An amazingly successful fall sports season for area schools is quickly winding down.

Last weekend, we had two area teams compete in the MSHSAA Volleyball Championships with New Haven taking second in Class 1 and Hermann finishing third in Class 2.

Two other volleyball teams, Borgia and Sullivan, played in Class 3 sectional events with Borgia advancing a round beyond Sullivan.

In softball, Borgia and Sullivan both reached the Class 3 quarterfinal round before getting knocked out. Washington fell in the Class 4 sectional to eventual state champion Marquette.

We still have two area football teams alive in the district championship games. Borgia will host Rolla for the Class 4 District 4 title while Owensville goes to Eldon for a rematch in its Class 3 district.

The Washington soccer Blue Jays will take on Webster Groves Tuesday night at SLUH in Class 3 sectional action.

And, the MSHSAA state boys swim meet runs Thursday and Friday for qualified swimmers from Borgia and Washington. We now finally have the entrants. Maybe the most confusing statement was that Borgia qualified as a team. That doesn’t mean the Knights will swim in every event of the meet. Borgia had three individual qualifiers and two relay teams. Each relay team can have four swimmers and up to four alternates. All 11 swimmers are being utilized as either qualifiers or alternates, so they will be there.

Swimming may have the most confusing state entry system of any sport as there are no district meets and this is the first year for two classes. This year, Class 1 will take place Thursday early afternoon and Friday morning.

We’ve still got some pretty amazing cross country teams and runners left as well and the MSHSAA championship meet takes place Saturday in Jefferson City.

Highlighting the way are the Washington and New Haven girls and the Borgia, Pacific and New Haven boys teams as well as individual qualifiers from other area schools.

If you plan to go to the state meet, get there very early and expect a crowd. As a rule, one usually either has to walk between a half-mile and a mile to the venue or take the shuttle.

Anyone who has been to a big cross country meet knows there are a lot of people and very little space. It’s what happens when you’re smashing four classes (eight races) into one venue in one day.

I don’t think anyone is complaining though. When MSHSAA is forced to split into more classes and rent venues for longer periods, that’s when you start seeing those $7 and $8 ticket prices per event. More classes might be good for some, but that doesn’t pay the bills.

For runners, it’s a constant fight to jockey for position, more so at the state level than during a lot of the regular season meets. The case where Mikayla Reed broke away from the field last year in the Class 4 girls race was more the exception than the rule. Usually, there’s a lot of jockeying for position with elbows being used more often than a lot of people would like to admit.

For spectators, it’s a fine line many times in being too close to the course. Everyone is looking for the perfect spot to watch and there always seems to be the one person who edges up a little closer and takes away that viewing or photo line.

At least, this year it seems that the weather will cooperate based upon the first forecast for weekend conditions.

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Congratulations to Dave Hackmann, who was named the MSHSAA volleyball official of the year Saturday in Cape Girardeau.

Dave’s been an officiating staple around the area in volleyball, basketball and baseball for a long time. While he’s stepped back from basketball, Hackmann has remained involved in the other two sports. I know he’s got a lot of interesting stories over the years and he’s always been an honest volleyball official. I still can remember the time he called his daughter, Cara, for being in the net during a match between Borgia and Washington.

Most of Hackmann’s best stories come in basketball. As a player he scored 2,134 points while playing at St. George in Hermann from 1966-69.

Officiating, the best Hackmann story probably is the time he had to give a Collinsville, Ill., cheerleader a technical foul one year at the Borgia Turkey Tournament in an issue of too many people in too little space.

And, we’re less than a month away from the Turkey Tournament to start the basketball season. Winter is coming, sooner than we think.