Final grouping of 2020 Semoball Award nominees named
Southeast Missourian file
The coronavirus pandemic has altered the 2020 Semoball Awards into a production like never before, as the event will be conducted as a “virtual” event on Facebook Live on July 11 at 7 p.m. instead of a live show that the sports fans throughout Southeast Missouri have grown accustomed to through the years.
Another difference is the Semoball staff will be producing for the first time a 48-page Semoball Awards “magazine,” which includes information on all the various awards and nominees, plus feature stories on some of those nominees. The magazine can be ordered for $5 at www.awards.semoball.com.
Despite those changes, two things that won’t be different is the uniqueness of this incredible night for all who have witnessed it in the past, as well as a full complement of honored coaches and athletes.
The Fall and Winter sports nominees have already been announced and can be viewed at the Semoball website and the final group of honorees includes a handful of other categories that were recently selected by the Semoball staff following the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year.
Here is a look at those categories.
Comeback Player of the Year
Clark Steward, Sikeston
The senior Bulldog tore his ACL as a junior yet rehabbed his way back into the basketball starting lineup this past season in every game.
Bodey Ellis, Kennett
He missed time during the Indians’ special 2019 football season after being injured in a car accident. Yet he battled back to return in Week 5 and started throughout Kennett’s run to the MSHSAA Class 3 state semifinals.
Jaden Yates, Kennett
The Kennett junior overcame a serious back injury that threatened her athletic career to excel for the Indians last fall.
Lexi Liau, Neelyville
The Tiger senior overcame a broken palette, which required several surgeries in mid-season, plus had to have a root canal performed, yet came back to excel for her team and lead Neelyville to an Ozark Foothills Conference and Class 2 District championships.
Brylee Misner, Poplar Bluff
The Mule softball player returned from a knee injury to hit .347, including seven home runs last fall. She also pitched in all but one game.
Male Athlete of the Year
Eric Berry, Delta basketball and cross country
The senior guard was the Scott-Mississippi Valley Conference Player of the Year, as well as First Team All-State. Berry led MSHSAA in assists this season.
Tyrus Reddin, Cape Central football and basketball
The two-sport standout helped the Tigers to a resurgent seven-win season in football and 22 wins on the basketball court as the starting point guard. Reddin is believed to be the winningest basketball player in Tiger history.
Daniel Seabaugh, Cape Central swimming
The senior won all four events in which he competed at the MSHSAA Class 1 State Finals. Seabaugh swam legs on the state champion 200 medley relay and 400 free relay, while individually winning the 200 free race and the 500 free race, the latter being in a state record time.
Tyler Landewee, Notre Dame basketball
Get your Semoball fix in one daily email
The Notre Dame point guard averaged 13.5 points per game and totaled a team-best 116 assists in helping the Bulldogs win 26 games and advance to the Class 4 State Finals. Landewee was All-State, All-Conference, and All-District and was named as the Southeast Missourian Player of the Year.
Payton Howard. Sikeston basketball
The senior guard was named as the SEMO Conference Player of the Year after averaging over 17 points and five assists per game for the 16-win Bulldogs. He will play baseball at Saint Louis in the fall but was a Class 4 All-State selection in basketball, as well as a Class 4, District 1 honoree.
Travis Waldner, Dexter wrestling
The senior won 50 matches this season with his lone defeat taking place in the state title match in the 170-pound category. His career record was 178-15 and is a two-time Semoball Awards winner.
Female Athlete of the Year
Kiley Bess, Poplar Bluff volleyball and basketball
The Saint Louis basketball recruit was also an All-SEMO Conference selection in volleyball. On the basketball court, she helped the Mules win both the Class 5, District 1 title, as well as the Sectional championship. She averaged over 21 points per game and was named as the SEMO Conference Player of the Year, as well as being selected to the Class 5 All-State squad.
Riley Burger, Notre Dame softball and basketball
The senior standout had a tremendous final season, as part of the Bulldogs, yet she didn’t get to participate in her best sport, which is track in the spring. Burger was the Southeast Missourian Player of the Year in softball and in basketball helped the Bulldogs advance to the MSHSAA Class 4 state semifinals.
Margo Nea, Dexter cross country
The senior broke her school record (19 minutes, 32.9 seconds) multiple times and won an all-state medal with a 25th place in the MSHSAA Class 3 Cross Country Championships in Columbia. She won SCAA and SEMO Conference races as part of her seven victories.
Kaylee Payne, Oran volleyball and basketball
Like Notre Dame’s Burger, Payne excelled in what she was able to participate in, even though those sports were secondary to her specialty, which is softball. The Southeast Missouri State softball recruit helped the Eagles to the MSHSAA Class 2 girl’s basketball state final and was named Class 2 All-State, as well as Class 2, District 3 All-District, Scott-Mississippi County Conference All-Conference, Chaffee Invitational Tournament All-Tournament, First State Community Bank Holiday Classic All-Tournament, and Scott-Mississippi County co-Conference Player of the Year to top off her final year of basketball.
In volleyball, Payner earned Oran’s Most Valuable Player Award after leading her team with 70 kills and was the co-leader in digs — with 14 — while adding 15 blocks and 15 assisted blocks.
Alaney Moore, Kelly softball and basketball
The junior helped the Hawks to 18 wins last fall in softball while batting .446 with 22 RBIs, 11 doubles, and 28 runs scored, earning her all-district and second-team all-state honors in the process.
In basketball, she averaged 20.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per contest.
Her figures earned her Class 3, District 2 All-District and Scott-Mississippi County Conference All-Conference honors, while also being named co-conference Player of the Year.
Cape Central girl’s basketball
The Tigers raised money for a family whose child was struck with cancer. The team ordered T-shirts to wear during the event, but when they began to run low on shirts to sell, the players gave the shirts they had already purchased back to the event so they could resell them.
Notre Dame and Cape Central boy’s basketball
The two squads honored former student of both schools, David Michel, with a moment of silence before their MSHSAA Class 4 Sectional championship game. Michel was a tremendous sports fan and great baseball player at both Cape Central (leading the Tigers to the 1994 state title) and Southeast Missouri State (Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year as a freshman.
Class of 2020 Senior Spring Athletes
Unlike any time in memory, an entire sports season was wiped out and an entire class of prep athletes was denied their final memories of taking to their athletic fields. The class of 2020 sacrificed for the betterment of the nation and for that, each student-athlete deserves credit.
Cape Central "Jungle" Leaders
Two notable times the cheer section leaders stayed after contests to clean up their section of seating. Once following a football defeat at Jackson, the other following the SEMO Conference Tournament win at Sikeston. Both bitter rivals and the outcome had no bearing on their actions.
The Notre Dame boy’s and girl’s basketball squads
Much like the spring athletes throughout the country missing out on an opportunity, the Notre Dame boy’s and girl’s basketball teams were denied an opportunity to compete for a state title after advancing to the MSHSAA Class 4 state semifinals due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Coach of the Year
Brent Eckley, Jackson football
The Indian coach led his team to the MSHSAA Class 5 state title game after going unbeaten through its initial 13 games. Jackson battled Carthage into overtime before falling in the championship game 27-21.
Joe Shoemaker, Oran basketball
The Oran boy’s basketball coach led the Eagles to the MSHSAA Class 2 state title game to culminate a 26-6 season. Oran fell to Skyline in the championship game.
Danny Farmer, Charleston basketball
The legendary coach guided the Bluejays to the MSHSAA Class 3 state championship game to finalize a 28-5 season. Charleston fell to Cardinal Ritter in the championship game, which ended up being the final game for Farmer, who retired following the game.
Teresa Kearby-LeGrand, East Carter softball
The Redbird coach led her team to the MSHSAA Class 2 state semifinals in the fall while battling breast cancer for the second time. East Carter won 22 of 28 games last season.
Erin Hoffman, Advance volleyball
The Hornets coach led her team to a second consecutive MSHSAA Class 1 state championship to culminate a 36-2 season. The only defeats Advance suffered were to Class 4 programs Jackson (28 wins in 2019) and Lindbergh (25 wins).
Terry Glenzy, Chaffee, educator, coach, and administrator
The longtime Red Devil fixture has worked for Chaffee since the fall of 1967 in some capacity. He is still there today teaching the finer points of the shot put and discus. Glenzy has served as a state champion assistant football coach, as well as coached multiple track and field Athletes to state championships. He was an enormously respected athletic director throughout Southeast Missouri, not only by his peers but by coaches and officials.
Sam Sides, Saxony Lutheran coach, and administrator
The longtime influencer to prep athletes at multiple schools retired from his final coaching job, which was leading the Saxony Lutheran girl’s basketball team to 18 wins and a Class 3 District title. Sides continues to serve the school and its student-athletes as the Crusaders’ athletic director.
Danny Farmer, Charleston educator, and coach
The iconic coach wrapped up his lengthy career by leading the Bluejays to 28 wins and an appearance in the MSHSAA Class 3 state title game. Farmer ultimately won nearly 500 games (486 to be exact) and seven state championships between his Charleston job and the girl’s basketball job at Scott County Central.
Arnold Ryan, Puxico
Ryan is a Southeast Missouri coaching legend, leading Puxico's basketball program to great prominence in the late 1940s and early 1950s. His team won the state championship in 1951 and 1952 and took third place in 1950. He also coached the Indians’ volleyball squad and went unbeaten for five years. Ryan went on to coach at Memphis State University, then came back to coach at Woodland, Lilbourn, and Charleston. In May of 1971, Ryan was killed while coaching baseball. During warm-ups, a ball hit him in the back of the head and took his life.