By CRAIG HALL
In Sunday’s column about the top 10 sports stories for the 2012-13 school year, I promised to write an additional column today with the top individual athletic performers.
No top 10 this time. Instead, just how they came to me. And again, my apologies in advance if somebody is left out.
HANNAH WARD—Poteau. Won second straight state championship in 4A with a playoff win in the sleet, cold and win. Only a junior so she will get a chance for the hat trick next year.
BLAKE SMITTLE—Heavener. Leading rusher in the state in football and helped the Wolves go 5-5 in their first year in 3A.
CODY SHORE—Poteau. Finished fourth in the state golf tournament and shot under-par all three rounds as the Pirates placed sixth.
CLARK AUSTIN—Talihina. He was the quarterback for the Golden Tigers as they advanced to the third round of the playoffs in football; leading scorer on a basketball team which reached the state tournament and a top player on Talihina’s baseball team which made the regional finals.
TREVOR CRONE—Talihina. One of the top receivers in the county, if not the top. Also a standout hitter and pitcher in baseball.
SHELBY STANDRIDGE—Poteau. MVP of the fall and spring softball tournaments and a key player on the LCT basketball champions.
TYLER TUSTIN—Poteau. Two-time state champion in wrestling and finished second as a senior. Also played defensive back and receiver in football.
TYLER GIBSON—Wister. A four-year starter in baseball on a team which won a state championship and two LCT titles. Also an excellent basketball player.
CALEB SMITH—LeFlore. A good baseball player and one of the top basketball players in the county for the Savages.
JERMAINE JIMMERSON—Spiro. Good running back for the Bulldogs and a top performer in basketball.
JAY WERNER—Helped Poteau set a school record in wins in baseball and was one of the top pitchers in the county. Also played tight end and earned a football scholarship to NSU.
BLAKE BLAGG-TIDWELL—Whitesboro. Leading scorer for a very good Whitesboro team which made a good run in the playoffs.
STEPHEN HELMANDOLLAR–Howe. Standout for a Howe basketball team which reached the regional tournament and won a conference championship.
RAELYNN CALDWELL—Top fast-pitch pitcher in the county as a junior. Started for three years and also played basketball.
TREVOR SMITH—Heavener. One of the top scorers in the county in boys’ basketball and helped the Wolves finish third in the LCT and reach the regional tournament in basketball.
COLLEEN PETERSON—Poteau. MVP of the girls’ LCT in basketball and reached the state meet in track.
TREVOR BOURNE–Panama. Quarterbacked the Razorbacks to the 2A state playoffs after team won only one game the two previous seasons.
TANNER FRANCIS—Pocola. One of the better basketball players in the county despite fighting injuries during the season.
KENDRICK HARDAWAY—Poteau. Leading scorer for the Pirates in basketball as a junior and a key member of the state champion soccer team. Also made the state track meet in the 200-meter run.
JODIE HILL—Heavener. One of the top scorers for Heavener’s girls in basketball as a freshman. Finished third in two events and fifth in another at the state track meet.
HUNTER WILSON—Spiro. Kicker on the Bulldogs’ football team and a standout in baseball as Spiro made the state tournament for the second straight year. Helped the Bulldogs reach the LCT finals in baseball by shutting down Wister by pitching four innings without giving up a run.
JACE PITCHFORD—Poteau. Quarterbacked the football team to a 6-4 record in football and set a school record for steals in baseball with 45 and batted over .400.
KODY WHITEHEAD—Cameron. Reached the state golf tournament for the second straight year as a junior and also a key member of the Yellow Jackets’ basketball team.
TAYLOR EAVES–Panama. One of the best pitchers in fast-pitch softball. Also played basketball.
BRENNA VISE—POTEAU. Starter in three sports for Poteau. Played pitcher and infield for the fast-pitch softball team, helped the Lady Pirates win the LCT in basketball and was a top hitter and infielder for the slow-pitch softball team.
COLBY DEMATO—Spiro. One of the top hitters in baseball and excellent outfielders for the Bulldogs. Also started in football.
KAYDON EVANS—Poteau. Had the winning hit in the LCT finals as the Pirates won the tournament for the first time since 2003. Also played pitcher and catcher. One of the top linebackers in the county.
COLBY TURNIPSEED—Wister. Started in basketball for the Wildcats and was one of the top baseball players in the county. He threw a one-hitter against Spiro in the LCT and was a key member of Wister’s baseball success.
ROGER BARCHEERS—Poteau. Top newcomer in the county. Rushed for over 1,000 yards in football as a freshman and a key player on the Pirates’ baseball team.
KNIFEIS CARTER—Spiro. One of the best basketball players in the county and helped the Bulldogs win the LCT for the second straight year as a junior. Also started in football for Spiro.
POTEAU BOYS SOCCER TEAM—Hard to single out a player, or players on the state champion team. The Pirates had so many players perform on a championship level they all need to be recognized.
Thanks to all of you for your performances this season. As I mentioned previously, this list is not all-inclusive, just some of the ones I felt like turned in great performances. Leave a comment below on anybody you feel like should have been included.