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Semoball Awards: Recognizing the best in high school sports

There’s something special about high school sports. They combine school spirit with team camaraderie and young athletes, who give great effort. The atmosphere can be dynamic. Need proof? Come to Monday night’s championship game at the Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament for high school boys basketball at the Show Me Center.

As we move into 2014, there will be much more in high school sports to celebrate.

This includes the Semoball Awards in June.

If you haven’t already read about the awards, take a look at the mission statement:

The Semoball Awards seeks to promote good sportsmanship by recognizing the area’s top athletes and coaches, including best sportsmanship, male and female athlete of the year, comeback athlete of the year and academic athlete of the year, in a high-class, unforgettable banquet featuring a celebrity sports personality. The winners in the top categories will receive $1,000 or $500 scholarships as well as the award.

In addition to the top six awards, athletes in 19 sport categories will be acknowledged for their efforts. In total, we expect about 200 athletes representing the 58 schools in the semoball.com coverage area to be recognized.

On Jan. 12, semoball.com will begin to announce members of the all-semoball fall teams. Watch your local daily newspaper (Southeast Missourian, The Daily Statesman, Daily Dunklin Democrat, Daily American Republic and Standard Democrat) for announcements. You also can see the all-semoball teams online at semoball.com/awards or listen to SEMO ESPN Radio.

From football to soccer, swimming to baseball, and every other sport in between, in the next six months you’ll read about the best of the best in area high school sports from all across Southeast Missouri.

A panel of sports writers and broadcasters for the five daily newspapers listed above and broadcasters from SEMO ESPN Radio will determine the all-semoball teams. The eventual winners will be announced at the banquet in June. You also have a voice. Whether you’re a parent, coach, referee or fan, you can nominate a deserving athlete at semoball.com/awards. Nominations for fall sports end Jan. 8.

The Semoball Awards culminates in June when a first-class banquet will be at the Show Me Center. A top sports celebrity will speak at the event. Watch for more information on tickets in the coming weeks.

We’re thrilled to see this event come to fruition. Semoball editor and Southeast Missourian sports editor Rachel Crader shared her excitement in a recent story.

“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. 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.”

One of the exciting components on the Semoball Awards is the online fan vote. Who are the best fans in Southeast Missouri? You can vote for your favorite school’s fans online at semoball.com/awards.

Special thanks to presenting sponsor SoutheastHEALTH and other top sponsors First Midwest Bank, Harry Blackwell auto dealerships and Technomad.

For more information about the event, visit semoball.com/awards. To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, call Lucas Presson at 388-3649 or email lpresson@semissourian.com.

This will be an exciting opportunity to recognize top athletes in Southeast Missouri. We hope you make plans to join us in June as we celebrate these accomplishments.

Until then, see you Monday night at the Show Me Center for the final games of the 2013 Southeast Missourian Christmas Tournament.

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