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Mizzou 25: Joann Rutherford Regional (Quarterfinal #1)

UPDATE: Called after 72 votes. Askren wins this by a nose, 91%-8%.

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). Here's the Mizzou 25 bracket in all its resplendent glory.

We're through with football and basketball, and I haven't yet figured out how to deal with the proposed 'double-elimination' aspect of this thing, so for now it’s on to the Joann Rutherford Region! Here are the matchups. Mizzou’s had one great player in just about every sport in the last 25 years, so this is the best against the best.

3/6: Renee Kelly (Women’s Basketball) vs Ben Askren (Wrestling)
3/7: Nikki Thole (Soccer) vs Christian Cantwell (Track & Field)
3/8: Derrick Peterson (Track & Field) vs Lindsey Hunter (Volleyball)
3/9: Barb Wright (Softball) vs Max Scherzer (Baseball)

Renee Kelly vs Ben Askren

(She’s the only one in this bracket for whom I couldn’t find a picture—apparently the ‘80s were just too long ago. If anybody can locate a picture of her, I’d appreciate it.)



Quite simply the best player in the history of Mizzou Women’s Basketball. Kelly holds Mizzou records for career scoring average, career rebounds, career FG %, career FTs made and attempted, season rebounds and rebound average, points scored in a game, FGs made in a game, and four other categories. Kelly combined with Joni Davis to lead Mizzou to multiple NCAA tourneys in the ‘80s and is one of only two Lady Tigers to have her jersey retired (the other: Davis). She was Doug Smith and Derrick Chievous combined for the ‘80s Lady Tigers, and she was not only named All-American 1987, but was also Big 8 Female Athlete of the Year. She was a force to be reckoned with during what has to be (sadly) considered the golden age of Mizzou Women's Hoops. Quite simply 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 his redshirt season at Mizzou, 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. One of the greatest athletes (possibly the greatest), personalities, and afros in Mizzou history.