Just a few feet from the main entrance, the Tiger model in Smith-Cotton High School looks more like a piece of art than a hallway ornament when the building empties. A powerful mascot immediately sets the tone for students entering a seven-year old school going stride-for-stride with time.
An empty building resets the school year for S-C athletic director Rob Davis in the summer. For him, football season in the fall sets the tone for the next pair of semesters. Last year, when Smith-Cotton was ultimately awarded the West Central Conference All-Sports award, the Tigers football team set the tone week-to-week.
Smith-Cotton football went 9-0 and earned a bye in the district tournament before its first loss, while a couple S-C teams in fall enjoyed postseason success. For the first time since 1979, Lady Tigers volleyball (22-2-1), won the Class 4, District 9 tournament. Girl’s tennis picked up its first-ever team district win and Grace Edgar qualified for the state cross-country meet.
In the winter, Micheal Laster, one of four Smith-Cotton wrestlers at state, earned sixth as the Tigers’ first state place-winner in a decade, while Smith-Cotton basketball led by all-state forward Dante Scroggins, went 16-8 and advanced in the district tournament.
Scroggins earned a full-ride scholarship to Mid-America Nazarene University after the season, which preceded a wave of collegiate signings across the S-C athletics spectrum in spring. Chance Johnson signed a letter of intent to Missouri Southern track. Luke Guier signed one for Iowa.
Also in track, a few girls still awaiting college won state titles in the 4×100 meter relay. Nia Hawkins, Dennise Reyes, Makeba Nash and Monique Grant won the top-class title in a school-record time of 48.02 seconds.
Baseball, in a nearly overkill effort to defend a conference title, set a school record for wins (27) and fell one run short to the eventual Missouri state runners-up, Jefferson City. Many of the team’s top contributors, and its coach Jud Kindle, joined the State Fair Community College Roadrunners for its first team since 2000.
Dozens more from other programs – soccer and softball – joined SFCC to further their athletic careers and further tighten the relationship between the city and its public high school.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2