MU’s Nicholls third in shot in El Salvador

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:28 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Missouri junior shot-putter Shernelle Nicholls won a bronze medal Sunday at the inaugural North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Nicholls was born in St. Andrew’s Parish in St. Michael, Barbados, and settled into life in the United States at Missouri Baptist in St. Louis. She won the NAIA outdoor shot put championship as a freshman and was runner-up in the event as a sophomore. Then she transferred to MU, in order to study nursing, a major goal in her life.

She is Barbados’ national record holder in shot put, hammer throw and discus.

Sunday, she beat fellow Barbados native Keisha Walkes’ national-record of 49.97 meters with a throw of 51.15. Moving from fourth all-time in Mizzou history in the discus, Nicholls broke Melanie Uher’s 2005 school record by more than a foot. The effort also beat her own personal best in the event by four feet.

Nicholls next travels to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she will be competing in the woman’s shot put on July 27 at the Pan-America Games.

— Toby S. Holmes

COLUMBIA COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL: The Cougars made the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics list of 2006-07 scholar teams.

Columbia College had a 3.46 team GPA, placing it eighth among women’s volleyball teams. The Cougars were in the top 80 in all sports.

There were more than 400 teams that had a GPA above 3.0. The Robert Morris College (Ill.) men’s golf team lead all teams with a 3.86.

YOUTH SOFTBALL: The Columbia Rockers, a 12-and-younger fastpitch softball team, won their second straight USSSA Mid-State Championship Sunday. The Rockers beat the Havoc, a team from the Kansas City area, 12-0 to win the title. In the tournament, the team scored 56 runs while giving up nine in five games.

Next the team will travel to Independence to play in the USSSA World Series beginning July 24.

CHIEFS: Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen has been suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the 2007 season and fined an additional game check following two DUI arrests.

Allen told the Kansas City Star last April that he had been suspended for four games. At that time, the NFL declined comment because the case was under appeal.

The league announced the two-game suspension on Monday.

Allen, 25, who was second on the Chiefs last season with 7½ sacks, entered a diversion program in connection with the first charge and pleaded no contest to the second.

GRIFFEY SIXTH ON LIST: Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 587th home run Monday night, passing Frank Robinson for sixth on the career list.

Griffey’s 24th home run, a three-run shot into the right-field seats at Turner Field, came off Atlanta reliever Oscar Villarreal in the second inning and gave the Reds a 5-0 lead.

Now in his eighth year with Cincinnati, Griffey began the season tied with Reggie Jackson for 10th place with 563 home runs.

Griffey played his first 11 years for the Seattle Mariners, hitting 398 home runs and winning the 1997 AL MVP.

Texas’ Sammy Sosa ranks fifth on the homer list with 602.

BONDS POLL: When it comes to rooting for Barry Bonds to become the home run champion, one factor stands out: race.

An AP-Ipsos poll released Monday showed 55 percent of minority baseball fans want Bonds to set the record, while only 34 percent of non-Hispanic white baseball fans hope he passes Hank Aaron’s record.

The results mark a significant jump among minorities. Last October, just 34 percent in an AP-AOL poll were rooting for Bonds to make history.

The Giants rested Bonds in Monday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs. He has 751 home runs, four behind Aaron.

The poll showed that 40 percent of fans overall want Bonds to break the record. That’s a slight increase from last fall, when 33 percent of fans were rooting for him to top Aaron.

That’s a lot different than it was when Aaron approached Babe Ruth’s record of 714.

A Harris Sports Survey back then showed 77 percent of baseball fans were rooting for Aaron to beat the Babe. That poll was taken less than a month before Aaron did it in 1974; the previous August, a Harris survey found 63 percent rooting for the Hammer.

WORLD SERIES OF POKER: Scotty Nguyen, the main event champ of 1998, busted out of the $10,000 buy-in main event of the World Series of Poker in 11th place, two places short of the final table and ending hopes for a repeat winner for the first time in a decade. Nguyen, the fan favorite, had as many as 15.5 million in chips but lost three huge pots in a disappointing collapse.

“When you’re playing good, you get too cocky and too confident and you give players no credit,” he said after busting out with a $476,926 in earnings. Nine players remained for the final table, with Philip Hilm, a 31-year-old Dane making a living playing poker online in England, in first with 23.1 million in chips. Play begins at 12 noon today and goes on until there is a winner

BECKHAM WATCH: David Beckham was limited to some stretching and kicking drills because of a lingering ankle injury in his first practice Monday since joining the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He is scheduled to make his playing debut Saturday in an exhibition against Chelsea, but Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said the superstar midfielder is day-to-day.

“His ankle is quite swollen,” Yallop said. “We’re hoping it recovers quickly and he can have some part in the game.”

Beckham didn’t speak to reporters after practice.

He originally hurt his left ankle playing for England in a European Championship qualifier on June 6 and it flared up again June 17 in his final game with Real Madrid.

Saturday’s game, part of the four-team World Series of Football, is sold out and ESPN will televise it live, using 19 cameras to track Beckham.

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