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THURSDAY, November 28, 2013 — Page 3B

Growing up in the Kreklow family Wayne and Susan Kreklow have raised their family around basketball and volleyball

hopes to continue in college. Wayne Kreklow played at Drake from 1975-1979 and went on to play one season with the Boston Celtics, winning an NBA championship. For Ali Kreklow, the gym has By ABBY HOLMAN always brought her back to ball. In an arena that seats 13,611 peoSusan Kreklow said that because ple, there are lots of places to hide. her daughter was around the sport “Come and find me,” the young all the time, her interest and dedicaRyan Kreklow said into a micro- tion can be attributed to those hours phone, his voice bouncing off the in the gym. empty chairs. When their middle child was During one of Ali Kreklow’s Mis- young, Susan and Wayne Kreklow souri volleyball camps, her younger spearheaded a club team for their brother, Ryan, took a microphone daughter and her friends to play and played one of the together. On Oct. 30, many games he and under the watchful his siblings used to eye of her parents, ‘Our coaching has their daughter and entertain themselves in the Hearnes Cenfriends, now her always just been those ter: hide and seek. Rock Bridge volleywhat we do. The ball teammates, won When your parents are both coaches of a Class 4, District kids just became the Division I volleyball 9 title. team, you become a part of that. They “Six of those girls familiar with a gym. have played together Every practice, every were in the gym at since the beginning,” game becomes “take Kreklow said. a very young age, Susan your kid to work” day. “That was what really like it or not.’ “They were in the made last night spegym probably a week cial. It was special for SUSAN KREKLOW after they were born,” me to see them start Director of MU volleyball said Susan Kreksomething and then low, mother of three. take it to a district “In fact, Ricky went to the gym at championship.” Columbia College before we went Although the Rock Bridge team home (from the hospital) because defeated Helias Catholic High we just stopped by there to get School to claim the district title, its something. It’s just part of what season ultimately came to an end in they do.” the sectional tournament with a loss Prior to coaching at Missouri in to Ozark on Nov. 1. 2001, Wayne and Susan Kreklow The Bruins’ postseason tournacoached together at Columbia Col- ment took place at Republic High lege starting in 1990. The couple School on a Saturday that happened have been coaching together for 23 to fall between Friday and Sunyears. day home matches for the Missouri “Our coaching has always just team. been what we do,” Susan Kreklow Wayne Kreklow, head coach of the said. “The kids just became a part Missouri volleyball team, said that of that. They were in the gym at a the key to getting to their children’s very young age, like it or not.” games is juggling. For the boys, the gym meant bas“Sometimes it works, sometimes ketball. The oldest, Ricky Kreklow, it didn’t, but you always found a a junior at California, plays guard way,” Susan Kreklow said. “All for the Golden Bears. The young- three of them were very involved est, Ryan Kreklow, a junior at Rock at a very young age, with multiple Bridge, also plays basketball and sports, on multiple teams and that

just requires multiple people.” Sometimes those multiple people were nannies. Other times, they were teammates or coaches. In 2005, Wayne Kreklow took over the head volleyball role for the Tigers, while his wife went from head coach to assistant. As their children continued to be more involved, however, the juggling became more difficult. In 2008, Susan Kreklow reverted to director of volleyball to be able to have a more active role in the activities of their kids. “Part of the position I have now is because we wanted to make sure someone was available to go with the kids,” Susan Kreklow said. “I have been a head coach, I have been an assistant coach and now I’m in a director’s position. So that if I need to get away, if someone needs to stay, that’s probably the best position to stay. I don’t do it unless we have to.” Although volleyball is a large part of the Kreklows’ lives, backing their children has always been the goal. When Ricky Kreklow’s first game of the season was not televised, and neither parent could attend due to their own games, Susan was dejected. With a 2,000-mile distance between California and Columbia, attendance at Golden Bear games is difficult. The parents make a point to attend as many games as possible, or at least watch them on television. For the younger two, attendance at games and events is easier, but still a struggle with a tight schedule. “I understand. I get it,” Ali Kreklow said. “They come to every game they can and if they can’t make a game here or there, it’s no sweat off my back. I totally understand that it’s their job, it’s what they do. It’s not normal, but I’m used to it, growing up in that atmosphere.” Now, Ali Kreklow will be immersed in that atmosphere. On Nov. 13 she signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Missouri, under the coaching of her parents. The signing of their daughter marks the second of the children to play for the Tigers. Ricky Kreklow

49ers’ Crabtree prepares for possible season debut

played basketball his freshman year at Missouri before transferring. Wayne and Susan Kreklow’s niece Molly Kreklow also plays volleyball for Missouri. Although there is still another year until his youngest son graduates, Wayne Kreklow said that when

TONY AVELAR/The Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree runs against the Green Bay Packers in San Francisco on Jan. 12. Crabtree is back on the practice field almost six months since a devastating right Achilles’ tendon tear that sent him to the operating table. NFC champion Niners said from the beginning they thought he would return this season after Crabtree was a huge reason the franchise reached the Super Bowl again for the first time in 18 years. Rams coach Jeff Fisher is preparing his defense as if Crabtree will be on the field and preparing for a variety of ways Crabtree might be utilized. “It’s hard for us to predict,” Fisher said. “It gives them an additional weapon. Michael’s an outstanding player. Hope he might wait another week,” Fisher said. “We’re expecting him to play. You go back and look before the injury and what he did for them, and we’re familiar with that. Our young group of DBs is going to be challenged. ... Certainly you’re not going to play the player if he’s not fit to play, 100 percent and fully recovered from the injury.” Everybody involved is eager to see what Crabtree’s presence could mean to make the offense that much more explosive. San Francisco’s passing attack sits in last place at 32nd in the NFL. “It could be real dangerous,” running back Frank Gore said. “I’m happy to see that. If he feels good, I think he’ll play. He looks good to me in practice. Hopefully he’ll play. Crab’s a beast, man.”

the kids are gone, things might be less of a juggling act. “In a sense it will make what we are doing here easier,” Wayne Kreklow said. “We won’t have to balance all those other things.” Supervising editor is Greg Bowers:, 882-5729.

Iron Bowl highlights week of SEC rivalry games No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn is the main attraction in the SEC this week By DAVID BRANDT


The Associated Press SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Just as the passing game has started to click for the San Francisco 49ers at last, here comes Michael Crabtree. The team’s top wide receiver from 2012 is back on the active roster six months after Achilles tendon surgery and poised to make his season debut Sunday against St. Louis if all goes as hoped during practice this week. “There’s things he does that he’s the best in football at, and that certainly bodes well for us and we’re excited about it,” coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Catching the ball, there’s routes that he runs, tackles he breaks, plays that he makes. There’s evidence there.” Adding Crabtree to the mix for the 49ers (7-4) would provide a big boost to a receiving corps that made significant strides in a 27-6 win at Washington on Monday night. Crabtree became Colin Kaepernick’s top target last year and had career bests of 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns. “I’m good,” Crabtree said, but he wouldn’t elaborate. He was activated from the physically unable to perform list Tuesday to the 53-man active roster. Harbaugh won’t tip his hand too early in the week, while also noting that everything depends on how Crabtree gets through practice. “Good meetings this morning. Good sessions there. Bright-eyed and ready to go,” Harbaugh said before the team practiced Wednesday. “Optimistic like I said the other day. Hope for the best, and we’ll have a plan if he’s not able to go. It’s pretty much that simple.” Mario Manningham continues to impress playing opposite Anquan Boldin after three games back following knee surgery last year. Manningham hopes his unit can build off a strong performance and develop some consistency. “We’ve just got to do it every week. We can’t be inconsistent,” Manningham said. “We’ve got to come out like that every week.” Manningham and tight end Vernon Davis each made four catches at Washington, while Boldin had five receptions and a pair of touchdowns. Now, if Crabtree is back in the mix, defenses will have a harder time double-teaming Davis downfield. “It will be great to have Crab back. He’s a great talent,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “Everybody knows what he can do and is excited to see him back out there. I know he’s excited to get back out there, the way he competes and all the hard work he’s put in to get back.” Kaepernick isn’t ready to guess whether he might be throwing passes Crabtree’s way again this weekend. “That’s going to be his call 100 percent,” Kaepernick said. Crabtree has made steady progress back from his injury. He tore his right Achilles tendon during 7-on-7 drills in an organized team activity May 21 and then had surgery. The


Ali Kreklow, a Rock Bridge senior, is joined by her mother, Susan Kreklow, on Nov. 13 as she signs the paperwork to accept an offer to play volleyball at MU. Kreklow’s father, Wayne Kreklow, is the Missouri volleyball coach, and her mother is the director of volleyball.

The Associated Press It’s rivalry week for several Southeastern Conference teams, and many are playing for more than just bragging rights. This year’s Iron Bowl — featuring No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn — is the main attraction. The winner clinches the SEC’s Western Division and a trip to Atlanta for the league championship game on Dec. 7. It’s a showdown full of intrigue: Nick Saban’s unstoppable Alabama machine against the upstart Tigers, who have had an impressive turnaround under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. But several other matchups also have postseason implications. The Missouri-Texas A&M matchup pits the two former Big 12 foes against one another. If the fifth-ranked Tigers win, they’ll clinch the SEC’s Eastern Division. If they lose, No. 10 South Carolina goes to Atlanta to play for the SEC crown. Also on the schedule: No. 2 Florida State at Florida, Georgia Tech at Georgia, Mississippi at Mississippi State, Arkansas at No. 15 LSU, No. 6 Clemson at South Carolina, Wake Forest at Vanderbilt and Tennessee at Kentucky. Alabama and Auburn have never been ranked this high at the same time for the Iron Bowl. That only adds to the stakes of what is one of college football’s most heated rivalries. “I love these kinds of games,” Alabama safety

Landon Collins said. “They’re going to talk a lot of trash, and that’s the type of thing I like. I don’t like quiet games — it takes that fire out of me.” Collins will get his wish. Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium figures to be the loudest it’s been in a long time. “Everybody’s going to be playing their best football,” Auburn center Reese Dismukes said. “The guy across from you is going to be playing his best. You’re going to be playing your best, and it’s going to be a hostile environment that you live for.” The two newest additions to the SEC will also engage in a must-see game when Texas A&M travels to Missouri. The Tigers have bounced back from last year’s 5-7 season, improving to 10-1 overall and 6-1 in league play. Texas A&M had a disappointing loss to LSU last weekend but still has defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel under center. Missouri’s stadium also is expected to be electric on Saturday. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Missouri offensive lineman Max Copeland said. “The bigger the stakes, the funner it gets. We’re rock and rollers. All our chips are in, man.” When Clemson and South Carolina play on Saturday night it will be the first time both teams are in the top 10 at the same time for the instate rivalry. The Gamecocks are also trying to beat Clemson for an unprecedented fifth straight time But South Carolina will have one eye on the Tigers and the other in Columbia, Mo. The Gamecocks need Texas A&M to beat Missouri

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to keep its SEC title hopes alive. If that happens, South Carolina and Missouri would both be 6-2 in the league, but the Gamecocks have the tiebreaker because of their headto-head win over the Tigers. The Florida Gators are struggling through a disappointing 4-7 season, capped by an embarrassing 26-20 loss to FCS opponent Georgia Southern last weekend. The loss secured the program’s first losing season since 1979. The injury-riddled Gators are four-touchdown underdogs this weekend at home against No. 2 Florida State. There will be no postseason for Florida, so players are hoping to wreck Florida State’s dream season as consolation. “This is the season for us,” Florida offensive lineman Kyle Koehne said. “This is our bowl game. This is our big game of the year.” Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason will be making his first career start against Georgia Tech, replacing senior Aaron Murray, who is out for the rest of the season after suffering a season-ending knee injury last week against Kentucky. Georgia is 11-1 against Georgia Tech under coach Mark Richt, who said this year’s game will be a good test to find out if Mason “can handle the pressure of the job.” The stakes are also high in tonight’s Egg Bowl. Mississippi State must beat Mississippi to become bowl eligible for a fourth straight season. Bulldogs’ coach Dan Mullen has a 3-1 record against the Rebels.


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18sportspages nov28 3b  
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