- RSS Channel Showcase 1131521
- RSS Channel Showcase 5681958
- RSS Channel Showcase 6334448
- RSS Channel Showcase 6608419
Articles on this Page
- 01/28/16--21:35: _Football recruit Ch...
- 01/29/16--12:32: _WATCH LIVE: Nixa's ...
- 01/29/16--12:46: _Chase Allen makes c...
- 02/01/16--12:50: _Aurora senior accep...
- 02/02/16--12:44: _Wait, Reeds Spring ...
- 02/03/16--07:33: _National Signing Da...
- 02/03/16--16:49: _Nixa All-American m...
- 02/03/16--16:50: _Tight end Chase All...
- 02/05/16--15:53: _Three-sport star Em...
- 02/07/16--06:03: _Tim Tebow to headli...
- 02/17/16--17:32: _Hunter Yeargan hasn...
- 02/20/16--19:09: _Willard's Chavez wi...
- 02/23/16--13:29: _Willard wrestler Hu...
- 03/05/16--19:36: _Crane, Strafford gi...
- 03/24/16--13:00: _All-state basketbal...
- 03/26/16--15:22: _ALL-USA Ozarks boys...
- 03/28/16--13:14: _American Family Ins...
- 03/28/16--14:08: _High school basketb...
- 03/30/16--15:17: _Bolivar football co...
- 04/08/16--18:11: _Springfield to host...
- 01/28/16--21:35: Football recruit Chase Allen to announce college decision Friday
- 01/29/16--12:32: WATCH LIVE: Nixa's Chase Allen chooses his college football team
- 01/29/16--12:46: Chase Allen makes college football choice: Iowa State
- 02/01/16--12:50: Aurora senior accepts D-I football scholarship offer
- 02/02/16--12:44: Wait, Reeds Spring football is getting its new turf from where?
- 02/03/16--07:33: National Signing Day: Who is going where?
- 02/03/16--16:49: Nixa All-American makes it official with Florida State
- 02/05/16--15:53: Three-sport star Emma Lander looks beyond high school
- 02/07/16--06:03: Tim Tebow to headline News-Leader's SW Missouri Sports Awards
- 03/05/16--19:36: Crane, Strafford girls, Mountain Grove boys advance
- 03/24/16--13:00: All-state basketball teams full of area players
- 03/26/16--15:22: ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball team named
- 03/28/16--14:08: High school basketball all-state scholars named
Update: Nixa High School announced Chase Allen will be having a press conference at 2:45 p.m. today to make his announcement. We will be live streaming the decision here on News-Leader.com.
Before the press conference was announced, Allen told the News-Leader Thursday afternoon that he plans to tweet his decision Friday after he finishes classes. Nixa High School dismisses students at 2:30 p.m. Fans of Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska will be impatiently waiting. They are the finalists amongst the 19 schools that offered him scholarships, according to Rivals.com.
I will be announcing my decision on Friday between Michigan, Iowa State, and Nebraska.—
Chase Allen (@Dr_ChaseAllen) January 28, 2016
Allen’s twitter feed (@Dr_ChaseAllen) is a virtual museum of his journey through the football recruiting process, so it’s fitting the 6-foot-7 tight end will end his recruitment there. Signing Day is officially Feb. 3.
The No. 23 nationally rated tight end tweeted photos from his official visits to Nebraska, Michigan, Iowa State and Minnesota, which he has since eliminated from contention. The feed also shows recruiters visiting Allen at his Nixa home.
After he tweets his decision, Allen will play a basketball game for the Eagles in the Nixa Invitational Tournament.
“I will be so relieved whenever signing day comes and I can stop all of this recruiting stuff and just focus on basketball,” Allen said.
As part of his official visits, Allen tried on a jersey in the locker room at Michigan, hit golf balls at Nebraska and attended a basketball game at Iowa State.
Chase Allen (@Dr_ChaseAllen) January 16, 2016
Allen’s father, former Missouri State football coach Terry Allen, has had a significant role in Chase’s recruitment that led to 19 scholarship offers from NCAA Division I football programs. Chase said his dad also helped him avoid any potential pitfalls of being a highly sought recruit.
2016 TE/WR Chase Allen 2015 season highlight remix
Chase Allen (@Dr_ChaseAllen) January 24, 2016
As a senior, Chase Allen played tight end and middle linebacker for Richard Rehagen’s Eagles. He caught 33 passes for 654 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He also logged 92 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks, good enough for all-state status and the top spot on Nixa’s tackling chart.
So where will Allen play college football?
Here are the pros and cons of each school:
– Michigan: The Wolverines went 10-3 and thrashed Florida 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl. Michigan finished the season ranked No. 11 in the nation in the AP poll. Allen would play for the widely popular Jim Harbaugh in a pro style offense that frequently involves tight ends in the passing game. He would also have the experience of playing in front of more than 107,000 people at Michigan Stadium.
– Nebraska: The first year of the Mike Riley coaching era ended with the Cornhuskers sporting a 6-7 record. Allen would have a chance to play in front of sellout crowds of knowledgeable, tradition-rich Nebraska fans. Like Harbaugh at Michigan, Riley tries to keep the tight end a key component of the offense. Nebraska made the most of its bowl eligibility by beating UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl.
– Iowa State: The Cyclones would offer Allen a chance to return to a school where his father was once an assistant coach. Iowa State is rebuilding after a 3-9 campaign last season. The rebuilding project in Ames includes the hiring of a new head coach in Matt Campbell and a new offensive coordinator in Tom Manning. Campbell is said to prefer a run-first offensive philosophy.
tmp1454025066725.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa tight end Chase Allen (left) said he has narrowed his college football prospective teams to Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa State.
In case you missed it, Chase Allen chose Iowa State over Michigan and Nebraska. Here’s the story.
tmp1454100186940.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa tight end Chase Allen (left) said he has narrowed his college football prospective teams to Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa State.
Chase Allen is headed to a homecoming at Iowa State.
tmp1454102586278.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa High School senior Chase Allen announces his decision to play football at Iowa State during a press conference on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Allen chose Iowa State over Michigan, Nebraska and 16 other NCAA Division I teams.Nixa High School senior Chase Allen announces his decision to play football at Iowa State during a press conference on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Allen chose Iowa State over Michigan, Nebraska and 16 other NCAA Division I teams.Nixa High School senior Chase Allen hugs his dad, former Missouri State football coach Terry Allen, after a press conference announcing his decision to play football at Iowa State on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. Allen chose Iowa State over Michigan, Nebraska and 16 other NCAA Division I teams.Chase Allen at his press conference at the Nixa High School Library.Chase AllenTerry Allen holds a family photo taken on the University of Iowa football field after his son (pictured center) announced his decision to play football at Iowa State during a press conference on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.
Aurora’s three-time all-state defensive end announced he’s headed to the Boot.
Senior Mason Husmann, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound pass rusher, verbally committed to play college football at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Husmann chose the Warhawks over nine other teams that offered him scholarships. Husmann chose Louisiana-Monroe over two NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, Army and Air Force. He also passed up offers from seven FCS teams, including Missouri State and Southern Illinois.
Husmann offered his commitment to Lousiana-Monroe near the end of his official campus visit this past weekend.
“Honestly it was (Sunday). We went through and toured the facilities,” Husmann said. “I love the facilities like the weight room, and it was just a great group of guys, the other recruits.”
Monday morning, Husmann tweeted news of his verbal commitment.
Mason Husmann (@Mason_Husmann) February 01, 2016
Husmann said he plans to sign his national letter of intent to play for Louisiana-Monroe Wednesday, Feb. 3, the first day Division I programs are allowed to accept letters of intent from football players according to NCAA rules.
In his senior season at Aurora, Husmann made 97 solo tackles and 27 assists for 124 total tackles. The strongest part of his game is his pass rushing from the defensive end spot of the 4-3 defense. Husmann had 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and five forced fumbles.
Husmann also played on offense right tackle in the Houn’ Dawgs’ offense.
Aurora reached the Class 3 playoff semifinals under first year coach Kale Kilgo, but fell 14-7 to Odessa in the state semifinals. The Houn’ Dawgs finished the season 9-5, having made their first playoff semifinal appearance since 1999.
Husmann said he will miss his teammates who helped make his senior season as fun as it was.
“I’m going to miss the community and the coaches,” Husmann said. “I’m going to miss that tightknit group.”
Louisiana-Monroe plays in the NCAA Division I FBS Sun Belt Conference. Husmann will be part of a rebuilding project. The Warhawks went 2-11 in 2015, and hired a new coach in Matt Viator from McNeese State in the offseason.
Viator’s McNeese State teams posted a 78-33 record in 10 seasons. Viator is a three-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year.
“The coach has never had a losing season, so that’s a positive point in my perspective,” Husmann said.
Historically, Louisiana-Monroe won one FCS national championship in 1987, plus six conference champions, the most recent in 2005. As an FBS team, the Warhawks made their last bowl appearance in 2012.
tmp1454360827627.jpgtdunhamusatodayMason Husmann (67) leads the Aurora Houn' Dawgs on their home field prior to a 2015 quarterfinal playoff game against Mountain Grove.Mason Husmann
Reeds Spring may be a Class 3 football team, but they will soon play on NCAA Division I turf.
The school district agreed to buy synthetic turf previously used by the University of Cincinnati.
The Reeds Spring R-IV School District will pay approximately $450,000 for the turf and its installation at Carl Langley Field at Wolves Stadium. This turf originally cost $1.1 million.
Cincinnati installed the artificial field turf in 2013. The university is replacing it because the Bearcats will share the stadium with a professional soccer team, which requires different field markings.
“This turf will allow our athletic teams and band to practice and compete rain or shine,” said Michael Mason, superintendent of Reeds Spring Schools. “This also cuts down on the district’s need to maintain other practice facilities. When our new middle school opens later this year, we won’t have to bus kids to a practice field.”
The Reeds Spring Board of Education approved the agreement to buy and install turf at a Monday night meeting.
The district will pay for the turf with the use of a lease purchase over the next several years through an agreement with UBU Sports, Inc. The agreement includes an eight-year warranty, which according to Reeds Spring School Director of Communications Ben Fisher, is normal for new turf.
The move will cost the school district an estimated additional $20,000 per year in maintenance costs at the stadium.
Mason said the school district learned of the opportunity to purchase University of Cincinnati’s turf came from meeting David Baker, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Baker served as the keynote speaker at “Pack Night,” a fundraiser for the Reeds Spring R-VI School Foundation, in 2015.
“This opportunity presented itself, and the school board and I agreed this was too good of an offer to pass up,” Mason said.
According to a press release, the turf will be shipped from Ohio to the Stone County school in the coming weeks, and will be installed by the end of the school year.
tmp1454446510579.jpgtdunhamusatodayAn artist's rendering of what the new Carl Langley Field at Wolves Stadium will look like from the air if artificial turf is installed.Reeds Spring quarterback Nick Haddock (15) set school rushing records on natural grass during the 2015 football season.
The signing period for NCAA college football officially opened this morning.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated relentlessly
Several high school football players have or will sign their national letter of intent to play for an NCAA affiliated team now that the signing window is open. In addition, many local high schools take advantage of “National Signing Day” to recognize athletes from non-football sports moving on to the next level, or to recognize athletes committed to NAIA programs.
A full list of Springfield area athletes making commitments to play college sports on Feb. 3 can be found below.
Is an athlete missing from our National Signing Day list? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RanceBurgerNL. Be sure to include the athlete, their high school, the college they are signing with and which sport(s) they are committed to playing in college.
Here is our updated photo gallery.
High school athletes signing national letters of intent
Allyson Goodale, soccer, Columbia College
Hannah Sweaney, soccer, John Brown University
Sam Hockett, soccer, Harding University
Weston Gann, baseball, College of the Ozarks
Zach Bray, football, Evangel
Michael Fowler, football, Southwest Baptist University
Mason Pack, football, Southwest Baptist University
Jacob Darrah, football, Missouri Baptist University
Noah Smith, football, William Penn
Garrett McGuire, football, Evangel
Anthony Riley Jr., football, Quincy
Jon Bowgen, football, Missouri Baptist University
Alizabeth Yates, softball, Culver-Stockton
Dave Hundley, track and field, Avila
Dylan Cave, baseball, Evangel
Emma Benselmeyer, soccer, Drury
Spencer Weller, tennis, Drury
Mason Robertson, football, Benedictine University
Scott Wichmer, football, Benedictine University
Chase Allen, football, Iowa State
Jacob Baird, football, William Penn
Mason Harville, football, William Penn
Austin Heatherly, football, Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Garrett Hubert, football, Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Carson Ray, football, Missouri S&T
Mason Stipp, football, Missouri Western State
Logan Tyler, football, Florida State University
Trustin Baker, soccer, Drury
Daley Townsend, soccer, Southwest Baptist University
Makala Leonhart, softball, Crowder College
Riley Peterson, softball, Drury
Sydney Samuel, softball, Crowder College
Emily Hall, softball, Southwest Baptist University
Lauren Strobel, softball, Southwest Baptist University
Braydon Duryea, wrestling, Wentworth Military Academy
Jerney Jones, football, Missouri
Tyler Puckett, football, Northeastern State University
Skyler Hale, football, Evangel
Zach Dickens, football, Southwestern College
Ben Friend, football, Evangel
Austin Lindsay, football, Missouri Western State
Chanler Collins, football, Evangel
Jacob Eden, football, Evangel
Samuel Morton, football, Evangel
Nathan Mallard, football, Evangel
Bailey Rettman, football, Evangel
Hayley Bledsoe, softball, Fort Scott Community College
Layn Hurst, baseball, Mineral Area College
Mason Husmann, football, University of Louisiana-Monroe
Skylar Cahill, football, Southwest Baptist University
Billy Meredith, football, Southwest Baptist University
Gerritt Montgomery, football, Missouri Southern State
Johnny Scott, football, Northeastern State University
Aaron Samek, football, Northeastern State University
Hunter Wilson, football, Evangel
Jacob LaSalle, football, Southwest Baptist University
SBU Football (@SBU_Football) February 03, 2016
Lathan Kerans, football, Southwest Baptist University
Shaun Baker, football, Missouri Southern State Univeristy
Dylan Mountain, football, Southwest Baptist University
Chipper Berry, football, Evangel
Madison Davis, football, Evangel
Wyatt Mitchell, football, Missouri Valley
Jackson Bagley, football, William Penn
Payton Oehlschlager, football, North Central College
Payton Oehlschlager (@PROehlschlager7) February 03, 2016
Jonah Paszek, football, Missouri Southern State
Samuel Hall, football, Missouri State
Dave Steckel (@Coach_Stec) February 03, 2016
Walter Gilstrap, football, Evangel
Logan Dreilbelbis, football, Evangel
Cale Potter, football, Evangel
Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) February 03, 2016
SBU Football (@SBU_Football) February 03, 2016
SBU Football (@SBU_Football) February 03, 2016
Is an athlete missing from our National Signing Day list? Let us know by emailing email@example.com or on Twitter @RanceBurgerNL. Be sure to include the athlete, their high school, the college they are signing with and which sport(s) they are committed to playing in college.
tmp1454522826342.jpgtdunhamusatodayMason Husmann (67) leads the Aurora Houn' Dawgs on their home field prior to a 2015 quarterfinal playoff game against Mountain Grove.Nixa senior Chase Allen (left) caught 33 passes for 654 yards and seven touchdowns his senior year.Kickapoo senior Mason Pack logged 98 tackles, seven interceptions and three forced fumbles as a senior.Former Missouri State football coach Terry Allen holds up a photo of his family from when he was an assistant coach there.Aurora High School lineman Mason Husmann (67) pumps up his teammates prior to the start of the Houn' Dawgs Class 3 State Semifinal game against Odessa High School at Kelley Field in Aurora, Mo. on Nov. 21, 2015. The Odessa Bulldogs won the game 14-7.
“The human Swiss Army knife” upheld his eight months of commitment to Florida State.
Nixa all-purpose football player Logan Tyler signed a national letter of intent to play for the Seminoles on Wednesday afternoon, the first day of the NCAA signing period for high school senior football players. Tyler will be a kicker and/or punter for Florida State, having given coach Jimbo Fisher his verbal commitment in early June 2015.
“It is amazing, all the people that are there—I know that they’re going to touch my life and change it for the better,” Tyler said. “I could honestly see us winning a national championship in the next four years while I’m there, and that is a huge draw for any athlete.”
As a senior, Tyler did much more than kick and punt for Nixa. He played quarterback, running back, linebacker and safety during different stretches of the season, but Tyler rarely came off the field on Friday nights.
He faxed his letter of intent to Florida State at 7:01 a.m. Wednesday and tried to go back to sleep for a short while. Tried.
“I just laid there and I just thought about all the times I stayed up thinking about my signing day, and me signing to a team and it being Florida State, and that actually coming true is a huge blessing,” Tyler said. “I’ve been dreaming of it since I was 6 or 7.”
Tyler piled up stats his senior year: 148 rushes for 876 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns; 31-of-66 passing for 608 yards and five passing touchdowns; 69 tackles, four interceptions and one interception return touchdown; 22 punts for a 37-yard net average, and 45 touchbacks on kickoffs.
In addition to pursuing big time college football, Tyler will pursue a big time pre-med degree.
“Biology, anatomy, that’s my stuff. I love it,” Tyler said.
When Tyler goes to Tallahassee, a starting role will not be guaranteed.
Tyler will enter a battle with a fellow Under Armour All-American in Enrique “Ricky” Aguayo of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Aguayo is the younger brother of Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo.
The elder Aguayo became the first kicker in 16 years to forgo his senior season of college football and declare for the NFL Draft, with the last being Sebastian Janikowski in 2000.
“Ricky and I are really good friends. I know they recruited me mainly as a punter, but nothing is taken right now. All three positions are open: punter, kicker and kickoff,” Tyler said. “We’re going to compete really hard and at the end of the day, we’re going to realize that it’s not going to taint or our friendship or anything like that, it’s just business.”
Tyler visited the Florida State campus in Tallahassee June 4-7 for a kicking camp and committed on the spot upon receiving a scholarship offer from Fisher.
Kohl’s – one of the top recognized camps and scouting services for kickers, punters and long snappers – rates Tyler as the No. 2 placekicker and the No. 28 punter in the nation in the class of 2016.
A portion of Kohl’s scouting report on Tyler reads, “He is a superior athlete who might have the strongest leg in the 2016 class. The ball makes a different sound off his foot and he stands out amongst other good kickers.”
tmp1454547357671.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa High School seniors Carson Ray (left) and Logan Tyler share a laugh after Ray signed a national letter of intent to play football at Missouri S&T at the Nixa High School gym in Nixa, Mo. on Feb. 3, 2016.Nixa High School senior Logan Tyler shares a hug with his family after Tyler signed a national letter of intent to play football at Florida State University at the Nixa High School gym in Nixa, Mo. on Feb. 3, 2016.Nixa High School senior Logan Tyler and his family do the "Tomahawk Chop" after Tyler signed a national letter of intent to play football at Florida State University at the Nixa High School gym in Nixa, Mo. on Feb. 3, 2016.
Sorry, Nebraska and Michigan fans. Nixa senior tight end Chase Allen made his commitment to Iowa State official on National Signing Day.
The senior announced his verbal commitment to Iowa State on Friday and signed with the Cyclones on Wednesday at a signing ceremony at Nixa High School. Allen said that his five days of commitment made him more focused on playing college football at Ames.
“I’ve just grown more excited about the whole opportunity and more confident with the impact that I can make up there,” Allen said.
While some may question Allen’s decision to pass up the traditional powers of Nebraska and Michigan for Iowa State, a team that went 3-9 a season ago, Allen reports he received a great deal of support after he announced his commitment.
“A lot of people have a lot of respect for me now for choosing truly the best fit for me, and I’m glad that they’ve shown that,” Allen said.
Allen’s father, former Missouri State football coach Terry Allen, has had a significant role in Chase’s recruitment that led to 19 scholarship offers from NCAA Division I football programs.
Terry Allen left Kansas in 2002 to become an associate head coach at Iowa State, where he coached the Cyclones’ special teams for four seasons.
The Cyclones went to three bowl games with Allen coaching special teams.
Academics played a big part in Chase Allen’s college football decision. He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Iowa State’s 3-9 performance led to the ouster of coach Paul Rhoads and the hiring of Matt Campbell from Toledo.
Chase Allen said he will move to Ames, Iowa in June and begin training with Campbell’s inaugural Cyclone recruits while he takes summer classes.
“We’ll hit it hard this summer with the new staff and see some exciting stuff coming up soon with the program,” Allen said.
As a senior, Allen played tight end and middle linebacker for Richard Rehagen’s Eagles. He caught 33 passes for 654 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He also logged 92 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks, good enough for all-state status and the top spot on Nixa’s tackling chart.
tmp1454547332113.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa High School senior Chase Allen and his family clap before he signs a national letter of intent to play football at Iowa State University at the Nixa High School gym in Nixa, Mo. on Feb. 3, 2016.Nixa High School senior Chase Allen signs a national letter of intent to play football at Iowa State University at the Nixa High School gym in Nixa, Mo. on Feb. 3, 2016.
She went up for what was a routine layup. When Emma Lander came down, her high school playing career was over, thanks to a torn ACL and meniscus.
When she signed with Evangel University on Friday, she was happy about sports again, her efforts were validated, and it brought closure to a storied career in high school sports.
With one knee in a brace and surgery scheduled next week, Lander upheld her commitment to attend Evangel University to play volleyball and compete in track and field jumping events. College basketball will not be part of the future for the reigning Class 2 player of the year, who led Crane in scoring and rebounding on the way to a third straight girls basketball state championship in 2015.
“I really would have never guessed it, honestly, but it just came down to some personal things,” Lander said. “I get to do more track. I’d get to do indoor track, whereas if I did basketball I couldn’t do indoor track.”
Crane may be known for basketball, but Lander’s track and field efforts are significant. She won back-to-back state championships in triple jump and back-to-back state runner-up finishes in the long jump, and is a three-time state qualifier in the two events.
Lander tore her ACL and meniscus by driving for a breakaway layup in a home game on Dec. 21.
“I guess I just planted wrong, I’m not really sure. It was just a normal layup that I’ve done 1,000 times before, but something weird happened and I was on the ground,” Lander said.
Lander can now be spotted on the bench at Crane games, watching her teammates like Lexie Vaught, Kylee Moore, Shelby Roder and Justeen Mahan uphold Crane’s No. 1-ranking and a quest for a fourth consecutive state championship.
“It’s difficult. I’m not going to lie, it’s really hard,” Lander said. “They’ve been great, everyone has really helped me get through it. I might not be playing, but I’m still with my team and encouraging them. We’re still in this together.”
She couldn’t sit still for too long. Lander often stands up to instruct her teammates or offer encouragement, to a point where coach Jeremy Mullins has taken to calling her “Coach Lander.”
Lander will undergo surgery and then faces six months of recovery and rehabilitation to prepare for college volleyball in the fall. She turned down basketball, volleyball and track and field offers from larger schools to commit to the Crusaders at the NAIA level.
“It was a thing that I prayed about, and God just really made it clear that that’s what I needed to do,” Lander said. “I liked a lot of other schools, it was hard eliminating some, but you have to.”
Oddly, a friendship with another basketball player helped Lander discover Evangel. Camdenton’s Sophie Shore, daughter of Lakers football coach Jeff Shore and granddaughter of legendary coach Bob Shore, is an Evangel basketball commit who led Lander to visit the Springfield campus.
“We talked about wanting to go to college together and (Shore) introduced Evangel to me,” Lander said. “I just knew immediately when I stepped on campus that it was home.”
Lander will play volleyball in what will be coach Mary Whitehead’s 17th season with the Crusaders. Whitehead is happy to land a player she believes to be capable of playing NCAA Division I sports.
“Everyone is southwest Missouri knows that (Lander) is an incredible athlete,” Whitehead. “We don’t always get the kids who everybody sees as D-I, but Emma is that. I think she’s a D-I athlete that is a steal for us.”
While an ACL injury could have caused coaches to shy away from Lander, Whitehead believes the Crane standout will return without issue.
“A lot of schools would have shied away after the injury—no way we were going to do that. We made sure she knew that pretty quickly, that she knew we were going to stay true to our offer,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead also looks forward to having a proven winner and a proven leader join her team when the three-sport all-state athlete arrives on campus.
“She’s off the charts. You don’t find a kid like this all the time. She’s a special kid, she’s obviously a great leader, and she doesn’t strike me as a kid that I’ll ever have to remind to work hard,” Whitehead said.
On top of playing three sports, Lander is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, a community service group called Impact Team and choir. She says she often does homework on car rides from games or very late at night.
Lander is undecided on an academic major but has some options picked.
“Originally, I was going to do pre-occupational therapy, and I’m still definitely considering that. But now, just very recently, I’ve been interested in politics,” Lander said. “I might pursue political communications.”
“Coach Lander” will be on the sideline Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Meyer Center at SBU in Bolivar, where No. 1 Crane plays No. 2 Gainesville in the Citizens Memorial Healthcare Shootout.
tmp1454717227644.jpgtdunhamusatodayCrane senior Emma Lander (front, center) upheld her commitment to attend Evangel University to play volleyball and compete in track and field with a ceremony at Crane High School Friday, Feb. 5, 2016.
College football legend Tim Tebow is coming to Springfield to salute the best high school athletes in southwest Missouri.
Tebow will appear June 9 at the News-Leader’s SW Missouri Sports Awards, presented by American National Property and Casualty Company and Chevy Dealers of the Ozarks. The event celebrates the people behind the stories of the 2015-2016 year in high school sports. It’s the Springfield News-Leader’s way to thank the players, coaches and fans in our community who shared their stories with us throughout the year.
The News-Leader’s SW Missouri Sports Awards will honor the top performers from the thousands of athletes in 13 counties who play 19 different high school sports. The event will take place at the Springfield Expo Center at 635 E. St. Louis St.
Tebow is one of the most successful college quarterbacks in the history of the sport. At the University of Florida, Tebow won two NCAA championships (2006 and 2008) and became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy (2007). In 55 college games, he threw for 9,286 yards and 88 touchdowns, while also rushing for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns.
As a professional, he was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2010 and helped lead the Broncos to their first playoff win in five seasons in 2011. He made his ESPN analyst debut in early 2014 and currently makes regular appearances on the SEC Network.
The event includes dinner, Tebow serving as special guest speaker, and the awards presentation. Athletes nominated for awards and those named to American Family Insurance All-USA Ozarks teams are invited to attend at no cost.
The athletes can attend for free thanks to contributions from title sponsors, including American National Property and Casualty Company and Chevy Dealers of the Ozarks.
“American National is proud to again be part of this great event,” said Scott Campbell, executive vice president. “We support our local prep athletes, coaches and families and look forward to celebrating their dedication and success.”
Chevy Dealers of the Ozarks President Ed Pinegar said: “We are pleased to have this opportunity to recognize the outstanding young men and women in our area. Chevy Dealers of the Ozarks spans a wide area of not only Springfield, but many other communities, we are honored to sponsor SW Missouri Sports Awards in order to assist in showing the accomplishments of these young men and women.”
Want to go?
What: 2016 News-Leader SW Missouri Sports Awards
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, June 9
Where: Springfield Expo Center
Tickets: Available to the general public for $50 at http://www.news-leader.com/sportsawards
tmp1454854509443.jpgtdunhamusatodayFlorida's Tim Tebow (15) throws a pass over Oklahoma's Auston English (33) during the third quarter of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game in Miami, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)Florida quarterback Tim Tebow holds up the championship trophy for Florida's win in the 2008 BCS National Championship game over Oklahoma during ceremonies in Gainesville, Fla, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)Florida quarterback Tim Tebow (15) is stopped by Oklahoma's Nic Harris (5) during the third quarter of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game in Miami, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)Florida's Tim Tebow yells to his teammates during the fourth quarter of the BCS Championship NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Miami, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009. Florida defeated Oklahoma 24-14. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)Tim Tebow
We all chase perfection in some form or fashion.
Hunter Yeargan has an honest chance of achieving it.
The Willard senior is an incredible 50-0 headed into this weekend’s Missouri state wrestling championship tournament.
He wears a giant bull’s-eye on his back as the defending Class 3 state champion at 195 pounds. He returns to Columbia in hopes of winning a second state title and ending his senior season 54-0. To achieve his goal, he’ll have to wrestle through Missouri’s toughest tournament.
Willard would regard him as a legend, the greatest to ever take another man to the wrestling mat.
Even with perfection at stake, Yeargan has not lost a match since Feb. 14, 2015. As with most perfectionists, his last loss lingers in his memory.
Neosho’s Austin Hailey, now a wrestler at Ouachita Baptist University, defeated Yeargan 5-1 at districts in an ultimate tiebreaker, wrestling’s equivalent of triple overtime.
“In wrestling, it’s all on you,” Yeargan said. “That part is great in the fact that what work you put in is going to show, and then it’s also bad that when you lose, it’s all on you. I guess that’s what I love about it.”
Hailey remembers the bout well. He said he first wrestled Yeargan when he was in sixth grade and did his best to avoid the takedown specialist after suffering a loss to Yeargan a week before the 2015 district tournament.
Hailey wanted to take the match to overtime because he believed he was in better condition.
“I knew that after losing to him the week before I needed to take him into deep waters. I needed to test his gas tank,” Hailey said. “When we into overtime I was a little more confident that I was going to win. When we went into double overtime, I was almost sure I was going to win. When we went to ultimate tiebreaker I knew that I have won the match.”
Yeargan enters the state tournament with a lifetime varsity record of 186-10 and is a four-time state qualifier.
“It helps that I’ve wrestled most of the competition that I’ll see up there already, so that’s always a confidence booster, but it’s still there, it’s still state. Anything can happen, so you can’t overlook anybody,” Yeargan said.
Yeargan is one of six Willard wrestlers to qualify for the state championship tournament and one of three to win a district title in 2016. The Tigers celebrated district wins for Niko Chavez at 138 pounds and Kyle Caldwell at 170 pounds. Willard wrestlers Alex Garrett (120 pounds), Christian Smart (182 pounds) and Austin Hymer (220 pounds) also qualified for state.
Yeargan acknowledges that endurance played a key role in the outcome of his last loss, but he believes he has changed as an athlete since that day.
“I think I’m quite a bit evolved into a better wrestler and a more conditioned wrestler,” Yeargan said.
Coach Justin Wisdom, in his first year at Willard, worked with Yeargan to increase his endurance, what wrestlers commonly refer to as “the gas tank.”
“Physically, I think he’s in the best shape he’s ever been in. He’s struggled in the past with some gas tank issues, and I don’t think he has that right now,” Wisdom said.
Losses have been rare for the reigning champion. Yeargan went 38-6 at 170 pounds as a freshman, 53-3 at 182 pounds as a sophomore, 45-1 at 195 pounds as a junior and is 50-0 at 195 pounds as a senior.
“He’s a pretty special athlete, so being able to have him in the room is always good so the kids can see what kind of work ethic it takes to be at that level,” Wisdom said. “At the same time, he’s a good leader, so he can help the other kids push themselves as well.”
The trip to Columbia promises to be an emotional one for Yeargan, Chavez, Caldwell and the Tigers. For Yeargan, it will be the last time he steps on the mat as a high school wrestler.
“On the way down to districts Friday it kind of hit me all at once that this is my last guaranteed bus trip with everybody. I’m going to miss it a lot,” Yeargan said. “Nothing compares to the brotherhood you have in wrestling.”
Yeargan has committed to wrestle in college, striking down what was 50/50 speculation that the all-state running back would commit to a college football program.
“I have decided and I’ve let the college know that that’s where I’m going to go, but I’m going to wait until after state to announce where,” Yeargan said.
Yeargan said he weighed his options between football and wrestling throughout his senior year.
“I honestly didn’t know until about two weeks ago,” Yeargan said. “Everything just worked out right.”
tmp1455759795160.jpgtdunhamusatodayWillard High School wrestlers (from left) Kyle Caldwell, Hunter Yeargan and Niko Chavez took a break from training for the state wrestling tournament to pose for a portrait at the Willard High School gym in Willard, Mo. on Feb. 16, 2016.Hunter Yeargan has not lost a match during his senior year wrestling for Willard High School, and has only lost 10 matches in his four year career for the Tigers. He posed for a portrait at the school in Willard, Mo. on Feb. 16, 2016 as he trains for his upcoming trip to the state tournament.
Willard is now home to five all-state wrestlers, one 2016 state champion, and one heartbroken senior.
The Tigers celebrated a state tournament victory for junior Niko Chavez (138 pounds) Saturday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Chavez finishes the season 51-3 having won the Class 3 state title at 138 pounds by scoring a takedown to beat Belton freshman Robert Weber 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker, wrestling’s equivalent of triple overtime.
Washington senior Jared Rennick (52-3) scored a takedown with eight seconds remaining against Willard defending state champion Hunter Yeargan (53-1) to win the Class 3 title at 195 pounds.
Yeargan entered the state tournament 50-0. He finishes his high school career with an overall record of 189-11.
Yeargan has committed to wrestle in college, putting aside notions that the all-state running back would commit to a college football program.
“I have decided and I’ve let the college know that that’s where I’m going to go, but I’m going to wait until after state to announce where,” Yeargan said in a prior interview with the News-Leader.
Coach Justin Wisdom’s Willard Tigers also celebrated all-state finishes for Alex Garrett (fifth place at 120 pounds), Kyle Caldwell (fourth place at 170 pounds) and Christian Smart (fourth place at 182 pounds).
A perfect season also fell short for Broden LeMaster of Reeds Spring in the Class 2 195-pound tournament. LeMaster lost to Smithville’s Jacob Boyd 13-1 in the championship final. LeMaster finishes his season 25-1 with a silver medal.
Former Ozark wrestler Gavin DeWitt, an Iowa State signee who moved to Jefferson City in the offseason, won second place in Class 4 at 145 pounds. Dewitt (43-7) gave up a first-period takedown and a third-period escape to champion Sean Hosford (37-3) of Park Hill.
Missouri State High School Activities Association Wrestling Championships
Final day’s results, at Mizzou Arena, Columbia
State championship matches
106—Max Roark (Seneca) 44-12 won by fall over Wade Raeman (Whitfield) 37-15 (Fall 2:55)
120—Dalton Hembree (Seneca) 53-2 won by fall over Dylan Wheeler (Marceline) 49-2 (Fall 5:17)
138—Jesse Rhoades (Seneca) 55-1 won by fall over Dalton Fisher (Marceline) 52-2 (Fall 0:59)
145—Trey Smith (Seneca) 46-3 won in the ultimate tie breaker over Frankie Falotico (Blair Oaks) 44-1 (UTB 4-3)
195—Jacob Boyd (Smithville) 50-1 won by major decision over Broden LeMaster (Reeds Spring) 25-1 (MD 13-1)
113—Clayton Singh (Kearney) 40-8 won by decision over Trenton Young (Neosho) 43-10 (Dec 9-7)
126—Taylor Brown (Warrensburg) 53-5 won by decision over Johnathan Williams (Neosho) 38-10 (Dec 6-5)
138— Niko Chavez (Willard) 51-3 won in tie breaker – 1 over Robert Weber (Belton) 40-10 (TB-1 3-2)
145— Ethan Karsten (Platte County) 51-1 won by fall over Markkel Moore (Carthage) 37-11 (Fall 3:09)
152—Kyler Rea (Neosho) 56-0 won by decision over Hunter Shelton (Oak Park) 29-1 (Dec 7-2)
195—Jared Rennick (Washington) 52-3 won by decision over Hunter Yeargan (Willard) 53-1 (Dec 4-3)
220—Brandon Musselman (Webb City) 46-2 won by decision over Adrian Hitchcock (Neosho) 47-7 (Dec 4-3)
195—Jackson Berck (Francis Howell Central) 47-5 won by decision over Todd Angel (Waynesville) 36-5 (Dec 4-3)
Third and fifth place matches
113—3rd Place Match Dayton Fields (Seneca) 48-9 won by decision over Caleb Kelly (Principia) 35-4 (Dec 6-0)
132—5th Place Match Cameron Wheeler (Carrollton) 40-15 won by decision over Cole Hatfield (Seneca) 41-16 (Dec 10-7)
285—3rd Place Match Robert Anderson (Butler) 53-5 won by fall over Bradley Williams (Lutheran St. Charles) 43-6 (Fall 1:34)
106—3rd Place Match Jake Huffman (Savannah) 53-5 won in sudden victory – 1 over Joel Barrientos (Monett) 37-3 (SV-1 7-5)
106—5th Place Match Ethan Smith (Buffalo) 47-6 won by decision over Luke Moffett (Bolivar) 31-11 (Dec 5-4)
132—5th Place Match Onis Howard (Monett) 40-14 won by fall over Jamie Archie (Micds) 36-24 (Fall 2:48)
152—5th Place Match Floyd Miller (Buffalo) 50-3 won by decision over Trenton Clines (Fulton) 28-5 (Dec 1-0)
182—5th Place Match Ian Meyer (Monett) 45-9 won by decision over Wade Hahn (Ste. Genevieve) 44-12 (Dec 4-3)
106—3rd Place Match Dalton Kivett (Neosho) 46-8 won by major decision over Brayden Bradley (Belton) 42-12 (MD 12-4)
106—5th Place Match Dalen Moore (Carthage) 36-7 won by fall over Evan Winder (Helias Catholic) 50-10 (Fall 1:31)
113—3rd Place Match Bradly Harman (Farmington) 24-11 won by fall over Jakob Gerow (McDonald County) 38-11 (Fall 2:16)
120—3rd Place Match Coleman Brainard (Rolla) 46-4 won by decision over Daniel De Santiago (McDonald County) 36-13 (Dec 3-1)
120—5th Place Match Alex Garrett (Willard) 46-9 won by decision over Austin Kincaid (Platte County) 21-17 (Dec 11-10)
132—3rd Place Match Trae Adams (DeSoto) 52-4 won by decision over Gannon Millard (Neosho) 48-9 (Dec 1-0)
160—3rd Place Match Charlie Henson (Ft. Zumwalt South) 47-6 won by major decision over Daniel Meier (Camdenton) 32-16 (MD 11-2)
160—5th Place Match Noah Perkins (Webster Groves) 39-13 won by decision over Isaac Townsend (Neosho) 35-16 (Dec 11-9)
170—3rd Place Match Collin Huitt (Farmington) 50-5 won by decision over Kyle Caldwell (Willard) 49-4 (Dec 8-5)
182—3rd Place Match Kyle Hostetter (Neosho) 38-3 won by fall over Christian Smart (Willard) 47-10 (Fall 2:31)
195—5th Place Match Zac Courtoise (Kearney) 34-11 won by fall over Zach Dickens (Republic) 31-11 (Fall 3:51)
285—3rd Place Match Joshua Keys (Camdenton) 40-10 won by fall over Zeke Wall (Carl Junction) 35-12 (Fall 0:30)
160—5th Place Match David Hawk (Waynesville) 36-10 won by disqualification over Austin Stofer (Lafayette (Wildwood)) 46-12 (DQ)
285—5th Place Match Phillip Reitz (Joplin) 40-6 won by fall over Devin Graves (Troy Buchanan) 45-9 (Fall 0:51)
Final team scores
1. Seneca 160
2. Whitfield 154.5
3. Marceline 109.5
4. Versailles 81.5
5. Lawson 78
1. Smithville 198
2. Oak Grove 164
3. Fulton 124.5
4. Cameron 122.5
5. Mexico 108
1. Neosho 167.5
2. Platte County 151.5
3. Farmington 101
4. Belton 95
4. Ft. Zumwalt South 95
1. Park Hill 127
2. Jefferson City 99
3. Francis Howell 94.5
4. Holt 90.5
5. Staley 88
tmp1456024745567.jpgtdunhamusatodayWillard High School wrestlers (from left) Kyle Caldwell, Hunter Yeargan and Niko Chavez took a break from training for the state wrestling tournament to pose for a portrait at the Willard High School gym in Willard, Mo. on Feb. 16, 2016.
Willard senior wrestler Hunter Yeargan is headed to Athens.
tmp1456263554095.jpgtdunhamusatodayHunter Yeargan has not lost a match during his senior year wrestling for Willard High School, and has only lost 10 matches in his four year career for the Tigers. He posed for a portrait at the school in Willard, Mo. on Feb. 16, 2016 as he trains for his upcoming trip to the state tournament.
The Crane dynasty’s dream of a fourth consecutive girls basketball state championship stayed alive with a Saturday win in Springfield.
The reigning three-time Class 2 state champions beat Gainesville 64-48 at the O’Reilly Family Event Center in the playoff quarterfinals to secure a fourth straight trip to Columbia and the final four. Crane improved to 30-1 after a late night film session at one of the player’s homes.
Senior Justeen Mahan says the Pirates weren’t watching the latest animated hit, but game film of Gainesville.
“While we were watching, we were just getting pumped. We were like, ‘oh man, this is the last game to go to state four years in a row,’ so I think that contributed to us getting pumped in this game and getting the lead that we got,” Mahan said.
Lexie Vaught led Crane with 18 points in a game where the entire starting five reached double figures.
“Everyone played hard, everyone wanted the same thing, everyone has the same goal,” Mahan said.
Senior Madison Strong led Gainesville’s offense with 19 points. Crane point guard Shelby Roder had the task of guarding Gainesville’s prolific scorer.
“(Strong) is a wonderful player and she’s great. I just like accepting the challenge and guarding her. It’s a lot of fun and it pushes me to my limits, and it also pushes her to her limits,” Roder said.
Crane will play the team it beat in the 2015 state championship game, Skyline, in the Class 2 semifinals Thursday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia at 8:20 p.m. Skyline (27-4) advanced to a fourth consecutive final four with a 43-34 win over Santa Fe.
Strafford reaches first ever girls final four, overcomes blackout
Strafford survived a power outage and St. James to advance to its first-ever girls basketball final four.
Freshman Hayley Frank led Strafford with 21 points, three of which came on a 65-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer in the second quarter that looked more like a football Hail Mary than a basketball shot. Nevertheless, Frank swished the shot and set up Strafford to carry its momentum through the second half for the win.
“It’s just an unreal feeling. It makes all the hard work that we’ve put in worth it,” Frank said.
Frank had never made such a shot in her life.
“One time me and my sister shot three racks of balls from that spot in the gym, and I didn’t make one of them,”
Strafford led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter when a power outage plunged the O’Reilly Family Event Center into darkness. Fans sat anxiously in the dark until Drury University officials used a backup generator to power the arena.
Frank, a 6-foot ninth-grader with the dribbling skills of a point guard, will share Strafford’s historic trip to Columbia with her sister Kayley and Strafford coach Steve Frank.
“We’ve grown up around basketball our whole life with my dad being a coach, and me and (Kayley) have grown up watching his teams and we idolized a lot of his players,” Hayley Frank said.
Strafford will play St. Pius X (Kansas City) Thursday at 1:40 p.m. at Mizzou Arena in the state semifinals.
Second half surge sends Mountain Grove boys to Columbia
Mountain Grove punched its ticket to just the second boys basketball final four in the school’s history by slugging out a 66-61 win over Fair Grove.
The score was tied 51-51 with eight minutes to play, but the Panthers (27-4) stepped up on defense to outscore Fair Grove 15-10 down the stretch to seal a win. D.J. McNew led all scorers with 22 points in the game.
“It was really important to not lose our composure because they were trailing us really close the whole way. We had to keep our composure and not get too carried away—stay within ourselves,” McNew said.
Carter Otwell and Treye Collins each got to double digits with 10 points on a balanced night of offense for coach Duane Hiler’s team.
“Everybody just has their role and they accept their role, and that’s when you have good teams is when you know that and they know that the team is bigger than themselves,” Hiler said.
McNew described the atmosphere of a quarterfinal game in a college arena.
“There was a lot of energy. Our pep club really gave us some energy and it was exciting,” McNew said.
Mountain Grove plays defending Class 3 state champion Barstow (26-3) at Mizzou Arena Thursday at 5 p.m.
Fair Grove (26-5) ends its most successful season of boys basketball to date. The game marked the Eagles’ first-ever playoff quarterfinal appearance.
Fair Grove got 21 points from Garrett Kesterson and 15 points from senior Kyle Cavanaugh.
Eagles coach Tim Brown credited Mountain Grove for outscoring his team 35-22 in the second half.
“Give Mountain Grove so much credit. They caused us so much trouble in the second half and guarded our guys, rebounded the basketball and just scrapped better than us,” Brown said. “They deserved to win this basketball game.”
Fair Grove finishes a season to celebrate. The Eagles won a district championship for the first time in 2002 and won the school’s first-ever boys basketball sectional title. Brown saw the success coming for years.
“Since they were seventh and eighth graders we knew we had something special and we’ve continued to build each year,” Brown said. “Our juniors have a lot of weight to carry because the seniors this year left the program in really good shape.”
Class 2 girls basketball playoff quarterfinal
Crane 64, Gainesville 48
At the O’Reilly Family Event Center, Springfield
Gainesville—Madison Strong 19, Scout Jeckstadt 16, Annie Noah 6, Abby Britt 6, Michia Jenkins 1
Crane—Lexie Vaught 18, Madison Fulp 12, Justeen Mahan 12, Shelby Roder 11, Kylee Moore 11.
Class 3 girls basketball quarterfinal
Strafford 50, St. James 40
At O’Reilly Family Event Center, Springfield
St. James 7-10-14-9—40
St. James—Devin Fuhring 18, Shauna Rinehart 14, Leslie Perona 3, Savanna Riccetti 3, Morgan Engelbrecht 2
Strafford—Hayley Frank 21, Abby Oliver 13, Kaylee Larimer 5, Logan Eden 5, Zoey Mullings 4, Kayley Frank 2.
Class 3 boys basketball quarterfinal
Fair Grove, Mountain Grove
At O’Reilly Family Event Center, Springfield
Mountain Grove 20-11-20-15—66
Fair Grove 19-20-12-10—61
Mountain Grove—D.J. McNew 22, Carter Otwell 10, Treye Collins 10, Cade Coffman 9, Brock Coffman 9, Thomas Clifton 6
Fair Grove—Garrett Kesterson 21, Kyle Cavanaugh 15, Steven Huskey 8, Evan Fullerton 8, Mason Kesterson 4, Dalton Cloyd 3, Coby Church 2.
tmp1457235787671.jpgtdunhamusatodayCrane girls basketball coach Jeremy Mullins (center) celebrates with seniors Justeen Mahan (15) and Kylee Moore (24) moments after Crane clinched a fourth consecutive berth in the Class 2 final four with a 64-48 win over Gainesville.
Southwest Missouri fared well in postseason all-state basketball selections.
The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association made the boys and girls all-state picks public on Thursday morning. The Springfield area ended up with five coach of the year award winners and four player of the year award winners, in addition to dozens of players being named to their respective all-state teams.
Kickapoo High School has both of the coach of the year award winners in Class 5. Coach Jim Pendergrass won the award after his girls team won the Class 5 state championship, and coach Dick Rippee won the Class 5 boys award after his Chiefs finished runners up to Chaminade.
In Class 2, Jeremy Mullins of Crane won his third coach of the year award in four years in the wake of the Pirates girls basketball team taking a fourth consecutive state championship. Senior Lexie Vaught, who scored 22 points in Crane’s 78-57 win over Neelyville in the state title game, took home the player of the year award.
Hartville senior Ryan Ward was named the Class 2 boys player of the year after the Eagles won their first-ever state championship. Coach Brett Reed of Hartville was named coach of the year.
Walnut Grove senior Dallas Meinders scored 35 points in the Class 1 boys state championship game, which the Tigers lost 69-49 to undefeated Stanberry. Meinders shared the player of the year award with Daniel Hailey of Stanberry.
Strafford’s girls went 30-3 and defeated Saxony Lutheran 50-46 to capture a Class 3 state championship. Coach Steve Frank was named coach of the year while freshman Hayley Frank and junior Abby Oliver were named to the all-state team.
2016 Missouri Basketball Coaches Association all state teams
Jacey Bolton, sr., Drexel
Takayla Gunter, sr., Tuscumbia
Jacey Skaggs, sr., Bunker
Callee Pickrell, soph., Naylor
Jaden Moning, soph., Glasgow
Bayley Harman, soph., Walnut Grove
Kenedy Eaton, sr., Mound City
Kenzi Edwards, sr., North Andrew
Leah Cauble, fr., Oran
Kaylie Campbell, soph., Southwest Livingston
Jessie Henry, sr., Jefferson
Nicole Kost, sr., Mercer
Bailey Owens, sr., Mercer
Samm Jett, sr., Community R-6
Raylie Hejna, jr., Walnut Grove
Madison Gargac, sr., Naylor
Kourtney Shipley, soph., Bradleyville
Katie Cole, sr., North Andrew
Kaitlyn Runkels, soph., Southwest Livingston
Skyanne Rhorer, jr., Prairie Home
Coach of the year: Derek Petty, Mound City
Player of the year: Jaycee Bolton, Drexel
Lindsey Medlen, sr., Crocker
Chelsey Petty, sr., Neelyville
Madison Strong, sr., Gainesville
Kaylee DaMitz, soph., Skyline
Shelby Moon, sr., Neelyville
Lexie Vaught, sr., Crane
Kylee Moore, sr., Crane
Alexa Willard, sr. Stoutland
Kylie Limback, sr., Santa Fe
Johneisha Daniels, soph., Scott County Central
Ashtyn Lagemann, jr., Clopton
Mackenzy Smith, sr., Greenville
Hunter Purdun, sr., South Harrison
Erin Manville, sr., North Platte
Jill Rumf, jr., Mid-Buchanan
Jaimie Windholz, sr., Crest Ridge
Jayda Summers, fr., Monroe City
Calessa Bair, jr., Scotland County
Lauren Shipley, jr., Adrian
Layne Skiles, soph., Purdy
Coach of the year: Jeremy Mullins, Crane
Player of the year: Lexie Vaught, Crane
Jaysea Morgan, sr., Twin Rivers
Reagan Wieser, sr., Saxony Lutheran
Brianne Mueller, sr., Saxony Lutheran
Megan Skaggs, sr., Park Hills Central
Andranae Wash, sr., Cardinal Ritter
Renetha Dickson, sr., Lutheran North
Savannah Kluesner, sr., Lutheran St. Charles
Nicole Kroger, jr., Palmyra
Whitney Clampitt, jr., Chillicothe
Abby Hipp, jr., St. Pius X of Kansas City
Aijah Blackwell, fr., Whitfield
Skylar Beeson, jr., Southern Boone
Devin Fuhring, jr., St. James
Sarah Kelley, sr., Houston
Hayley Frank, fr., Strafford
Macie Seward, sr., Diamond
Paige Renfrow, jr., Boonville
Josie Fortney, jr., East Buchanan
Abby Oliver, jr., Strafford
Katie Sportsman, sr., Duchesne
Coach of the year: Steve Frank, Strafford
Player of the year: Megan Skaggs, Park Hills Central
Hailey Diestelkamp, sr., Owensville
Sloane Totta, sr., Fulton
Rachel Thompson, sr., MICDS
Gabby Walker, sr., St. Charles
Madelyn Ronnhousen, sr., Notre Dame
Emily Parker, jr., Aurora
Kaycee Gerald, sr., Hillcrest
Taylor Bauer, sr., MICDS
Leketor Member-Meneh, jr., Lutheran South
Sonya Morris, soph., Incarnate Word
Abby Hoff, sr., Incarante Word
Daejah Bernand, sr., St. Joseph Benton
Alexandra Vogt, jr., Carl Junction
Claire Rose, jr., Grain Valley
Tyeshia Mitchell, jr., Sikeston
Jenny Jenson, jr., Warrenton
Payton Greenlee, sr., Marshfield
Alex Cook, sr., St. Dominic
Kaylee Williams, sr., St. Joseph Benton
Dayton Richards, jr., West Plains
Coach of the year: Brett Goodwin, St. Joseph Benton
Player of the year: Taylor Bauer, MICDS
Morgan Flemming, sr., Liberty
Kristina Schmelter, sr., Cor Jesu
Kallie Bildner, sr., Waynesville
Brooke Stanfield, sr., Republic
Laura Vierkant, sr., Kickapoo
Daniella Berry, sr., Francis Howell
Kierra Collier, jr., Independence Truman
Kyra Hardesty, jr., Washington
Megan Foster, sr., Jefferson City
Jaidah Stewart, soph., Webster Groves
Jordan Roundtree, sr., Kirkwood
Mya Johnson, sr., Parkway North
Nyjah White, jr., Hickman
Kelsey Winfrey, jr., Lebanon
Nicole Martin, sr., Jefferson City
Amanda Kearney, jr., Branson
Jordan Sanders, jr., Kickapoo
Courtnie Lewis, jr., Belton
Paige Carpenter, sr., Washington
Eleanor Lueke, sr., St. Theresa’s
Coach of the year: Jim Pendergrass, Kickapoo
Player of the year: Kallie Bildner, Waynesville
Daniel Hailey, sr., Stanberry
Dallas Meinders, sr., Walnut Grove
Logan O’Dell, sr., Braymer
Jordan Leonard, sr., Winston
Craig Lewis, jr., Winston
Matt Hicks, sr., Macks Creek
Jake Neal, jr., Otterville
Bryant Hubbard, sr., Glasgow
Keaton Tillack, sr., School of the Ozarks
Kason Lawrence, sr., Gideon
Kaleb Munica, sr., Weaubleau
Logan Thomazin, soph., Walnut Grove
Alex McQuinn, sr., Stanberry
Allen Earnheart, sr., Gideon
Dawson Mayo, jr., Advance
Aaron Norush, sr., Leeton
Cole Nichols, jr., Bell City
Ryan Layman, jr., Hardin-Central
Kennedy Davis, jr., Glasgow
Colin Roberts, Sr., Novinger
Coach of the Year: Nick Groomer, Stanberry
Players of the Year: Daniel Hailey, Stanberry and Dallas Meinders, Walnut Grove
Ryan Ward, sr., Hartville
Dexter Frisbie, sr., Iberia
Jeffrey Porter, sr., Scott County Central
Deric Jones, jr., Hartville
Noah Vandiver, sr., Bloomfield
Tristan Green, sr., Wellington-Napoleon
Ayden Henry, sr., Thayer
Brayden Kemper, sr., Mid-Buchanan
Riley Halley, sr., Iberia
Bryant Courter, sr., Rich Hill
Wesley Sharp, jr., Ellington
Garrett, jr., Salisbury
Isaac Weider, soph., Vienna
Dylan Mountain, sr., Skyline
Wyatt Summers, sr., Bakersfield
Matt Edwards, sr., Westran
Andrew Roberts, sr., North Platte
Logan Brown, sr., Canton
Caleb Steele, jr., Alton
Tanner Barnes, sr., Cabool
Coach of the year: Brett Reed, Hartville
Player of the year: Ryan Ward, Hartville
Jeriah Horne, sr., Barstow
Jacob Gilyard, jr., Barstow
Michael Porter Jr., jr., Tolton Catholic
Torrance Watson, soph., Whitfield
D.J. McNew, sr., Mountain Grove
Jontay Porter, soph., Tolton Catholic
Trevor Ison, sr., Malden
Alvin Thompson, sr., Cardinal Ritter
Tyree White, sr., North Tech
Chandler Bevans, soph., Clark County
Nolan Huot, sr., Fatima
Kyle Cavanaugh, sr., Fair Grove
Zach Burch, sr., Butler
Desmond McDaniel, sr., O’Hara
Tanner Smith, sr., Lawson
Bryce Berry, sr., Whitfield
Ryan Briscoe, sr., Duchesne
Trae Meny, soph., Palmyra
Andrew Huckaby, sr., Conway
Kyle Moore, sr., Senath-Hornersville
Coach of the year: Jeremy Osborne, Tolton Catholic
Player of the year: Michael Porter Jr., Tolton Catholic
Brandon Emmert, jr., Bolivar
Aaron Cook, sr., Westminster
Caleb Bennett, jr., St. Joseph Lafayette
Kobe Wands, sr., Rolla
Fred Thatch, soph., Sikeston
Kamau Kinder, sr., Festus
Wyatt Yess, jr., Parkway West
Levi Stockard, jr., Vashon
Daniel Farris, jr., Vashon
Zeke Moore, sr., Riverview Gardens
Sam Husting, sr., Helias Catholic
Hassaan Decarolis, sr., St. Charles West
Monty Johal, soph., Glendale
Isaac Smith, sr., Lincoln Prep
Will Rucker, sr., Moberly
Cameron Van Leer, soph., Pacific
Al Young, sr., Cape Girardeau Central
Darius Rice, sr., Jennings
Jabril Cox, sr., Rayton South
Tyrese Davis, jr., Grandview
Coach of the year: Tony Irons, Vashon
Player of the year: Fred Thatch, Sikeston
Jayson Tatum, sr., Chaminade
Brandon McKissic, jr., SLUH
Xavier Sneed, sr., Hazelwood Central
Tyler Cook, sr., Chaminade
Chase Allen, sr., Nixa
Ryan Welty, sr., Park Hill South
Courtney Ramey, soph., Webster Groves
Jared Ridder, jr., Kickapoo
K.J. Robinson, sr., Blue Springs South
Blake Spellman, sr., Lee’s Summit
Michael Hughes, sr., Liberty North
Jordan Barnes, sr., CBC
Mike Lewis II, sr., Chaminade
Joe Johnson, sr., Waynesville
Isaac Johnson, sr., Kickapoo
Dominique Dobbs, sr., Hazelwood Central
Christian Willis, sr., CBC
Cameron Davis, jr., Kickapoo
Dante Scroggins, sr., Smith-Cotton
Elijah Childs, jr., Lee’s Summit West
Coach of the year: Dick Rippee
Player of the Year: Jayson Tatum, Chaminade
tmp1458850274959.jpgtdunhamusatodayHayley Frank of Strafford, right, hugs teammate Abby Oliver after the Indians defeated St. Pius X 48-37 in the 2016 Class 3 girls basketball semifinals on in Columbia.
Seventeen high school athletes have been named to the 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams.
Five Springfield area players are named first-team selections, and 12 more are named to the second team.
This season’s first team is full of floor leaders who were all on district championship teams in their respective classes.
The ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams are selected by the News-Leader staff based on a set of criteria that includes a player’s value to his team, statistical production, success in high-pressure games, leadership, sportsmanship and the overall betterment of basketball in the Ozarks. A player’s value to his team is given the greatest amount of consideration.
The ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball teams are not designed to serve as a prospect ranker or to debate one player’s basketball abilities over another player’s.
ALL-USA Ozarks players will be invited to attend the SW Missouri Sports Awards presented by Hy-Vee on Thursday, June 9. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow will be the keynote speaker for the event at the Springfield Expo Center that honors some of the top sports performances of the year. Tickets are available.
The 2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks girls basketball selections will be announced and published in the News-Leader on Monday, March 28.
American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball first team 2016
Kickapoo senior guard
Johnson scored an average of 10 points per game, but scoring barely begins to tell the story of a senior season that ended in the Class 5 state finals at Mizzou Arena. The ridiculously athletic point guard was Kickapoo’s leading assist getter, made 48.1 percent of his shots and shot 82.1 percent from the free throw line. The Springfield Tipoff Club MVP embodied the selflessness that 2016 Class 5 coach of the year Dick Rippee demanded from his team. Johnson will continue his basketball career with the Drury Panthers.
Walnut Grove senior guard
Meinders stuffed the stats for the Walnut Grove Tigers on the way to Columbia and an appearance in the Class 1 state championship game. He scored 17.2 points per game and averaged 4.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Meinders is a 50-percent field goal shooter. The son of coach Darin Meinders will play next year for Grand View University, a Heart of America Athletic Conference team in Des Moines, Iowa in the NAIA. Dallas Meinders is interested in becoming a college basketball coach.
Bolivar junior forward
Bolivar’s leading scorer and rebounder this season became somewhat notoriously known as “Big Emmert,” for his imposing play in the paint. The 6-foot-6 Emmert’s 17.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game led Bolivar (24-5) to a Class 4 District 13 championship. With one season remaining in his high school career, Emmert is Bolivar’s all-time No. 2 rebounder and No. 3 on the school’s all-time career scoring list with 1,379 points.
Nixa senior forward
Nixa won a third consecutive district championship with the 6-foot-7 Allen leading the way in the paint. Nixa went 23-6 and Allen nabbed the Central Ozarks Conference MVP award along the way. Allen strongly considered pursuing college basketball and played on the AAU circuit for MoKan Elite in the prestigious Nike EYBL the summer prior to his senior year. However, NCAA Division I football scholarships piled up for the big tight end, and Allen ultimately chose to sign with Iowa State to play football.
Fair Grove senior guard
The Eagles’ top scorer helped Fair Grove win its first boys basketball district championship in 14 years. Cavanaugh scored 21.6 points per game and shot 53 percent from the floor. The four-year starter helped the Eagles win a sectional playoff game to reach the Class 3 quarterfinals. Coach Tim Brown said he frequently assigned Cavanaugh to guard the opponent’s best player. “Aside from all his statistics, talents and accolades, he is a special person on and off the court. There isn’t a more polite and coachable kid than him,” Brown said.
2016 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks boys basketball second team
Bryce Krueger, Bolivar
Jared Ridder, Kickapoo
Julius Walker, Greenwood
Ryan Ward, Hartville
Monty Johal, Glendale
Garrett Kesterson, Fair Grove
Tristan Oller, Republic
Jordan Walton, Glendale
Grant Dedmon, Hartville
Logan Thomazin, Walnut Grove
Kyland Hewett-Newbill, Ozark
Cameron Davis, Kickapoo
tmp1459031485819.jpgtdunhamusatodayGreenwood junior Julius WalkerOzark senior Kyland Hewett-Newbill (right) defends the basket against Nixa's Seth Viebrock (left).Glendale sophomore Monty Johal (center).Fair Grove's Garrett Kesterson finishes a fast break against visiting Reeds Spring.Kickapoo junior Cameron Davis, top center, is fouled on his way to the basket by Chaminade's Jericole Hellems (4) as Chaminade's Jayson Tatum (22) watches during the second half of the Missouri Class 5 boys' high school championship game in Columbia.JQH Arena during the 2015 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions.Kickapoo's Isaac Johnson.Dallas Meinders (3) of Walnut Grove shoots as Daniel Hailey of Stanberry defends during the Class 1 boys championship game.Bolivar's Brandon Emmert (right) battles for a rebound during the final round of the 70th Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.Nixa's Chase Allen (20).Fair Grove's Kyle Cavanaugh (24) drives to the basket.Bolivar's Brandon Emmert (right) battles for a rebound during the final round of the 70th Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.Nixa's Chase Allen (20).Dallas Meinders (3) of Walnut Grove shoots as Daniel Hailey of Stanberry defends during the Class 1 boys championship game.Kickapoo's Isaac Johnson.Fair Grove's Kyle Cavanaugh (24) drives to the basket.
The high school sports calendar shifted into the spring season, and with that came several early efforts worthy of the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performers of the Week for March 21-26.
Whether they found the net with a soccer ball, found a winning time on the stopwatch, or found the strike zone with a baseball, this group of Performers of the Week started their respective seasons in good form.
Spring sports coaches, would you like to nominate one of your players to be an American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Player of the Week? Email your nomination to News-Leader high school sports reporter Rance Burger (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5 p.m. each Monday.
American Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks Performers of the Week for March 21-26.
Hunsicker may emerge as a go-to goal scorer on a loaded Eagles girls soccer team. She found the back of the net twice in a 10-0 win over Central. Her first goal was Nixa’s first of the season in the 2016 opener. Hunsicker added an unassisted goal on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Rock Bridge, giving her three goals in the first two games of the campaign.
Springfield Catholic track and field
Rieth circled the track eight times in 10:36.97 to take first place in the 3,200 meter run at the Central Missouri Mule Relays on Tuesday night in Warrensburg. Rieth also ran on a four-member distance medley relay team that won its event in 11:37.29, setting a meet and school record.
Hillcrest’s pitching ace opened the campaign with a complete game one-hitter in the Hornets’ season opening 12-0 win over Marshfield. Barrett has allowed one earned run in 13 innings of work, which coach Ryan Schaffitzel attribute’s to Barrett’s command.
“He’s able to throw three pitches in the zone, and that’s critical to his success,” Schaffitzel said of Barrett.
The Vikings got an important Ozark Conference road victory by beating Camdenton 3-2 in chilly 39-degree weather. Young worked a complete game seven innings in just 83 pitches, and Parkview played error free defense behind Young.
Both his work on the basketball court and in the classroom led to a pair of honors for Allen this past week. The Missouri Basketball Coaches Association announced that the 6-foot-7 man of many talents signed to play football at Iowa State University has been honored as both an all-state basketball player and an academic all-state athlete for having high grades and test scores.
tmp1459196586055.jpgtdunhamusatodayAmerican Family Insurance ALL-USA Ozarks
Nixa senior Chase Allen attained all-state honors as a football and basketball player, but now he can add “all-state scholar” to his growing list of accolades.
The Iowa State football signee is one of several locals to gain academic all-state status from the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. Allen intends to obtain an engineering degree as he plays football for the Cyclones.
Allen joins Nixa teammate Garrett Bacon, Glendale twins Teaira Clancy and Keaira Clancy, Hillcrest’s Jordan Pryor, Fair Grove’s Emily Hopkins and Nixa’s Kayla Goss on the list of locals to make academic all-state.
To qualify for academic all-state status, a player must be a high school senior, must have either started 90 percent of his/her team’s games or appeared in at least 75 percent of his/her varsity team’s total quarters played, must have a grade point average of at least 3.25, and be nominated by their coach for possessing “outstanding moral character.”
In addition, a player must meet one or more of the following: an ACT composite score of 27 or more, an SAT composite score of 1920 or more, or a PSAT selection index score of 185 or more.
Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Academic All-State 2016 selections
Teaira Clancy, Glendale
Keaira Clancy, Glendale
Jordan Pryor, Hillcrest
Emily Hopkins, Fair Grove
Kayla Goss, Nixa
Sabrina Lafferty, Sparta
Cheyanna Jennings, Hermitage
Abby Roy, Mansfield
Ashlyn Hufstedler, Thayer
Alyssa Ripley, Camdenton
Sophia Shore, Camdenton
Lindey Kneib, Webb City
Kinli Simmons, El Dorado Springs
Chase Allen, Nixa
Garrett Bacon, Nixa
Spencer Shue, Verona
Gerard Dietrich, West Plains
Andy Heathman, Nevada
Brady Kempf, Camdenton
Cooper Lowe, Lebanon
tmp1459199946666.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa senior Chase Allen is among several players to be named to academic all-state status according to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.
Bolivar football coach Lance Roweton had to give his team one of the toughest talks the Liberators ever received.
Roweton told the players he is stepping down as the football coach at Bolivar High School to take the high school principal position at nearby Halfway.
“It’s always really tough to leave a place because when you’re a coach you develop really close relationships with the kids in your program, so it was very difficult telling the team, but I can also say that I’m leaving the program in very good shape, and I’m proud of that,” Roweton said.
In the 13 seasons Roweton has coached the Liberators, they have won 13 Central Ozarks Conference Small Division championships. Roweton’s coaching record at Bolivar stands at 116-32 over those 13 years, and 139-42 all time when you add in three seasons at Ash Grove.
The Liberators posted a 65-game winning streak in the COC Small Division.
“I’m very competitive, but for me, if winning and losing were the only things that this was about, then that wouldn’t have kept my interest for 16 years. Watching kids perform under pressure, watching boys turn into men, being part of a kid’s success — that’s what’s kept my interest,” Roweton said.
Roweton spent a long stretch of his career content to coach and teach physical education at his alma mater, but he continued to contemplate a shift to administration. He obtained a master’s degree early in his career but led the Liberators through one of the richest stretches in the history of the football program.
“I had decided a couple of years ago that if the right administrative job opened up, that I would apply,” Roweton said. “Halfway’s principal retired, and when that job became available that felt like a really good fit.”
When Roweton arrived at Bolivar, the Liberators were coming off an 0-10 season. The 2016 Liberators were 9-2 and won their 13th straight conference championship. The turnaround should attract some quality candidates as a special committee conducts interviews to find Roweton’s replacement.
The timeframe for the hiring process is indefinite.
“It’s set up for the next guy to come in and win a ton of games. It’s my wish that the next guy take the program to a higher level than we were already at,” Roweton said. “Nothing would please me more than to see our program soar to new heights.”
Roweton will replace retiring principal Tammy Highley at Halfway. It’s also a job that his father, Junior Roweton, once held.
The Roweton family farm is located in the Halfway school district, where the outgoing coach spent much of his youth.
“Me and my two brothers spent a lot of our waking hours in Halfway on the farm,” Roweton said. “The Halfway job is a really good fit for my family, it’s a community that I’m very familiar with.”
Halfway High School does not have a football program, and there are no plans to start one at this time.
By leaving football, Roweton stands to have more time to spend with his wife and three daughters
“My daughters are getting to the age where I don’t need to have so much of my time taken from them,” Roweton said. “They’re getting to the age where they need their dad around, and at the end of the day, I think everyone would say the most important job they have on all of the earth is raising their kids.”
tmp1459376351147.jpgtdunhamusatodayBolivar High School football coach Lance Roweton (standing) announced he will step aside from coaching football after the Liberators won 13 consecutive COC Small championships.
Springfield will host Missouri’s high school football championship games in 2016, and perhaps in future years.
In addition, Springfield stands to gain host status to the high school girls and boys basketball championship games from 2017 and beyond.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association Board of Directors approved a proposal from Springfield officials that will allow Missouri State University to host the Show-Me Bowl state championship games in the fall of 2016. All state championship football games for Classes 1 through 6 will be played at Plaster Stadium on Nov. 25 and 26.
The 2017 Show-Me Bowl games are scheduled to be played at Faurot Field in Columbia. The Dome at America’s Center (formerly the Edward Jones Dome and the Trans World Dome) in St. Louis hosted Missouri’s high school football championship games from 1996 to 2015.
In addition, Springfield is scheduled to host the Show-Me Showdown state basketball championships in the 2017-2018 school year.
JQH Arena was awarded the MSHSAA Show-Me Showdown beginning with the 2017-18 school year. The contract will consist of a five-year agreement, which also uses Hammons Student Center for the Thursday of Class 1, 2 and 3 weekend.
“We are very excited about using a venue for our basketball championships for which we have received many positive comments,” MSHSAA Executive Director Kerwin Urhahn said. “We appreciate the work that the cities put into this bid process and we have taken this process very seriously. We are especially humbled by the amount of community support the city of Springfield showed in putting together its bids.”
tmp1460164987097.jpgtdunhamusatodayNixa High School football fans cheer on the Eagles during the 2014 MSHSAA Class 5 football championship game at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.