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Top 10 Sports Stories of 2020

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Here are Sedalia Democrat’s top local sports stories of 2020.

Honorable mentions include Green Ridge boy’s basketball winning at sectionals, Smithton girl’s cross-country finishing seventh at state, Smithton soccer winning its district tournament and the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl.

10. Former Bombers meet in ALDS

The Sedalia Bombers claimed two former players competing in the ALCS, and the two faced each other in a critical situation.
Yankees first baseman Luke Voit, who played for the Bombers in 2010, and Rays pitcher Peter Fairbanks, who played for the Bombers in 2013, met with two outs and two on in the sixth inning of a tied ballgame. Fairbanks, who logged three saves during the Rays’ run to the World Series, struck out Voit with a triple-digit fastball.

9. Smith-Cotton starts CMAC play

Smith-Cotton started a new era of conference play Fall 2020, marking the first season of the Central Missouri Activities Conference.
S-C yielded mixed results in its first year of “CMACtion.” Sedalia was winless in football and softball while the Lady Tigers claimed one conference match in volleyball and tennis. S-C boy’s swim and soccer finished second and third, respectively, in conference standings.

8. Caroline Matz finishes 7th at state tennis tournament

Smith-Cotton senior Caroline Matz placed seventh at the MSHSAA Class 2 Girls Tennis State Singles Tournament as the program’s first qualifier since 1997.
Matz earned a trip to the state tourney after claiming the individual singles title in the district bracket.

7. Haley Wiskur sets single-game scoring record

Smith-Cotton senior Haley Wiskur enjoyed a triumphant senior campaign, joining the 1,000-point club and setting a single-game scoring record before graduation.
Wiskur became the third girl’s basketball player to score more than 1,000 points in her career in a Jan. 25 game against Center, matching a single-game record of 36 points during the contest. She later extended on that record with a 39-point performance in the district tournament.

6. Riley Kreisel three-peats as POWRi WAR champ

Warsaw driver Riley Kreisel captured his third straight POWRi Lucas Oil Wingless Auto Racing Sprint League points title, becoming the first driver to three-peat as champion in the circuit.
Kreisel collected 3,540 points and led the league with four feature victories, including three straight features, during a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Kreisel started his run of three straight titles as the youngest-ever champion of the wingless sprint league.

5. Tipton girls basketball runner-up at state

Tipton girl’s basketball reached new heights in 2020, finishing its campaign playing for a state title in the MSHSAA Class 2 Show-Me Showdown. 

The Lady Cards won the Tipton Tournament and Kaysinger Conference Tournament en route to a 26-6 record and their first-ever state championship appearance. 

Attendance at the Final Four event, where the Lady Cards defeated Blue Eye and fell to East Buchanan, was limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tipton landed two players on the all-state list, including player of the year in Abby Backes.

4. Sacred Heart girls golf wins Class 1 title

Lady Gremlins golf claimed their first-ever state title with a 100-stroke lead over Brookfield at the MSHSAA Class 1 Girls Golf Championship at Paradise Pointe Golf Course in Smithville.

Sacred Heart senior Caten Lucchesi carded an 18-hole total of 18-over-par 89, compiling a two-day score of 176 to earn individual runner-up honors.

Lady Gremlins senior Kelsey Hudson tied for 27th with a two-day total of 212.

Megan Wingerter, senior, shot 213 and finished the tournament 30th. Sacred Heart sophomore Kate Carney totaled 215 and finished 36th.

The Lady Gremlins qualified for state as a team with a first-place performance in districts, hosted at Sedalia Country Club.

3. Kiser Pannier medalist at Class 3 state tournament

Smith-Cotton junior Kiser Pannier improved by nine strokes and six places during the second day of the MSHSAA Class 3 Girls Golf Championship to claim medalist honors at Twin Hills Golf Course in Joplin.

Pannier carded a 36-hole total of 15-over-par 159 to become the first S-C girls golfer to win an individual state title since Libby Howard in 1993. 

With four holes remaining, Pannier erased a four-stroke deficit on the strength of two birdies and a par to close the round. Pannier logged 10 pars and three birdies on the second day of competition. 

2. Windsor Greyhounds football wins state

Windsor football compiled a 15-0 season and captured its first-ever state championship with a 43-20 victory over Mid-Buchanan in the MSHSAA Class 1 Show-Me Bowl. 

The Greyhounds defeated state-ranked teams in Skyline (44-36), Marionville (40-21), Thayer (14-12) in the postseason to advance to the championship tilt and rescheduled three games to compete each week during a campaign affected by COVID-19. 

Windsor earned nine spots on the All-State list, including Offensive Player of the Year (Dalton Witherspoon), Defensive Player of the Year (Kenton Sargent) and Coach of the Year (Jake Vencill).

1. Coronavirus pandemic cancels 2020 spring season

MSHSAA canceled the spring sports championships April 8, following state-wide school closures issued by Gov. Mike Parson. 

Local college programs including State Fair Community College and the University of Central Missouri, which did not conclude its girl’s basketball campaign, followed suit in canceling spring seasons already in progress.

Local summer leagues, including American Legion and the MINK League, also canceled their campaigns.

The NJCAA and NCAA each offered student-athletes extended eligibility and, along with MSHSAA, introduced COVID-19 guidelines such as daily symptom testing, face coverings and limited spectator attendance to resume play in the fall. 

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