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The season that was

Most people can’t change jobs on a whim.

Frontier League players do it all the time.

Team in the stands

Maverick infielder Tim Friedman played in Canton, Ohio, during the 2002 Frontier League season. He knows what it’s like to play in front of nobody.

“I’d rather have a small stadium full of people than a big one with nobody in it,” Friedman said as a he surveyed Columbia’s Taylor Stadium for the first time on day one of spring training.

Mavericks look back on inaugural year

The first season of Mid-Missouri Mavericks baseball was a roller coaster.

Pat Daly, the Mavericks’ vice president and general manager, says they’re ready for another ride.

Smith shows up for Tigers

There were high expectations.

“The Tigers will start 6-0,” said about three-fourths of message board posts on Internet fan sites in the days before the Missouri-Illinois football game.

Getting to the Heart of America

Six years ago, Stephen Bourgeois crossed the finish line in his first marathon. Since then, he has completed 21, 14 in the past year. On Oct. 18, he will celebrate his 40th birthday by competing in the Indianapolis Marathon, and then, a day later, drive to Louisville, Ky. for his 25th marathon.

Columbia’s Heart of America was the race that got him started, though. Bourgeois is set to run in this year’s race at 6 a.m. today.

Tigers win home opener

It was the third time in the past eight years that the Northwestern Wildcats have traveled to Audrey J. Walton Stadium for the MU women’s soccer home opener. This time, the result was different.

Missouri won 2-0 against Northwestern on Sunday afternoon in its second game of the season. The Tigers had lost to the Wildcats 4-2 in 1996 and 1998.

Tiger fans pounce at MU football victory

ST. LOUIS — Win the turnover battle. Win goal-line and short-yardage situations. Be efficient in the red zone. Convert on third down. Win the fourth quarter.

A sign hanging in the Illinois locker room listed these as the formula to beating Missouri. The Illini accomplished none in a 22-15 loss to the Tigers at the Edward Jones Dome on Saturday.

Harden’s special teams play sparks MU

ST. LOUIS — Michael Harden knew his backfield experience would be important to keeping Missouri’s defense in order Saturday. His play on special teams in the first quarter, though, was more helpful to the offense.

On fourth-and-15 for Illinois on its 18, junior punter Matt Minnes caught the snap at about the 5. Harden rushed in from the right side, and because the rest of the Illini continued to block, it did not look as if a punt fake had been called. Minnes did not punt, though, and Harden ran into him before Minnes stepped a little to the right.

Tigers take Invitational title

Sometimes a team needs a loss.

Missouri learned this in the third game of its match against Arkansas on Saturday at the Tiger Invitational. The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 30-15, 30-18. 26-30, 30-16.

Kewps win thriller vs. Marquette

While Hickman coach Jerry Price attended the U.S. Open in New York, his team in Columbia proved it doesn’t take professionals to put on a good show.

The Kewpies beat Marquette High 4-3 despite a constant sprinkle at Hickman on Saturday.

Helias cruises

Lauren Delaney’sDelaney’s’ pitching masterpiece helped the Helias Crusaders roll to a win against Eureka in the championship of the Columbia College High School Softball Invitational on Saturday at Cougar Field.

Delaney pitched a one-hitter to lead the way to a 7-0 victory.

Rock Bridge defense shines in jamboree

Several returning Rock Bridge stars did not steal the show at Friday night’s three-team jamboree at Rock Bridge.

Instead, the Bruins received balance on both sides of the ball, defeating Oakville 6-0 and settling for a scoreless 36-play scrimmage with Liberty.

Abron forgets fumble to finish with flourish

ST. LOUIS - At least when he is at the Edward Jones Dome, Missouri tailback Zack Abron is a slow starter. When he gets going, though, look out.

Much as he did last season, Abron struggled at the outset but had a strong second half to help Missouri to a 22-15 win against Illinois on Saturday.

Newcomers poke holes in Tigers’ defense

ST. LOUIS — Illinois freshman E.B. Halsey couldn’t have modeled his third-quarter offensive takeover after Missouri quarterback Brad Smith’s breakout a year ago. At home in Elizabeth, N.J., Halsey wasn’t watching.

“We didn’t get it out there,” Halsey said.

Tickets tight for Tigers

Football fans who want tickets to the Missouri-Illinois Border War game on Saturday at Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis can still get them, but they’ll see more of the tops of players’ helmets than their numbers.

The only tickets left for Saturday’s game are for seats in the top level of the dome. Fans can buy $30 tickets for the sidelines and $15 seats in either end zone.

No doubt which QBs will begin this season

When depth charts were released at this time a year ago, Brad Smith and Jon Beutjer were nervous. Both were in heated battles for starting quarterback jobs. This year, Smith and Beutjer can rest easy thanks to terrific 2002 campaigns.

Smith will lead Missouri against Beutjer’s Illinois team at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Both teams are more familiar with each other, but that won’t make stopping Smith and Beutjer easier.

It takes a year to get the Tigers down I-70

Playing the football game might be easier than getting the teams there.

Missouri plays Illinois in the opener Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. In terms of logistics, it is a tricky operation getting the Tigers ready to play.

Cook County batters Mavs in home finale

The few fans remaining at Taylor Stadium on Thursday night gave Wes Fewell a standing ovation as he walked off the field in the ninth inning.

Fewell played every position. He started the game at catcher, then played each spot on the infield, played the outfield and pitched during the ninth. It was about the only thing left for the fans to cheer for on fan appreciation day.

Young team starts promising season

Despite lofty preseason expectations, the Missouri volleyball team is not placing extra emphasis on a Tiger Invitational win.

Rather, the Tigers, ranked 21st in the country, hope to use this weekend’s second annual Tiger Invitational to mesh the six incoming freshmen with the eight returning players from last season’s NCAA Tournament team that finished 26-8.

State champ too tough for Kewpies

Hickman struggled with early errors and low offensive output against defending state champion Westran on Thursday night.

The Kewpies lost 3-1 to the Hornets at Antimi Field, falling to 1-1.

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