By Kyle Daubs
It seemed like each year some form of adversity found a way to introduce itself to Cory Spour.
His sophomore year, Spour suffered a back injury that plagued his sophomore football season. His junior basketball season was gone after two games with a wrist injury.
COVID-19 wiped away his junior season in baseball, as well as postponed his senior football season to the spring. From February to June, Spour played basketball, football, and baseball, excelling in all three, while never letting the adversity get to him.
“In the end, it comes down to heart,” said Spour. “I was never really the kid that wanted to give up. I wanted to work through it.”
For that reason, the All-Apollo football and baseball selection has been named the 2020-2021 Coles County Sports Athlete of the Year.
“It’s such an honor because it was my senior year, especially given the setbacks I had in the early years of my high school career,” said Spour. “I just wanted to come out and play at the highest level I could in all the sports I played. It was just an honor to play and compete to show what I had to offer.”
Spour had plenty to offer in the sports he played. In basketball, Spour led Charleston in assists, but he believes their basketball talent never lived up to its full potential. Spour blames his wrist injury for that, citing that he let the team down. When it came to this season, the team didn’t have too much experience, which led to its 2-11 overall record.
“That was a real bummer because we had a lot of returning players coming back in Isaac Miller, Caleb Hurst, and Cade Landrus (in 2019-2020),” said Spour. “We were all returning varsity starters. My injury changed everyone’s role because I was the point guard. We had to move a lot of players around and it hurt the team.”
The tuneup worked out well from a conditioning standpoint as his football season helped Charleston finish with itas best record in nine years. Charleston finished with a 4-2 record in a six-game shortened season.
Spour was named an All-Apollo running back and defensive back. He averaged 8.2 yards per carrying after rushing for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. Had there been a full season, Charleston would have likely qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
“We wanted to go 6-0 and make the playoffs, if we had one,” said Spour. “That was the goal anyways. To come out and get four wins, it was such an amazing experience. It’s been so long since Charleston had won like that. The most important thing is that we set the foundation for the future, so we take a lot of pride in that.”
Nothing may ever be more special than what the baseball team achieved this postseason. Spour stole 28 bases, scored 45 times, and included clutch hits all season en route to the team making the Elite 8.
“The bigger the game, the bigger the player,” said Charleston baseball coach Derrick Landrus. “The better the pitcher, the better the hitter. Cory is a great base runner and has the baseball instincts that very few have. He is an absolute gamer and athlete and led by example mostly. I know our guys could sense the focus and determination he had in big games and especially the postseason. He was our leadoff man, and repeatedly would lead off the game with a bang. Our other guys followed up with some of the most enthusiastic, exciting, and fun baseball you will ever see.”
Spour scored the game-winning run in extra innings against Troy Triad in the Sectional Championship, a game that will forever live on at Marty Pattin Field.
“I feel like it always comes down to the top of the order,” said Spour. “I just happened to be the leadoff man. The rest of the seniors filled out the top of the order. We would get the first hit and then keep it going. It was really special to see all the seniors work like that together.”
In the end, Spour was the heart and soul of each team he played on. Along with his athletic accomplishments, he displayed leadership, which was something he knew he would need to do this year.
“In baseball, we went through some tough times,” Spour said. “You need a leader to step up into that role and I stepped into that position. I had a few more years in varsity than some of the other guys. I just wanted to lead everyone into the rallies and anything else I could do. That was my job.”