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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Athlete of the Year: Paige Silverthorn

Sunday, June 20, 2004

(Photo)
Paige Silverthorn
SIKESTON - Ever since she was young, Paige Silverthorn has been involved in sports.

Even today the competitive juices are still flowing.

A standout in softball, basketball and soccer, the Sikeston High School sophomore is our Standard Democrat Female Athlete of the Year.

Silverthorn is among a rare breed at Sikeston in that she competes in three different sports.

But she doesn't just compete, she competes at a high level.

"I've played every sport since I was little, whether it's basketball or soccer," said Silverthorn. "I even did Tae Kwon Do for six years."

Silverthorn's year started in softball where she helped lead the team to one of the Lady Bulldogs' best records in many years at 6-10.

She was honored by being named as a first team all-region utility player in Class 4.

Silverthorn has the ability to play numerous positions, including catcher, shortstop, first base, third base and outfield.

She finished the season with a .457 batting average with 12 RBIs and 19 runs scored. She stole 13 bases and had an .857 fielding percentage.

"Paige is an all around great player," said Sikeston softball coach Jenny Hobeck. "You can put her anywhere in the field and she'll do a good job for you. Offensively she's very aggressive and she's an aggressive base runners. She's got a lot of speed and quickness.

"She's a great base runner. She can lay down a bunt at any time but she's also got a lot of power. She's a great fielder and she moves quick to the ball. She can play catcher. She's got a good arm and she threw out several base runners. She ranks among the top players I've coached. I believe the class that Paige is in is an outstanding class. There's a lot of talent coming up."

Silverthorn continued her athletic season in basketball where she started point guard for the Lady Bulldogs, leading the team to a 14-13 record.

Silverthorn's statistics -- seven points per game, three assists and two steals -- don't jump out of the scorebook, but she provided the steady ball-handling and floor leadership that the young team needed.

"I've played basketball a lot ever since I was little," said Silverthorn. "I think most of it's natural. Half of it's natural and then the other half I just try my hardest. I'm always working. For instance, I was up five o'clock in the morning during basketball tryouts running and trying to get in shape. I work hard at it."

Silverthorn steadily improved throughout the season and she reached her peak in the district tournament against eventual champion Notre Dame when she scored 12 points. She, along with fellow sophomores Allison Blurton and Whitney McCray combined for 42 of the team's 49 points in that game.

Silverthorn finished up her stellar sophomore year with another strong showing in soccer.

She scored five goals and had six assists before being moved back to defender midway through the season.

"Right now we're just building the program around her," said Sikeston soccer coach Derrick Long. "With Ali out in the first part of the year we had to play her up top because we didn't have any scoring. When we got Ali back we had the fortune to put Paige back on defense. That just made our team that much better. She solidified our defense. It was a lot harder for teams to get a goal because Paige could cover so much ground back there."

She was rewarded with a first team all-region selection. She made all-region and all-conference last year as a freshman as well.

"She makes everyone better on our team," said Long. "She's a leader in practice and her skill and vision on the field of where everybody is at -- that just helps the other players. She's got great touch. She can trap a ball and leave it out in front of her and she knows what to do with it right when she gets it. She's just an important cog of our team that we're building around right now."

Before playing varsity soccer, Silverthorn honed her skills while playing for a traveling team in Cape Girardeau in sixth and seventh grade.

"That really helped a whole lot, playing with older kids and more experienced people," said Silverthorn. "It's a little different because everybody's a good player and you don't stand out. But that's just fine because I love getting the experience and I love playing ball."

Now that her sophomore year is over, Silverthorn has been busy preparing for the upcoming softball season in the fall.

But with two more years of school left, she thinks she may end up eliminating one of her three sports.

"I'll probably cut back on one as I get older and start focusing on one or two sports for college reasons," she said. "But I may wait until my senior year to do that."