Here are our Top 5 Male 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.
Isaiah Davis, Joplin
Davis is a three-sport star for the Eagles earning all-state honors in both football and track. He was named honorable mention all-conference on the basketball court. Football is where Davis has some of his highest ceiling. He earned second-team all-state honors at running back after rushing for 1,676 yards and 28 touchdowns on 203 carries last year. He has picked up Division I offers from Southeast Missouri State and South Dakota State. Davis proved he could also go Division I in the javelin if he wanted after posting a season-best of 189’06 in the event. He finished third at the Class 5 state meet in the javelin throw. He was a key factor on the basketball court as well averaging 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game on his way to honorable mention all-conference honors in one of the area’s best basketball conferences.
Aminu Mohammed, Greenwood
Mohammed is the only one sport athlete on this list. The reason he is included is because he did things in his sophomore year that have not been seen in the state since the early 1990’s. Mohammed scored 1,059 points in his sophomore year at a 34.2 per game average. That is the sixth most points scored by a player in one season in MSHSAA history. None of the remaining Top 10 single-season scoring marks happened after 1990. There has been a lot Division I players and future NBA talent come though the state since 1990 and none of them scored at the clip Mohammed did. He helped Greenwood go from a 7-16 record a year ago to 29-3 and the Class 2 state championship this past season. Mohammed earned the Gatorade Player of the Year honor for his efforts. The super sophomore, who is ranked No. 11 in the Class of 2021 by Rivals, is only the second Missouri player to earn the Gatorade Player of the Year honor as a sophomore. The other? Former Chaminade and Duke star and current Boston Celtic Jayson Tatum. That is about as elite of company as an athlete can join.
Tyson Riley, Catholic
Riley was one of the area’s best two-way players on the football field in the fall, a key piece of a state runner-up basketball team in the winter and all-state in the hurdles in the spring. Riley, who is signed with Army to play football, earned all-state honors at defensive back and Big 8 East Offensive Player of the Year for his work as a quarterback. He carried the ball 202 times for 1,602 yards and 28 touchdowns while throwing for three touchdowns and 512 yards. On defense, he maintained the energy to pull down 66 tackles and three interceptions from his safety spot. On the basketball court, he was the leading rebounder (5.2 rpg) for the Class 3 state runner-up Irish. He also chipped in 4.8 points per game on his way to honorable mention all-conference honors. Riley finished out his career on the track with two all-state finishes by taking fourth in the 300-meter hurdles and sixth in the 110-meter hurdles. In the area, he posted southwest Missouri’s No. 1 110-meter hurdle time (14.71) and 300-meter hurdle time (39.05).
Kale Schrader, Carthage
Schrader had the unique experience of transferring from a mid-sized school in Seneca to one of the area’s largest schools in Carthage for his junior year. He proved his skillset translated exceedingly well on the football field, wrestling mat and baseball diamond. Schrader’s most impressive feat happened on the wrestling mat. He made the jump from Class 1 to Class 4 and got better. He posted a 54-0 record on his way to the Class 4 state championship at 220 pounds. That feat earned him a national No. 17 ranking at 220 pounds. He is the only area wrestler to be ranked nationally, and one of only nine wrestlers in the state to earn a national ranking in wrestling. His individual championship was only the ninth time in the last eight years an area wrestler has won a state title in Class 4. That is nine championships of 126 available opportunities. On the football field, Schrader earned First-Team All-Conference honors at linebacker in the area’s best football conference after totaling 97 tackles and two interceptions. He also saw some time on offense with 13 carries for 115 yards. In baseball, he was second-team all-conference on the infield. He hit .365 with a .909 OPS. He also was one of Carthage’s top pitchers.
Zach Westmoreland, Joplin
Westmoreland is a three-sport standout earning all-state honors on the football field and track to go with second-team all-conference honors on the basketball court. Football is Westmoreland’s best sport. He is a rare two-way player in Class 6 because his talent is too much to keep off the field. He earned First-Team All-State honors for his work as a wide receiver. Westmoreland was also the All-Class 5&6 Region Offensive Player of the Year and COC Offensive Player of the Year. He also earned First-Team All-Region honors at defensive back. In total, he hauled in 72 passes for 959 yards and 13 touchdowns while adding 41 carries for 354 yards and 11 touchdowns. Defensively, he had 58 tackles and seven interceptions. He rarely came off the field as a junior, as he also tallied 526 return yards. On the track, Westmoreland broke out late in the season to end up setting an all-class record in the javelin throw with 194’06. No competitor at a MSHSAA state meet has ever thrown a javelin as far as Zach Westmoreland did this year. Westmoreland earned all-state honors in the long jump with a fifth place finish at the Class 5 state meet. He finished with the area’s No. 1 javelin, No. 3 long jump and No. 8 triple jump marks. On the basketball court, Westmoreland earned second-team all-conference honors after filling up the stat sheet with 13 points, 4.5 rebounds. 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per game.