The Neosho wrestling team features in the Elliott Lodging Sports Commission Awards presented by Blevins Asphalt on Monday at the University Plaza Convention Center in Springfield.
The team itself has been nominated for boys team of the year and individual wrestlers Cayden Auch and Braxton Barnes vie for boys wrestler of the year against five other grapplers.
Other nominees from the Daily News core coverage area are McDonald County softball standout Kylie Helm and the Seneca cheerleading squad.
The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Doors open 75 minutes earlier.
— Neosho wrestling competes against Greenwood basketball, Monett wrestling, Seymour baseball, and Springfield Catholic basketball.
The Wildcats earned their eighth Class 3 state title in 10 seasons and returned to the top spot after one season finishing second place.
Neosho posted 141.5 points, beating out second place Kearney by four points.
Auch (126 pounds) and Barnes (145) won state titles, Drayke Perry (182) and Zane Persinger (220) each finished second, and other medalists were Landon Kivett (106) fourth, Kolton Sanders (132) sixth, and Alec Rothman (152) fifth.
Greenwood, propelled by five-star prospect Aminu Mohammed, won a boys basketball state championship for the first time since 1942.
The Blue Jays capped off their 29-3 season with a 55-54 victory over Oran in the Class 2 title game at JQH Arena.
Mohammed won the Gatorade Player of the Year for Missouri and he averaged 34.2 points, 17.5 rebounds, 2.9 steals, and 2.3 assists.
Monett won a Class 2 state title by a comfortable 36 point margin over runner-up Bolivar and the Cubs featured a pair of state champions in Karter Brink (120) and Matthew Bahl (126).
Seymour reached the Class 2 state championship game for the first time in program history and finished runner-up after a 9-0 loss to Ellington.
Springfield Catholic put together a 29-4 season and finished second in Class 3.
— Auch won a second state title in a row to start his prep career and he finished 39-1 this past season. He won a 4-3 decision against McDonald County’s Oscar Ortiz in the finals, a wrestler he defeated three times during the season.
Barnes, a Missouri commit, finished his prep career in style with his first state title coming on a 13-2 major decision against Liberty’s Christian Zeik, an opponent who entered the state championship match unbeaten and left with his first and only loss. Barnes went 54-4 his senior season.
The other nominees for boys wrestler of the year are Brink, Bolivar’s Hayden Burks, Carthage’s Kale Schrader, Buffalo’s Floyd Miller, and Logan-Rogersville’s Jay Strausbaugh.
Brink capped off a 48-6 season with a 4-3 state title decision against Fulton’s Sam Hrabovsky.
Burks (160) went 52-0 and defeated Winfield’s Clark Rogers 9-5 for a Class 2 state title.
Schrader (220), a transfer from Seneca, made an indelible mark on the highest classification with a 54-0 overall record. He pinned Park Hill’s Ashton Sharp with 29 seconds remaining in regulation of their Class 4 state title match.
Miller (170) finished 51-1 overall and won a Class 2 state title on a 36-second pin of Reeds Spring’s Clayton Johnson.
Strausbaugh (132) rounds out a high standard field of nominees and he finished 55-1 and Class 2 state champion this past season.
Former Neosho standout Adrian Hitchcock — a two-time state champion heavyweight — won top wrestler last year.
— Helm, who has signed with NCAA Division I Mercer, competes against Bolivar’s Katie Brooks, Reeds Spring’s Izzy Erickson, Republic’s Julia Higgins, Ozark’s Nya Morgan, and Republic’s Kaitlyn Ragsdale for top softball player.
Helm hit .479 her senior season with six home runs and 36 RBI, and led the Mustangs to a district title and sectional berth. Helm finished the entire season without striking out and she did not strike out her final two seasons. She left high school with a streak of 205 straight at-bats without striking out.
Brooks, a verbal commit to Florida State, pitched Bolivar into the state quarters.
Erickson struck out 230 batters in 117 1/3 innings last fall and recorded a 1.44 ERA. She hit .570 with 29 RBI at the plate.
Higgins and Morgan shared Central Ozark Conference player of the year honors.
Higgins hit a school record 14 home runs and drove in a school record 60 runs. Her 60 RBI rank second best for a single season in Missouri.
Ragsdale batted .500, reached base nearly 55 percent of the time, drove in 23 runs, stole 37 bases (she stole a school record 42 her freshman season), and scored a school record 44 runs.
— Seneca competes against Marshfield, Ozark, Republic, and Spokane in the cheerleading category.