Another year of high school sports is in the books, the final chapters written.
It came to a close last weekend with the baseball and girls soccer championships. It was a fitting end to nine, noteworthy months in Central Missouri sports--- Hallsville finished third in baseball, Helias second in soccer, and Fatima was crowned the state baseball champion in Class 3.
If those were the final chapters, call this the epilogue.
From September through May, KRCG named a Missouri Orthopaedic Institute at Capital Region Medical Center Student Athlete of the Week.
Male and female, in every sport you can think of, with one common thread ... student athletes with gaudy GPAs, often over 4.0.
In all, 34 were honored. Now, we have the final two.
The winners --- The Student Athletes of the Year --- are Moberly's Taylor Fusselman and Iberia's Isaac Minnick.
The Best of the Best.
Fusselman and Minnick --- who were awarded $1,000 scholarships --- both had GPAs of 4.1. They were both all-district and all-conference in their respective sports, while Fusselman was also named to the all-state soccer team.
Combined, they competed in five sports their senior year. Combined, they didn't win a single state championship.
But even though they didn't get a gold medal to hang around their neck, they still had years of gold.
Watch video here - KRCG 13 Honors Fusselman and Minnick
Fusselman was a splendid athlete in soccer and basketball for four years. Softball was simply an afterthought her senior year.
"She's an outstanding soccer player and in addition, she's a very good basketball player," Moberly Athletic Director Kenny Seifert said. "She only played softball her senior year and she was all-conference.
"She's very coachable, she picks up on things quickly and she tries to do her best at all times. That's what's enabled her to have the success she's had."
Success in sports and all the while, keeping a GPA better than perfect.
"My parents (Mike and Peggy) helped me out a lot with that, they made sure I stayed up with my academics," Fusselman said. "But they also pushed me athletically, as well."
She says her athletic highlights came in soccer, as the Lady Spartans won four district championship and were undefeated conference champions for straight three years.
Fusselman isn't sure if she'll play soccer at Truman State, where she plans to major in Communications. "I figured I'd get there and get a feel for it before I decided," she said.
Either way, Truman State's gain is Moberly's loss.
"She's one of the most competitive kids to ever come through this school," Seifert said, "and she did it with a smile on her face. She's a great teammate, she never has a bad minute of a day and she's an extremely hard worker."
"She brings out the best in not only herself, but everybody around her, all the time. She was a great kid to have in our building every day.
"We're going to miss her, but we know she's going to go on and do great things."
THIS MARCH, MINNICK
and his Iberia Rangers had a great basketball run.
This run went beyond the team and the school, it spread throughout the community. This was a run to the Final Four --- Iberia's first trip to the semifinals since 1968.
"It was pretty cool seeing the whole town come out and support us," Minnick said. "I still have people talking to me about it.
"That was probably the best part of my high school career."
Iberia's rally cry for the team came at the right time, it appears.
"We've had a lot of issues down here at the school this year, a lot of outside interference," Iberia Athletic Director Lisa Law said. "The success of the basketball team came at a great time.
"I think it helped heal some of those woulds and bring the community back together."
And Minnick, the team's captain, was right at the heart of it --- for all the right reasons.
"He's an outstanding young man," Law said. "He has great morals, great ethics and a great sense of humor. If you want something done, you go to Isaac Minnick to get it done.
"He's very dependable, very trustworthy ... just a great all-around kid."
As far as his success in the classroom, which ended with him ranked second in the Class of 2013? Well, it wasn't that complicated.
"Basically, you just have to pay attention and not goof around in class," said Minnick, who's undecided on a major as he gets ready to attend Lincoln. "That's what got me through, I guess."
He did not, apparently, have his nose buried in a textbook on a nightly basis.
"I don't want this to sound bad," Law said, "but he's not a bookworm. He was active in sports, he was active in student council, he was the President of National Honor Society. He was an active individual and still maintained that grade-point average.
"He's just a great role model for our younger athletes and our younger kids, and a great ambassador for our community.
"Everybody in Iberia knows who Isaac is."