Brianna Utecht accepts her award for girls track at the Sports Commission Awards ceremony at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Monday. Utecht went all-state in four sprinting events, including the 4x100 relay that placed fourth overall in Missouri Class 4.

Several athletes from The Mail’s coverage area came away with top honors at the Sports Commission Awards for the 2018-19 school year, including recent Strafford grad Hayley Frank, who took the night’s highest award for female athletes.

The awards ceremony was held at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on Monday evening and honored almost 150 student-athletes from southwest Missouri.

Frank, who is currently training for her first year in the Mizzou basketball program and was unable to attend, had her father, former Strafford head girls basketball coach Steve Frank, accept the Girls Athlete of the Year award in her absence. Frank’s Class 3 state champion Lady Indians basketball squad, then, received recognition as the Girls Team of the Year. Hayley Frank was also named top girls basketball player.

Meanwhile, Marshfield’s Brianna Utecht was named Best Girls Track Athlete for her sophomore campaign. The young sprinter raced to fifth place in the 400-meter dash at the Missouri Class 4 state meet, and she medaled in all three of her other events at state. The Marshfield cheer squad was also a finalist for Best Cheer Team, but did not take the award.

Two girls from Logan-Rogersville received awards in their respective sports, while a parade of athletes from that school were named finalists. Best Volleyball Player went to Gatorade Player of the Year Birdie Hendrickson for her junior campaign that saw the Lady Wildcats bring home a Class 3 state championship. Swimmer Cabrini Johnson was also recognized as the top athlete in southwest Missouri in her sport. Johnson set a new record in Missouri Class 1 with her first-place finish at the state meet in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Rogersville’s other finalists which did not ultimately take the top nod were Jay Strausbaugh for boys wrestling and Boys Athlete of the Year, Mattie Miles for girls tennis, Andrew Atwood for boys swimming, Brooke Wagner for girls golf, Luke Vandersnick for boys basketball, and the Pomcats dance team. The Rogersville volleyball squad was also a finalist for girls team of the year.

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