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Mizzou 25! (Part Three)

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It's Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years! It's like Who's Now or The Greatest Highlight, only, uhh, cool.

Mizzou 25 is set up in four 8-athlete regions: the Norm Stewart Region (basketball), the Larry Smith Region (football), the Joann Rutherford Region (all sports), and the Spider Region (fan favorites). Over the next month or so, we'll be setting up a poll a day to run through each regional, but first we have to finalize the participants.

Congrats to Justin Gage and William Moore, who finished first and second in yesterday's poll and qualified for the final two slots in the Larry Smith Regional. After the idiocy of my forgetting to put Devin West in the mix, West managed to finish only third, though a late charge put a scare into Willy Mo. That bracket is complete.

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Time to take off the football/basketball caps, as today we finalize the Joann Rutherford Region, a.k.a. the all-sports region. Here are six definite participants (listed chronologically):

  1. Renee Kelly (Women's Basketball, 1984-87)
  1. Barb Wright (Softball, 1994-97)
  1. Derrick Peterson (Track & Field, 1997-00)
  1. Lindsey Hunter (Volleyball, 2002-05)
  1. Max Scherzer (Baseball, 2004-06)
  1. Ben Askren (Wrestling, 2004-07)
  1. ?
  1. ?

Below is a poll to determine the final two participants. You may select one from the list below (or select 'Other' and name your choice in the Comments section). The top two will make the Joann Rutherford Regional. Please read through the candidates and vote, as it took us (The Beef and me) quite a while to put this list together. :-)

Click 'Full Story' for the nominees.

Chidi Imoh (Track & Field, 1983-86): A 1992 silver-medalist for Nigeria in the 4x100 relay, Imoh still holds the Mizzou record in the 100m (10.0 seconds), 200m (19.9), and 55m indoor (6.1). He was one of the best sprinters in Africa and won a silver medal in the 60m at the Indoor World Championships in 1991.

Natasha Kaiser-Brown (Track & Field, 1985-88): Named the Big 8 Female Athlete of the Year her senior season, Kaiser was a 6-time All American. She won a silver medal in the 4x400 relay at the 1992 Olympics, qualified for the Olympics again in 1996, was named to the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame last year and is now the head track coach at Drake.

Dave Silvestri (Baseball, 1986-88): A Mizzou Hall of Famer, Silvestri is 1st on Mizzou's career list in triples (18), 2nd in total bases (432), 2nd in slugging percentage (.660), 4th in batting average (.379), 4th in hits (248), 5th in runs scored (206), 5th in on-base percentage (.465), 5th in stolen bases (47), and 7th in RBIs (167). Not bad for a 3-year career. The Beef feels he should have been on the 'definites' list instead of Scherzer who wasn't as dominant for as long. You make the call.

Nikki Thole (Soccer, 1997-00): Mizzou's best ever soccer player, Thole was an annual presence on the All-Big 12 list and was named second-team All-American in 1999 after leading the Big 12 with 23 goals (1.00 per match). She was Mizzou's all-time leading goals and points scorer before her senior season, when she also became Mizzou's all-time assists leader. Call her the Wayne Gretzky of Mizzou soccer.

Ashley Wysong (Track & Field, 1999-01): A five-time Missouri all-stater in high school, this Nevada, MO, prospect dominated the Big 12 at the 800-meter level. Set five school records (800m indoor/outdoor, 1600m relay, distance medley relay indoor/outdoor) and finished 3rd in the NCAAs at the 800m before transferring to Stanford because the was just too damn smart not to.

Amanda Lassiter (Women's Basketball, 1999-01): A transfer from Central Arizona JC, Lassiter dominated in her two seasons at Mizzou. As a junior, she was named Big 12 Rookie of the Year, averaging 13.9 PPG and finishing in the nation's Top 10 in blocked shots (think she could come back and play for the men's team?). As a senior, she was dominant on Mizzou's Sweet 16 team, posting averages 19.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.1 SPG, 2.3 APG, and 2.0 BPG, and making 65 3-pointers (34.8%) to boot. She was selected 15th overall in the 2001 WNBA Draft and has scored 1,000 career points while playing for the Houston Comets, Seattle Storm, Minnesota Lynx, and Chicago Sky.

Christian Cantwell (Track & Field, 2000-03): Mizzou's best thrower ever, and a world champion. In his first year post-Mizzou, Cantwell won US and World Indoor championships in the shot put and posted World's Best throws for 2004 both indoor and outdoor. The only reason he is not on the 'definites' list is that he never quite reached his potential until he left Mizzou. Now, that's not to say he wasn't great--he has a Mizzou record seven All-American honors, not to mention 17 Big 12 honors, and holds three school records. His only flaw was that he always came up a bit short at the NCAAs. His best finish was 2nd at the NCAAs as a senior, though you could say he hardly 'came up short' there, throwing a personal best.

Russ Bell (Track & Field, 2000-03): Mizzou's second-best thrower ever. His personal bests of 19.54m in the shot put is second to Cantwell, but his 60.28 in the discus is ahead of CC and behind only '70s thrower Ben Plucknett. Repeated efforts from the Mizzou football staff convinced Bell to walk on to the football team for the 2003 season. He immediately cracked the two-deep at defensive tackle and was a solid contributor for the '03 Independence Bowl squad.