Letter to the editor

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let me begin this letter by expressing my understanding of how difficult it must be for you and your staff to choose from the many talented athletes in our area. However, in reading the recent article on the All-Southeast Missourian girls cross country team, I was struck by a couple of omissions from the team.

I realize that every season fans from around the area are disappointed when an athlete from their school is not recognized in the manner they wish. In no way should this reflect poorly on those who were chosen. There is no doubt that those young ladies deserved recognition for their hard work and dedication. Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize two athletes that did not make the team -- Kristen Dippold and Sarah Reischman.

Dippold, of Saxony Lutheran, had a fantastic season as the best runner on her relatively young team. She won the conference meet, district meet and placed eighth with a time of 21 minutes, 39 seconds in the Class 1 state meet. All these are great accomplishments from an excellent young lady.

Reischman, of Chaffee, also had an excellent season, punctuated by a 19th-place finish (22:17) at the Class 1 state meet. I am a lot more familiar with Reischman and her story because I teach at Chaffee and have known her wonderful family for many years. Her accomplishment as an all-state athlete is enough for recognition, but how she did it puts her over the top.

In last year's Class 1 state meet, Sarah finished 112th out of 152 runners with a time of 25:33. Do the math. Sarah improved 93 places and 3:16.

Following the 2007 state meet, Sarah made a commitment to herself and her coach to finish higher than she had that year, possibly in the top 50. She went to work in the winter, spring and fall to make that happen. The great part of the story is that she didn't reach her goal through great athletic ability or unfair means, but through pure hard work and determination. That is the kind of story we should be celebrating.

Some naysayers will argue that these two young ladies were all-state in the lowest class in Missouri. I understand this argument, however the Southeast Missourian recognizes athletes from Class 1 teams in other sports, and I applaud it for it. Our own football team, a Class 1 team, placed many players on the newspaper's football team, and I was proud of it.

Nothing I say here will add to or detract from the great seasons these young ladies enjoyed. Nonetheless I felt compelled to recognize their accomplishments.

I also would like to acknowledge their coaches, Larry Cleair and Travis Calkins, for their outstanding leadership and encouragement of these ladies. Thank you for your time.


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