What’s in a name?

In my years of covering sports, I’ve come across a lot of interesting name issues with schools and athletes.

There’s been nothing as serious as Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” as far as name issues. Most of our name issues have been much lighter. There have been some great selections, but they’ve been unfortunate in the head-scratching department.

• Give me Liberty — Patrick Henry’s famous quote could apply to high schools in Missouri. We now have two Libertys fairly close to each other.

Liberty Christian of Wright City had the name first before Wentzville Liberty in Lake St. Louis opened its doors. However, that’s usually not the big confusion.

I’ve seen Wentzville Liberty mistaken for the schools of Liberty, a growing district located near Kansas City.

Another question of location has come with The Fulton School. We know it’s in St. Albans, but anyone not familiar with the small private school might think it was an hour to the west, in the city of Fulton.

When schools have common names, there always is confusion. There are a number of Centrals, including Park Hills, Cape Girardeau, New Madrid County, Springfield, Francis Howell and Parkway. Sometimes, our friends at MSHSAA think Central is good enough to try and figure out, but usually they at least include the location in parentheses.

Jefferson County has two schools with names of schools also on the western side of the state, Windsor and Grandview.

Nobody around here would confuse Union with Union Star, a small town between Savannah and King City on the northwestern side of the state, but somehow in the data entry from the Warrenton Invitational track meet Friday, two of Union’s hurdlers were transferred to that school.

Franklin County has several towns which have the same name as counties in other parts of the state. Washington, Sullivan and St. Clair are county names. We’re lucky. Many states have a Union County, but Missouri doesn’t.

New Haven has a unique nickname in the Shamrocks, but the school could consider the “McKenzies” as a name as well. Some of New Haven’s really good girls teams have included a number of McKenzies, spelled a number of different ways. There have been Mackenzie Bauer, McKenzie Overschmidt and Makenzie Munsinger on this year’s volleyball state runner-up and basketball quarterfinalist. And, Makenzy Vedder went from New Haven to become a 2016 NJCAA volleyball All-American honorable mention pick at East Central College.

Thankfully, most of our teams don’t suffer from having the same mascots. We’ve got Wildcats, Bulldogs, Tigers, Eagles, Indians, Cougars, Blue Jays, etc., but no duplications. Blue Jays is a good nickname with not too many others out there, but there seems to be a lot of confusion in how to spell it.

We’ve also got some original names like Shamrocks and Dutchmen/Dutchgirls. Those aren’t found in too many places.

There are many others out there and there are some pretty long ones thanks to the introduction of magnet schools.

In the pro sports ranks, the NFL might be guilty of the shortest memory. The Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans are not the first teams to use those nicknames. The New York Jets originally were the Titans and the team that became the Kansas City Chiefs was the Dallas Texans before it moved.

So, what’s in a name?

Quite a bit if you take a closer look.


By the end of this week, we should have a much better view about who could do what in the postseason.

The Borgia golf Knights seem to be unstoppable right now. They went undefeated in the regular season and won every tournament they played in, including Monday’s Class 3 District 3 meet at Sullivan Country Club.

The Knights will host the sectional at Franklin County Country Club next Monday, so there’s a good chance the streak will continue.

Borgia did the same thing last year and dominated the season all the way until the final day of last year’s state tournament. Something tells me that the coaching staff remembers that final round of 2017 and will do everything possible to make sure the team is ready for each of the remaining meets as long as it advances.

I’m waiting for the showdown between the defending champion and the quick riser Wednesday in girls soccer.

Washington tied for third in Class 3 girls soccer last year and has a strong team this season. Union went into Monday’s game against defending Class 3 champion Webster Groves undefeated.

I think Washington has some astute veterans from last year’s run while Union has a young and talented cast of players. I don’t expect to see everything either team can offer in the regular season game, but I would suspect if the two meet for the district title at Stierberger Stadium later this month, it should be an exciting game.

The big knock on Union in the past is that it doesn’t play the big teams. Union has tried to change that by adding some perennial powers to the schedule in recent years. We should know a lot more in the mental makeup of the team after it plays Webster Groves, Washington, Ursuline Academy and MICDS.

Washington plays in the GAC Central, one of the toughest soccer leagues in the state.

The district winner has a decent chance of advancing, as long as it doesn’t mind road trips. Last year, Washington won both games beyond the district at home. This year, it’s very possible the district winner could travel both times.

In baseball, the Class 4 District 3 Tournament at Pacific should be interesting. Lutheran South is the heavy favorite to repeat after finishing second in the state tournament last year.

Borgia and Union are conference champions. St. Clair has been impressive and don’t discount Pacific at home. I don’t know too much about Affton, the other team.

Just like last year, I think it will come down to pitching depth to see which teams survive through the district tournament. Should be a fun one.