Selecting the top athletes this year was one of the more difficult teams we've come up with. Sometimes selecting athletes for our "All-SD" teams is pretty easy -- we all know who the stars are.
But this year there were so many quality athletes in the area.
In Sikeston alone, several good athletes were left off the list.
I can remember just two years ago we could only come up with one multiple sport athlete, Andre Morgan, that deserved to be mentioned among our Top 10.
But this year, we left off two returning members from last year's team, Adam Garrett and Kevin Keller. Both probably had even better senior years than they did as juniors. But it just goes to show how many more athletes there were to choose from.
Garrett leaves Sikeston as perhaps the school's greatest soccer player, and he's going to Mizzou on a baseball scholarship. Keller was an all-stater in both football and track.
It's pretty tough to leave off two seniors like that. But that's the nature of the list. Athletes that compete in three sports get an edge over athletes in two.
Garrett and Keller weren't the only Sikeston athletes that could've made it. What about Tori Rose, a three sport athlete in football, basketball and track? Or Lavar Morgan, a standout in football and basketball? Or Blake DeWitt, a standout in football and baseball and a junior varsity basketball player? Or Jacob Priday, a standout in football and baseball?
You see what we ran into? And I haven't even mentioned athletes from other schools.
Somebody deserving is always going to get left off.
But look at the difference from two years ago and today. Sikeston's multi-sport athletes are on the rise. And I'm sure Sikeston's coaches are wanting even more to jump on the multi-sport bandwagon.
As I look even further into the underclassmen, Sikeston's freshmen class this past year had many different individuals that competed in not just two, but three sports.
And they competed well.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I believe that the more sports athletes participate in, the better an athlete they'll be.
To me, there is no reason a good football or basketball player shouldn't run track in the spring.
Track and field increases speed, endurance, quickness, jumping ability --
pretty much athleticism as a whole. It's pretty much an off-season training program for football and basketball.
Sikeston's freshman class this year will become even better at football and basketball because of their dedication to the track program.
This year they set six records and tied another in the junior high.
They're on the right path if they want to be successful at many sports.
Look at all the top athletes in college and the pros. In almost every case, those athletes participated in many different sports.
And if you look at Sikeston's top athletes that last 10 to 15 years. In nearly every case you'll find them participating in multiple sports.
And it's not just in Sikeston. New Madrid County Central has had a huge amount of sports success the last three or four years, and it's mostly due to many different multi-sport athletes.
Our last three "Athlete of the Year" selections have been NMCC athletes. And the one year it wasn't, our first year of picking top athletes, an NMCC athlete got second.
If Sikeston continues to have kids that want to be diversified athletes, like NMCC, I think you'll see an improvement in not only the individuals, but many of the Bulldogs' team sports.