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CROSS COUNTRY: Neosho sending three runners to state meet; Cole making third trip


In a grand finale to a stellar prep career, Neosho senior Kaden Cole will compete at the state cross country meet for the third straight season.

Cole will be one of three Neosho High School athletes competing alongside the state’s best later this week in Columbia.

Cole finished sixth in the varsity boys race at the  Class 5 District 2 meet on Saturday at the Bolivar Municipal Golf Course. He crossed the line at 16 minutes, 42 seconds.

Neosho’s Kaden Cole runs next to Joplin’s Hobbs Campbell late in Saturday’s district event at Bolivar. Photos by Jason Peake.

“I thought Kaden ran a really smart race today,” Neosho coach Emily Abell said. “He established his position early in the race and stuck with it. It was an extremely wet and muddy course, so I thought he did a great job conserving and running smart so that we can put the hammer down next week.” 

Cole took 14th at last year’s state meet, earning all-state honors. He also qualified as a sophomore. 

Cole is having a stellar senior season, as he won the Central Ozark Conference championship last week in Nixa. 

At the district meet, the top 30 individuals advanced to state. 

Pictured is Neosho’s Chloe Wood.

Neosho had two girls advance to state with their respective showings, as freshman Chloe Wood finished 10th in 20:09 and sophomore Riley Kemna was 13th in 20:25. 

“I’m very proud of the two girls who qualified today,” Abell said. “They have been working hard since June putting in the miles to prepare for this moment.  Having a freshman and a sophomore qualify is great for the future of the girls program. After the boys race, the girls and I had a talk about how important it is to establish early and hang on, especially on a course like that. They answered the call and got into great spots early on and then brought it home. I’m excited to see what they will do next week.” 

Kemna will run at state for the second straight season. 

At last week’s COC Meet, Kemna was eighth and Wood finished 16th.

The 47th MSHSAA Cross Country Championships begin on Friday in Columbia.

The Class 5 boys race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Friday at Gans Creek Cross Country Course. The Class 5 girls race is slated for noon.


FULL RESULTS: MSHSAA Class 5 – District 2 2021 – Meet Results (


Neosho’s Riley Kemna competes at Saturday’s district cross country meet in Bolivar. Kemna advanced to state for the second straight season.

CROSS COUNTRY: College Heights boys advance full team; local individuals qualify for state in Class 1-2

CLEVER, Mo. — College Heights Christian’s boys cross country team finished third in the team standings at the Class 1 District 2 meet on Saturday.

As a result, CHC will be sending a full boys team to the state championships in Columbia.

The top four teams advanced. Fordland was first (99), with Dadeville (103) second, College Heights (105) third and Marion C. Early (118) fourth. 

College Heights’ Rolen Sanderson finished 16th in 18:57 and Derrick McMillan was 17th in 18:59. Also competing for the Cougars were Caleb Quade (29th), Corbin Thomas (35th), Jace Edwards (36th), Steven Calandro (69th) and Brayden Youngberg (83rd).

The top 30 individuals advanced.

Thomas Jefferson’s Kip Atteberry was the runner-up with a time of 17:32. Plato’s David Held was the medalist in 16:46.

McAuley’s Michael Parrigon and Phillip Motazedi finished 10th and 12th, respectively, while Jasper’s Leland Harris was 18th and Wheaton’s Blake Morgan took 22nd. 

In the Class 1 girls race, Liberal’s Abby Barton finished fifth in 22:12, while McAuley’s Kendall Ramsey was eighth in 22:21. 

Thomas Jefferson’s girls had three qualifiers—Sarah Mueller (17th), Macie Shifferd (22nd) and Mia Grubbs (28th). 

A sophomore, Mueller finished in 23:07. A freshman, TJ’s Shifferd crossed the line at 23:57. Another sophomore, Grubbs finished in 24:47.

Other top 30 finishers from the region were Liberal’s Taylor Swarnes (11th), Wheaton’s Lakeisha Wise (12th), Sheldon’s Madison Garren (15th), Jasper’s Olivia Moss (21st) and Wheaton’s Lori McNeill (30th). 



Competing in Class 2 due to the championship factor, the College Heights girls had two state qualifiers.

CHC junior Jayli Johnson finished fifth in 21:56 and sophomore Madi Carson was 30th in 24:05. 

The CHC girls finished sixth in the standings.


NOTES: The 47th MSHSAA Cross Country Championships begin on Friday in Columbia.

The Class 1 meet will be held on Saturday, with the boys race to begin at 9 a.m., with the girls race to follow at 9:45. The Class 2 girls race is slated for noon on Saturday. 

For more on McAuley Catholic, see a related story on our website.

CROSS COUNTRY: Three McAuley runners advance to state

CLEVER, Mo. — McAuley Catholic will be represented at the state cross country championships.

Three runners from McAuley qualified for state by finishing in the top 30 at the Class 1 District 2 meet on Saturday in Clever. 

For the McAuley boys, freshman Michael Parrigon placed 10th with a time of 18:31 and junior Phillip Motazedi finished 12th in 18:45. 

“Michael Parrigon and Phillip Motazedi are first time qualifiers for the state meet,” McAuley coach Andy Youngworth told SoMo Sports. “Michael battled some injuries in the middle part of the season and really came on strong the last few weeks. Phillip has run for three years, but didn’t fully begin to understand what it was going to take to be successful until the last couple of races. Now he is just a different runner.”

McAuley’s Phillip Motazedi, Kendall Ramsey and Michael Parrigon pose after qualifying for the state cross country championships. Submitted photo.

Also competing for the Warriors were Armando Alberto (43rd), Kevin Tran (63rd), Kable Reichardt (64th), Drew Zeb (71st) and Cliff Nolan (77th). 

“Kevin Tran, our only senior, had his best race of the year, running a personal best of 20:36 and finishing as our No. 4 runner,” Youngworth said. “This was his first year running and he provided great leadership.  Armando Alberto and Kable Reichardt rounded our top 5 and both ran close to their PR’s.”

The top four teams were Fordland (99), Dadeville (103), College Heights (105) and Marion C. Early (118). McAuley’s boys finished seventh in the team standings with 149 points. 

“It was a very tight race, as only 50 points separated the district champion from the 8th place team,” Youngworth noted. “I thought we ran a good race, but just didn’t have quite enough experience and confidence at times to handle the race.”

On the girls side, McAuley’s Kendall Ramsey finished eighth with a time of 22:21. A sophomore, Ramsey is McAuley’s lone high school female runner. 

“Kendall Ramsey is making her second trip in two years to Columbia,” Youngworth said. ” She had a tough midseason stretch where she battled some injuries that forced her to miss a couple of meets. She had a great conference meet last week at Southern and set a career PR by 1 minute. That race gave her some confidence going into today’s meet at Clever.  She again set a career best with her time of 22:21, in much tougher conditions this morning due to the rain the last few days. She did a great job competing in the last 1,000 meters.”  

The 47th MSHSAA Cross Country Championships begin on Friday in Columbia.

The Class 1 meet will be held on Saturday, with the boys race to begin at 9 a.m., with the girls race to follow at 9:45. 

Youngworth, in his first season at the helm at McAuley after a long tenure in Carthage, said he’s been pleased with the team’s progress this fall.

“We took a big step forward this year, but the kids know that it will take more dedication and hard work in the next year for us to achieve our goal of qualifying for the state meet,” Youngworth said. “We have seven runners back next year, plus a talented group of freshmen coming up next fall.”


CROSS COUNTRY: Joplin boys qualify full squad to state; Joplin, Neosho girls advance


BOLIVAR, Mo. — For the second straight season, Joplin High School is taking a full boys team to the state cross country championships. 

The Eagles finished third in the team standings at the MSHSAA Class 5 District 2 meet on Saturday at the Bolivar Municipal Golf Course. 

At the district meet, the top four teams and the top 30 individuals advanced to the state meet. The top four boys teams were Kickapoo (46), Raymore-Peculiar (75), Joplin (79) and Nixa (115). 

“Today was just a business day for our boys,” Joplin coach Dustin Dixon said. “We didn’t run spectacular, but we didn’t run bad. Last year, we put a lot of emphasis on districts. We didn’t do that this year. We knew we were good enough to get through and so first is the same as fourth here. The state championships are only six days away. It’s hard to have your team at its best twice in a span of seven days. But today we took care of business.” 

Joplin’s boys are in the midst of a special season, as the Eagles captured the Central Ozark Conference crown last week and advanced a full squad to state this week.

Joplin’s boys take off during the early stages of the Class 5 District 2 meet in Bolivar on Saturday morning. Carthage’s Mariques Strickland is also pictured. Photo by Jason Peake.

“We were 12th last year at state and we’re looking to build on that this year,” Dixon said. 

Joplin’s Hobbs Campbell crossed the line fourth with a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds. 

“I feel good about my race, but I think I could have gotten a better place,” Campbell said. “I went to the front right away. I always try to go out hard and see if I can hold on. But all that matters in this race is advancing. It means a lot for our team to go back to state. The environment there is amazing and the course is so nice.” 

A junior, Campbell finished 34th at last year’s state meet.

Kickapoo’s Tyler Harris was the individual medalist with a time of 15:58. Raymore-Peculiar’s Luke Voelker (16:19) and Ozark’s Gabriel Bauer (16:23) were second and third, respectively.

Neosho senior Kaden Cole finished sixth in 16:42 to earn his third straight trip to state. 

Cole was the lone non-Joplin runner to advance from our coverage area in Class 5. 

Cole took 14th at last year’s state meet and also qualified as a sophomore. 

Also for Joplin, Ian Horton was 14th, Zaben Barnes took 18th, Chance Tindall was 20th, Nicholas Horton finished 23rd, Evan Matlock was 44th and Grey Edwards finished 55th.

Carthage’s Mariques Strickland finished 42nd and teammates Eddy Fuentes and Caleb Fewin were 53rd and 60th, respectively. 

Neosho’s Carson Newell finished 56th, while teammates Bryce Hall and Connor Jordon were 59th and 66th, respectively.  



Joplin’s Jennalee Dunn and Allie Keizer are pictured during Saturday’s district meet in Bolivar.

Joplin and Neosho had two girls apiece advance to state as individuals with top-30 finishes.

Joplin senior Jennalee Dunn finished fifth with a time of 19:43. Dunn is heading to state for the fourth straight season. She was 18th last season.

Dunn wasn’t the only Eagle to advance, as sophomore Allie Keizer secured a trip to state by finishing 14th in 20:30.

Dixon noted he was proud of both girls for getting the job done and advancing. 

Also competing for Joplin were Sage Mitchell (40th), Mairi Beranek (44th), Cylee Gilreath (47th), Averi Burks (49th) and Meridyth Mai (61st). 

Joplin finished sixth in the standings with 150 points. 

“It’s hard to have a team run great two weeks in a row,” Dixon said. “We ran so well last weekend. We knew today would be an uphill climb, but our girls competed. We were a little behind at the midway point of this race. We made up a lot of ground in the second half of the race last week, but in these sloppy conditions, it’s hard to make up ground.”

Like Joplin, Neosho had two girls advance, as Chloe Wood finished 10th in 20:09 and Riley Kemna was 13th in 20:25. 

Wood is a freshman for Wildcats coach Emily Abell. A sophomore, Kemna will run at state for the second straight season for the Wildcats, who bumped up from Class 4 this year. 

Dunn, Keizer, Wood and Kemna were the only local girls to qualify in Class 5. 

Neosho’s Bailey Miller finished 39th, while Carthage’s top finisher was Katelyn Witherspoon, who crossed the line 50th. 

The top four teams were Raymore-Peculiar (56), Kickapoo (84), Lee’s Summit West (120) and Nixa (120). Neosho was seventh with 195.

Lee’s Summit West’s Makayla Clark was the individual champion in 19:04 and Kickapoo’s Klarie Brown was the runner-up (19:14). 


NOTES: The 47th MSHSAA Cross Country Championships begin on Friday in Columbia.

The Class 5 boys race is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Friday at Gans Creek Cross Country Course. The Class 5 girls race is slated for noon.


FULL RESULTS: MSHSAA Class 5 – District 2 2021 – Meet Results (


Neosho’s Kaden Cole is pictured during Saturday’s district meet in Bolivar. Cole qualified for state by finishing sixth overall.


Neosho’s Riley Kemna qualified for the state meet with her performance on Saturday at the district meet in Bolivar.


Joplin’s boys cross country team advanced its full squad to the state meet with its performance on Saturday in Bolivar. All photos by Jason Peake.


CROSS COUNTRY: Webb City taking full squads to state; Carl Junction runners advance


BOLIVAR, Mo. — On another successful and memorable day for the program, Webb City’s boys and girls cross country teams both finished second at the Class 4 District 2 meet on Saturday morning at the Bolivar Municipal Golf Course. 

With the runner-up finishes, both Webb City squads punched their respective tickets to the state meet.

It’s the second straight season Webb City is taking two full squads to the state championships in Columbia. 

“It was just a really good day overall for us,” Webb City coach Dustin Miller said. “I was really proud of the way we competed. I’m proud of both teams for battling some adversity and being ready for today. And just getting through is the main thing.” 

At the district meet, the top four teams and the top 30 individuals advanced to the state meet. 

The top four boys teams were Willard (74), Webb City (79), West Plains (91) and Bolivar (116). 

“I was really proud of the guys,” Miller said. “We battled some adversity this week. Our No. 1 runner (Roman Borboa) got sick with a stomach bug and battled that all week. He’s still not 100 percent. Our No. 4, Mason Hedger, was throwing up and had migraine headaches this week. We were just praying to keep the wheels on. Hats off to Willard. I mean it stinks to lose, but that’s a little extra motivation for next week when it really matters.”

Webb City’s Evan Stevens (645), Roman Borboa (640) and Dustin Brockmiller (641) are pictured during the early stages on Saturday’s Class 4 District 2 meet in Bolivar. Photo by Jason Peake.

Webb City’s Dustin Brockmiller, Roman Borboa and Evan Stevens finished fifth, seventh and eighth, respectively. 

Brockmiller crossed the line at 16:47, while Borboa’s time was 16:57 and Stevens finished in 16:58. 

Also for the Cardinals, Jose Banda-Antillon was 28th, Blake Vaughan took 33rd and Mason Hedger finished 36th. 

Of course, Webb City finished as the runner-up in Class 4 a year ago. 



Advancing to state with a top-30 finish were Carl Junction senior Collin Emmert and Monett junior Julio Cruz. Emmert finished 10th in 17:08, while Cruz was 11th in 17:09. 

Emmert finished 18th at last year’s state meet. 

Also of note, Carl Junction’s Brock Feken finished 38th, while Monett’s Victor Salas was 41st and McDonald County’s Hunter Leach finished 49th.

Webb City’s Abi Street and Riley Hawkins race with three West Plains runners on Saturday at the district meet in Bolivar.


The top four girls teams were West Plains (31), Webb City (85), Bolivar (120) and Rolla (121). Carl Junction’s girls were fifth (147). 

Webb City’s Abi Street and Riley Hawkins finished third and fourth, respectively, in the girls race. 

A junior, Street crossed the line at 19:48. A senior, Hawkins recorded a time of 19:55. 

Also competing for the Cardinals were Alanna Bundy (18th), Isabelle Lopez (31st), Emily Countryman (36th), Lauren Kuechler (64th) and Elliett Capron (71st). 

“Our girls had some injuries this week and faced some adversity this week,” Miller said. “Emily Countryman really stepped up for us.

“The race went out really slow,” Miller added. “West Plains and us had the same strategy—sit on each other. But our girls pulled away from some really quality opponents and that shows how fit they are. I think there were seven of the top 10 or top 15 runners in the state here at this meet today. We battled some good teams today. That shows us that we have a shot to go to state and steal a plaque. It would be pretty nice to drive home with two trophies next weekend.”



Carl Junction had two girls finish in the top 30, as Alexis Carpenter was 22nd in 21:37 and Hannah Franks finished 29th in 22:00. 

Nevada’s Allie Rains also qualified for state by finishing 23rd. 

Also of note, Carl Junction’s Sadie Burchett finished 34th and teammate Ally Montez was 37th. 


NOTES: The 47th MSHSAA Cross Country Championships begin on Friday in Columbia.

The Class 4 boys race is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Friday  at Gans Creek Cross Country Course. The Class 4 girls race is slated for 9:45.


FULL RESULTS: MSHSAA Class 4 – District 2 2021 – Meet Results (


Carl Junction’s Collin Emmert competes during Saturday’s district cross country meet in Bolivar. Behind Emmert are Webb City’s Roman Borboa and Dustin Brockmiller.


Carl Junction’s Alexis Carpenter (436) and Sadie Burchett (434) are pictured during the Class 4 girls race on Saturday in Bolivar. CJ’s Hannah Franks is pictured in back of the pack. All photos by Jason Peake.


Webb City’s Riley Hawkins and Abi Street are among the runners pictured during the early stages of Saturday’s district meet in Bolivar. Photo by Jason Peake.

PREP FOOTBALL: Turnovers cost Carl Junction in loss to Hillcrest to open district play

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Turnovers sealed Carl Junction’s fate in the first round of Class 4 District 6 play Friday night.

The Bulldogs committed eight turnovers—four of them interceptions, including one on their final play of the game—and the Hillcrest Hornets made sure to capitalize on the way to upsetting the Carl Junction 24-14.

With the win, Hillcrest improves to 2-8, and advances to the second round of district play, while the Bulldogs’ season ends at 3-7.

Hillcrest went three-and-out on its first series and a bad punt put CJ in excellent field position. However, a few plays later on fourth-down-and-8 deep in Hillcrest territory, the Bulldogs threw their first interception of the night. Fortunately, the Hornets were unable to capitalize after turning the ball over on downs, but a few minutes later, a high snap and fumble with 7:42 to go in the half was the second turnover of the night for Carl Junction.

Hillcrest turned the second turnover into points with a 25-yard field goal with 5:05 to go in the half put the Hornets on top 3-0.

With 53 seconds in the half, what looked like a 14-yard run for a touchdown was called back on a holding penalty, but a few seconds later, Kyler Stewart grabbed a pass for a 14-yard touchdown from Nathan Planchon to give Carl Junction a 7-3 lead with 41 seconds left in the half.

The Bulldogs’ defense forced another three-and-out, with the special teams unit recording a blocked punt with seven seconds left that gave Carl Junction the ball deep in Hillcrest territory. CJ suffered its second interception of the game trying for the end zone before the half.

The Bulldogs broke loose for a huge return but a fumbled gave Hillcrest the possession, and less than three minutes later, the Hornets took the lead with a 42-yard touchdown pass with 9:36 left in the third to make the score was 10-7 in favor Hillcrest.

Hillcrest later took possession on the Bulldog 20-yard line following an interception by Carl Junction followed by a 15-yard penalty and eventually punched it in from 8 yards out to push the lead to 17-7.

Carl Junction connected on a 72-yard bomb from Planchon to Jordan Woodruff to trim the lead to 17-14.

With 5:58 to go in the game, the Bulldogs turned it over for the seventh time in the game with a fumble that ultimately led to another Hornet score with 2:20 left to play to push the lead to 24-14.

PREP FOOTBALL: Short-handed Joplin wins district opener against Lee’s Summit in double overtime

Despite playing severely short-handed, second-seeded Joplin overcame the adversity on the way to a 24-21 win over seventh-seeded Lee’s Summit in double overtime in the Class 6 District 3 opener on Friday at Junge Field.

Joplin held 15 players out of the district opener for disciplinary reasons, including seven starters who predominantly played on offense, but the Eagles used a true next-man up mentality in order to earn the win.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this group,” Joplin coach Curtis Jasper said after the win. “It speaks to the offseason and how hard the guys worked and in-season with how hard they practiced to be able to have that many players step up when it was their time.”


With the win, Joplin advances to the district semifinals with a matchup against third-seeded Nixa at Junge Field on Friday.


After a scoreless first quarter, Joplin took possession at its own 1-yard line following a punt from Lee’s Summit and fumbled at the goal line on the first play of the drive with Lee’s Summit’s David Wang falling on it in the end zone for a touchdown to make the score 7-0 with 11:16 on the clock in the second period.

It didn’t take long for Joplin to respond, as Donovyn Fowler returned the ensuing kickoff to the house to a 97-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 11:06 left in the first half.

Joplin DB Donovyn Fowler returns a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the Eagles’ win over Lee’s Summit on Friday in the opening round of district play. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“I cannot explain how important that kickoff return was, especially with how short-handed we were on offense,” Jasper said. “Donovyn is a Division I athlete in track, and he definitely showed his speed there.”

Joplin took its first lead of the game with five minutes left in the first half after Hobbs Gooch, starting at quarterback for Always Wright, found Terrance Gibson in stride in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7.

“I’ll have Terrance again next season, and just building that chemistry with him—he is a great player,” Gooch said about relying on Gibson in the passing game. “We just connected tonight.”

Lee’s Summit quarterback Alex Benassi picked up enough yards to move the chains on third-down-and-6 of the following drive before fumbling the ball over to Joplin, with Joe Jasper recovering it.

Joplin made the most of the turnover, with Gooch finding Gibson over the middle for a 4-yard touchdown with 22 seconds left in the first half to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead into the locker room. 

“He did everything we asked him to do,” Jasper said of Gooch stepping in at quarterback. “He is super coachable and a great young man. I couldn’t be happier for him and what he was able to do tonight.”

“Terrance came up huge in the first half,” Jasper added about his top wideout in the win. “In the second half, they were having to double coverage him the entire time, which pulled a guy out of the box and allowed Drew (VanGilder) to get a few more yards here and there. Terrance was huge.”

After Joplin punted the opening possession of the second half, Lee’s Summit’s Landon Shepard hauled in a tipped pass for a 73-yard touchdown to trim the Eagles’ lead to 21-14 with 7:36 to play in the third quarter.

Lee’s Summit scored the game-tying touchdown with 5:07 left in regulation when Benassi found Devin Andrews in the far flat, with Andrews taking the ball to paydirt to tie the game at 21-all.

Joplin quarterback Hobbs Gooch eyes running room in the Eagles’ win over Lee’s Summit in the Class 6 District 3 opener on Friday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

In the first overtime with both teams getting a possession from the 25-yard line, Joplin took the ball first and fumbled the ball over to Lee’s Summit on the third play from scrimmage. The Tigers took the next possession and missed a potential game-winning field goal from 33 yards out.

Joplin took possession first in the second overtime, with place kicker Joseph Ipsen converting from 28-yards out on fourth down to give the Eagles a 24-21 advantage.

“That man is amazing,” VanGilder said of Ipsen. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without him. He has really stepped up a lot for us.”

Joplin’s defense stiffened up in return, forcing an incomplete pass on a fourth-down heave into the end zone to preserve the win.

“All of the guys who had to step up came together, and we just played our hearts out,” Gooch said. “We worked together as a team and won as a team.”


Gooch was 8-for-16 passing for 92 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in the win, while Gibson caught three passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns for Joplin, which gained 237 yards of offense in the win.

Joplin wideout Terrance Gibson hauls in a touchdown pass during the Eagles’ win over Lee’s Summit. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

VanGilder carried the ball 33 times for 121 yards to lead the Eagles in rushing.

“I think everybody in the stadium knew he was going to get the ball most of the night and he still battled and fought for every inch he could possibly get,” Jasper said of VanGilder. “And all of those inches mattered in the end.”

“I am so glad that using every last bit of my energy was completely worth it,” VanGilder said. “I knew I wasn’t going to make it easy for Lee’s Summit.”

Benassi completed 17-of-22 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns to lead Lee’s Summit, which finished with 306 yards of offense. Andrews carried the ball 10 times for 37 yards and caught four passes for 24 yards and a score. Shepard caught four passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

PREP FOOTBALL: Neosho suffers season-ending loss to Willard; Taute proud of his team’s effort

NEOSHO, Mo. —  Moments after a disheartening loss ended the 2021 campaign, Brandon Taute made sure his Neosho Wildcats understood one simple message. 

“I just let everybody know that I love them,” Taute said. “And that doesn’t change based on the outcome of a football game. I’m here for them for the rest of their lives. We have a lifetime commitment to each other.”

Taute’s fourth-seeded Neosho Wildcats suffered a 56-35 loss to the fifth-seeded Willard Tigers on Friday night in a quarterfinal matchup of the Class 5 District 6 football tournament at Bob Anderson Stadium. 

The Tigers (1-9) earned a date with top-seeded Carthage (9-0) next Friday in the district semifinals, while the Wildcats (1-9) saw the season come to an abrupt end.

Neosho defeated Willard 21-14 just two weeks ago, but the Tigers simply had more firepower this time around. 

“They had a couple guys back that we knew were going to help them offensively and defensively,” Taute said of the Tigers. “Hats off to them. They had a good gameplan and they executed it really well.” 

Neosho’s Jared Siler looks for running room against Willard on Friday night at Bob Anderson Stadium. Photos by Israel Perez.

Willard’s highest scoring output prior to Friday night was 21 points in a loss to Republic. 

After surrendering an early touchdown, Willard scored 28 unanswered points to take control.

The Wildcats didn’t quit, as the hosts pulled within 14 at the end of the third period. But the Tigers would not be denied, as the visitors recorded three unanswered scores to start the final frame to put the game out of reach. 

Neosho junior running back Jared Siler scored on a 2-yard touchdown run at the 10:15 mark of the opening quarter to give the Wildcats an early advantage. A 54-yard pass from sophomore Quenton Hughes to junior Isaiah Green set up the score.

Willard tied it up with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter on Owen Bushnell’s 10-yard TD run. 

The Tigers took a 14-7 lead on Bushnell’s 22-yard touchdown run with 5:18 left in the second quarter.

The Wildcats had two promising drives halted late in the second half, one on an interception in the end zone and another on a turnover on downs.

Willard went up 21-7 with 37 seconds left in the first half on a Russell Roweton QB keeper. 

Bushnell’s third touchdown of the night, a 1-yard plunge, extended Willard’s lead to 28-7 at the 7:45 mark of the third quarter. 

The Wildcats trimmed their deficit to 28-14 after Siler’s 2-yard TD run with 4:43 remaining in the third period. A pass to junior Brock Franklin set up the score.

Willard took a 35-14 lead, but Neosho answered when Hughes connected with Green on a 45-yard TD pass. 

With three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Willard held a 56-21 lead.

Neosho’s Franklin scored on a 50-yard pass play and Siler added a 66-yard touchdown run with just under a minute to play for the final margin. 

Taute noted he was pleased with his team’s effort. 

“We were able to chip away in the second half and our kids kept fighting,” Taute said. “I’m extremely proud of them. Some kids would fold in that situation and ours absolutely didn’t. They kept fighting until the end.” 

Taute noted his 17 seniors will be missed. 

“They’re great, high-character kids,” Taute said. “As great as you can get…the kids you want your son to grow up to be like. I love them to death. For our other kids, it’s time to get better.” 

Next Friday’s other district semifinal will feature No. 3 Republic traveling to No. 2 Webb City. Republic upended No. 6 Parkview 54-0 on Friday.


Neosho’s Brock Franklin looks to avoid a Willard defensive back after hauling in a pass on Friday night.


Isaiah Green heads to the end zone during Friday’s playoff game against Willard. All photos by Israel Perez.

PREP VOLLEYBALL: All-Class 4 District 12 team released


The All-Class 4 District 12 volleyball team for 2021 has been announced.




Logan Jones, Carl Junction

Olivia Vediz, Carl Junction

Destiny Buerge, Carl Junction

Kylie Scott, Carl Junction

Kearston Galardo, Webb City

Kyah Sanborn, Webb City

Sophia Crane, Webb City


Karissa Chase, Carl Junction

Abigail Wiseman, McDonald County

Kylie Knight, Monett

Trinity Gayman, Nevada

Delaney Hope, Nevada

Emma Leisure, Nevada

Kate Brownfield, Webb City

SECTIONAL VOLLEYBALL: Joplin ends season with loss to Nixa


NIXA, Mo. — With a berth in the quarterfinal round of the state volleyball tournament on the line, the Joplin Eagles suffered a season-ending setback to one of Missouri’s best teams.

Currently ranked third in Missouri by MaxPreps, Nixa upended Joplin 3-0 in a Class 5 sectional on Thursday night at Nixa High School. The set scores were 25-18, 25-11, 25-16.

This year’s Central Ozark Conference champion, Nixa (31-4) advanced to the quarterfinals, where they’ll travel to Rock Bridge (33-4) on Saturday. 

Joplin ends the season with a record of 15-12-5. 

In Desiree Felker’s first season at the helm, the Eagles captured a district championship for the first time since 1996 and were one win away from a quarterfinal berth.

Joplin’s departing seniors are Angelina Schramm, Allie Lawrence, Logan Bruggeman, Sydney Walker, Kacy Coss and Emma Floyd. Schramm, Floyd and Lawrence were the team’s leaders in kills this season.

Last year’s state runner-up, Nixa gained the momentum right away in each set.

The hosts, who went 9-0 in the COC, led 9-2 in the opening set. A pair of aces from Jena Medearis gave Nixa a 15-5 advantage. 

But the visitors picked it up with an 11-6 run. Kills from Lawrence and Abby Edwards trimmed Joplin’s deficit to 21-16 before Nixa recorded four of the next six points to win the first set, with an ace from Sydney  Golden.

In the second set, Nixa went up 15-4 after a kill from Medearis, an ace from Jaycee Fixsen and a Joplin attack error. 

Joplin stayed within striking distance in the third set, trailing 13-10 and 17-14. But Nixa had too much firepower, as the hosts led 20-14 en route to the set and match victory.

SECTIONAL VOLLEYBALL: Webb City suffers season-ending loss to Logan-Rogersville


ROGERSVILLE, Mo. — Webb City’s postseason run came to end on Thursday night, as the Logan-Rogersville Wildcats defeated the Cardinals 3-1 in the sectional round of the Class 4 state volleyball tournament.

Logan-Rogersville knocked off Webb City 25-19, 25-22, 21-25, 25-16.

The Wildcats (21-11-1) advanced to the quarterfinals, where they’ll travel to Jefferson City (20-14-2) on Saturday.

Falling one win short of the quarterfinal round, Webb City ends the season with a record of 19-13-2.

In a solid 2021 season, Webb City won a district championship for the second time in three seasons.

Rhonda Lawrence’s Cardinals have just two seniors on this year’s roster—Makenzie Storm and Kearston Galardo. The rest of this year’s lineup will return in 2022. 

On Thursday, Brenda Lawrence recorded 13 kills to lead the Cardinals’ attack at the net, while Galardo added nine kills to go with 12 digs. Aubree Lassiter chipped in five kills and three blocks, while Storm contributed three kills and two blocks.

Junior setter Kyah Sanborn handed out 30 assists and also recorded seven digs. Sophia Crane had 13 digs, while Kate Brownfield added 11 digs and Jenna Noel had nine digs. 

SECTIONAL VOLLEYBALL: College Heights’ season comes to an end after loss to Miller in sectional round

College Heights saw its season come to an end following a 25-8, 25-10 and 25-11 loss to Miller in the Class 1 Sectional round of the state tournament on Thursday at Ozark Christian College. 

“Miller is deep and solid,” College Heights coach Mary Colin said following the season-ending loss. “Our goal was to play very aggressively. We knew if we soft-shotted or free-balled that it was going to come back at us hard. So, our goal was to come out and be aggressive and you saw some of that. … The problem was, we just weren’t consistent throughout and in the attempt to be aggressive, we had errors. And you can’t error in volleyball or you’ll lose.”

CHC’s Addie Lawrence earns a kill in the Cougars’ loss to Miller in the Class 1 Sectionals on Thursday. Photo by Israel Perez.

The Cougars end the season with a 17-14-2 record and will return every player from this year’s roster. College Heights has earned a district title in each of the last two seasons.

“Losing eight seniors last year and basically having a whole new squad this year, for them to follow up with a district championship was super fun,” Colin said. “I felt like they had a really competitive season. They grew a lot this season.”

“They didn’t have that pressure (of ‘this is it’) all season long,” Colin added about not having a senior on the roster this season. “It was really about growth and getting better, and they did. They kept getting better and it was really fun. It wasn’t just about today, but tomorrow. It wasn’t just about this season, but next season. And we did talk about that a lot—how it’s not just about this year, but next year, too. They love this game.”

Miller (31-3-1) advances to the Class 1 quarterfinals with a matchup against Midway (30-6) on Saturday.

Miller jumped out in front early in the first set, taking a 10-1 advantage out of the gate before pushing the lead to 12-4 on a kill from Kaylee Helton. The Cardinals scored six of the next eight points to go up 19-6. Miller scored the final six points of the match, highlighted by three kills from Hailey Schnake, to take a 1-0 lead.

CHC’s Lauren Ukena earns a kill in the Cougars’ sectional loss to Miller on Thursday. Photo by Israel Perez.

A seven-point service run early in the second game from Schnake staked the Cardinals to an 11-1 lead before the Cougars found some momentum with three kills from Addie Lawrence and a block from Libby Fanning made the score 13-5.

After building a 10-point lead in the later stages of the set, Miller scored seven straight points to make the score 24-9. Ashten Kingsley and Schnake had kills in the run, while Claudia Hadlock had two aces. The Cardinals closed the set moments later.

College Heights found its rhythm on offense out of the break to start the third set, with Lawrence recording five early kills to give the Cougars a 6-4 lead. CHC maintained a slim lead until a block from Emberlynn Kingsley and a kill from Schnake gave Miller the lead shortly before a three-point run that included an ace by Hadlock provided the Cardinals with a 13-9 advantage. 

The errors that plagued the Cougars in the first two sets showed up late in the third set, as Miller scored the last 11 points of the match, with six of those points coming on miscues by CHC.


Lawrence had 15 kills to lead College Heights, while Lauren Ukena added five kills. Maddy Colin had 20 assists, with Fanning adding two blocks. Ava Masena had 13 digs.

College Height’s Ava Masena passes a ball in the Cougars’ sectional loss to Miller on Thursday. Photo by Israel Perez.

PREP SOFTBALL: Local players named to All-Class 4 District 6 team


The 2021 All-Class 4 District 6 softball team is listed below.




Pitchers: Madeline McCall, McDonald County; Sydni Fletcher, Willard; Laney Taylor, Webb City.

Catchers: Kaylyn Gilbert, Webb City; McKaylie Forrest, Neosho; Ryley Ritchey, Willard.

Outfielders: Lili Graue, Neosho; Nevaeh Dodson, McDonald County; Reagan Myrick, McDonald County; Hannah Wells, Webb City.

Infielders: Sierra Dailey, Branson; Peyton Hawkins, Webb City; Alyson Miller, Willard; Langley Miller, Branson; Carlee Cooper, McDonald County; Emalee Lamar, Webb City; Abbie Carpenter, Neosho.

Utility: Beclynn Garrett, Neosho.



Pitchers: Hannah Burks, Willard; Chloe Patterson, Neosho.

Catchers: Sadie Lampe, Branson; Makayla DeLoach, Hillcrest.

Outfielders: Emma Welch, Webb City; Ally Dicken, Branson.

Infielders: Madi Olds, Carl Junction; Reece Anderson, Willard; Jacie Frencken, McDonald County; Jocelyn McQueen, Branson; Lauren Hicks, Webb City; Morgan Brannon, Webb City.

Utility: Katelynn Townsend, McDonald County; Harley Durr, Willard. 

PREP VOLLEYBALL: Following clutch victory, College Heights set for sectional showdown with Miller


The College Heights Christian volleyball team hadn’t fared well in five-set matches during the regular season.

In fact, the Cougars had lost all four contests that went to five sets.

But on Monday, the Cougars came through in the clutch and won the most important five-set match of the 2021 campaign. 

Top-seeded College Heights edged second-seeded Jasper 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 25-27, 25-17, 17-15) in the championship match of the Class 1 District 9 volleyball tournament. 

After winning the five-set thriller, the Cougars are now set for a sectional showdown.

College Heights (17-13-2) will take on Miller (30-3-1) at 6:30 on Thursday night at Ozark Christian College in a sectional contest of the Class 1 state tournament.

The Cougars definitely survived and advanced on Monday. It’s safe to say the district title match was a back and forth nail-biter. 

“It was a really great battle,” College Heights coach Mary Colin said. “Both teams played really well. There were lots of long rallies. Jasper is strong offensively and they kept powering through our blocks. We had to tighten up our block and we did that by the end of the match. We also had to sharpen up our offense. We came out more powerful in the second half of the match. It was a great battle back and forth. And it was a nice win for sure.” 

CHC was trailing 12-7 in the deciding fifth set. After a sideout, CHC’s Lindsay Griesemer served six points in a row to put the Cougars in front. There were ties at both 14 and 15 before the Cougars recorded the final two points.

Colin credited Griesemer for overcoming an injury.

“Lindsay injured her thumb during the match and she was in a lot of pain,” Colin said. “But she got taped up and finished the match. It was awesome to see her stick it out.”

It’s College Heights’ second straight district championship. A year ago, the senior-laden Cougars advanced to the quarterfinals before suffering a season-ending setback. 

College Heights lost seven seniors to graduation and entered the fall with many newcomers in key roles. 

Juniors Addie Lawrence, Lauren Ukena, Ava Masena, Marley Woodford and Griesemer, sophomore Maddy Colin and freshman Libby Fanning make up CHC’s starting lineup. 

Lawrence, Ukena and Griesemer are outside/right-side hitters, while Fanning and Whitford are middle hitters. Masena is the libero and Maddy Colin is the team’s setter. 

“It’s been really exciting to watch this group grow all year,” Colin said. “For a lot of them, this is their first year of varsity high school volleyball and the first time they’re playing all the way around in five-set matches. It’s been fun to watch them grow. Our competition this year has been tough. Our girls have played a lot of experienced teams and have competed well.”

Colin added the Cougars, who have no seniors, have made steady progress throughout the season. 

“Whether it’s serve location or tempo or pass location or hit location, there have been improvements all year,” Colin said. “Consistency was what we wanted and is what we worked for all year. And with a super tough schedule, that pushed us to stay consistent and stay aggressive against tough teams. We took some losses, but they were good for us. They helped us stay competitive and consistent.” 

Miller defeated Greenfield 3-0 (25-14, 25-6, 25-10) on Tuesday for the District 10 championship. 

The Cardinals are on a 13-match winning streak. The two teams did not meet during the regular season. 

“Miller is a solid team and we will have to play our best to compete,” Colin said. “We’re the underdog, but I think it’s fun to be the underdog. I’m excited to see if we can give them a run for their money.” 

The CHC-Miller winner will advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll meet either Midway or Osceola on Saturday at a site to be determined.



In other sectional contests of local interest on Thursday, Joplin is at Nixa in Class 5, Webb City is at Logan-Rogersville in Class 4 and Diamond hosts Skyline in Class 2. 

Thursday’s winners will advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals. 

PREP SOFTBALL: Local players named to All-COC team

The All-Central Ozark Conference Softball Team for 2021 is posted below.


2021 Central Ozark Conference Softball Team

  • Player of the Year – Abby Ford, Senior – Ozark
  • Conference Champions – Nixa (9-0)

1st Team (*Denotes unanimous selection)

  • Madison Meierer, Junior – Nixa*
  • Phoebe Gardner, Junior – Nixa*
  • Jensyn Elder, Senior – Carthage*
  • Abby Ford, Senior – Ozark*
  • Lili Graue, Senior – Neosho*
  • Kaylyn Gilbert, Senior – Webb City
  • Sierra Daily, Junior – Branson
  • Sydni Fletcher, Senior – Willard
  • Jordyn Foley, Junior – Ozark
  • Mara Lakey, Senior – Republic
  • Emmalee Essary, Junior – Republic
  • Jadyn Pankow, Freshman – Joplin


2nd Team

  • Natalie Rodriguez, Senior – Carthage
  • Savannah Hughes, Junior – Ozark
  • Langley Miller, Senior – Branson
  • Peyton Hawkins, Senior – Webb City
  • Madi Olds, Freshman – Carl Junction
  • Alyson Miller, Sophomore – Willard
  • McKaylie Forrest, Junior – Neosho
  • Chloe Krans, Junior – Nixa
  • Dakota Hale, Senior – Nixa
  • Presley Probert, Senior – Carthage
  • Hannah Wells, Senior – Webb City
  • Kenna Mayfield, Senior – Ozark


Honorable Mention

  • April Zeno, Senior – Nixa
  • Beclynn Garrett, Freshman – Neosho
  • Emma Welch, Senior – Webb City
  • Ally Dicken, Junior – Branson
  • Bailey Ledford, Sophomore – Joplin
  • Landry Cochran, Junior – Carthage
  • Ryley Ritchey, Senior – Willard
  • Jenna Belcher, Sophomore- Republic

DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: Second-seeded Joplin upsets top-seeded Carthage in the district championship

For the first time in more than 20 years, the Joplin volleyball program will be competing in the sectional round of the state tournament.

On Monday, the second-seeded Eagles trailed 1-0 after the opening set before rallying to win the final three games over top-seeded Carthage 21-25, 25-17, 25-20 and 25-22 for a 3-1 victory in the Class 5 District 12 championship inside Kaminsky Gymnasium. 

“It’s so exciting for these kids,” first-year Joplin coach Desiree Felker said. “They have worked so hard all year. They are the hardest working group of kids I have ever met. There were several times this season where we could have said, ‘things are getting a little too difficult, I don’t know that I want to keep putting in the work.’ But they showed up everyday and did not quit. I think their play tonight shows that. After that first set, we could have gotten down, but we came roaring back and we never looked back after that.”

“I think that Joplin played a really amazing game and we did not,” Carthage coach Bradyn Webb said. “I do think that there are positives out of this. Sophie Shannon played the best game I have ever seen her play. And I think we stepped up on defense a lot.

“But I said before the game that Joplin was going to serve aggressively at us, and we did not handle that well. If we pass a little bit better and get into system more, it is a totally different game.”

It is the first district title for the Eagles volleyball program since the 1996 season.

“In the locker room before the game we talked about how nerves are normal in situations like this,” Felker said. “But I reminded them that they were prepared for this. We have prepared them for this and they were ready to do what it takes to win a district championship. Some of these kids were in this situation last year against Lee’s Summit West, and I think they were able to build off of that experience a little bit.”

Carthage closes the season with an 18-14-1 record and graduates seniors Olivia Bourgault, Sydnee Dudolski, Grace Pickering and Shannon.

“This group has been great,” Webb said of her seniors. “When I first met with them before the season, they said they wanted to be a different group. They wanted to lead in a different way than they’d seen in the past, and they really have. They stepped up and led in every single way possible, on the court or off the court. … I am really proud of them and the way they have changed the culture of the program. I am hoping our underclassmen can learn from that.”

“I am really proud of them,” Webb added about the season as a whole for her Tigers. “I think they exceeded expectations. We’ve had to face a lot of adversity this year, and we have really powered through it. Our girls have really stepped up to the challenge. Obviously, it didn’t work out in our favor tonight and we got outplayed, but I always tell my girls that volleyball does not define them—their character and how they work does. I think they showed that tonight. They gave 100 percent.”

Joplin (15-11-5) advances to the sectional round and plays on the road against the winner of the District 11 tournament between top-seeded Nixa (29-4) and second-seeded Kickapoo (26-7) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.


Joplin and Carthage played even in the opening set before a five-point run by Dudolski gave the Tigers a 12-5 lead. The run was fueled by the defensive play at the net from Shannon, who registered a pair of blocks, with Mia Camarillo adding a kill.

Carthage built a 17-8 lead before a kill from Joplin’s Angelina Schramm forced a sideout, with Jayla Hunter taking service. Hunter proceeded to get the Eagles back into the game with a four-point run that included three aces to cut the deficit to 17-13. The Eagles later used a kill from Emma Floyd, a block from Bailey Owens, an ace from Allie Lawrence and another block by Owens to come all the way back and tie the first set at 21-21. 

Carthage senior Sophie Shannon earns a kill in the Tigers’ loss to Joplin in the district title game on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

The Tigers scored the final four points of the set to earn the win. Joplin committed three errors and Bourgault recorded an ace. 

“We got down early in that first set and we stopped, took a couple of timeouts, kind of refocused and settled in,” Felker said. “We just reminded them they had what it took. They just had to clean it up and play their game. I think they responded and did that.”

Midway through the second set with the Eagles leading 13-11, Hunter came up with another big service run, eight straight points, which propelled Joplin to a commanding 21-11 advantage. Hunter had an ace, while Schramm picked up three kills and a block.

“All season we’ve known she can do big things for us behind the service line,” Felker said of Hunter’s work in service. “At practice, she gives our passers a run for their money. She is very calm and collected, and you can tell her to put the ball anywhere and she is going to go after that person. I think that her getting those two early runs gave them the confidence we needed to push through those early moments.”

Lawrence picked up two more kills and Emma Floyd added a kill before Abby Edwards finished off the second set with a kill.

The Eagles had a marginal lead early in the third set before Joplin used a 6-1 run to build a 12-5 lead. Schramm had two kills and a block, while Edwards added a kill and Floyd a block.

Carthage responded right away with a four-point run on Raven Probert’s serve to trim the lead to 12-9. Abby Holderbaum had a block and a kill, while Pickering added a kill to fill out the run.

Back to back kills from Owens later in the set pushed the lead to 19-16, with Edwards earning consecutive kills moments later to push the lead to 22-18 and eventually sent the Eagles to the win.

Camarillo registered a kill early in the fourth set to tie the game at 6-6, but that was the last time the Tigers would find themselves even with the Eagles. Joplin pushed the lead to 11-6 on kills from Schramm and Owens. The Eagles methodically pushed their lead to 20-12 on a block and kill from Floyd. A block from Schramm late brought Joplin to game, set and match point at 24-17.

Joplin senior Angelina Schramm tips a kill in the Eagles’ win over Carthage in the district title game inside Kaminsky Gymnasium on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

“She doesn’t know how to quit,” Felker said of Schramm’s play in the win. “I think her teammates respond to that. She picks them up and lets them know, ‘we’re fine, let’s keep going.’ … Players respond to a teammate who is not only able to tell you how to do something but are willing to go out and go after it fearlessly.”

The Tigers didn’t go away quietly, however. Carthage ripped off the next five points in a row, including multiple kills from Dudolski, to bring the score to 24-22, but an error in service ended the rally and preserved the win for Joplin.

“You have to give credit to Carthage because they didn’t go away,” Felker said. “It would have been very easy to go away when we were up big in that fourth set. But, I think we were able to maintain our composure there at the end when Carthage was giving us a run for our money. I am really proud of our kids for that. They did what they needed to do to get the job done.”


Schramm led Joplin with 12 kills, six digs and four blocks, while Floyd added eight kills and four blocks. Edwards had seven kills and three digs, while Lawrence had six kills and 11 digs. Hunter finished with six aces and a team-high 21 digs, with Paisley Parker earning 19 digs. Abby Hembree finished with 17 assists and Kaya Cooper added 16 assists and seven digs.

Dudolski led Carthage with 13 kills and 13 digs. Pickering added seven kills and a block, while Camarillo (four digs) and Holderbaum (two blocks) each had six kills. Shannon led the team with eight blocks and added three kills. Bourgault had 18 digs to lead the Tigers defensively, while Probert finished with a team-high 31 assists.

DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: College Heights claims district crown with win over Jasper


JASPER, Mo. — In what could be described as a nail-biter, top-seeded College Heights edged second-seeded Jasper 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 25-27, 25-17, 17-15) on Monday in the championship match of the Class 1 District 9 volleyball tournament. 

College Heights (17-13-2) will host the District 10 champion (Miller or Greenfield) at 6:30 on Thursday in the sectional round of the state tournament. 

Miller and Greenfield meet at 6 on Tuesday.

On Monday, College Heights’ Addie Lawrence recorded 25 kills and three aces, while Lauren Ukena had 20 kills, 18 digs and three aces.

Maddy Colin handed out 42 assists and served three aces.

Ava Masena had 25 digs and 22 service points, while Lindsay Griesemer compiled 20 digs and 20 service points.

Jasper ends the season at 22-11-2.

DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: Webb City starts fast, finishes strong in upset victory over Carl Junction


CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — When nearly two and a half hours of intense volleyball concluded, the Webb City Cardinals were the team hoisting a district championship plaque into the air. 

With a fast start and a strong finish, second-seeded Webb City knocked off top-seeded Carl Junction 3-2 in the title match of the Class 4 District 12 tournament on Monday night at Carl Junction High School.

In a five-set thriller, the Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 28-26, 25-15, 23-25, 20-25 and 15-10. 

“I’m so proud of them,” Webb City coach Rhonda Lawrence said. “CJ is a great team. We were definitely the underdog coming in. I don’t think anybody is going to believe it’s going to say Webb City instead of them. But I felt like we played strategically and very smart. It was a great match. We really stepped it up as a team and were locked in with each other. We settled in and the girls did their jobs.”

Webb City’s Kate Brownfield slams a kill at the net during Monday’s district championship match against Carl Junction. Photo by Israel Perez.

After capturing a second district title in three seasons, the Cardinals (19-12-2) will meet the to-be-determined champion of District 11 in the sectional round of the state tournament at 6:30 on Thursday night. 

Meeting in a district championship match has become a regular occurrence for these Central Ozark Conference rivals. The Bulldogs beat the Cardinals in last year’s district title game after Webb City topped Carl Junction in the 2019 championship match. 

“We see these guys a lot and we tried to make some adjustments in our offense to help us score better,” Lawrence said. “Hat’s off to CJ. They have a great program. We make each other better. Iron sharpens iron. That’s why we’re always here.” 

This year’s postseason meeting was a hard-fought, back-and-forth clash that went the Cardinals’ way. Lawrence noted getting off to a good start by winning the opening set was crucial for her squad, especially after the Bulldogs topped the Cardinals 3-0 just three weeks ago. 

“Winning that first set gets the monkey off your back and you’ve got the momentum,” Lawrence said. 

Carl Junction, in a district championship match for the sixth straight season, ends the season with a record of 24-11. 

“I thought we played really tight and under a lot of pressure, especially in the first two sets,” Carl Junction coach Cheryl Sharples said. “We made a lot of errors. But they forced us into some situations and we didn’t handle them real well.”

Down 2-0, the Bulldogs won the third and fourth sets.

“We never quit,” Sharples added. “We were making some aggressive errors, but our kids never quit. I’ve been proud of them for that all year. When Jessa (Hylton) went out, we could have easily been done. But they stepped up and we had a great year.”



All five sets were close.

The first set was deadlocked at 26 when Webb City’s Kearston Galardo slammed a kill before a hitting error on the Bulldogs gave the decision to the visitors. 

The second set was tied at 15, but Webb City grabbed the momentum with Kate Brownfield serving. The Cardinals rattled off 10 straight points. 

The third set was tied at 22 when the Bulldogs scored three of the next four points.

Carl Junction pulled away late in the fourth set, with Destiny Buerge serving a pair of aces. A kill from Kylie Scott finished off the set and forced a deciding fifth set.

In the finale set, Webb City went ahead right away with leads of 6-3 and 8-5. Galardo, Aubree Lassiter and Brenda Lawrence all had kills late in the set to give the Cardinals the win.

Lawrence noted she was proud her squad kept its composure after dropping two straight sets. And of course, getting a lead early in the final set proved key. 

“After the second set, I told our kids that Carl Junction wasn’t going to lay down,” Lawrence said. “They are used to this. We’ve played in a lot of four or five set matches. In the fifth set, you’ve got to go fast. That 15 points goes quick. You have to be on target.” 



A senior outside hitter, Galardo had 15 kills, eight digs and four aces for the Cardinals. Junior outside hitter Brenda Lawrence recorded 15 kills, while junior outside hitter Brownfield added nine kills and nine digs. 

A sophomore outside hitter, Lassiter added four kills and four blocks, while senior middle blocker Makenzie Storm had three kills and seven digs. Junior defensive specialist Jenna Noel chipped in five digs.

Webb City junior Kyah Sanborn handed out 41 assists and had 14 digs from the setter position, while sophomore libero Sophia Crane had a team-high 16 digs.

Carl Junction junior outside hitter Destiny Buerge tips the ball over the net during Monday’s match with Webb City.

A junior outside hitter, Buerge led the Bulldogs with 21 kills and 17 digs, while Scott, a sophomore middle hitter, added 14 kills. 

Freshman outside hitter Karissa Chase contributed eight kills and five blocks, while senior defensive specialist Ellie Lawson served five aces.

Junior setter Logan Jones, an Arkansas recruit, handed out 46 assists. 

Carl Junction’s seniors were Hylton, Lawson, Olivia Vediz, Maisen McCluney, Abigale Wilson, Maggie Brown and Delani Mertens. A standout outside hitter, Hylton suffered a season-ending injury on Sept. 30. 

“Our seniors are a great group of kids,” Sharples said. “They’ve been playing since they were really young. All of them contributed in big ways. It was hard to say goodbye to them.” 


Note: The District 11 title match between Willard and Logan-Rogersville is scheduled for Tuesday night. The Cardinals own a win over Rogersville and have lost to Willard. 


Webb City sophomore libero Sophia Crane is pictured during Monday’s district championship match at Carl Junction. Photos by Israel Perez/SoMo Sports.


Carl Junction junior setter Logan Jones is pictured during Monday’s Class 4 District 12 championship game.


PREP FOOTBALL: Missouri Media releases latest rankings


The latest Missouri Media high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, are posted below.

At the end of the regular season, Joplin is ranked fifth in Class 6. Carthage is ranked second in Class 5, with Webb City fourth. 

McDonald County and Nevada are ranked eighth and 10th in Class 4, while Aurora is 10th in Class 3. Lamar is No. 1 in Class 2. 

The rankings will not be updated until state championship games have been completed.

The panel is made up of Dion Clisso, PrepsKC; Cody Thorn, The Examiner; Dave Kvidahl,; Tom Rackers, Jefferson City News-Tribune; Chris Parker, Ozone Sports; Brandon Zenner, The St. Joseph News-Press; J.B. Connoley, KRES radio; Matt King, The Daily Journal; Jason Peake,; Brian Rosener, Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic.



First-place votes in parenthesis.


Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. CBC (6), 8-1, 96, T1 
  2. Liberty North (4), 7-1, 94, T1  
  3. Lee’s Summit North, 8-1, 77, 3  
  4. DeSmet, 7-2, 70, 4
  5. Joplin, 8-1, 60, 5
  6. Park Hill South, 9-0, 43, 7 

7T. Francis Howell, 8-1, 33, 8

7T. Nixa, 7-2, 33, 6

  1. Raymore-Peculiar, 7-2, 20, 9
  2. Marquette, 8-1, 19, NR

Dropped out: No. 10 Hazelwood Central

Also receiving votes: Lindbergh (8-1), 4; Liberty (6-3), 1



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Jackson (6), 9-0, 96, 1
  2. Carthage (4), 9-0, 94, 2  
  3. Holt, 9-0, 80, 3 
  4. Webb City, 6-3, 59, T4 
  5. Platte County, 7-2, 57, T4  
  6. Jefferson City Helias, 8-1, 56, 6
  7. Lebanon, 8-1, 37, 7  
  8. Rockwood Summit, 9-0, 33, 8
  9. Fort Osage, 8-1, 23, 9
  10. Ladue, 8-1, 12, 10  

Also receiving votes: Grain Valley (6-3), 3



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Smithville (9), 8-0, 99, 1
  2. MICDS (1), 9-0, 90, 2  
  3. Hannibal, 9-0, 81, 3
  4. West Plains, 8-1, 67, 4
  5. Union, 9-0, 56, 5
  6. Lincoln College Prep, 9-0, 54, 6
  7. Hillsboro, 8-1, 35, 9 
  8. McDonald County, 8-1, 29, 10 
  9. Vashon, 7-1, 27, 7
  10. Nevada, 7-2, 11, NR 

Dropped out: No. 8 McCluer

Also receiving votes: St. Dominic (5-4), 1



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. St. Mary’s (10), 7-1, 100, 1 
  2. Valle Catholic, 9-0, 90, 2
  3. St. Pius X, 8-1, 78, 4 
  4. Odessa, 8-1, 68, 5
  5. Lutheran North, 6-3, 52, 6
  6. Boonville, 7-2, 51, 3
  7. Park Hills Central, 8-1, 45, 7
  8. Blair Oaks, 7-2, 32, 8
  9. Center, 5-3, 14, 9  
  10. Aurora, 7-2, 11, 10 

Also receiving votes: Mexico (7-2), 9  



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

  1. Lamar (10), 9-0, 100, 1
  2. Fair Grove, 9-0, 85, 2 
  3. Hallsville, 9-0, 84, 3 
  4. Ava, 9-0, 59, 4  
  5. Butler, 9-0, 52, 5 
  6. Lutheran St. Charles, 7-2, 51, 6 
  7. Lafayette County, 8-1, 46, 7

8T. Duchesne, 7-2, 26, T8 

8T. Richmond, 8-1, 26, T8 

  1. Bowling Green, 8-0, 20, 10

Also receiving votes: New Madrid County Central (7-1), 1     



Rank, team, Rec., Pts., LW

1T. Mid Buchanan (6), 9-0, 92, 2 

1T. Windsor (4), 9-0, 92, 1

  1. Hayti, 8-0, 79, 3 
  2. Marionville, 9-0, 76, 4
  3. East Buchanan, 8-1, 58, 5
  4. Marceline, 8-1, 47, T6  
  5. Monroe City, 8-1, 40, T6  
  6. Fayette, 8-1, 23, 9 
  7. West Platte, 7-2, 18, 8
  8. Skyline, 6-3, 11, NR  


Dropped out: No. 10 Thayer

Also receiving votes: Hamilton-Penney (6-3), 7; Thayer (6-3), 4; Harrisburg (7-2), 2; Mark Twain (8-1), 1


DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: College Heights will meet Jasper in district title match; Diamond to clash with Sarcoxie


JASPER, Mo. — Top-seeded College Heights Christian defeated fifth-seeded Liberal 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-20) on Saturday in the semifinals of the Class 1 District 9 volleyball tournament at Jasper High School.

The Cougars will meet second-seeded Jasper at 7 on Monday in the district championship game.

The Eagles defeated third-seeded Thomas Jefferson 3-0 (25-13, 25-16, 25-7).



DIAMOND, Mo. — Diamond and Sarcoxie advanced to Monday’s Class 2 District 11 championship match with semifinal victories on Saturday.

Top-seeded Diamond defeated fourth-seeded Marionville 3-0 (25-5, 25-23, 25-15), while third-seeded Sarcoxie knocked off second-seeded Pierce City 3-0 (25-10, 25-20, 25-19).

Monday’s championship game is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Diamond High School.