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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Nobody asked me but...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nobody asked me but...the area's best athletes will be on display Friday at the newly refurbished "Sapp Stadium" track for the first ever Sikeston Relays.

All SEMO Conference teams including Poplar Bluff, Jackson and Cape Central will compete. Kelly, Charleston, East Prairie, Caruthersville and Festus are also involved in the 15-team event.

The showcase team of the relays might be the Malden Green Wave. Last year, the Green Wave won the team state championship in Class 2. In the jumps, Ryan Criglar won the long jump and placed third in the triple jump. Quentin Gordon took second place in the triple for Malden. Both athletes are back this season.

As far as the speed events, last season Malden captured first in the 4 x 100 relay state championship. In addition, Trey Porter, now a senior, took second in the 100 meter dash and 110 meter hurdles.

Sikeston has a returning state medalist in sophomore Dominic Fondon. Last year at the Class 3 state championships, Fondon finished sixth in the triple jump.

The 100 meters might be the most competitive, and probably, most entertaining event of the day. The race will feature the fastest athletes in the area.

If you enjoy track and field or if you're even just a casual fan, don't miss the Sikeston Relays. There is no other track meet around that exclusively features the top teams and athletes in the Southeast Missouri area.

* If track and field is not your bag on Friday afternoon, head over to VFW Stadium in Sikeston and watch the area's most heated rivalry spill over onto the baseball field. Sikeston and Notre Dame will meet and the outcome will have a lot to say about how Class 3, District 1 will be seeded.

Notre Dame has had Sikeston's number recently by winning district titles in soccer and basketball this school year. However, Sikeston has dominated Notre Dame in golf recently. Take that!

* Poplar Bluff native Tyler Hansbrough has decided to come back for his junior year in college basketball at North Carolina and that was a wise decision. I must admit, Hansbrough is much better than I ever thought he would be at the college level. The kid is relentless and just outworks everybody on the floor.

However, Hansbrough has not shown the ability to take his game past the low blocks. Hansbrough, at 6-foot-9, struggles when he faces bigger, stronger players. He has to show that he can consistently hit the 15-foot jump shot if Hansbrough hopes to be a contributor in the NBA.

I suggest that NCAA president Miles Brand dispense with the formality of a 2008 NCAA Tournament and just award North Carolina with the first place trophy. Along with Hansbrough, the Tar Heels will return point guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Wayne Ellington.

If power forward Brandan Wright goes pro as expected, the Tar Heels have plenty of young talent waiting in the wings.

And finally, nobody asked me but...the lack of African-American players in Major League baseball is becoming alarming. Black athletes make up only eight percent of the players in the majors. In 1991, the percentage was at 18. Thirty years ago, 25 percent of major leaguers were black.

What has led to this decline? I believe the NFL's emergence as America's favorite sport and the popularity of the NBA have shot past baseball in attracting young, aspiring black athletes.

In addition, baseball has put more emphasis on developing Latino players than those in the black community. Of course the main factor is obvious, baseball is just a boring sport to many. The fast-paced, high-octane action of a football or basketball game is just far more appealing to young athletes.