When Mike Whitehead isn’t working on homework or practicing for his next match, he prefers to spend his time outdoors hunting or fishing. If he is as talented in the woods as he is on the mat, no animal is safe.
Whitehead, a senior ranked No. 13 at heavyweight, is wrestling his first and last season at Missouri. He is a transfer from Southern Oregon.
Record-breaking performances on vault, beam and floor have defined Missouri’s season, but lagging scores on the uneven bars have cost Missouri two conference wins.
ST. CHARLES — Although the Hickman wrestling team failed in its attempt to repeat as district champion Saturday, several wrestlers created new opportunities for themselves.
Six Hickman and three Rock Bridge wrestlers advanced to sectional tournament at Jefferson City by finishing in the top four in their weight class, and Hickman’s Tony Pescaglia (112) and Zach Arnold (171) won district titles. Three Kewpies and one Bruin qualified for the sectional tournament for the first time.
For some, the Last Chance Meet on Saturday at Hickman pool was the end of the season; for others, it meant a coveted place in the state meet.
The meet, which featured the Hickman, Rock Bridge and Hannibal boys’ swimming and diving teams, was the final opportunity to qualify for the state meet Friday and Saturday in St. Peters.
Hangovers usually follow a night of heavy drinking or a hard-fought victory. Columbia College suffered from the latter Saturday against Hannibal-LaGrange.
“It was an ugly win,” Cougars coach Mike Davis said. “That would be my synopsis of it.”
Missouri senior Arthur Johnson is known for swatting down more shots than any other Missouri player, and his game staple is pounding the ball in the post.
Patience, however, isn’t one of his distinguishing traits.
Rock Bridge senior Greg Longo is confident he can accomplish what he has not been able to do so far this season.
He will have his final shot at qualifying for the state finals in the 100-yard breaststroke Saturday at the Last Chance swimming meet at Hickman. The meet features the Rock Bridge and Hickman boys’ teams.
Yelena Olshanskaya can remember growing up watching her sister Kristina Olshanskaya play tennis for Missouri.
“It was exciting,” Yelena Olshanskaya said. “When I was 12, I looked up to the 18- or 19-year-olds and now I’m one of them.”
Nothing disrupts a team’s offensive rhythm like a myriad of whistles. Fortunately for Columbia College, Khamari Ballard found an effective tempo well before the opening tip.
The Cougars beat Illinois-Springfield 88-74 on Thursday at The Arena of Southwell Complex in a game with 56 fouls. The win broke a tie for third between the Cougars and the Prairie Stars in the American Midwest Conference.
Women in Columbia’s recreational basketball league better be ready to play this season. They might be lining up against a Hall of Famer.
Columbia’s Debbie Chavez-Newby will be inducted into Central Methodist College’s Hairston Hall of Fame on Saturday. Chavez-Newby will be honored for her athletic achievement on the basketball court and the track.
Rock Bridge’s Chris and Jake Hardesty plan to wrestle in the state tournament. It’s a goal that has helped form a strong bond between the brothers.
Chris Hardesty, a 135-pound senior, and Jake Hardesty, a 140-pound junior, practice together every day at Rock Bridge. Outside the wrestling room, though, they usually follow different paths.
Lauren “Bunny” Schwartzman ran out of the locker room for Monday’s practice as cheery and energetic as her nickname. A casual observer would guess from the skip in her step that she was content with the way the season is progressing.
Schwartzman started this season ranked No. 1 in the balance beam after she scored a 10 against Iowa State on Jan. 11. It was the first perfect score on any event in the program’s 25 years. She scored 9.90s against New Hampshire on Jan. 16 and Southeast Missouri State on Jan. 25.
Gary Pinkel could have been any college football coach in the country.
Sitting in front of a crowd in the Tiger Lounge at Memorial Stadium, Pinkel beamed about his newest recruiting class. Wednesday was National Signing Day, the first day recruits can sign letters of intent with their school of choice.
Two similar paths converged again Wednesday at Rock Bridge.
Quarterback Chase Patton and linebacker Van Alexander made their oral commitments to Missouri official Wednesday when they signed letters of intent to become Tigers.
Top 10 teams don’t normally change their starting lineups in the middle of the season, but Bob Burchard is strongly considering ignoring conventional wisdom.
Burchard, the Columbia College men’s basketball coach, said his team’s Achilles heel was exposed Jan. 29 in its 73-65 loss at McKendree (Ill.).
Before and during Missouri’s Big 12 Conference game at Kansas on Monday night, Jayhawks supporters repeatedly chanted “N-I-T” at the Tigers.
The fans’ suggestions that the Tigers belong in the National Invitational Tournament aren’t necessarily correct, even considering how bleak things appear for the Tigers (9-9, 4-4 Big 12 Conference). History indicates a hot finish could vault the Tigers into the NCAA Tournament. With nine losses, though, it won’t be easy.
To experience a dreamlike end to its season, the Hickman wrestling team is cutting back on sleep.
In addition to their usual afternoon practice, the Kewpies have added a session starting at 6 a.m. in preparation for the Class 3 District 5 tournament at Francis Howell High on Saturday.
Nick Fuchs didn’t expect to wrestle, but his match decided the outcome.
Fuchs, of Rock Bridge, expected a bye at heavyweight, but in a last-second move, Smith-Cotton coach Chad Hopkins moved Jimmy Brown from 215 to heavyweight.
It took a while for the Smith-Cotton Tigers to score Tuesday night.
Once they scored they found themselves too far behind to catch Hickman, which defeated the Tigers 66-38 at Hickman.
Kansas coach Bill Self offered a simple, yet thoughtful suggestion Monday night that could lead to many victories this season.
“There are going to be nights when we don’t shoot the ball well,” Self said. “In those games, we have to play great defensively.”