2009-2010 Southern Sports of the Year

Men’s Team of the Year

This award is one that was a little difficult to decide on compared to some of the others listed here, however once we landed where we did it was no question.

The men’s cross country team of 2009 is our winner for Men’s Team of the Year.

Tom Rutledge had his team competing in meets that not only featured Division-I competition, but more than one that was hosted by some of the NCAA’s best.

The Lions finished in second place in the first meet of their season in Fayetteville Ark., in a Razorback-hosted meet.

The men began to peak at the MIAA/GLVC Challenge in Rolla where they started a string of three straight first-place finishes. The men took home the title in the MIAA Championships and the South Central Regional Championships before placing eleventh at Nationals.


Women’s Team of the Year

It feels like we’re beating a dead horse here but perhaps the women’s cross country team was just that good this year.

Competing in all the same events as the men, the women did not finish lower than third place all the way through Nationals with the exception of a fifth-place showing in the Oklahoma State University Jamboree.

Oklahoma State, as in the Cowboys. As in Division-I.

Patty Vavra repeatedly referred to her 2009 cross country group as the best team she had ever seen at Missouri Southern and it would be hard to argue with that.

After sweeping the MIAA and South Central Regional Championships, the Lions finished their season with the highest finish in the meet in school history, ending a record year in third place.


Surprise of the Year

The surprise of the 2009-2010 year in athletics came from a sport that didn’t get the recognition it deserved; we apologize to Kevin Greim and his squad.

The golf team at Missouri Southern impressed this season, winning the North Alabama Fall Classic back in October.

The Lions also finished third in the 2010 MIAA Championships.


Biggest Dissapointment

This award is one we don’t take pleasure in announcing but we felt it had a spot with the rest.

The winner came just two weeks ago when news broke that five Missouri Southern football players were arrested as part of a situation The Joplin Globe’s report called a near riot outside a downtown Joplin nightclub.

Head Football Coach Bart Tatum held a press conference to announce that the players had all been placed on investigative suspension for an undetermined amount of time.

The poor judgement used by these players is our clear winner for Disappointment of the Year.


Coaches of the Year

Ladies first, our winner for Women’s Coach of the Year goes to an already decorated one in Patty Vavra.

Vavra led her cross country team to a sweep of the conference and regional meets before a third place finish in the Division-II National Championships.

Her indoor track & field team also placed tenth in Nationals.

On the men’s side, we picked another coach who has already been recognized highly this year.

Robert Corn took the men’s basketball team to a strong 17-11 record after being picked to finish seventh in the MIAA.

Corn’s Lions also made their twelfth straight berth in the postseason conference tournament.


Men’s Athletes of the Year

Our Male Athlete of the Year is one who had an excellent senior season in the fall.

Daniel Thompson of the football team is a wideout who caught 40 balls in his last season at Southern, all of his grabs coming in nine games including a season-high of 11 receptions in the Lions’ comeback victory over the Missouri Western Griffons in which Thompson caught the game-winning touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

The score was one of 10 on the season for Thompson.

Thompson’s longest reception of 2009 was a 46-yarder in the home opener against Emporia State University. He ended the seeason with 578 yards receiving.

Thompson also showed versatility with two rushing touchdowns along with 49 yards on the ground with only nine carries.


Women’s Athletes of the Year

Another senior, our Female Athlete of the Year had a record-breaking season in her final year as a Lion.

Jolea Apon led the women’s basketball team night after night in the 2009-2010 season. She tied a career-high in points in a game with 28 on Dec. 2.

She later broke that career-high, setting a new mark with 35 on Feb. 6. She also tied a school record with 11 three-pointers in that contest. She was 11-19 from the floor, all from long-range.

She was then named the MIAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week by a conference SID panel.

Not even a week later, she led the Lions to a late victory over the Pittsburg State University Gorillas by putting up 23 points in the second half while going 7-7 from three-point range.