Arkell Smith, of Carthage High School, and Kaesha George, of Monett High School, have been named as the Globe's Male and Female Athletes of the Year. The two were named for the honor during The Joplin Globe's Athletes Banquet, held Tuesday at Missouri Southern State University.
Nineteen other athletes were named as the Globe's Athletes of the Year for 2017-18, and 82 other athletes were recognized for being chosen as Globe Athletes of the Week throughout the school year. The event featured keynote speaker Dan Smith, a Girard High School graduate who pitched professionally for 13 years, including getting drafted in 1993 by the Texas Rangers.
Smith is a three-sport standout who excelled on the school's football, basketball and track and field teams. He helped the track and field team win its first state championship, and earlier was a 1,200-yard receiver for the football team. In basketball, he averaged 11.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2 steals and 1.5 assists.
George, who just completed her sophomore year, began and ended school with state titles. She patrolled center field on the softball team that won a state championship in October, and won the javelin in the state track and field meet in May.
Athletes of the Year by sport include:
- Female tennis: Hayley Neighmond, Thomas Jefferson
- Male swimming: Ben Hines, Nevada
- Female golf: Jenna Teeter, Carl Junction
- Male soccer: Jason Puente, Monett
- Female cross country: Calli Beshore, Nevada
- Male cross country: Ryan Riddle, Webb City
- Volleyball: Lexi Miller, Carl Junction
- Softball: Addie Darby, Webb City
- Football: Wil Amos, Afton
- Female swimming: Caroline Martucci, Thomas Jefferson
- Wrestling: Adrian Hitchcock, Neosho
- Female basketball: Tristan Gegg, Labette County
- Male basketball: Clay Gayman, Nevada
- Male tennis: Garret Lewis, Joplin
- Female soccer: Ashley Talley, Neosho
- Male golf: Bradley Beykirch, St. Mary's Colgan
- Female track and field: McKenzie Wilks, Pittsburg
- Male track and field: Ryan Riddle, Webb City
- Baseball: Wyatt Sparks, Aurora