2018 Comeback Player of the Year Finalists
Poplar Bluff, Senior
The multi-sport standout for the Mules suffered a knee injury midway through the football season, robbing him of a number of football games during a key stretch of the season. But Cox recovered to help the baseball team to a SEMO Conference Tournament title in his final year of high school athletics, as one of Poplar Bluff’s best hitters and one of the area’s best defensive shortstops. He will continue his baseball career at UT Martin.
Saxony Lutheran, Senior
Many student-athletes deal with injury setbacks, but few face life and death scenarios. Robinson had more at stake than just basketball when he collapsed on the court during an AAU basketball game last summer. Diagnosed with a heart condition, it was unclear if he’d ever play the sport again, but come the winter Robinson was back out on the court for the Crusaders, providing a big presence down low, and he will continue his playing career at Division III Illinois College.
Poplar Bluff, Senior
Bell makes it back-to-back years earning a finalist nod in the Comeback category after he bounced back from an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury a year ago to earn a silver medal at the state track meet. This year he continued his recovery from that injury and didn’t miss a beat, taking over as quarterback for the Mules and helping them to an undefeated regular season and a conference championship. But an in-season ACL injury in his other knee forced a second recovery, from which he returned for to win a district title in javelin before finishing second in sectionals. At state he finished ninth in the event despite suffering another injury, this time to his elbow.
Mik Liley, Jackson
Liley nearly saw her entire high school career over before it started, after suffering a complete tear to the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee in 2015, and then suffering the same injury in her left knee a year later. Instead, it just delayed her debut. When it finally came this year, the junior took advantage, becoming a critical spark plug for a district-winning girls basketball team and then showcasing her talent in her best sport and helping Jackson’s girls soccer team to its first-ever appearance at state.
Notre Dame, Sophomore
After what was a dominant freshman debut a year ago in track and field, Burger could have collapsed under the challenges of a less-than-perfect sophomore season. She didn’t. Instead, the three-sport athlete worked her way back from a late-season basketball knee injury, missing track and field’s regular season but cleaning up in the postseason with a pair of district titles, a sectional championship and a successful defense of her Class 4 triple jump state championship.