MO State HS Sports

Mizzou Morning Matters

092223_Mizzou Morning Matters

COLUMBIA, Mo. — From 11th in the Southeastern Conference to 11th in the nation, Mizzou’s softball team made an early statement about the preseason projections with some kind of opening weekend. Picked 11th in the SEC coaches’ poll, Larissa Anderson’s team swept through five teams in Clearwater, Florida, at the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic, including wins over nationally ranked Utah and Clemson. The Tigers outscored their five foes 37-8, outhit them 44-23 and pounded 20 extra-base hits to their opponents’ four.

The 5-0 start is Mizzou’s best since 2020, when the Tigers also won the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic. Heading into the second weekend of the season, Mizzou falls between No. 11 and No. 15 in the assortment of national rankings.

Leading up to the season, Anderson’s sixth at Mizzou, the Tigers have adopted a twist on their football counterparts’ season slogan.

“It’s ‘something to prove’ to ourselves,” Anderson said this week. “Because we know what we’re capable of doing, and we know how good we can be. To be able to take all the preparation over the last five, six months and being able to have the results that you did just shows that it all pays off. And that’s really been the message from the very beginning, really trust the process. Trust the process and the preparation, trust your coaches and what they’re trying to tell you. Stay disciplined to that task and the results are going to be there.”

Laurin Krings_2024_NFCA_D1_LeadoffClassic_UTAH_BANNER_DSC00169.jpg

As well as the Tigers swung the bats in their first five games — Mizzou hit .341 as a team and slugged .620 — the star of the weekend was senior pitcher Laurin Krings, who handled 19 of Mizzou’s 31 innings in the circle and allowed only four earned runs and three extra-base hits. Her hot start earned Krings D1Softball Pitcher of the Week honors. She’s also moved into ninth on Mizzou’s career list with 472 strikeouts.

“She stayed here this summer she trained with our strength coach and she put herself in a position that her body is a lot stronger than she has been and really working on her endurance,” Anderson said. “No pitcher wants to have someone finish their game. So she really focused on her physical attributes and what she’s able to control. But what’s different with her right now is her level of focus and her intent and understanding how to truly pitch and how to get batters out and not trying to throw it by people. When you throw 68 to 72 (mph), sometimes you feel like you can just rely on speed and overpower (hitters). She’s been really focusing on her control and her command and being able to move the ball and spin it a lot more. That’s the difference that I’m seeing in her. She made some unbelievable pitches against Clemson, some of the best I’ve ever seen her throw. Being as late in the game in the seventh inning and just willing yourself to be able to be competitive really raised the level of play and inspired a lot of people on our team.”

The Tigers are in Denton, Texas, this weekend for the Tracy Beard College Classic, where they’ll play five games against Texas A&M – Commerce, South Dakota State and North Texas.


The Kerrick Jackson Era of Mizzou baseball officially begins Friday afternoon in San Luis Obispo, California, where the Tigers begin a four-game series against Cal Poly, part of an eight-game West Coast swing to begin the season. Jackson returns a core of veterans in the lineup and on the pitching staff but has restocked the roster with a haul of newcomers. Expect three to be fixtures in the lineup: Danny Corona, an infielder/DH from Wake Forest, who slugged 13 home runs last year and led the Demon Deacons to the College World Series; catcher Jedier Hernandez, a starter for Seton Hall in 2022-23; and outfielder Jeric Curtis, one of the fastest prospects in the 2022 MLB draft pool who opted for college and spent last year at Texas Tech.


In this week’s “Mizzou Storytellers” podcast, Nikki Barry and I visit with the man behind the Mizzou swoosh, Director of Athletic Equipment Operations Mike Kurowski. If you ever wondered how Mizzou football picks its weekly uniforms, you’ll want to listen. Mike sheds light on the process behind football uniform choices, helmet designs, Mizzou’s Nike gear, the Tigers’ evolving brand and reconciling the oval Tiger vs. Block M debate. He shares the story of his journey from small school college football to the equipment room at Oklahoma State, where he launched a career that would take him to the NFL, the XFL and back to college athletics. You’ll learn all about Mike’s role in the most famous jersey in XFL history plus the special bond he’s formed with student-athletes over the years. 

Mike’s episode will be available Friday.

Until then, check out the “Inside Mizzou Athletics” podcast here or wherever you listen to podcasts. 


Eight Tigers have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine: running back Cody Schrader, offensive tackle Javon Foster, defensive lineman Darius Robinson, linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper, cornerbacks Kris Abrams-Draine and Ennis Rakestraw Jr., safety Jaylon Carlies and kicker Harrison Mevis. Alabama and Georgia are the only SEC programs with more players invited to the NFL’s biggest job interview.

There’s a Mizzou reunion taking place in … Poland? Former Tigers offensive coordinator Dave Christensen is beginning his second year as the head coach of the Panthers Wroclaw of the 24-team European League of Football after making the playoffs in his debut season. His new defensive coordinator is former longtime Mizzou defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, who has tapped one of his most decorated former Tigers to coach the D-line: 2013 All-American Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year.

Heck of a start for two Mizzou track and field athletes in the indoor season: Kelsey Schweizer ran the women’s 800 meters in 2:06.29 at last week’s Music City Challenge in Nashville. That’s the fifth-best time in program history for the junior and younger sister of six-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer. Senior Alicia Burnett continued her blistering start to the season in the 400 with a 55-second finish, sixth-fastest in program history.

It’s time to update the list of Mizzou’s Super Bowl winners: With the Chiefs’ victory over the 49ers, linebacker Nick Bolton and quarterback Blaine Gabbert are the latest former Tigers to win multiple Super Bowls, joining former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell (Super Bowls 9, 10) and 49ers defensive back Eric Wright (16, 19, 23, 24) as the only players who finished their college careers at Mizzou to win more than one Super Bowl while on their team’s respective active roster. Former tight end Kendall Blanton was a starter for Rams in their Super Bowl 56 victory and was on the Chiefs’ practice squad during the Super Bowl 57 season. Bolton was the leading tackler in each of the last two Super Bowls with 22 combined stops.


Speaking of Sunday, it’s been five days since the Super Bowl, which means we’re feeling a little empty without America’s favorite power couple in our lives. Just for fun, here are the five most important Taylors and Travises in the history of Mizzou Athletics.

Rhea Taylor (3)

1. Rhea Taylor, softball (2008-11): The three-time All-American was one of most prolific offensive players in program history. The Big 12 freshman of the year in 2008 and leadoff hitter extraordinaire left Mizzou as the programs’ career leader for batting average (.402), hits (315), runs (234) and steals (184).

2. Ed ‘Brick’ Travis, football (1917-20): The two-way lineman was one of the program’s earliest stars and in 1974 was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

3. Zaire Taylor, men’s basketball (2008-10): “Mr. Clutch” was a defensive menace in Mike Anderson’s backcourt but is best known for game-winning buckets against Texas and Kansas during the magical 2008-09 season.

4. Taylor Stadium, baseball (2000-current): Mizzou alum Ralph Taylor and his wife, Debbie, donated $1 million in 1999 to spark fundraising for a new baseball stadium that officially opened in 2000 at the site of Simmons Field, featuring a new grandstand, new press box, team rooms, concession stands and other amenities.

5. Ron Taylor, football (1959-1961): The three-year starting quarterback was Dan Devine‘s signal-caller on back-to-back Orange Bowl teams before launching his own coaching career. He’s not the most famous Taylor in his family: Younger brother Josh Taylor starred as Roman Brady on “Days of Our Lives,” Michael Hogan on “The Hogan Family” and Jack McKay on “Beverly Hills 90210.”

Also considered: Taylor Gadbois, softball; James Taylor, football, All-Big Eight offensive tackle; Travis Biebel, football, 1990s O-lineman; Travis McDonald, football, still the program’s leader for single-season tackles (164); Rachael Taylor, volleyball; Taylor Parker, baseball, second-team All Big 12 reliever; Travis Wendte, baseball; Taylor Gohn, women’s golf; Taylor Medrea, gymnastics; Taylor Grant, soccer, 2011-14.


Q: Mizzou’s Tamar Bates is the nation’s only 50-40-90 shooter in the country. That’s 50% or better from the field (52.8%), 40% or better from 3-point range (41.3%) and 90% or better from the free throw line (93.2%). Who was the last Mizzou player to shoot 50-40-90 for a full season?


Here’s a great story for Valentine’s Day week from Mizzou historian Bob Brendel: It was 111 years ago this week when Missouri basketball coach O.F. Fields left his team midway through the 1912-13 season and traveled to Grand Rapids, Michigan for an unconventional reason: He got married. Coach Fields wed Ida Childs and the couple then departed for Des Moines, Iowa, to reunite with the basketball team — in the middle of the season! How’s this for early 20th Century romance: The newlyweds spent their honeymoon on a seven-game road trip with the rest of the team as the Tigers went 5-2 on the road at Washington University,  Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas. Maybe it was the right move: The team finished the year 13-5, the program’s best record since basketball became an intercollegiate sport in 1906-07.


Friday, Feb. 16

Softball vs. Texas A&M-Commerce, 11 a.m. (Denton, Texas)

Softball vs. South Dakota State, 4 p.m. (Denton, Texas)

Baseball at Cal Poly, 4 p.m., ESPN+ (San Luis Obispo, California)

Gymnastics vs. Florida/Illinois/Lindenwood, 6 p.m., SEC Network (St. Charles)

Wrestling at North Dakota State, 7 p.m., (Fargo, North Dakota)

Baseball at Cal Poly, 8 p.m., ESPN+ (San Luis Obispo, California)

Saturday, Feb. 17

Softball vs. South Dakota State, 11 a.m. (Denton, Texas)

Softball vs. North Texas, 1:30 p.m.  (Denton, Texas)

Baseball at Cal Poly, 5 p.m., ESPN+ (San Luis Obispo, California)

Men’s Basketball at Ole Miss, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network (Oxford, Mississippi)

Sunday, Feb. 18

Softball vs. North Texas, 11 a.m.  (Denton, Texas)

Wrestling at South Dakota State, 2 p.m., FloWrestling (Brookings, South Dakota)

Women’s Basketball at Arkansas, 3 p.m., SEC Network (Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Baseball at Cal Poly, 3 p.m., ESPN+ (San Luis Obispo, California)

Monday, Feb. 19

Baseball at Cal Poly, 3 p.m., ESPN+ (San Luis Obispo, California)

Tuesday, Feb. 20

Swimming & Diving at SEC Championships, 9:30 a.m. (Auburn, Alabama)

Men’s Basketball vs. Tennessee, 6 p.m., SEC Network 

Wednesday, Feb. 21

Swimming & Diving at SEC Championships, 9:30 a.m. (Auburn, Alabama)

Thursday, Feb. 22

Swimming & Diving at SEC Championships, 9:30 a.m. (Auburn, Alabama)

Women’s Basketball at Florida, 5 p.m., SEC Network+ (Gainesville, Florida)

Softball vs. San Diego State,  7 p.m., FloSoftball (Cathedral City, California)

Baseball vs. CSU Baskerfiled, 8 p.m. (San Diego, California)

Softball vs. Wisconsin, 9:30 p.m., FloSoftball (Cathedral City, California)

Friday, Feb. 23

Swimming & Diving at SEC Championships, 9:30 a.m. (Auburn, Alabama)

Wrestling at Northern Iowa, 7 p.m., FloWrestling (Cedar Falls, Iowa)

Track & Field at SEC Indoor Championships, All Day (Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Softball vs. Central Florida, 7:30 p.m., FloSoftball (Cathedral City, California)

Gymnastics at Auburn, 6 p.m., SEC Network (Auburn, Alabama)

Baseball at San Diego State, 8 p.m. (San Diego, California)

Softball vs. Cal State Fullerton, 10 p.m., FloSoftball (Cathedral City, California)


A: No player in program history has shot 50-40-90 for a full season.


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