)
Morgan McAtee (Poplar Bluff, Sr.)
Raegan McAtee (Poplar Bluff, So.)
Payne Guilliams (Jackson, Sr.)
Bryce Dickerson (Jackson, Sr.)
Gus Guilliams (Jackson, Sr.)
Josh Lewis (Poplar Bluff, Sr.)
Josh Stinnett (Sikeston, Sr.)