CLEANING OUT THE INBOX
Throughout the selection of the Herbie Strange State Farm Insurance Athletes of the
Year
, the inbox had many comments and questions about this year's top athletes.
SVCSPORTSZONE INBOX #1: I am a huge basketball fan. I thought Legg and Driggs both
had incredible years, but how can a one sport athlete be considered the best overall athlete in
the league. Just seems unfair to some of the kids who played and were successful in multiple
sports.

I feel your comment is a legitimate concern, but I believe these two are definitely top five in terms of the
Herbie Strange State Farm Insurance Athlete of the Year. The fact of the matter – and very unfortunate
fact as far as I am concerned – there are not many three sport athletes in the league. I realize the fact
that these two great basketball players do not play more than just the round ball will possibly keep them
from winning the award; however, I hope this contest allows SVC fans one last opportunity to grasp what
we have watched on the hardwood over the past four years.

With Driggs, you are talking about one of the league’s all-time best champions. As a four time SVC
champion, Driggs was the league’s best scorer on one end, and in my opinion, one of the leagueâ
€™s top defenders on the other. As far as Legg, I still do not think people around the league realize just
how good this kid has been over the past four years. As the ninth best scorer in SVC history, Legg also
finished as the all-time assists leader in Piketon history, and he did nothing but win and win consistently in
terms of team accomplishments. All totaled, the fact that they do play just one sport probably keeps them
from getting my final vote, but make no mistake about it, they both are more than worthy of any and all
recognition that comes their way for how they have dominated the SVC over the past four years.

SVCSPORTSZONE INBOX #2: I know this email is going to make me sound like a Unioto-
hater, but three girls in the top five? Come on! Several other girls should have been on the list
before some of them.

When the final preliminary votes were totaled, I have to admit I was surprised to see 60-percent of the
final ballot made up of the purple and gold; however, when you break it all down, I feel the fans did a
solid job. Anytime I get a question like this, I immediately start thinking the following: Who else should be
on the list instead? Well, let’s take a look.

Most of Adena’s top female athletes are one-sport athletes. Paint Valley has a top-five and many of
their others play just one or two sports. Piketon’s Alex Southworth is probably the biggest snub in
my opinion, so any argument from the Redstreak Nation is somewhat legitimate in my opinion. Huntington
and Southeastern both had down years in girls’ sports as many of their best athletes played only one
sport. Finally, Westfall and Zane Trace had several one-sport athletes and their best teams were very
balanced. With all this considered, the Unioto kids have every right to one of those five spots as any other
kid in the league.

SVCSPORTSZONE INBOX #3: I am not going to say anything negative about the kids who
made the list because they are good athletes, but I really felt like Piketon’s Alex
Southworth was done wrong. She is easily a top five athlete in the SVC.

I agree! As you can see from my response to another inbox, I felt Southworth was worthy of a top-five
spot. I feel Southworth’s size, speed, and overall athleticism make her one of the league’s best
athletes. The one thing I will restate from my other comment is the fact of how tough it is to take one of
the top-five off the list. The only thing I can see with Southworth is even though she was solid in all three
sports; she did not have that one sport where she posted an elite individual accomplishment.

SVCSPORTSZONE INBOX #4: It is really hard for me to determine the different athletes
throughout different sports. Is it easier to make the regional or state level in some sports
compared to others? Does making all-league in some sports carry more weight than others? All
this makes it tough for me to start ranking athletes.

This is one of the best overall questions/comments I have received in the inbox in quite some time. If I am
following your thoughts correctly, I think you make some great points. I do think individual
accomplishments must be judged differently throughout the different sports. Take track for example. In
track, it is much more difficult to make all-league. In most sports, if you are a top-10 or top-15 player,
you are going to get plenty of votes to make the All-SVC team; however, in track you have to actually be
the best on the right night at your event to capture this honor. Staying with track, the postseason can
sometimes be misleading the other way. First of all the sport does not have a sectional round, so an elite
athlete starts in the districts and is a top-four finish away from making the regional level in their schoolâ
€™s respective division. It is much harder for an elite player in a sport like softball or basketball to get his
or her team to the regional level. Some sports truly take the best performance from the entire year. In
golf, Duane Irvin was crowned SVC Player of the Year based on his overall average where he played the
same courses in the same conditions as every other SVC player.

This is why I feel you must look at the individual accomplishments, but in the end, look at each athlete
with the “eye� test. If a fan truly watches enough SVC sports, they should be able to determine the
best overall athlete.

SVCSPORTSZONE INBOX #5: With all the talk about the best athlete, I was wondering who
you thought were the most underrated athletes in the SVC. Who should get more publicity from
fans for being one of the elite athletes?

Great question! On the boys’ side, Westfall’s Alek Stonerock jumps out at me. He is all-league
in football, basketball, and baseball. I believe he is the only boy to be named onto a team in three sports.
Alek is a big, strong athlete who is going to dominate three sports over the next two years. Westfall is
also going to be amongst the best team in all three sports, so Alek is going to start getting plenty of
attention. I would also include Paint Valley’s Logan Markko on the boys’ side. He was all-
league in cross country and basketball, and despite missing the all-league honors in track, he had great
postseason success in Division III. Markko is a 6-5 athlete who has done a lot to make a variety of
sports successful at a small school.

As for girls, I would have to say Southworth in some ways; however, I do think most fans and media
recognize her as a great athlete. Perhaps the most overlooked athlete is Adena’s Brytan Givens. The
senior just missed the all-league squad in cross country before earning the honor in both basketball and
softball. Givens has been a consistent performer on the hardwood and the diamond and has been a part
of a lot of winning for the two-shade blue.
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