Each year, I am ready for the end of May.
It means that our high school sports season is over and it is time to catch up on office work and turn my attention to trail stories and retired coaches along the way. It is also time to find time off. I have lost 36 vacation/sick days over the last two years of work.
As the school year comes to a close I recognize seniors that have had an impact on my year. These are not necessarily the best seniors on the team or ones that even saw playing time.
These are the kids that I have really enjoyed watching them play or sharing a popcorn with at a game.
This year’s group is the largest that has entertained me.
• Thailer Lovell, Harrison. First, his name is pronounced Tyler. I don’t know how many places mispronounced his name during the year. This guy is great and quite the athlete. He is a good football player, a good baseball player and for one game, a very good soccer player. His spring sport was baseball, but he joined the Goblin soccer team for the state finals and was unbelievable on the field. He was fun to watch at everything.
• Antoine Vincent-Genod, Marshall. He’s really not from Marshall. He is an exchange student from France. He could pass a basketball with pinpoint accuracy. He could shoot it from downtown and he had ups for dunks anyway that you wanted him to dunk.
• Isaac Guynn, Harrison. Isaac is a great guy. He hurt his shoulder his junior season and had to sit out of a lot of sports. He returned to soccer in the spring. We have been on two mission trips together and he is a great worker with a good heart.
• Brad Norman, Lead Hill. I have watched Bradley grow up on the basketball court. He was always entertaining, but he is his own man. I appreciate a kid that is not embarrassed to have fun.
• Makayla Campbell, Harrison. Oh my goodness where to begin. She is a spirited young lady that has talent beyond the court or field. She has been a MVP of a state soccer tournament, but she has also been a MVP of leading church worship. Even if she wasn’t playing a sport, she could be seen in the stands leading cheers. I am really going to miss seeing her at the games.
• Hunter Holtby, Harrison. He was a senior leader for Harrison. In football he wasn’t the go-to guy, but he did everything that he was suppose to do to make the team successful. He was an aggressive forward in soccer that got his team to the finals this season.
• Hope Brasel, Jasper. She has the best name of anyone in the group. She caught my eye during the Northark tournament when she was a sophomore. I was chatting with her coach and I mentioned how much I liked the way she played. She did all of the little things that make a good basketball player. I was told by a Jasper staff member that she was the complete package.
• Caleb Bartlett, Harrison. Caleb was a member of the Harrison football and soccer team. He was a work horse. He never had the glamour jobs, but he played his position with determination. Off the field, he is a hoot. He is always quick with a joke.
• Katie Fowler, Harrison. This young lady has had a rough senior year, but she came through it with shining colors. She was a top 5 graduate at Harrison High School and she was also a starting fullback for the state champion soccer team. Despite the long year, the smile never left her face.
• Luke Lane, Western Grove. I like hard-working players. Lane is just that. Whether he is manning the low post or throwing the shot put, he gave it all he had. I also watched him work in his job. He put as much effort into that as he did on the court.
• Ben Riddle, Yellville-Summit. Ben has been a solid basketball player for Yellville-Summit since he was a sophomore in high school. He has the ability to make things happen on the court for his team. He was a leader on a very crowded team.
• Claire Doshier, Harrison. Oh my goodness where do you begin. She is a sweetie that is not so sweet if you are opposite her on the tennis court or on the soccer field. She might have been the difference in a state basketball title for Harrison had she been able to play this season. She is another top 5 Harrison graduate that has represented her school well.
• Ethan Flud, Valley Springs. I first met Ethan when he was in the Boone County Spelling Bee. I was an encourager to him during those contests and he is now one to me. Almost every morning I am up and running at the Valley Springs park. For almost the entire school year, I had someone honk at me every morning. I didn’t know who it was. It turned out to be Ethan. He is a thoughtful and kind young man that could be a handful on the basketball court. I am really going to miss him dominating the paint.
• Brylie Parker, Harrison. She is another girl that gives it her all in whatever she is doing. She was a senior leader for the Harrison cross country team; she was the leading scorer for the Harrison basketball team; and she was the anchor in the middle for the Harrison soccer team. She won two state title rings this year and finished in the semifinals in basketball. She is polite on the courts and always thanked the ball girls and the officials. I will miss that. She also displays her vocal talents at church.
• Caden Young, Deer. Caden could light it up on the basketball court. He could take over a game with his skill set. His entire junior season, I thought that he was a senior and I was disappointed that he was finishing his career. However, I got another year of his play and I enjoyed it. He also gave his all on the baseball diamond.
• Caleb Sasser, Yellville-Summit. This kid is one of a kind. I really enjoyed watching him play on the line for Yellville-Summit football and then turn around and be a guard for Panther basketball. He was also a good baseball player. I will miss watching him playing.
• Hannah Edgar, Bergman. Hannah was a senior leader for the Lady Panthers. She did everything that a blue-collar worker could do. She played hard. I also have enjoyed hearing her give her testimony the last two seasons at How to Life.
• Carson Journagan, Harrison. I can’t go anywhere around a Harrison sporting event without hearing “hey Jeff.” I loved watching him play. He was a great third baseman that could turn what should be a close play into an easy one for Harrison. However, he was amazing on the basketball court. At 6-foot-1, he could guard a 5-6 player or a 6-7 player. He was the offensive anchor of the team that was always counted on for points.
• Alyssa Karr, Valley Springs. This poor girl had a rough senior year. When your grandpa becomes your basketball coach, it is going to be a fun transition. However, Alyssa didn’t miss a beat and the Lady Tigers had a successful season. Alyssa also had a good volleyball season for the Lady Tigers.
• Jacob Shrum, Harrison. Where do I start about Meaty (a name that his mother used). He is one of my favorite seniors ever. He has a very dry sense of humor, that keeps you entertained. He is a good hand at basketball and soccer. He is a leader. I have witnessed him working on mission trips. He does a great job engaging those that he is working with. I will miss having the opportunity of visiting with the ole boy at games next season.