Making strides were the two words most often used by Boonville coaches Tuesday night during the annual Boonville Winter Sports Reception.
While the Boonville Pirates basketball team posted its best record in three years under head coach Scott Floyd at 12-13 overall and 6-6 in the NCMC, the Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team struggled to find an identity with one freshman, three sophomores and one junior on the court at one time. As a result of the youth movement, the Lady Pirates closed out the 2012-13 campaign at 7-18 overall and 2-10 in the conference under first-year coach Jaryt Hunziker.
The Boonville Pirates wrestling team, meanwhile, also had its struggles on the mat while giving up four sometimes five opens in each meet. That alone spelled disaster as the Pirates trailed 24-0 before the match even started.
Needless to say, the 2012-13 season was all about making strides for the future. Floyd said albeit short strides the Pirates have increased their win total each of the last-three seasons. Meanwhile, for the Lady Pirates, they picked up hardware in two tournaments and dropped six games by five points or less.
The Boonville Pirates wrestling team also had its moments by qualifying two wrestlers for the state tournament.
Floyd said during the reception Tuesday night that although the record was not what they would like, the team did show improvement.
"We won 10 games my first year and 11 games my second year if you count the forfeit, so we go from 10, 11 to 12 this year," Floyd said. "Keep in mind that we had a lot of young guys that played major minutes so to mesh those guys in with the older group I thought we had a tremendous year."
Floyd also spoke on behalf of JV coach Kent Peterson, who was unable to attend the reception. While finishing the JV season at 10-7 overall and 5-6 in the NCMC, Floyd said if you would have seen the JV team at the beginning of the year you would not know the difference between the JV team and the varsity team.
"The JV guys would win a lot of times during our scrimmages," Floyd said. "As the year went on the varsity guys were able to catch up and dominate but we have a very promising young group. Their record was probably a little deceiving in the fact that some guys were going back and forth between JV and varsity so they really didn't get a good run, but with the group we have we are very excited about our future."
In addition to announcing the letterwinners during the season, Floyd also recognized seniors Damario Walker and Jay Barnhart for being selected to the all-conference and KMZU Dream Teams.
The duo was also announced as co-winners of the Boonville Pirate Pride Award by Floyd.
Coach Hunziker also spoke to the crowd about the progress his team made throughout the season.
With the players lined up in a straight line during the player recognition, Hunziker said this is a very young group.
"As you can tell we are a very young group and with a young group comes a positive future and that's why I want to make sure we take and focus on," stated Hunziker. "Yes, we did struggle at times this year. We got off to a good start with the varsity going the first couple of weeks and bringing home some hardware from a couple of tournaments. We thought things were going in the right direction and then we struggled at times. But like I said we are a young group."
With a young group, Hunziker said the fans have to be patient but it is coming. He said he guarantees it.
"You saw examples throughout the year of how we competed," Hunziker said. "That's one thing I had a lot of people compliment us on is that we competed to the end. I told the girls that other coaches when they talked about us is that we are kind of a scary team because with us being young, you didn't know what group was going to show up. We competed every night and we gave a lot of good teams a lot of problems throughout the season and I know that is going to benefit us come next year because of the experience."
Hunziker also talked about how losing sometimes helps teams because if they don't want to experience it again, they will learn from those losses.
"Again, I guarantee next year when we take and put ourselves in certain positions, we will come out on top by learning from those things this year," Hunziker said.
Like the varsity team, the JV team had an up and down season while finishing 5-12 overall and 3-7 in the NCMC.
Hunziker said he always shows appreciation to his JV group because the JV team is what pushes the varsity team.
"I know next year with having everybody back practices will be a lot more competitive than they were at times this year," Hunziker said. "Both groups came a long way from this summer."
The Boonville Lady Pirates basketball team also had two players selected to the all-conference team for the 2012-13 season. Sophomore Morgan Edwards was a first-team selection while junior Aly Wessing was a second-team pick.
Hunziker also recognized Edwards for being selected to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association All-District Basketball team. Hunziker also commented that Edwards, who was the recipient of the Pirate Pride Award, led the team in points scored, rebounds, field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock also spoke about his team's struggles during the season and said it was kind of expected.
"We knew going into this year that we were going to struggle a little bit because our numbers were bigger than usual but we had a lot of kids at the same weight classes," Stock said. "When that happens it makes it very difficult to score points."
Stock said going into most of their duals they would start the match down 24 points with four open weight classes.
"I told them that I wanted to focus on getting better as individual wrestlers and to go out and improve each and every match," Stock said. "We were also a young team. We didn't have a ton of varsity wrestlers who had a lot of experience this year. We had a hand full of those kids but we also had kids who were first time wrestlers or freshmen in the varsity lineup as well."
Stock also praised two wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament. He said junior Andrew Broyhill finished the season at 36-11 and led the Pirates in two categories for most decisions with 11 and most escapes with 36. Broyhill was also selected first-team all-conference by virtue of his undefeated season in the NCMC in the 152-pound weight class, Stock said.
Senior Kyle Cook also picked up some nice hardware for his second place finish at the state tournament in the 220-pound weight class, according to Stock. In addition to leading the team with the best record at 42-5 overall, Stock said Cook led the Pirates in six categories for most falls with 25, most major decisions with three, most takedowns with 82, most three-point nearfalls with 29 and most two-point nearfalls with 16.
A second-team NCMC selection, Stock said Cook closed out his career with a record of 119-37 overall but noted that the last-two years the senior grappler posted a record of 85-10. His 119 career wins also ranks fifth currently with Nathan Bright, Stock said.
Stock also selected Cook as the winner of the Pirate Pride Award.
Last but not least, Boonville cheerleader/dance team sponsor Joni Naumann spoke about both squads this season.
Naumann said the dance team lost quite a few seniors last year so the 2012-13 season was filled with underclassmen who stepped up and really took on the leadership role.
"They haven't had any seniors to lead them," Naumann said. They haven't had anybody to just really take them to do some of the choreography so they have really had to learn to step up quick in their high school dance team career and they have done an awesome job. They have had a lot of growing pains, a lot of things to work through together but they have done very well to get along and make the season another awesome season."
As for the Boonville cheerleading squad, Naumann said the cheerleaders have also been under some really good leadership. She said the two seniors have done really well with managing the girls and making sure that they set good examples.
"They were also encouraging but disciplined enough to keep the games and practices structured the way they need to be," Naumann said. "We have also progressed and created a lot of new ideas and stunts for the season."
Naumann commented further about seniors Nina Martin and Haley Coburn. Naumann said Martin has been with her for the last four years and cheered in both football and basketball, which makes eight seasons. As for Coburn, Naumann said she has cheered for six seasons the last four years.
"Nina and Haley were both awesome, awesome role models," Naumann said. "What they both did the last four years is a huge accomplishment."