Here are our Top 5 Female Athlete of the Year nominees. The overall Athlete of the Year will be announced on the final O-Zone Show of the year on Sunday, Jun. 2 at 10:35 p.m.
This EXTREMELY difficult process started five weeks ago as we began to narrow our list down from the thousands of area athletes to our Top 50, Top 20 and finally this Top 5 before naming our Athlete of the Year. Many athletes were in consideration for our Top 50 all the way down to five. There are many deserving athletes in the area, but the fact is that five is five and not every athlete can be included.
This list is in alphabetical order by last name.
Natalie Basham, Camdenton
Basham finished off an outstanding career at Camdenton with all-state finishes in two sports and first-team all-conference honors in a third. On the basketball court, Basham was one of the area’s best scorers averaging 24 points per game, but her impact went far beyond points as she posted five rebounds, 3.4 assists, 3.4 steals per game to go with 90 defensive deflections. Her efforts earned her all-state honors in Class 5. On the track, Basham posted the area’s No. 1 time in the 300-meter hurdles (44.74) and No. 2 time in the 100-meter hurdles (14.89). She took third place in the 300-meter hurdles and sixth place in the 100-meter hurdles at the Class 4 state meet to earn two all-state honors. In the fall, Basham earned first-team all-conference honors on the volleyball court after tallying 275 kills and 211 digs.
Alana Findley, Fair Grove
Findley played two sports this year and was one of the state’s best in both of those sports. In the Fall, Findley was the leader for a Fair Grove volleyball team that won 27 matches. She tallied 349 kills, 111 blocks and 38 aces in her senior season. In the winter, Findley continued to be one of the area’s top five players with a stat line of 21.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.9 steals and 2.7 assists per game to go with shooting 55% from the field. Findley earned all-state honors in Class 3 for her efforts on a team that finished 24-4. She will join a Drury Lady Panther basketball team with National Championship aspirations this winter.
Hayley Frank, Strafford
Frank finished her career as the most statistically dominant basketball player in Missouri girls basketball history. Her senior year was no let down, as she scored 22.8 points per game while pulling down 13 rebounds and distributing 7.2 assists per game. She shot an astounding 68.3% from the field and 51.3% from three-point range. She led the Lady Indians to a fourth straight Class 3 state championship and state record 115 consecutive wins. She was named Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year for the second year in a row for her efforts. She will play for Mizzou this winter, and she was ranked as the No. 26 prospect in the 2019 class by ESPN. Her athletic resume did not end at basketball. Frank earned first-team all-state honors in spring softball on the infield after hitting .500 with 31 runs scored and 33 RBI. She was also a standout golfer finishing 23rd at the Class 2 state tournament.
Kaesha George, Monett
George earned all-state honors in both softball and track while being named First-Team All-Big 8 West on the basketball court in the winter. She was a standout in the outfield her junior year on the softball diamond being named Second-Team All-State in Class 3. She was one of only seven area players to earn all-state honors in Class 3. In track, she became the first Class 4 athlete to break the 150-foot barrier in the javelin throw at state with throw of 151’06, which was also the No. 1 throw in the area by 17 feet. She was the leader of a 12-win Monett team in the winter which garnered her first-team all-conference honors.
Madison Hicks, Crane
Hicks earned all-state honors in two sports and was a standout on the track as well. On the volleyball court, she was the area’s most lethal hitter in terms of total kills with 431 on the season. She added 173 blocks and 41 aces on her way to Class 2 All-State honors. On the basketball court, she was also all-state in Class 2 thanks to her averaging 23.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2.3 blocks and one assist per game to go with 60% shooting from the field. Her track season was marred by injury, but that did not stop her from posting the area’s No. 3 400-meter dash mark in the area. She was also No. 9 in the area in the long jump.