Male athlete of the year: the reasoning
It wasn't easy singling out any one person -- boy or girl -- as the single best athlete of the year. The task never got much harder than it did for the De Soto boys.
The problem wasn't a lack of successful Wildcats. Plenty of kids enjoyed great seasons during the last school year. The problem was not very many enjoyed two good seasons.
There are no guidelines, no rules and no points, but Andre Linzy was selected because the equivalent of a 3-pointer at the buzzer. He was on the list of guys already when the school year actually ended. Then he won the triple jump and qualified in two other events at the regional track meet. Then he finished second in long jump at state.
It all amounted to enough to push him just ahead of several other strong competitors. A handful of members of the boys cross country team were in the conversation. Tanner McNamara, who led the way for the team's third-place finish at the Class 4A state meet, missed the track season with an injury, however. Lucas Slater and Chris Dvorak each ran well in cross country and track, but neither picked up individual medals.
Austin DeGraeve and Jerod Bader each had good years on both sides of the ball for the football team, and both were again good in baseball -- DeGraeve in particular flourishing in the spring season.
Erik Hill arguably came the closest to matching Linzy. He was great in football, dominating as a tightend. He was second on the team in points in basketball and played consistently on the baseball team.
In the end, Linzy's hardware -- the silver from state -- made the difference, however. That was the trey at the buzzer.