Honoring the best Lake area athletes, coaches and teams of the winter season
Don’t look now but another decade has just passed.
Hopefully that does not trigger a quarter or mid-life crisis, but what may put some at ease is the fact that there were quite a few highlights in the Lake area that sports fans could be proud of to mark the end of this decade and there may be plenty more to come in the dawn of a new one.
Carrying on a Lake Sun tradition, the time has come to recognize the best athletes, teams and coaches in the area for all their recent accomplishments and this winter was no exception.
Osage sophomore Chase Cordia, Wrestling
It is not every day a sophomore gets to make history and Chase Cordia did not shy away from the opportunity to do just that. A wrestling program that began in 2008 previously had two state finalists on the cusp of wrestling glory and Cordia broke that barrier for Osage by becoming the program’s first state champion in school history. Cordia put together a dominant season with a record of 42-1 and avenged his only loss of the season by winning the Class 2 state title at 160 pounds with a 3-2 decision over Odessa’s Luke Malizzi. The drought ended on February 22 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia and Cordia will be looking for a repeat next season.
Climax Springs junior Autumn Wallace
One of the easiest ways to see the impact someone can have on a basketball game is by taking a quick look at the box score and the name of Autumn Wallace was never a difficult one to find. The junior averaged a double-double for the Cougars this season, scoring 20.2 points per game while pulling down 10.4 rebounds. Just a season ago, Wallace averaged 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds and her numbers may continue to rise as she comes back for one final season. Wallace was already named All-District for her efforts this year and more honors may continue to come her way.
Eldon senior Kaden Dillon, Wrestling
The story of Kaden Dillon’s wrestling career at Eldon concluded exactly the way the senior wanted it to. Just like his older brother Trenton, a 2018 graduate of the Mustangs, Dillon went out on top as a state champion in the final match of his high school career. Injury prevented him from wrestling his freshman season and he previously mustered sixth place finishes the past two years before reaching the pinnacle. As a senior, Dillon finished 45-4 and won his Class 2 state title match at Mizzou Arena on February 22 with a 5-2 decision. Becoming the program’s third state champion in as many years and the second Dillon to do so is certainly a good legacy to eave behind.
Osage senior Abbey Cordia, Wrestling
Osage senior Abbey Cordia was a pioneer for the girls in the sport of wrestling. She began her career in an era where girls did not have their own division and now passes on the torch to future female wrestlers as a two-time state medalist for the Indians. Seeking to move up the podium from a third place finish as a junior, Cordia (40-5) ran into the eventual undefeated state champion in the quarterfinals but continued on and fought he way to the third place match before ultimately finishing fourth at 130 pounds. If it means the sport is continuing to grow and improve for the girls, it is a placing she will be fine with as she looks for the returning Indians to take the mantle.
Camdenton Girls Basketball
Camdenton has seen some talented basketball players graduate the past few years, but the competitiveness and winning has not really ceased to exist. The Lakers have not had a losing season since 2011-12, but teamwork defined this current batch of Lakers who went 19-9 before bowing out in the district semifinals. Introducing a transfer point guard from Rock Bridge in senior Biance Stocks to help facilitate things, the team did not skip a beat relying on a fullcourt press full of heavy pressure and a balanced scoring attack to keep defenses on their heels. Senior Shelby Kurtz, sophomore Payton Kincaid and senior Megan Vest were integral pieces as well for a team that reached the district semifinals.
It was a year to remember for School of the Osage, not just because an Indian won a state title but because of the success the program had as a whole. Osage won a Tri-County Conference title earlier this season, sent six wrestlers to state and five of those wrestlers medaled as the program finished fifth overall in the final Class 2 team standings among 46 schools, one place shy of a state trophy. In addition to the medals of Chase and Abbey Cordia, junior Jack Creasy finished third at 195, sophomore Ryan Schepers placed fourth at 132 and senior Rudy Escobar placed fifth at 182. There were five other wrestlers who nearly joined their teammates at state and Coach Randy Satterlee said it was the best team he has ever coached.
Ryan Bird, Eldon Wrestling
Ryan Bird has only been at Eldon for four seasons. In that span of time, the Mustangs have produced three different state champions in Trenton Dillon, Isaiah Simmons and Kaden Dillon and at least one wrestler has made the state finals every season including Dawson Brandt. In that span of time, the Mustangs have produced 14 state qualifiers and 12 of them went on to medal and reach the podium including Eldon’s first ever female medalist this season in freshman Olivia Chapman. The season and road to state is a long one, but it seems Bird has his wrestlers at their best when it comes time to prove it at state in the final show of the year. It is a track record any coach would surely enjoy and the coach will only look to build on the foundation that has already been set.
Ron Rhodes, Climax Springs Girls Basketball
When Ron Rhodes came to Climax Springs in 2018, he took over a girls program that won just three games in the season prior to his arrival. In the past two years the program has steadily improved and his career record of 35-20 at the school, including a 19-9 finish this season with a trip to a district championship, has mostly been done with underclassmen. The Cougars had a tall task in trying to take down a defending state champion in Walnut Grove in the district championship this year, but almost all of the team will return next season with plenty of experience to back them up. If these past two seasons have been any indication, a bright future may continue to be ahead.
HONORABLE MENTION ATHLETES
Versailles senior Coby Williams, Basketball
It has been quite a career for Versailles senior Coby Williams who helped the Tigers win two straight district titles and reach a state quarterfinal before wrapping up his final season as one of the best players in program history. Williams finished second all-time in scoring, first in steals, second in assists and eighth in rebounding.
Camdenton junior Emily Willis, Swimming
Camdenton junior Emily Willis qualified for state in four different events this season competing in the 200 individual medley and 200 freestyle relay events as well as the 100 butterfly and backstroke. A swimmer or relay team must have one of the top 32 times in the state to qualify and the best finish for the Laker junior was 17th in the butterfly at the Class 1 meet in St. Peters with a time of 1:03.9. It was the best finish of the meet for Camdenton in an event she set a school record for earlier this year.
Macks Creek senior Hunter Lane, Basketball
Macks Creek senior Hunter Lane had quite a productive career for the Pirates, wrapping up his final season with over 1,500 career points and over 1,000 career rebounds. Lane had a double-double in all but one game as a junior and achieved the feat in every game this season.
Eldon freshman Olivia Chapman, Wrestling
Eldon freshman Olivia Chapman made history in her first season on the high school mats by becoming the first female to medal at state for the Mustangs. Chapman finished sixth in the 135-pound class with a record of 33-8 and will have three more years to reach the top of the podium.
HONORABLE MENTION COACHES
Stacey Meckley, Camdenton Swimming
Stacey Meckley began her first season at Camdenton with the task of keeping the Lakers competitive as state contenders and the Lakers competing in four different events, including two relay eventss, is surely a good way to start. There were five state qualifiers for Camdenton overall this season and the coach will look to send even more next season.
James Butterfield, Climax Springs Boys Basketball
An opportunity to win a district championship is something any team would love to have and James Butterfield had the Cougars on the verge of winning one for the first time since the 2011 season. The Cougars came up just short in the district final, but finishing the season 19-9 was the best mark the program has had since the district title run of 2011 where the team finished 25-5.