We embraced being crazy on Twitter Thursday night when the News-Leader presented the 2016 SW Missouri Sports Awards, an event created to honor and uphold the best and finest in our area’s high school sports.
Keynote speaker and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow received a standing ovation, but the largest and most heartfelt ovation of the evening arguably belonged to Courage Award winner David Odun-Ayo, a multi-sport athlete from Glendale who competed in a multitude of sports in spite of a limb difference in his right leg.
We at the News-Leader gathered some of the top athletes in the Ozarks under one roof at the Springfield Expo Center to share a celebration of achievement and accomplishment. We also asked for the more than a thousand in attendance to share their experience on Twitter with the hashtag #NLsportsawards.
Here are some of the News-Leader staff’s favorite responses to our request:
No one was more gracious in victory than Glendale’s David Odun-Ayo. He won the Courage Award for competing and thriving in multiple sports despite the fact that he wears a prosthetic device to compensate for a limb difference on his right leg caused by a birth defect. His joy was contagious from the moment he walked on stage to the moment he left the building.
He was so overcome he went so far as to partially break up a hug with Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow to turn to those around him and say, “Oh my gosh, that’s Tim Tebow,” with Tebow himself still hugging and laughing all along.
A$APH Dave (@PlantainFuFu) June 10, 2016
Sticking with our theme of David Odun-Ayo, even in a dark photo taken backstage at an awards show, you can see how happy he was to be there. It was one of the instances in life when a photograph or even video wouldn’t do to capture the true happiness of the moment.
News-Leader (@springfieldNL) June 10, 2016
Alright, one more tweet related to Tim Tebow and Glendale’s David Odun-Ayo, but this one is the best. Tim Tebow himself watched the video of David that the News-Leader team put together. Tebow purposefully was the first person to meet David offstage after David accepted his award. David Odun-Ayo made an impression on Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) June 10, 2016
State champion point guard Abby Oliver from Strafford managed to capture the closing seconds of Tim Tebow’s advice to high school athletes on video. Abby has one more season left to play at Strafford, and she is sure to impress.
Abby Oliver (@abbyoliver03) June 10, 2016
Bolivar soccer standout Brionna Halverson was bold enough to ask the question we all wanted to ask. How can any of us be as obviously jacked up as Tim Tebow?
Brionna Halverson (@brissc18) June 10, 2016
Springfield News-Leader Sports Editor Allen Vaughan captured some candid photos of a couple of our guest hosts. Most MSU Lady Bears fans know her as Casey Garrison, but she goes by Casey Powell now, and she can still play basketball with the best of them. Along those basketball lines, it was great to see high-flying Will Fontleroy join with us to help put on a show to honor the best in high school sports.
Allen Vaughan (@AllenVaughanNL) June 10, 2016
John Cavanaugh was probably going for a cool shot of an ice sculpture when he shot this photo. Why not? Ice sculptures are awesome, and it’s always awe-inspiring to see ice art in person. John also gave us a bit of a behind the scenes look into how the SW Missouri Sports Awards show comes together, and that’s equally cool.
John Cavanaugh (@jaccavanaugh) June 10, 2016
Confession time. We gave Ozark High School volleyball player Paige Perry the wrong plaque when she won the Volleyball Player of the Year Award. We made it right and got her the right plaque and a 100 percent correct photo with Tim Tebow.
Judging by this short video, the Missouri State volleyball signee still had an awesome time.
Paige (@paigeperry21) June 10, 2016
It’s tough to sum up half an hour of discussion in 140 characters, but Matt Battaglia sure did a great job with this quote he took away from Tim Tebow:
"We can't control everything in our lives, but 3 things we can control: our attitude, our effort, and our focus." Tim Tebow #NLsportsawards—
Matt Battaglia (@matbat77) June 10, 2016
This tweet from Carly Shull won an official NFL football signed by Tim Tebow. That’s two members of the Team of the Year Award-winning Hartville Eagles showing off their gargantuan Class 2 basketball state championship rings.
Tebow provides inspirational message at Southwest Missouri Sports Awards
Carly Shull (@Carlyshull) June 10, 2016
High school Athlete of the Year award winners named