Editor’s Note: The Courier-Tribune’s Boys and Girls Athletes of the Year for Liberty, Liberty North, Kearney and Smithville were selected by sports writer Mac Moore based on his opinions from covering the teams and using insights provided by area coaches when available.
Smithville Girls Athlete of the Year: Emma Chevalier
Chevalier finished her high school career with postseason success in three different sports for the Smithville Warriors: cross country, girls basketball and track and field.
First up, Chevalier helped Smithville cross country continue a multi-year postseason team trophy streak at state despite this season looking much different than years past.
She started her year navigating a pandemic altered cross country season where the first few events had no fans allowed at all.
The missing fanfare did not stop Chevalier and her teammates — including fellow seniors Olivia Littleton, Lily Cutler and Riley Kochanowicz — from earning a fourth-place team trophy at state this year, the team’s third straight year of bringing home hardware. She finished fourth on the team in 32nd place. Her time of 20:10.90 improved on her best 2020 finish by 27 seconds and set her new personal record.
Chevalier quickly turned her attention to basketball season where she earned Suburban Blue all-conference first team honors.
Chevalier and her teammate senior Christina Walsh both averaged more than 10 points per game. Walsh added over six rebounds and 1.4 steals while Chevalier had 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
The duo led the Warriors to a district championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals before their season ended with a 19-5 overall record and a perfect 10-0 in conference play.
Her memories of district play last year, where she played a little too timid on offense, did not match her childhood dreams of achieving the same success as the Warriors she watched win three district trophies from 2011 to 2013. Chevalier was anything but a timid scorer this year, taking over games whenever opposing defenses tried to throw everything at disrupting Walsh’s unstoppable low post game.
Chevalier finished off her senior year with a track and field season where she won a sixth-place state in the 4x800-meter relay with Littleton, Cutler and Kochanowicz.
She also set her PR in the 400-meter dash at conference to take third place, but she just missed advancing past districts in the event with a fifth-place finish.
Chevalier gathered a long list of accolades off the court as well. She was the high school’s student body president. Chevalier earned academic all-state honors in basketball, as well as being named to a Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association all-star for Missouri.
Chevalier will run cross country at Rockhurst University.