St. Louis readies for NCAA crowds

ST. LOUIS — Expecting thousands of guests in town for college basketball’s premier event, police say they will keep their guard up for any trouble without applying a stifling press on revelers in the city’s first Final Four in a quarter century.

About a year in the planning, security downtown during the next several days, including Saturday’s Division I semifinals and Monday’s title game, will be measured, not as smothering as some complained things were when Pope John Paul II visited St. Louis six years ago.

Bruins dominate first match

Rock Bridge’s Claire Schaeper-koetter’s eyes got wide as she tried to score the second goal of her young soccer career.

Minutes into Rock Bridge’s opening game of the season against Hannibal, freshman Jeanna Ross had centered the ball to Schaeper-koetter.

NCAA eyeing scalpers

ST. LOUIS — Police and the NCAA will be watching closely for ticket scalpers — including coaches — as college-basketball fans converge on St. Louis for the sport’s grand event.

St. Louis is hosting the men’s Final Four for the first time since 1978. The 46,688 seats at the Edward Jones Dome were sold out months ago, and with a large contingent of Illinois and Louisville fans coming — Champaign, Ill., is 2 1/2 hours away, Louisville is four hours — ticket scalping is a big concern.

Jennings shines in Hickman victory

For a second, it looked like Hickman sophomore JaBarbara Jennings had finally encountered an event she couldn’t win.

The speed that had served her so well in triple jump, long jump and 100-meter dash was fading fast. With 200 meters left in the 400-meter race, Jennings said she could feel her legs starting to slow.

Mueller throws perfect game

Monica Mueller hasn’t been perfect in three years.

She was pitcher of the year in the American Midwest Conference and the All-Region 5 pitcher of the year in 2004, but she still wasn’t perfect.

Tigers earn academic honors

Sophomore Shawn Jasper of the Missouri men’s golf team and Junior Ashley Patten of the women’s track team were named this week’s Lathrop & Gage Student-Athletes of the Week for their athletic and academic achievements as well as contributions to the community.

Patten, a business management major, has a 3.19 grade point average and recently finished eighth in the 800-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 12. She has contributed to the community by spending time with the Ronald McDonald House Benefit.

Kewps in sync

Hickman’s Caitlyn Keith raced by defenders as two of her teammates closed in behind her.

Keith fired a shot that ricocheted off the left post, but Kendall Foss was there to nudge the ball past the helpless Camdenton goalie, increasing the Kewpies’ lead to four.

Royals' pitcher making speedy recovery

Runelvys Hernandez did everything he could to get out of the Dominican Republic and make it to the big leagues.

He made it. But along the way, all that hard work wrecked his pitching arm and put his career on hold for almost two years.

Bears advance to title game

Jenni Lingor scored 32 points to lead Southwest Missouri State to an 89-80 victory against Iowa in the semifinals of the Women’s NIT on Monday night.

K.C. Cowgill finished with 21 points and Sarah Klaassen added 12 for Southwest Missouri (24-8). Kari Koch finished with 12 assists.

Lady Vols eye title

PHILADELPHIA — Shyra Ely scrawled her goal on the back of her sneakers: Homeward Bound. With the way Tennessee is playing, Ely might get her wish.

Ely scored 23 points and led the top-seeded Lady Vols into their 20th regional final with a 75-59 win against Texas Tech on Sunday. The Lady Vols (29-4) will play Rutgers in the Philadelphia Regional on Tuesday night for a trip to the Final Four in Ely’s hometown of Indianapolis.

UNC, MSU final two regional survivors

AUSTIN, Texas — A 3-point prayer, answered. One overtime, then another. And when the dust settled on the breathtaking finish to an astonishing weekend, Michigan State was holding the last ticket to the Final Four.

Patrick Sparks’ desperation 3-pointer at the end of regulation danced oh-so softly on the rim, bouncing four times before falling through for Kentucky. But wait. Was his right toe on the line?

McCants trades personal glory for team success

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — No one sacrificed more than Rashad McCants to make sure North Carolina got back to the Final Four. So it was only fitting that he made the plays when the Tar Heels needed him most.

The star guard, no longer the team’s leading scorer this year while accepting a more team-oriented role, swished a clutch 3-pointer and had two huge defensive stops down the stretch, leading top-seed North Carolina past Wisconsin 88-82 on Sunday in the final of the Syracuse Regional.

Tigers sweep KSU

The Missouri baseball team won 3-1 against Kansas State on Sunday, sweeping the three-game series in Manhattan.

Junior Doug Mathis gave up one run on three hits and struck out five in seven innings to earn the win and improve to 2-2.

Making Himself Heard

Where was he?

He should have been here by now.

It’s the second inning of a Friday night Missouri baseball game against North Dakota State and there is no sign of super fan Larry Wyatt II.

Usually wearing a Missouri hat and dressed in a black-and-gold sweat top and black khaki pants, he is known to most as just “Larry.”

He is an unmistakable presence at Taylor Stadium.

Tigers edge Kansas St. in baseball

Missouri extended its winning streak to 11 games and secured a victory in its first Big 12 series of the season, defeating Kansas State 6-5 on Saturday. Derek Chambers went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to stretch his hitting streak to eight games and sparked an eighth inning rally to help Missouri overcome the Wildcats and four unearned runs scored off starter Nathan Culp, who got a no decision. Andrew Johnston (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

On Friday, Max Scherzer (5-1) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to win his fifth straight start. Hunter Mense had the Tigers' lone RBI and scored a run as Missouri (19-4) scored a season-low three runs on three hits, but managed to win its Big 12 opener.

Extra Points: MU Softball

Missouri (27-3) split a doubleheader Friday with Oklahoma State to open conference play. In Game One, the Tigers fell 6-5 in 10 innings. In a seesaw game, the Tigers took the lead in tops of the ninth and 10th innings, only to see Oklahoma State answer immediately in the bottom half. Sophomore catcher Kathy Masterson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two strikeouts in the loss.

Extra Points: MU Diving

Evan Watters finished 21st in the 3-meter springboard event at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis. He was the only Tiger to qualify for the national meet.

Extra Points: MU Track and Field

Missouri took first place in four events at the Tulsa Invitational this weekend, led by senior Lindsey Markworth, who won the women’s shot put and discus. Jennifer Bennett won the women's pole vault, clearing a height of 12 feet, while Jesse Sims won the men’s high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

Extra Points: MU Gymnastics

The Tigers placed fourth at the Big 12 Championships in Norman, Okla. with a score of 194.875. Nebraska won its seventh title in the ninth year of the competition.

Senior Alisha Robinson won the conference vault title for the second straight season, scoring a 9.925 in the event.

Priday lifts Missouri’s run total

Each time Missouri outfielder Jacob Priday comes to bat at Taylor Stadium, the loudspeaker plays Blake Shelton’s country song “Heavy Lifting.”

“I hit the ground runnin’ with the mornin’ sun. When a job needs doin’, I get it done.”