Honoring the best of the 2018-19 winter season

It was quite a winter at Lake of the Ozarks.

Multiple athletes made their mark with significant milestones, a 37-year district championship drought came to an end and even a state championship was won. Unfortunately, as is usually the case with any sports season, it all went by fairly quickly meaning fans of basketball, wrestling or swimming must now wait quite some time for it all to come back and unfold once again. Without further ado, the Lake Sun continues its tradition of looking back and honoring those who made the most of their time and made their seasons noteworthy.

TOP ATHLETES

Eldon senior Isaiah Simmons, Wrestling

Eldon senior Isaiah Simmons made quite a comeback in his final season on the mat. As someone who qualified for the state tournament in Columbia each season and only had one fourth place medal to show for it, things did not seem to be looking any better in his last campaign. Simmons began his season with mononucleosis, dropped down a weight class because of it and considered giving up the sport after losing his grandmother. It was then that he learned his grandparents had planned on surprising him at the state wrestling tournament and that was all the motivation he needed as he came back to win a district title and a Class 2 state championship in the 113-pound class with a 2-1 decision in his final high school match. Simmons finished the season 30-2 and it was a perfect ending to a story of redemption.

Versailles junior Alana May, Wrestling

This year marked the first official season of womens’ wrestling in the state of Missouri where female wrestlers had the privilege of wrestling in their own division and one of those grapplers was junior Alana May who nearly went straight to the top at the state tournament in Columbia. May became the first female district champion in school history and she marched straight to the finals in the 235-pound class at state where she nearly took the title by pin and ended up losing by fall. May finished her season 18-2, wrestling against schools big and small in one single class, and will undoubtedly be motivated to finish the job as a senior next season when it is time to step back on the mat.

TOP TEAMS

Camdenton Boys’ Basketball

For nearly the past four decades there had not been much playoff success to talk about in Camdenton. That changed this season when the Lakers outpaced rival Lebanon for the program’s first district title since 1982 and brought a 37-year drought to a crashing halt. During that game and others throughout the year, the Lakers displayed some balance and depth as teammates were usually able to rely upon one another whether it was covering ground on defense or sharing the ball on offense with multiple Lakers reaching double figures on any given night. The run came to an end in sectionals against a Rock Bridge team that is playing in its second straight Final Four, but the Lakers may have turned a corner finishing the year 17-12 for the program’s first winning season in four years.

Osage Girls’ Basketball

Some players may have come and gone, but one thing that did not really seem to change was winning basketball games at School of the Osage. The Indians finished their season 23-4 for the best record in school history where they won 17 of their next 18 games, including 12 straight, after dropping the season opener. Osage also won two tournament titles in the regular season, displayed teamwork to win games in crunch time en route to the program’s second conference title with an unbeaten 7-0 mark in the Tri-County Conference and went on to win a third straight district championship before bowing out to Rolla in sectionals. The Indians were privileged to have two players in Kerrigan Gamm and Carson Wood who surpassed 1,000 career points this season, which is another indicator that the team did a good job of sharing the basketball.

TOP COACHES

Shawn Brantley, Versailles Wrestling

Conference championships and state qualifiers have become commonplace under Coach Shawn Brantley at Versailles. The Tigers extended their Tri-County Conference unbeaten streak to 18 duals despite any changes in the lineup and won their fourth conference crown in the past five years just before Christmas. Just a couple of months later, Versailles sent seven wrestlers to the Class 1 state tournament in Columbia (five boys and two girls) and have sent as many as nine a few seasons ago. Michael Trotter and Alana May also became the program’s first state finalists since 2016 and Riley Rademann joined them as Tigers who walked away with medals and All-State honors. The best part may be that almost everyone is returning and Brantley will surely have his wrestlers eager to improve their standing and continue a tradition of success that has been established.

Paige McCane, Camdenton Girls’ Swimming

Things are looking up in the water for Coach Paige McCane and the girls’ swimming program at Camdenton. Just a year ago, the young 3-year program sent swimmers to state for the first time in school history as one single relay team made the cut as one of the fastest 32 Class 1 teams in Missouri. After losing nine swimmers from the team a season ago, it would have been easy to think the program may be going through a setback, but the Lakers certainly did not get that memo as they sent five to state and qualified in six different events. Having a team of 15 as opposed to 24, McCane said that allowed her swimmers to develop strong bonds and it coincided with drops in time and accomplished goals that were set at the end of last season as McCane did not let her swimmers get complacent. The Lakers did not walk away with any medals at state this season, but that may soon change as long as the bar continues to raise.

HONORABLE MENTION ATHLETES

Osage senior Kerrigan Gamm, Girls’ Basketball

Osage senior Kerrigan Gamm not only eclipsed the 1,000-point mark of her career this season, but also became the program’s all-time leading scorer with more than 1,300 points to her name.

Macks Creek junior Hunter Lane, Boys’ Basketball

Macks Creek junior Hunter Lane lived up to his last name as he usually controlled the lane on any given night, putting up a double-double in all but one game. The 6-foot-4 junior averaged 21.1 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks per game this season while reaching 1,000 career points.

HONORABLE MENTION TEAMS

Camdenton Girls’ Basketball

After losing a significant amount of talent and production from last year’s state quarterfinal team, Camdenton finished 19-9 with an opportunity to win a second straight district title and third in the last five years.

Versailles Boys’ Basketball

Versailles did not have the best regular season finishing 10-15, but the Tigers won when it mattered as they captured a second straight district championship and finished the year 13-16 before bowing out in sectionals to Blair Oaks.

HONORABLE MENTION COACHES

Ron Rhodes, Climax Springs Girls’ Basketball

A ship was set on the right path under Coach Ron Rhodes. Rhodes took over a program that did not have enough players for a team two seasons ago, won three games last year and finished 16-11 this season in his first year at the helm. It was the first time in eight years that the Cougars finished with a winning record.

Randy Satterlee, Osage Wrestling

Osage brought a lot of new faces to the Class 2 state wrestling meet in Columbia as two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior qualified for the first time. By the end of it all, three of those wrestlers medaled as Abbey Cordia, Chase Cordia and Ryan Schepers made All-State in their respective weight classes. It was a sign of a bright future for the Indians under Randy Satterlee.