Semoball Awards an inspiring night for student-athletes

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Semoball Awards is in the books, and this year's program was just as insipiring as the last two.

Student-athletes from 57 high schools in the region were recognized for their achievements, not only in their individual sports, but also in academics, sportsmanship and physical comeback.

The evening began with a red carpet walk for the athletes and their families, and a reception with refreshments. Some ticketholders had the opportunity to meet with this year's keynote speaker, Mark Schlereth.

Malden's Nick Thompson and Dexter's Makayla Waldner were named Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively. Both were also named Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Special awards were given to Bell City's Peyton Maddox and Perryville's Emma Nelson for their scholastic achievements; Bloomfield for having the fan-voted best fans; Bloomfield's Tyler Battles for his sportsmanship; and Poplar Bluff's Shelbey Johnson for her comeback after missing most of the 2015 season due to bleeding on her brain.

The 2016 Semoball Cup was awarded to Malden. The cup goes to the school with the most outstanding sports program. Those results are determined using a formula taking into account the combined winning percentage of all sports teams, plus bonus points for advancing in postseason play for teams and individuals. The bonus points are divided by the number of teams a school fields. Malden football coach Joel Wyatt attributed the school's success to its weight-room workouts.

"We're not going to take any days off in there, even on game days," he said.

For a complete list of winners, visit semissourian.com/story/2320576.html.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the event's sponsors. The presenting sponsor was SoutheastHEALTH, and the official bank sponsor was First Midwest Bank. Title sponsors were Athlon Sports, SEMO ESPN Radio, the St. Louis Cardinals and rustmedia.

In his keynote, former NFL player and ESPN contributor Schlereth spoke of growing up dreaming of playing professional football, embracing challenges he was handed along the way, and of his personal mission statement, which his parents had him write when he was young. He took inspiration for his mission statement from the Bible, and explained to the crowd how it helped him achieve his goals.

It was undoubtedly an unforgettable night for the student-athletes and their families. We wish them all conintued success and hope to see many of them back next year at the 2017 Semoball Awards.

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