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Mizzou 25: Joann Rutherford Region (Semifinal #1)

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UPDATE: Called after 72 votes. Askren wins it, 88%-11%.

One round is in the books for Mizzou 25, the tournament to decide the best, most influential, most likable Mizzou athlete of the past 25 years!

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 Harold "Spider" Burke Region (fan favorites). To see where the bracket currently stands, click here.

We're already halfway through the Sweet Sixteen! Two Elite Eight matchups (Peeler vs Booker, Brad vs Chase) are in the books, and now it's time to set the other two. Up today and tomorrow: the Joann Rutherford Region.

3/19: Ben Askren vs Christian Cantwell
3/20: Lindsey Hunter vs Max Scherzer

Ben Askren vs Christian Cantwell




The Boy: Everything Chase Daniel is to the Mizzou Football team, Ben Askren was to Mizzou Wrestling. He's easily the best wrestler in Mizzou history, and one of the nation’s best wrestlers of the decade. All he did was win the last 87 matches of his career. He’s a two-time national champion at 174 pounds (and two-time national wrestler of the year) for a school devoid of many titles, and only OSU’s Chris Pendleton prevented him from being a four-time national champion.

During a redshirt season at Mizzou that was encouraging but did not come close to preparing Mizzou fans for what laid ahead in his career, he began to develop his own brand of ‘funk’, utilizing his lankiness, creating a wrestling style that continuously put his opponents off-balance, and being good enough at that style to rack up 91 career pins, 3rd-best in NCAA history.

Askren is one of the greatest athletes (possibly the greatest), personalities, and afros in Mizzou history. Though he can't yet match Cantwell's "world champion" status, he might soon.
The Boy: Christian Cantwell is Mizzou's best thrower ever--that goes without saying. But he's more than that: he's also a world champion. In his first year post-Mizzou, CC won US and World Indoor championships in the shot put and posted World's Best throws for 2004 both indoor and outdoor. 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. But like Linas Kleiza, Cantwell has only improved since he left Mizzou. An injury sidelined him recently, but since he got back on track, winning both another National Indoor shot title (making the fourth-longest throw of all-time in the process) and another world Indoor title in 2008.

Cantwell has started a tradition of great throwers at MU, starting with Russ Bell and himself in the early '00s and continuing on to the likes of Chris Rohr today.