By ERIC X. VICCARO
Valle Catholic certainly had plenty to celebrate during Sports Awards Recognition Night on May 26 at the DuBourg Centre.
The Warriors, during the 2020-21 season, brought home more hardware for the overflowing trophy cases in the school lobby and field house at Father John Dempsey Field.
“This is a tribute to the student-athletes,” said Valle Catholic principal Greg Miller. “We have athletes that are scholars, that are in community service. You will excel in all walks of life.”
Miller briefly discussed St. Sebastian, the popular patron saint of athletes who died at the age of 32 in the year 288 AD.
The program began with football awards and finished with special honors for the top male and female athletes of the year and Missouri State High School Activities Association sportsmanship winners.
Three-sport star Cory Stoll was honored as both the top male athlete and with a 3-for-4 award. Stoll was a member of the new school-record 4×100-meter relay team.
Riley Siebert earned the top female athlete of the year honor. Siebert crossed the 1,000-kill plateau in her senior year. Riley pounded down 427 this season to with a .348 hitting efficiency and 57 ace serves, second on the team.
Both Stoll and Siebert will continue playing sports on the next level, with Cory at Mineral Area College in Park Hills and Siebert at John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill.
Sam Drury and Sam Loida were the MSHSAA Sportsmanship Awards recipients.
Drury excelled in three sports this year: football, basketball and as a hurdler in track and field. Loida also played three sports: volleyball, basketball and she was a sprinter/relay specialist. Both qualified for the Class 1 state track and field meet.
Valle Catholic head football coach/co-athletic director Judd Naeger presented all-state and academic all-state honors while handing out special awards (that are listed in agate with this story).
The Warriors finished with 9-1 record, bumped up from Class 1 to Class 3 in 2020 due to MSHSAA’s new “championship factor” variable. Valle rolled into the playoffs unbeaten before falling to St. Mary’s of St. Louis, 55-22, in the second round.
Valle Catholic head boys’ and girls’ cross country coach Samer Zoughaib noted the Warriors fine season — which included the girls’ second-place finish at state as a team. Camryn Basler also was an all-state medalist.
Volleyball finished a best-ever second in Class 2 this season, compiling a 30-6-2 record, with record-breaking performances from libero Rachel Blum (digs), setter Loida (assists) and middle blocker Ella Bertram (158 solo ace stuffs).
Boys’ basketball reached the Class 2 state quarterfinals, and everyone remembers the electric atmosphere at Valle Catholic High School for that showdown with eventual state champion Campbell (a 68-61 loss).
Carter Hoog, who will play hoops at Missouri University of Science and Technology, was named team MVP. Hoog scored a school-record 1,747 points in his four-year career at Valle Catholic.