Now, for the first time, Southeast Missouri's elite athletes in all sports will be recognized through the Semoball Awards, presented by SoutheastHEALTH.
Nineteen all-semoball teams will be selected and announced throughout the year before the Semoball Awards banquet at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau in June.
"The Semoball Awards is an incredible opportunity to recognize the best of the best in Southeast Missouri high school sports," said Lucas Presson, assistant managing editor of the Southeast Missourian and event coordinator for the Semoball Awards. "This area has a rich sports history, and each year we see many incredible athletes compete. Having a first-class, unforgettable evening like this will be the icing on the cake after another spectacular school year."
The banquet will feature a catered dinner and a nationally-recognized sports speaker, who will be introduced early next year.
Members of the all-semoball team will be recognized during the event and a player of the year for each sports category will be revealed. Six top awards will be given out, including female athlete of the year, male athlete of the year, scholar-athlete of the year, comeback athlete of the year, coach of the year and a best sportsmanship.
Athletes from all 58 high schools in the semoball.com coverage area will be eligible for the Semoball Awards, from Perryville down to Cooter, over to Poplar Bluff and everywhere in between.
"This is exciting because there are lots of ways athletes are recognized throughout the year -- through all-state teams or all-region team or through things like our all-Missourian teams, but we've never had a way to truly recognize the best across all of Southeast Missouri," semoball.com and Southeast Missourian sports editor Rachel Crader said. "I've been asked over and over why certain schools or players or sports aren't able to get the recognition that others who are eligible for Southeast Missourian or Sikeston Standard Democrat awards get. Well, now they'll have that chance."
The members of the all-semoball teams will be chosen by the sports staff of semoball.com's media partners -- the Southeast Missourian, the Sikeston Standard Democrat, The Daily Statesmen in Dexter, the Daily Dunklin Democrat in Kennett and the Daily American Republic in Poplar Bluff -- as well as SEMO ESPN radio hosts.
Coaches and fans can nominate athletes for all-semoball teams or other awards semoball.com/awards.
The website also will host a fan-voted contest to determine which school has the best fans and most spirit.
"There is something special about high school sports fans," Presson said. "We're excited to promote school spirit with an online fan vote. Fans will be able to vote for their school at semoball.com. The winning school will be recognized at the awards banquet in June."
In addition to presenting sponsor SoutheastHEALTH, other top sponsors include Harry Blackwell auto dealerships and First Midwest Bank.
For more information on sponsorships, contact Presson by phone at 573-388-3649 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets to the banquet will be available for the public to purchase in advance. The first all-semoball team will be announced in the five newspapers and online at www.semoball.com/awards on Jan. 14. Teams also will be announced on SEMO ESPN Radio.
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