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INSIDE TODAY:

MOLINA

WE WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS Call Sports Editor Greg Bowers: 573-882-5729 or send email to: bowersg@missouri.edu or fax us: 573-882-5702 Visit us on the Web: www.ColumbiaMissourian.com/sports

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina agrees to a fiveyear contract worth $75 million. Page 4B

SECTION B, Friday & Saturday, March 2-3, 2012

Adjusting on the roll

Missouri ready for Big 12 tourney

GRANT HINDSLEY/Missourian

Carter Arey, who has a prosthetic leg because an accident before birth, has provided a boost of energy coming off the bench for the MU Wheelchair Basketball team.

Carter Arey has excelled coming off the bench for the MU Wheelchair team By GARRET RICHIE | sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com

C

arter Arey had good reason to be excited. The MU Wheelchair Basketball team just won both games of its doubleheader against the Kansas Wheelhawks, and he had performed well. He scored 42 points for MU in the two games combined, including 25 in the second one. After almost 80 minutes of pushing his chair up and down the court, driving to the basket and scoring, Arey was understandably exhausted. But when he wheeled off the court after the second game, he still had the energy, and the ability, to do something anyone watching the competition wouldn’t expect. He unstrapped himself from his chair, stood up and launched himself into the air in a perfectly executed chestbump with a friend, landing gracefully before walking to the locker room. Arey, a junior at MU, was destined to be a Missouri athlete. Born and raised in Columbia, one of his first articles of clothing was a Missouri Tigers bib. His first word was ball, and he has been living the student-athlete lifestyle since he started playing little league baseball in the first grade. But before Arey ever began his athletic career, he lost his right foot. While still in his mother’s womb, Arey broke the femur in his right leg, which caused it to grow slower than his left. When it never caught up, doctors decided the difference could be corrected with a prosthetic foot. So when Arey was four years old, they amputated his right foot and replaced it with a prosthetic. Today, it’s difficult to notice it. There is no limp, no crutches, no noticeable physical difference. Unless he were to lift up his right pant leg and showyou the prosthetic foot and sleeve that runs up his calf, everything seems normal. “It’s like putting on a shoe,” Arey said. “It’s kind of just there for me, and I don’t ever really think about it honestly.” Because he is only missing his foot and has had the prosthetic since such a young age, Arey said it did little to hinder his athletic ability. So little, in fact, that the way he ended up playing for the

Please see ADAPTING, page 2B

By GARRETT RICHIE

sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com The postseason has been one long road trip for the Rock Bridge boys basketball team. The Bruins started it off routing the Smith-Cotton Tigers 63-17 in the District 9 semifinals at SmithCotton. After cruising past Hickman High School in the district championship, the Bruins silenced a crowd in Rolla as they knocked off the home team Bulldogs in the state sectional game at Missouri S&T. But the Bruins still have one more away game to win before they can return to Columbia for the Show-Me Showdown Final Four at Mizzou Arena.

Milestone for two players Two of the biggest contributors to Missouri’s surprising season have been senior Marcus Denmon and sophomore Phil Pressey. Both players were named to Naismith Midseason 30 Watch List on Wednesday. Denmon has been Missouri’s leading scorer this season with 18 points per game. His 14 points on Wednesday tied him with Melvin Booker for sixth on the school’s all-time scoring list. Pressey has been Missouri’s leading assist man with 9.9 assists per game. He broke the school’s singleseason assist record on Wednesday. He has 183 assists so far this season, four more than Anthony Peeler had in the 1989-90 season.

Tigers finish regular season Saturday Missouri has one last regular season game to play before the postseason. The Tigers will face Texas Tech (8-21, 1-16) on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas, to close out Big 12 regular season play. Texas Tech is in last place in the Big 12, but it gave Missouri a good game when the two teams met in Columbia on Jan. 28. The Red Raiders held the Tigers to their second lowest point total of the season in a 63-50 finish but have lost eight of their last nine games since then.

Saturday’s game NO. 7 MISSOURI (26-4) AT TEXAS TECH (8-21)

GRANT HINDSLEY/Missourian

Despite coming off the bench, Arey is second on the team in scoring. He is one of the most talented players coach Ron Lykins has seen transition to wheelchair basketball.

Rock Bridge looks to defeat Nixa again The Bruins were the only team to beat Eagles in the regular season.

By ZACH MILLER sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com The Missouri men’s basketball team will be the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 tournament next weekend in Kansas City. The Tigers (26-4, 13-4) clinched the spot after beating Iowa State 78-72 in their final home game Wednesday night. This means Missouri will play its first postseason game at 6 p.m. March 8 at the Sprint Center. Missouri will play the winner of a Wednesday game between seventh-seeded Oklahoma State and 10th-seeded Texas Tech. Kansas will be the No. 1 seed, which means that the two rivals will not meet unless both make it to the Big 12 championship game. Missouri’s performance in the conference tournament will have a major influence in what seed the Tigers get in the NCAA tournament the following week. “We really have to stay true to what we’ve done all year,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said after Wednesday’s win. “We have to continue to do our preparation work how we’ve done it all year.”

They face essentially the same couldn’t help but smile at the outroad game situation in the quarter- break of enthusiasm. final game on Saturday against No. “At this point in the season, you 1-ranked Nixa High School. can’t really make excuses,” assisNixa is a mere 12 miles from tant coach Quentin Mitchell said. “If the Hammons Student Center in you’re gonna win, you’re gonna win. Springfield where the game will be We have to play in Springfield Satheld, compared to the 165-mile bus urday against a Springfield team. ride Rock Bridge You just gotta want will take to the it. Whoever wants game. it more now wins, But location no matter where ROCK BRIDGE (24-4) VS. hasn’t bothered you play.” NIXA (28-1) the Bruins. When Jorgenson, who the Rolla Bullstruggled in the WHEN: 1:45 p.m. dogs ran onto the first half of the WHERE: Hammons Student court Wednesday sectional game Center, Springfield night to a roaring against Rolla hometown crowd, before scoring Rock Bridge senior guard Corey eight second-half points, said the Haith clapped along jokingly with crowd wasn’t the reason for the the crowd. Junior guard Travis Jor- team’s slow first half. genson started laughing. Even the Please see BRUINS, page 4B ever-serious senior Jordan Stevens

Saturday’s game

WHEN: 3 p.m. WHERE: United Spirit Arena. Lubbock, Texas RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM; KCMQ/96.7 FM

Rock Bridge girls basketball relies on height to dominate By GREG CORNFIELD

about 36 this season. sports@columbiamissourian.com The immediate guess for why The Rock Bridge girls basketball Rock Bridge continues to win team has more than a solid winning by so much is their clear height streak. It also has a habit of com- advantage. If 6-foot Lindsey and pletely dominating Sophie Cunningits opponents. ham aren’t rackOn Wednesday ing up the steals the Bruins beat with their relentWaynesville 64-18 less half-court ROCK BRIDGE (23-3) VS. in the first round trap, then 6-foot-4OZARK (25-4) of the Class 5 state inch Cierra Porter WHEN: 12 p.m. tournament. But and 6-foot-1-inch the Bruins are Audrey Holt are WHERE: Hammons Student familiar with such filling the paint, Center, Springfield large winning blocking shots and margins. grabbing rebounds. The Bruins (23-3) have a 15-game Nine of the 13 players on the Bruwinning streak and while scoring ins’ roster are listed at or above 5 just fewer than 60 points per game Please see HEIGHT, page 4B have allowed their opponents only

Saturday’s game


COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN

Page 2B — FRIDAY & SATURDAY, March 2-3, 2012

COLLEGE BASKETBALL COLLEGE MEN BIG 12 CONFERENCE Kansas Missouri Baylor Iowa State Kansas State Texas Oklahoma State Oklahoma Texas A&M Texas Tech

Big 12 15-2 13-4 12-5 11-6 9-8 9-8 7-10 4-13 4-13 1-16

Pct. Overall Pct. .882 25-5 .833 .765 26-4 .867 .706 25-5 .833 .647 21-9 .700 .529 20-9 .681 .529 19-11 .633 .412 14-16 .467 .235 14-15 .483 .235 13-16 .448 .059 8-21 .276

Wednesday’s results Missouri 78, Iowa State 72 Texas 72, Oklahoma 64 Saturday’s games Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 12:30 p.m. Missouri at Texas Tech, 3 p.m. Texas A&M at Oklahoma, 3 p.m. Baylor at Iowa State, 6 p.m. Texas at Kansas, 8 p.m. End regular season

COLLEGE WOMEN BIG 12 CONFERENCE Baylor Texas A&M Oklahoma Iowa State Kansas State Kansas Texas Oklahoma State Texas Tech Missouri

Big 12 Pct. 17-0 1.000 11-6 .647 11-6 .647 9-8 .529 9-8 .529 7-10 .412 7-10 .412 7-10 .412 5-12 .294 2-15 .118

Overall Pct. 30-0 1.000 20-8 .714 19-10 .655 18-10 .643 18-11 .621 18-11 .621 17-12 .586 15-11 .577 17-12 .586 12-16 .429

Wednesday’s results Oklahoma 71, Texas Tech 62 Oklahoma State 66, Kansas 63 Iowa State 57, Kansas State 33 Saturday’s games Iowa State at Baylor, 11 a.m. Texas Tech at Kansas State, 6 p.m. Missouri at Oklahoma State, 7 p.m.

SPORTS ON THE AIR NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

TODAY 7 p.m., ESPN — Golden State at Philadelphia 9:30 p.m., ESPN — L.A. Clippers at Phoenix

COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL

TODAY 6 p.m., ESPN2 — Akron at Kent St. SATURDAY 11 a.m., CBS — National coverage, Memphis at Tulsa ESPN — Pittsburgh vs. Connecticut ESPN2 — Big South Tournament 1 p.m., CBS — Regional coverage, LSU at Auburn or Washington at UCLA ESPN — Cincinnati vs. Villanova ESPN2 — Ohio Valley Tournament FSN — Southern Miss. at Marshall 3 p.m., KMIZ; KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM; KCMQ/96.7 FM — Missouri at Texas Tech CBS — National coverage, Louisville at Syracuse ESPN — Vanderbilt at Tennessee FSN — Colorado at Oregon St. NBCSN — Boise St. at New Mexico 6 p.m., ESPN — North Carolina at Duke ESPN2 — Atlantic Sun Conference, championship game, at Macon, Ga. 8 p.m., ESPN — Texas at Kansas ESPN2 — West Coast Conference, semifinal, at Las Vegas 10 p.m., ESPN2 — West Coast Conference, semifinal, at Las Vegas

COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

SATURDAY 11 a.m., FSN — Iowa St. at Baylor 7 p.m., KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM — Missouri at Oklahoma State

BOXING

TODAY 7 p.m., ESPN2 — Junior welterweights, Jesus Pabon (17-2-0) vs. Joan Guzman (31-0-1), at Hollywood, Fla.

GOLF

TODAY 2 p.m., TGC — PGA Tour, The Honda Classic, second round, at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. SATURDAY Noon, TGC — PGA Tour, The Honda Classic, third round, at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 2 p.m., NBC — PGA Tour, The Honda Classic, third round, at Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

GYMNASTICS

SATURDAY Noon, NBC — American Cup, at New York

COLLEGE MEN’S HOCKEY

TODAY 6:30 p.m., NBCSN — Denver at Nebraska-Omaha

MOTORSPORTS

SATURDAY 7:30 p.m., SPEED — Supercross, at St. Louis

NASCAR

TODAY Noon, SPEED — Nationwide Series, practice for Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, at Avondale, Ariz. 1:30 p.m., SPEED — Sprint Cup, practice for Subway Fresh Fit 500, at Avondale, Ariz. 3 p.m., SPEED — Nationwide Series, final practice for Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, at Avondale, Ariz. 4:30 p.m., SPEED — Sprint Cup, “Happy Hour Series,” final practice for Subway Fresh Fit 500, at Avondale, Ariz. SATURDAY Noon, SPEED — Nationwide Series, pole qualifying for Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, at Avondale, Ariz. 1:30 p.m., SPEED — Sprint Cup, pole qualifying for Subway Fresh Fit 500, at Avondale, Ariz. 3:30 p.m., ESPN2 — Nationwide Series, Bashas’ Supermarkets 200, at Avondale, Ariz.

RODEO

SATURDAY 8 p.m., NBCSN — PBR, Iron Cowboy III, at Arlington, Texas

SOCCER

SATURDAY 6:30 a.m., ESPN2 — Premier League, Arsenal at Liverpool

COLLEGE WRESTLING

SATURDAY 6:30 p.m., FSN — Big 12 Conference championship, winner of Oklahoma State-Iowa State vs. winner of Missouri-Oklahoma, at Columbia

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE EASTERN CONFERENCE N.Y. Rangers Pittsburgh Philadelphia New Jersey N.Y. Islanders Boston Ottawa Toronto Buffalo Montreal Florida Winnipeg Washington Tampa Bay Carolina

Atlantic Division GP W L OT 62 41 15 6 63 37 21 5 63 35 21 7 63 35 23 5 64 26 29 9 Northeast Division GP W L OT 62 38 21 3 65 34 23 8 64 29 28 7 63 28 27 8 65 25 30 10 Southeast Division GP W L OT 63 30 21 12 66 31 27 8 63 32 26 5 63 29 28 6 64 24 27 13

Pts GF 88 172 79 202 77 209 75 175 61 151

GA 126 166 191 174 193

Pts GF 79 204 76 199 65 191 64 156 60 169

GA 143 192 200 180 181

Pts GF 72 158 70 173 69 172 64 176 61 168

GA 179 186 178 213 193

WESTERN CONFERENCE Central Division GP W L OT Detroit 64 42 19 3 St. Louis 65 40 18 7 Nashville 64 37 20 7 Chicago 65 34 24 7 Columbus 64 19 38 7 Northwest Division GP W L OT Vancouver 65 41 16 8 Colorado 65 33 28 4 Calgary 64 29 24 11 Minnesota 64 28 26 10 Edmonton 63 25 32 6 Pacific Division GP W L OT Phoenix 64 33 22 9 San Jose 62 33 22 7 Dallas 64 33 26 5 Los Angeles 64 29 23 12 Anaheim 64 27 27 10

Pts GF 87 202 87 166 81 181 75 198 45 148

GA 151 130 165 193 212

Pts GF 90 206 70 168 69 155 66 143 56 169

GA 156 175 175 172 189

Pts GF 75 168 73 178 71 168 70 138 64 161

GA 160 159 175 137 180

NOTE: Two points for a win, one point for overtime loss.

CANUCKS 2, BLUES 0 0 0

0 0

0 2

— —

0 2

First period—None. Penalties—Gragnani, Van (cross-checking), 9:50; Polak, StL (tripping), 12:44; Booth, Van (tripping), 18:28. Second period—None. Penalties—Perron, StL (interference), 14:42. Third period—1, Vancouver, Burrows 23 (Hamhuis, Bieksa), 4:17. 2, Vancouver, Higgins 12 (Burrows, Bieksa), 19:21 (en). Penalties—None. Shots on goal—St. Louis 13-9-7—29. Vancouver 8-10-6—24. Power-play opportunities—St. Louis 0 of 2; Vancouver 0 of 2. Goalies—St. Louis, Elliott 20-8-2 (23 shots-22 saves). Vancouver, Luongo 27-11-7 (29-29). A—18,890 (18,810). T—2:21. Referees—Eric Furlatt, Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen—David Brisebois, Derek Amell.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION EASTERN CONFERENCE Atlantic Division W L Philadelphia 21 15 Boston 17 17 New York 18 18 Toronto 11 24 New Jersey 11 25 Southeast Division W L Miami 27 7 Orlando 23 14 Atlanta 20 15 Washington 7 28 Charlotte 4 29 Central Division W L Chicago 29 8 Indiana 22 12 Milwaukee 14 21 Cleveland 13 20 Detroit 12 25

Pct .583 .500 .500 .314 .306

GB — 3 3 9½ 10

Pct .794 .622 .571 .200 .121

GB — 5½ 7½ 20½ 22½

Pct .784 .647 .400 .394 .324

GB — 5½ 14 14 17

WESTERN CONFERENCE Southwest Division W L San Antonio 24 11 Dallas 21 15 Houston 21 15 Memphis 20 15 New Orleans 8 27 Northwest Division W L Oklahoma City 29 7 Denver 19 17 Portland 18 17 Minnesota 18 19 Utah 16 18 Pacific Division W L L.A. Clippers 20 12 L.A. Lakers 21 14 Golden State 14 18 Phoenix 15 20 Sacramento 12 22

Canucks beat Blues for top spot in West The Associated Press VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Alex Burrows’ early third-period goal gave Vancouver the lead, and the Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 2-0 on Thursday night in a showdown for first place in the NHL. Chris Higgins added an empty-net goal in the final minute for the Canucks (41-168), who with 90 points have a three-point lead over St. Louis (40-18-7) and Detroit in the Western Conference. Vancouver’s overall lead in the NHL is two points over the New York Rangers, who have played three fewer games. Roberto Luongo registered

Thursday’s results Vancouver 2, St. Louis 0 Montreal 5, Minnesota 4, SO Boston 4, New Jersey 3, OT Philadelphia 6, N.Y. Islanders 3 N.Y. Rangers 3, Carolina 2 Winnipeg 7, Florida 0 Columbus 2, Colorado 0 Calgary 4, Phoenix 2 Buffalo at San Jose (n) Today’s games New Jersey at Washington, 6 p.m. Chicago at Ottawa, 6 p.m. N.Y. Rangers at Tampa Bay, 6:30 p.m. Minnesota at Detroit, 6:30 p.m. Dallas at Edmonton, 8:30 p.m. Calgary at Anaheim, 9 p.m. Saturday’s games N.Y. Islanders at Boston, noon Toronto at Montreal, 6 p.m. Tampa Bay at Carolina, 6 p.m. Nashville at Florida, 6:30 p.m. Columbus at Phoenix, 7 p.m. Pittsburgh at Colorado, 8 p.m. Buffalo at Vancouver, 9 p.m. St. Louis at San Jose, 9:30 p.m. Anaheim at Los Angeles, 9:30 p.m. St. Louis Vancouver

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

St. Louis Blues’ Chris Stewart, right, runs into Vancouver Canucks’ Dan Hamhuis, center, as he clears the puck.

Pct .686 .583 .583 .571 .229

GB — 3½ 3½ 4 16

Pct .806 .528 .514 .486 .471

GB — 10 10½ 11½ 12

Pct .625 .600 .438 .429 .353

GB — ½ 6 6½ 9

Thursday’s results Oklahoma City 105, Orlando 102 Phoenix 104, Minnesota 95 L.A. Clippers at Sacramento (n) Miami at Portland (n) Today’s games Memphis at Toronto, 6 p.m. Milwaukee at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m. New Jersey at Boston, 6:30 p.m. Chicago at Cleveland, 6:30 p.m. Denver at Houston, 7 p.m. Dallas at New Orleans, 7 p.m. Golden State at Philadelphia, 7 p.m. Charlotte at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m. Miami at Utah, 8 p.m. Sacramento at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. L.A. Clippers at Phoenix, 9:30 p.m. Saturday’s games Oklahoma City at Atlanta, 6 p.m. Milwaukee at Orlando, 6 p.m. Cleveland at Washington, 6 p.m. Indiana at New Orleans, 7 p.m. Detroit at Memphis, 7 p.m. Utah at Dallas, 7:30 p.m. Minnesota at Portland, 9 p.m.

TODAY IN HISTORY 1951 — In the first NBA All-Star Game, Ed Macauley of the Celtics scores 20 points to lead the East to a 111-94 victory at Boston Garden. 1962 — Wilt Chamberlain scores an NBArecord 100 points to lead the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 triumph over the New York Knicks. Chamberlain scores 59 secondhalf points and 28 points from the free-throw line for records. Both teams combine for 316 points to surpass the record of 312 set by Boston-Minneapolis on Feb. 27, 1959.

his third shutout of the season, making 29 saves for the Canucks, who ended St. Louis’ four-game winning streak, all on the road. Burrows opened the scoring 4:17 into the third when he backhanded Dan Hamhuis’ rebound off the end boards in off Elliott’s shoulder. The puck came to Hamhuis after Kevin Bieksa fanned on a slap shot. Forwards Zack Kassian and Sammy Pahlsson, and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani played their first game in Vancouver after being acquired from Buffalo on Monday. Kassian and Pahlsson had played for the Canucks on Tuesday at

Phoenix while Gragnani was a healthy scratch. Kassian and Gragnani quickly made an impression. But the rest of the Canucks didn’t. The Blues outshot the Canucks 10-0 before Kassian registered the Canucks’ first shot at 7:52 of the first period — a slap shot from the wing on St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott. The crowd let out a loud roar of approval after Kassian got the puck out of the Vancouver zone, kept it in moments later at the blue line, and then unleashed a slap shot. Gragnani had a chance on the rebound, but was foiled by Elliott. The defenseman, play-

ing his first NHL game since Nov. 12, struggled at times and took a cross-checking penalty. St. Louis came close to scoring on the ensuing power play, but Luongo got an elbow on Vladimir Sobotka’s shot, and the puck landed on top of the net. Kassian led all shooters with four shots. NOTES: St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock is on pace for the ninth 100-point season of his 15-year NHL head coaching career. He also surpassed 100 points four times during his junior coaching days with the Kamloops Blazers.

MLB works toward creating 10-team playoff By RONALD BLUM

The Associated Press NEW YORK — The Braves are remembered for one of baseball’s epic collapses. Too bad for Atlanta the playoffs weren’t expanded a year earlier. Negotiators for baseball players and owners are working toward an agreement to increase the postseason field to 10 teams this season. They had hoped to reach a deal by Thursday, but both sides said talks could continue if they needed additional time to deal with the details of adding a second wild-card team in each league.

The sides spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the talks have not been public. If there had been additional wild-card teams last season, the Braves would have made the playoffs in the NL, while the Boston Red Sox would have qualified in the AL. Instead, each missed the postseason by a game, both going down with historic September swoons. The sides have said for weeks a deal is likely. When players and owners signed their agreement for a new labor contract in November, the section covering the post-

season established a March 1 goal for deciding whether the playoffs would increase by two teams for 2012 or 2013. The deal would establish a new one-game, wildcard round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series. Don’t count on it, said Braves pitcher Tim Hudson. The wild-card winner would face a major disadvantage going through the rest of the playoffs, according to Hudson. Last season, St. Louis passed the Braves for the wild card

on the final day and went on to capture the World Series. Hudson said it would’ve been much harder for the Cardinals or the Braves to advance if they had played an extra game against each other first. “The only good thing about it is one more team (in each league) gets in the playoffs,” he said. “But it totally handicaps the wild-card team. Both teams will probably have to expend their best pitcher to win that game. Plus, it’s another day they have to use their bullpen. Even if you get by that one game, the chances of winning the next round are not very good.”

Height: Bruins face a high-scoring team CONTINUED from page 1B feet, 11 inches. Waynesville, their most recent victim, did not have a player listed above 5 feet 10 inches tall. Coach Jill Nagel says the biggest reason for averaging a 23-point margin of victory is just a product of having a very special group of players this season. It’s not something to expect on a yearly basis or on Saturday against Ozark High

School. “I think it’s time for us to really get a good challenge,” senior Carmen Boessen said. Like the Bruins, Ozark scores a lot, averaging 53 points per game. Ozark (25-4) is on a 19-game win streak, and Nagel sees a lot of similarities between the two teams. The Bruins can claim the height advantage again. Ozark lists three players at or above

Bruins: Rock Bridge sets goal at 27 wins CONTINUED from page 1B “It didn’t play that big of an effect,” Jorgenson said. “It is a disadvantage, but you just gotta play through it.” Heading into Saturday’s game, the Bruins are looking to beat the Eagles for the second time this season. Rock Bridge handed Nixa its only loss of the regular season on Dec. 2. Stevens, whose 11 secondhalf points and tough defense sparked the Bruins’ dominant second half against the Eagles, said the Bruins have a simple strategy for round two against Nixa. “You always want to keep the same strategy you won with for the second time,” Stevens said. “They have a couple All-State players, so we need to contain them because they lead their team. If we contain them, we contain everybody else.” Although Nixa is the No. 1 team in the state, this win

is nothing more for Rock Bridge than another tally mark toward the goal behind the team’s postseason slogan — “27.” “That’s been the goal the whole season,” Jorgenson said. “To win a state championship, and we knew coming into the playoffs that 27 wins is what gets it.” Senior forward Josh Hayes, who was the only Bruin to score besides Norton in the first half of the game against Rolla, finished with 16 points in the win. He said the new slogan, and the three more wins necessary to reach it, are all the team is focused on. “It just gets us hyped every time because we’re looking for that state championship, and 27 wins is what gets it,” Hayes said. “We don’t look forward to any more losses.” Rock Bridge faces Nixa in the quarterfinals at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at the Hammons Student Center in Springfield.

5 feet 11 inches. When the two teams met in December, Rock Bridge won, but the 50-45 overtime finish was the the closest game of the season for either team. Of further concern to Nagel is the location. The Bruins will play Ozark at the Hammons Center in Springfield, which is just a 16-mile drive from Ozark High School but 166 miles away for the Bruins. “That’s going to be a tough

game,” Nagel said on Wednesday. “We’re playing in their backyard, so it’s basically a home game for them. But we’re used to that. We’re used to going on the road.” Twenty-one of the Bruins’ 26 games this year have been away from home. The Bruins play the Ozark Tigers at noon Saturday at the Hammons Center in Springfield for the state quarterfinals.

Short roster enough to reach district semis for Douglass By RACHEL ENGLISH

sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com For the Frederick Douglass High School boys basketball team, the sixth man is the last man. Only six Douglass players suited up for the Class Two District Seven semifinal against Salisbury High School in Sturgeon on Thursday. Only six players were eligible. After a battle with various eligibility issues at the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs advanced into the second game of the district tournament with a team half the size of most other teams in the bracket. Douglass defeated Fayette High School 78-64 on Tuesday but followed the win with a 80-58 loss to Salisbury on Thursday. The Bulldogs led for part of the first half before the Panthers gained a lead they didn’t give back. Despite the shallow bench, Douglass fulfilled its goals of the season, head coach Lynn

Allen said. “I wanted to get into the final four,” Allen said. “Everything after the win on Tuesday was gravy.” For the first time in its program, Douglass had only 3 players academically eligible to play at the start of the season. The rest of the team became qualified in January, and the Bulldogs played a short season of 14 games. The small roster posed challenges for the Douglass team. While most teams are able to scrimmage at practice, the Bulldogs got their only scrimmage time during games. Despite the obstacles, Allen used the talent he had to work with to finish the season with a record of 10-4. The team will lose five seniors this year, making eligibility a question for next season. Allen remains unworried about the future. “Let the chips fall where they may,” Allen said.


COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, March 2-3, 2012 — Page 3B

Gymnastics coach returns to family, friends for meet By COLIN GAMBARO

sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com John Figueroa, assistant coach for the Missouri gymnastics team, started his collegiate coaching career in 2000 at the University of Denver, the same place that he raised his family. On Saturday, “Fig,” as most know him, will be returning to Denver with the Missouri gymnastics team, as they compete in a quad meet against host Denver, Western Michigan and West Virginia. Outside of competition, for Figueroa, it will be a time to catch up with family and friends. “Everyone’s contacted me and asked me when I’m coming in town,” Figueroa said. “And then obviously both of my children are still there.” Figueroa and his wife, Diane, have lived full time in Columbia since he accepted the assistant coaching job in 2007, while his two children, Angela, 24, and Johnny, 22, stayed in Denver to finish their education. Both of Figueroa’s children now reside in nearby Boulder, Colo. Figueroa was the assistant coach at Denver from 2000 to 2007, helping the Pioneers move from relative obscurity to a consistent top 25 program. “No one knew of Denver,” Figueroa said. “The people I knew from USA gymnastics were like, ‘Where are you going? I didn’t even

know they had a team there.’” “I remember going golfing with him and His skeptics were soon proved wrong. In hanging out, and I really ended up liking only his second year coaching at Denver in Rob,” Figueroa said. “I just thought ‘What a 2001, the Pioneers made their first-ever trip great guy to go to work for.’” to the NCAA Championships. Figueroa did not know at the time that he Figueroa began his coaching career in 1990 would have the opportunity to join Missouri in when he purchased two club gyms in his home- 2007 when Drass contacted him about a vacant town of Grand Rapids, Mich. Figueroa, who assistant coaching position. Figueroa, who was owned and operated the gyms, built an accomready for a new challenge, thought it would be plished program and a good opportunity to helped six gymnasts go to work for Drass. earn Level 10 National “He holds a lot “No one knew of Denver. Championship Titles, of the values that I The people I knew from USA the second highest hold as far as being a level of club gymnast man and havgymnastics were like, ‘Where are family can compete in. ing kids and being In 2000, when you going? I didn’t even know they responsible in that Figueroa decided to angle,” Figueroa said had a team there.’” pursue a career in colof Drass. legiate coaching, he As Drass knows, JOHN FIGUEROA sold both of his gyms. success has followed MU gymnastics assistant coach It was during his Figueroa throughout time as a club coach, his coaching career. however, that Figueroa met Missouri head “He’s been successful wherever he’s been,” coach Rob Drass in the late 1990s. Drass said. “Whether it’s been with his club Drass, who was then the lead recruiting program where he put athletes at the Nationcoordinator for the University of Nebraska, al Championships or the USA Championships was recruiting one of Figueroa’s most accom- or when he went to college, where he was a plished gymnasts, Kristin Sterner, who went great recruiter and a great coach at Denver, on to be a four time All-American at the Uniwhere he helped them get to the National versity of Alabama. Championship.”

That success continued at Missouri, as Figueroa helped coach the Tigers to their first NCAA National Gymnastics Championship in 2010. Drass said that Figueroa brings energy into the gym with him every day, something that every team needs. “He is kind of like the Energizer bunny of the team, he is always on and going and energetic,” Drass said. Aside from his role as an assistant coach, Figueroa also serves as the team’s recruiting coordinator. In recruiting, he looks for a mutual fit for the team and the gymnast, as well as gymnasts who are “hungry” to succeed. “I try to visualize where I can see them in our lineup and what they could do for us, and then I try to see four years out later what we can provide for them and what kind of an athlete we can produce at the end of the four years,” Figueroa said. “You don’t have to be the most talented kid; you just have to be one of the most hungry kids.” However, while Figueroa takes pride in his recruiting, he is a coach first. “I always say everyone can take an established gymnast and make them better, but can you take the kid who’s not established and make them better and compete against the established kids,” Figueroa said. “That’s what I love to do, and that’s what I think I am very good at.”

Improved Tigers struggling to finish games By MATT BEEZLEY

“No matter how much you simulate it in sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com practice, it’s just not the same until you go For all the improvements the Missouri through it. We have a lot of kids who haven’t women’s basketball team has made through- been in those situations.” out Big 12 Conference play, the ability to stay But after a 61-56 overtime victory against consistent for an entire game continues to Kansas State, a new problem arose against elude the Tigers. Texas on Tuesday night, when Missouri was Missouri has improved dramatically since unable to start the second half strong. starting Big 12 play on a 13-game losing The Tigers gained an early 15-4 lead but let streak. The Tigers aren’t giving up quite as the Longhorns creep back into the game late in many turnovers. They’re taking better shots the first half, ending the opening frame with and are averaging about two more blocks per only a four-point lead. game than their opponents. Freshman point guard Kyley Simmons said It’s not just self-proclaimed progress; other the opening minutes of the second half are teams’ coaches are recognizing it, too. often the most crucial, as opponents tweak “I knew when I was watching tape the first their strategies and adjust their game plans to time we played, they were compensate for problems getting better and better, in the first half. especially having a couple Missouri saw that of wins under their belt. against Texas, when the I was very concerned,” Longhorns brought three Texas coach Gail Goestedefenders to the post to nkors said after the Longstifle BreAnna Brock horns’ 75-62 victory over and struggling Christine the Tigers on Tuesday at Flores. From there, everyMizzou Arena. thing unraveled. But it’s hard to string Missouri scored only together wins without six points in the first 8:16 being able to play well of the second half and for an entire game. The allowed Texas to take a ROBIN PINGETON Tigers have suffered 50-39 lead. Missouri women’s basketball coach lapses at an assortment of “I take full responsibiltimes during games. ity for the way we came “I don’t think it’s always been going wrong, I out,” Simmons said. “As a leader of this team, think you got to dissect each game,” Missouri and what we are trying to get at, I think that coach Robin Pingeton said. “I think we’ve got- is my responsibility, and that is why we came ten better the second half, but we’re still hav- out flat.” Simmons’ statement was a testament to the ing some inconsistencies.” At first, Missouri had problems scoring in type of leader she can be, but none of what happened to the Tigers in the first eight minthe opening minutes of games. On Jan. 21 against Oklahoma State, Missouri utes seemed to be her fault. Missouri had three went five minutes without scoring. Four days turnovers in that span, none of which came later against Texas, the Tigers scored only from Simmons. Nevertheless, if Missouri hopes to surprise nine points in the first seven minutes. Then Missouri couldn’t finish in the final teams in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, it minutes, losing by four points to both Okla- has to put together a game with contributions homa and No. 14 Texas A&M in back-to-back from its entire roster. games. At one point, with less than three minutes left against the Aggies, the Tigers held a three-point lead. Finishing games has since become easier for MISSOURI (12-16) AT the Tigers, mostly because of the growth of their younger players such as Kyley Simmons OKLAHOMA STATE (15-11) and Morgan Eye. WHEN: 7 p.m. “We’re doing a much better job of taking WHERE: Gallagher-Iba Arena, care of the ball, which allows us to be in lateStillwater, Okla. game situations,” Pingeton said. “From there it’s that experience and that poise. RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM, 100.5 FM

“I don’t think it’s always been going wrong, I think you got to dissect each game. I think we’ve gotten better the second half, but we’re still having some inconsistencies.”

Saturday’s game

PETER BLOHM/Missourian

Kyley Simmons and the growth of other younger players has helped Missouri improve.

Coach teaches wrestlers life of discipline called ‘Tiger style’ By CHRISTOPHER WOLF

sports@ColumbiaMissourian.com Missouri wrestling coach Brian Smith likes to compare his wrestlers to the stock cars found on the NASCAR circuit. These race cars, like his wrestlers, are expected to perform at the highest level, so the fuel that makes them run must be the highest octane possible. Smith coaches more than wrestling, he coaches a lifestyle. He wants his athletes to live a life of complete discipline in order to achieve the highest success. He calls this lifestyle “Tiger style.” Smith said to be successful “you have to be committed to your sport, and committed to your academics. If you try to commit to anything else, like the party scene, one of the other two will be hindered.” He says to properly train for a wrestling match requires an intense diet and workout regimen unmatched by any other sport in college athletics. A typical workout will consist of rope climbs, hammer throws and flipping tractor tires. Then the wrestlers will go to the mat and work on their technique for an hour. When they’re done, a dry shirt can not be found among the entire team. It’s not uncommon to lose five pounds in a practice. In order to train like this, a wrestler must have an incredibly disciplined diet. It would be easy if the wrestler could eat everything they wanted. However, wrestlers have to face the scale before they face any opponent on the mat.

Tigers heavyweight Devin Mellon says he will check the scale at least twice a day. That is in addition to the required weight checks the coaching staff holds a couple times a week. Smith prefers his wrestlers to train a few pounds over competition weight. If a wrestler can’t maintain his desired weight, working to cut or add pounds can distract from work on his technique. In order to maintain weight, wrestlers have to eat four or five meals a day. Each meal consists of an assortment of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and an abundance of water. The Mayo Clinic suggests the average person drink two liters of water a day. Missouri wrestler Brent Haynes says he drinks around two gallons a day. When people think about cutting weight for a wrestling match, images of sauna suits and athletes starving themselves for days before a match usually come to mind. For Smith and many wrestling programs across the nation, this is ancient history. “Compared to the rest of society, wrestlers are among the healthiest,” Smith said. Wrestlers are tested for things like body fat and hydration and given a diet and workout plan that fits each of their needs. “People look at our sport and think it’s so barbaric,” Smith said. “Wrestling is actually very scientific with counting calories and knowing which food does what for your body. They are training to live a healthy life.” A healthy life requires more than being physically fit. “Tiger style” also trains the wrestler for the demanding mental side of

being a student athlete. Wrestlers have two mandatory study halls a day, and have their grades checked frequently. A college wrestler, especially one in a program as prestigious as Missouri’s, deals with many distractions that a normal student does not have to worry about. They are always studying, training or recovering. Smith went as far as to describe the lifestyle as “Spartan-esque.” However, there are still little breaks a wrestler has to take to forget about the constant training. On a nice day, Smith will sometimes take the team out of practice and play kickball in the parking lot. Three-time Big 12 Wrestler of the Week Alan Waters will sometimes succumb to an ice cream craving. “It’s all about staying under control and knowing when it’s OK to break a diet,” Waters said. Haynes remembers a time when he decided to go off his wrestling diet. “After the Southern Scuffle wrestling tournament this year, I had a really good tournament,” Haynes said. “I was sitting with one of my teammates, and I thought I had earned a double cheeseburger. He agreed so we drove to McDonald’s and scarfed down some of the best tasting cheeseburgers I’d ever had.” In a sport like wrestling, athletes are constantly training, either physically or mentally. It’s a sport that’s not for everybody. Smith has seen a few of his wrestlers quit. “Wrestling makes these athletes cross thresholds with their body and mind that they did not think was possible,” Smith said. “If they can reach that point, there is no limit to

what these kids are capable of.”

Missouri wrestling gears up for Big 12 Championship Missouri wrestling is looking to win its first Big 12 Championship this weekend as it hosts Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State. The Tigers are 14-5 overall and ranked second in the Big 12 with a 3-3 conference record. Missouri is led by sophomore Alan Waters in the 125-pound division, who is 24-2 this year and has not lost a match against a conference opponent. Missouri’s toughest opponent this weekend will be two-time defending Big 12 champions Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are returning last year's Big 12 individual champions — 133pound Jordan Oliver, 149-pound Jamal Parks and 184-pound Chris Perry. The three of them have a combined 74-1 record this season. To beat the Cowboys, Missouri will need strong performances from 197-pound Brent Haynes and 133-pound Nate McCormick. Each has only one loss against other Big 12 wrestlers. Oklahoma will be competing for its third Big 12 championship this weekend. The Sooners are led by 141-pound Kendric Maple, who is 26-1. Against the Tigers, he lost to Brandon Wiest on the November 19 match but was able to pin Nicholas Hucke on February 5. Iowa State is last in the Big 12 with 0-6 record, but 165-pound Andrew Sorenson is 22-1 and looking to give Iowa State an upset. The tournament's opening rounds begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Hearnes Center. The championship round begins at 6:30 p.m.


COLUMBIA MISSOURIAN

Page 4B — FRIDAY & SATURDAY, March 2-3, 2012

Adapting: ‘It was just a matter of time for him to learn the chair’

GRANT HINDSLEY/Missourian

Carter Arey takes a shot during a scrimmage Feb. 16 at the MU Student Recreation Complex. Arey, who played able-bodied varsity basketball and baseball during high school, lost his right foot at age 4 after being born with a broken leg and has a prosthetic right leg. CONTINUED from page 1B MU Wheelchair basketball team was almost as accidental as his prenatal injury. Arey played both varsity basketball and baseball during his years at Rock Bridge High School. He turned down offers to play baseball for nearby Longview College and Northwest Missouri State University to attend Moberly Area Community College, favoring a change of pace from the student-athlete lifestyle he had led for so long. It was while he was enrolled at MACC that the chance to play for the MU Wheelchair Basketball team snuck up on him. Arey had established a routine of sneaking into the MU Student Recreational Complex to play pickup basketball with friends from high school. While he was playing one afternoon, MU Wheelchair Basketball head coach Ron Lykins walked by and noticed Arey’s prosthetic leg. “It made my day, believe me,” Lykins said. “You get a kid who knew how to play basketball, and you could just tell that he was a really good player. And as athletic and big and strong as he is, it was just a matter of time for him to learn the chair, and we could teach him that.” Arey jumped at the chance to play. He signed on two days after Lykins recruited him and transferred from MACC to MU at the end of the year to play wheelchair basketball on a partial scholarship. Lykins said Arey is one of the most talented players he has seen transition to wheelchair basketball. After his first workouts with the team, Lykins knew he had a serious player on his hands. “I put him at the free-throw line, and he was nailing free-throws. So I put him at the 3-point line, and then he

was draining threes,” Lykins said. “That usually doesn’t happen quickly because it’s a tough thing to do.” Now, two seasons into his career at MU, Arey is the team’s second-highest scorer even though he comes off the bench behind fellow “4s” Brendan Downes and Jacob Wiig. A “4” is the most able-bodied rating a player can have on a wheelchair basketball team, and a team can only have 13 total points on the court at all times.

“He’s playing against guys who have played five, six, maybe 10 years, so to just try to hop into something like that, it’s really difficult to do. Things are really starting to click for him.” RON LYKINS

MU Wheelchair Basketball head coach

Lykins’ strategy behind bringing Arey off the bench is similar to the Missouri men’s basketball team’s strategy with Michael Dixon. He functions as a sort of sixth starter and provides a boost of energy whenever he is on the court. Unlike many athletes who can play both able-bodied and wheelchair sports, Arey never hesitated to transition to wheelchair basketball. “Sometimes there’s a big resistance because they see the chair and all they think about is, ‘Hey, I don’t need a chair, I don’t have a disability,’” Lykins said. “But what eventually happens is they start seeing that a chair is

just a piece of athletic equipment, and that’s what kind of gets them like, ‘Oh OK, I get it now.’” Though he played able-bodied sports his entire life, Arey is just as happy, if not more so, playing intercollegiate wheelchair basketball. The MU Wheelchair Basketball team doesn’t operate through the NCAA. There is no wheelchair basketball program through the association, but former state senator Chuck Graham of Columbia put a specific line-item into the state budget 12 years ago to establish a wheelchair basketball team at MU. “To play at Missouri on a scholarship and have Missouri on my chest means more to me than I can put into words,” Arey said. “When you grow up in Columbia, and you’re surrounded by all this, that’s what you hope is the end result of your practice and all that.” Even though he is the second leading scorer on the team, Arey still said he wants to improve his game. Adjusting to dribbling the ball while pushing the chair and being quick is something he is still focusing on after two years of playing the sport. “Making the transfer between regular sports and wheelchair sports was extremely hard,” Arey said. “It was a challenge that I didn’t hesitate in accepting and has been very fulfilling because it’s something that I can see progress in, which is really cool.” Lykins also knows Arey has room to grow, but he is impressed with the junior’s adjustment to wheelchair play after competing in able-bodied sports for his entire life. “He’s playing against guys who have played five, six, maybe 10 years, so to just try to hop into something like that, it’s really difficult to do,” Lykins said. “Things are really starting to click for him.”

Cardinals, Molina agree to $75 million, five years By R.B. FALLSTROM

The Associated Press JUPITER, Fla. — The St. Louis Cardinals made certain another big star did not get away. Four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract Thursday that kicks in next season and will keep him in St. Louis through the 2017 season. The deal makes Molina, long known for his premier defense and with a much improved bat, the second-highest paid catcher in the majors. “He’s the best catcher in the game,” teammate Carlos Beltran said. “When you have the best catcher in the game you have to sign him. It’s great for the organization, to keep a guy like that.” Unlike Molina’s close friend Albert Pujols, who bolted for a 10-year, $240 million deal with Anaheim in December, the Cardinals stepped up before another of their cornerstone players entered the final year of his contract. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. called Molina a “franchisetype player.” “I don’t think there was added pressure,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “When you look at a core or elite type player, that’s how we view them.” The total price tag could easily top $90 million over seven seasons with Molina due to make $7 million this year and a mutual, $15 million option for 2018. The deal trails only the Twins’ Joe Mauer (eight years, $184 million) among catchers. Molina won his second World Series with St. Louis last fall and said, “I’m happy to be a Cardinal for 5-6 more years. I’m looking to like six more championships. This is a great organization.” “I grew up here, I feel good here,” Molina

said. “It was my first choice to stay here.” with Molina was a “no brainer.” Talks accelerated after Molina’s longtime “When you think about traditional metrics agent, Melvin Roman, arrived at the team’s today, it’s more offense-oriented,” Mozeliak spring training site last week. Roman has rep- said. “But when you factor in not only the resented the catcher since he signed his first hardware he’s received but also the intancontract with St. Louis in 2000, when Molina gibles that go into a position like catcher, was a fourth-round pick. when you talk to our pitchers they’re thrilled “The whole process was very easy,” Roman this was done.” said. “We worked very hard Matheny caught for St. to get it done.” Louis from 2000-04, leaving The 29-year-old Molina is for free agency in 2005 after a lifetime Cardinal and one losing his job to Molina. He of the best defensively at any said Molina came to camp position, winning a platinum motivated and has set the glove last season in voting by tone for younger players. fans. He also is coming off The Cardinals had been the best offensive season of saying since the start of his career. spring training that they Molina batted .305 in 2011 were hopeful of reaching a with 14 home runs and 65 deal. Molina came to camp RBIs, and added 12 RBIs with a stance hardened by during the team’s World Pujols’ departure, and said Series title run. He’s been the team would not get a durable, too, averaging 138 hometown discount. He games the last three seasons. didn’t set a deadline for getPut it all together, and the ting a deal done but was YADIER MOLINA happy to have it out of the body of work stood out for the Cardinals. way before the season. “He’s at the peak of his career and we’re “I still think this is a business, but my idea was just thrilled to have him,” DeWitt said. “He’s to stay here and my commitment was to stay a premium player, plus he plays so much. We here,” Molina said. “We had a pretty good idea were both highly motivated to get this done.” we were going to leave the door open for them.” Both Mozeliak and DeWitt said it was more The Cardinals had offered Pujols more than difficult to project what Molina might have $200 million over 10 seasons, and have used made had he waited for free agency because those funds and more to build a contenddefense is such a large part of the position. er without the three-time NL MVP. Beltran Mozeliak consulted new manager Mike signed a two-year, $26 million free agent deal Matheny, a former three-time Gold Glove and shortstop Rafael Furcal re-signed, getting catcher, several times and said Matheny’s a two-year, $12 million contract. response was that pursuing a long-term deal St. Louis has payroll flexibility going for-

ward, with contracts totaling more than $30 million for first baseman Lance Berkman and pitchers Kyle Lohse and Jake Westrbrook due to expire, and value Molina’s role with tutoring young pitchers. The team has a payroll of around $115 million heading into this season. Molina is the youngest and most talented of three brothers to catch in the major leagues. His arm has been particularly deadly on pickoff picks at first base with Pujols, but he’ll need to develop teamwork with Berkman this season. Molina has thrown out 44 percent of basestealers for his career, better than Mauer’s 35 percent, with 41 pickoffs. The opposition rarely runs on him, averaging just 56 attempts his seven full major league seasons.

Postseason stars Freese, Craig still close to league minimum Postseason stars David Freese and Allen Craig will make slightly more than the major league minimum this season for the St. Louis Cardinals, who agreed to one-year contracts with 24 players. Freese, the NL championship series and World Series MVP, will make $508,000, just $28,000 above the minimum of $480,000. If the 28-year-old third baseman from St. Louis County is optioned to the minors he’d make $249,600. Craig also gets a split contract. He will make $495,000 in the majors and $248,400 if he is optioned. Craig, who hit three homers in the World Series last year, gives the Cardinals another option in the outfield but will miss at least the first month of the season while recovering from knee surgery. St. Louis announced the deals Wednesday.

15 March 2-3  

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