Semoball Cup finalists set after virus pandemic shortens race

Athletic staff and players from Hayti accept the Semoball cup during the 2019 Semoball Awards Saturday, July 13, 2019, at Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus in Cape Girardeau.
Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian

When high school sports stopped in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it left some very big questions to determine a winner of the Semoball Cup for the best overall sports program in the area.

Notre Dameís basketball teams had their seasons end before playing in the state semifinals while Oran teams were unable to play for third place.

Then, an entire spring season was wiped out meaning no postseason for baseball, softball, girls soccer, boys tennis, boys golf or track and field.

Based on the games that were played, the finalists for the 2020 Semoball Cup were determined.

They are (in alphabetical order): Advance, Cape Central, Charleston, Delta, East Carter, Jackson, Kennett, Notre Dame, Oak Ridge and Oran.

The winner will be announced during the seventh annual Semoball Awards, which will be held Saturday, July 11 starting at 7 p.m. with a virtual broadcast.

Schools large and small compete for the Cup based on a point system that compares how successful a schoolís entire program fared.

The overall winning percentage of combined teams is added to bonus points earned through advancement in postseason play. Individual sports such as golf, track or wrestling earn points by placement in district and state competition with bonus points for individual champions, state qualifiers or all-state performances.

Notre Dame, which won the Cup in three of the first four years, is in the top 10 for the seventh straight year. Cape Central, Jackson, Oak Ridge, Oran and Kennett also returned as finalists.

Van Buren, which placed fourth at state in girls cross country, ranked 11th followed by Eagle Ridge, Scott City, Bernie, Gideon and Ellington, last yearís runner-up. Cooter, Perryville and Naylor rounded out the top 20.

Eagle Ridge won a state title in volleyball and girls basketball. Those titles were in the Missouri Christian School Athletic Association, not the Missouri State High School Activities Association, which all but two schools in the Semoball area compete. While the Eagles were given points for winning a title, they do not earn the same amount of points as a MSHSAA title winner because advancement through the playoffs is shorter.

Van Buren edged out Eagle Ridge for 11th with a better overall winning percentage.

With fewer postseason bonus points available this year due to the cancellation of springs sports, overall winning percentage may have had a bigger impact. Seven of the top 10 schools had a combined winning percentage above 60%.

Gideon had the second-best winning percentage at .743 but didnít earn any postseason points and ended up ranked 15th.

All of the finalists had at least one team place at a MSHSAA championship in a team sport.

Advance volleyball and Oak Ridge boys cross country claimed state championships during the fall while Jackson football, Charleston boys basketball and Cape Centralís boys swim teams were each runners-up.

Notre Dame led with five district championships followed by Jackson with four while two more teams played for a title.

The number of points earned through postseason advancement is averaged based on the sports each school participated in. This year, the spring sports were not counted against any schoolís total. Oran and Notre Dame were awarded points up to when their basketball seasons ended plus a half of the potential points they were denied when MSHSAA canceled the rest of the playoffs.

The Semoball Cup is a traveling trophy with the winning school also receiving a plaque. Previous winners of the Cup were Malden in 2018 and 2016 while Hayti took home the prize last year.

The Semoball Awards are presented by SoutheastHEALTH and sponsored by The Bank of Missouri (official bank sponsor), SEMO ESPN Radio, St. Louis Cardinals, rustmedia and your local newspaper.

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