It’s news you never want to see.

Stephanie Lindemann passed away Friday at the age of 20.

Deepest condolences to the Lindemann family. They’ve been around the area sports scene for a long time.

Oldest daughter Katie was a three-sport athlete at St. Francis Borgia Regional in volleyball, basketball and track.

Steph blazed her own trail as a standout softball player with the Lady Knights and was a slugging third baseman who fought through a nagging leg injury during her junior year.

That was the one year she got to play with her youngest sister, Josie, who just concluded her standout softball career at Borgia.

Steph Lindemann’s nagging injury turned out to be caused by Ewing’s Sarcoma and she started undergoing treatment soon after that junior softball season ended.

Steph Lindemann fought with dignity. Things had to be a lot tougher than anyone knew about, but I always saw her with a smile. When her athletic career ended, she became Josie’s biggest cheerleader.

Steph’s legacy includes unprecedented community support as well. Events were held at high schools around the area. Washington, Union, St. Clair and others joined the fight. At the competition venues, these schools are fierce rivals with Borgia. That was put aside for the greater fight.

And that allied spirit remains. The Rivals for a Reason softball game between Washington and Borgia this past season was a massive success and that needs to remain in place. There are others who are suffering from cancer and those who will be diagnosed in the future. The long fight continues.

Or as Steph would say, “Just keep swimming.”

Visitation for Steph will be held at Oltmann Funeral Home in Union Wednesday from 2-8 p.m. and Thursday from 4-7 p.m. Memorials are requested for Friends of Kids With Cancer, Kellsie’s Hope Foundation or the Mercy Health Foundation AYA.

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You’ve seen The Missourian All-Area teams for softball and volleyball. We have the All-Area football team ready to present to you when we can find the proper space.

We’ve been presenting the All-Area teams since the 1990-91 basketball season and have covered several sports over the years, including the current softball, volleyball, football, wrestling, boys basketball and girls basketball.

We started it as being the Four Rivers Conference and Borgia. Washington obviously stayed in when it left for the Gateway Athletic Conference. Our football currently has the biggest group with Cuba, Warrenton and Wright City also involved.

In the past, we’ve also done baseball. We could add sports once again, if there’s interest.

It takes considerable work to track down the nominees as well as find enough qualified unaligned voters to help balance out the coaches. Spring obviously is the toughest as once school is out, coaches are a little less apt to answer the call to vote.

Anyone who makes an all-conference team is automatically on the ballot. We also take nominations from coaches or media members who spot those with outstanding stats who somehow were overlooked for their conference teams.

I think this is one of the most unique honors for high school athletes because it’s one of the few which blends coaches and media members.

There’s always room for improvement and we’re always looking for ways to make the selection process better.

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We’re now getting to the eighth week of high school basketball and now we can start to see some trends.

There’s still plenty of season to go and lots of room for improvement. This month will be a big one to see which teams can face the pressures of tournament play as January normally sees schools play in many of the test events. Conference play will follow and carry through to the district tournaments.

As of this moment, we don’t have any certain playoff teams. As of right now, I would think Hermann’s girls might have the best chance to advance beyond the district level.

We’ve got some strong teams in Class 4 District 10, but unfortunately at this time, it would seem that the Rolla teams would be favored to lift the trophies in Union. At this moment, Sullivan and Union probably would be fighting to play the Bulldogs in the title game. And that’s possibly the matchup for the Four Rivers Conference title as well.

On the girls side, it’s going to be a fight just to make the finals. Several teams could win but Rolla is the favorite.

Pacific is in Class 4 District 3 with outsiders. I think Pacific’s girls could have a shot. From what I’ve seen, Lutheran South and Festus are tough opponents. I know Bill Thoele has scouted both and will have his team prepared. We’ll know a bit more about that district’s boys after the Union Tournament.

Borgia’s getting shipped to Hannibal for its district, which covers a large part of the northeast part of the state from Hannibal to Kirksville, Moberly and Washington. Travel will be one of the biggest challenges. I don’t know enough about any of the schools there to have a guess, but think both of Borgia’s teams will be competitive.

Washington is in Class 5 and goes to Lafayette. That’s always tough competition. Grant Young’s team could be poised to make a run if it continues to show improvement.

As in Borgia’s district, New Haven heads north as well. Class 2 District 5 will be tough, especially with defending boys state champion Van-Far now in the district. I don’t know enough about the rest of the teams to have a gauge for the Shamrocks or Lady Shamrocks.

It will be an interesting run through the playoffs. Someone likely will get hot and there could be a real contender or two we haven’t seen emerge yet. That’s the fun of watching each season play out.