It’s awards season at Rock M Nation, and we’ve got a lot to celebrate from the 2022-23 school year. New hires, postseason highs, incredible individual and team performances... There’s a lot of good things going on in CoMo, and we intend to talk about it.
And because we always strive to do things a bit differently around here, and because — let’s face it — I’m a bit extra, we’ve created our own award, the Rock M’my. Consider it to be part Emmy, part Espy, and all parts love of Mizzou Athletics. (pronounced Rock Emmy)
With the help of our team, we brainstormed award names and threw out some nominations. I encouraged them to not just consider the major sports and the top dogs, but to dig below the surface and select worthy nominees from all the teams. Luckily, our staff represents a diverse group of writers with knowledge about a variety of Mizzou sports, so this wasn’t too much of an ask. With each nomination, you’ll also find a bit of backstory, so you, the fans, can make an informed decision, because at the end of each post, you’ll vote.
Once all the votes for each award have been tabulated, I’ll present a winners list, and that student-athlete will win our completely serious award that will undoubtedly be the greatest triumph of their lives thus far.
In case you missed the vote (which closes July 4 at 7pm CST):
There were so many great moments that happened this season in Mizzou Athletics. Snapshots in time that, no matter how the season ultimately ended up, left you feeling a sense of euphoria at that moment. It could have been an astonishing win that no one saw coming, a good ol’ fashioned ass-whoopin, a rare road W, a perfect shot at just the right moment, an All-American crowned, a dynamic duo. In fact, there were so many great memories, we’ll undoubtedly be reliving these over and over again in our minds during the slow college sports-less months ahead.
So enjoy... and good luck voting. This is another tough one.
Here are the nominees for Best Moment of Euphoria:
Holding Spencer Rattler & South Carolina to 10 Points
Sitting at 3-4 in late October, things were looking bleak for Eliah Drinkwitz and the 2022 Missouri football team. They had to travel to the other Columbia to take on South Carolina, and the 5-2 Gamecocks were fresh off their first ever victory over Texas A&M with the Rattler-led offense finally seeming to be finding some sort of rhythm.
Instead, Mizzou waltzed into Williams-Brice Stadium and dismantled Shane Beamer’s bunch, holding them to 10 points in a dominant defensive performance. It would go on to become the Tigers’ most impressive victory of the season and inspired a late-season rally. —Parker Gillam
ISU Hoops Win With Full Roster
Mizzou entered their Big 12/SEC matchup with Iowa State holding an impressive 15-5 record. However, the Tigers, losers of 4 of their past 7 games, were seemingly at a bit of a crossroads. The Cyclones offered an opportunity to get right, though their stingy defense would have a say. Mizzou, clad in their Block M uniforms, proceeded to put on a show. Kobe Brown, who had missed the last home game with an ankle injury popped off for 20 points and 12 boards. Isiaih Mosley, fresh off his re-entry into the rotation, added eight points and three steals. D’Moi Hodge led the group’s blistering 14-30 mark from three-point range. For the first time all season, the Mizzou Arena gallery saw the stars aligning. For an afternoon, everything was as it was meant to be. —Matt Watkins
Brock Mauller Defeats Paniro Johnson in Iowa State Dual
Taking on the #9 ranked wrestler at 149lbs, Mizzou Wrestling’s Brock Mauller took a 1-1 tie into overtime where he successfully flipped the Cyclone to his back in the final seconds for an electric win by fall, eliciting an eruption from the Mizzou faithful in the crowd. Mizzou would go on to win the dual over the country’s No. 3 team 23-12 on Senior Night —Matthew Smith
Gymnastics Win over #5 Auburn & Sunisa Lee
In front of a record-breaking crowd at Hearnes, Mizzou set to take on defending Olympic All-Around champion Sunisa Lee and the #5 Auburn Tigers. Who would have predicted that the CoMo Tigers would essentially maul the cats from The Plains? Not me, that’s for sure. Starting off on vault, typically their weakest apparatus, you could tell head coach Shannon Welker had his team ready to go, as five of the six woman-rotation equaled or beaten their season best scores, including I’m Her nominee Jocelyn Moore —you can still vote!— who recorded her first collegiate 10 and gave Mizzou an early 0.250 lead and increased to 0.475 after an even-keeled bars rotation. A sub-optimal beam rotation, a bit surprising for the Beam Queens, brought Mizzou’s lead back to only 0.250 with only Floor Exercise to go, and ramped up the crowd’s excitement level. With Auburn closing out the meet with its best event, balance beam, and Mizzou on arguably its second-best event, the black & gold cemented their awe-inspiring victory with stuck landings and truly incredible performances on the floor.
It was after Sienna Schreiber, Alonna Kratzer and Hannah McCrary’s performances that I thought the impossible was actually possible. Like something out of a fever dream. Mizzou was going to beat Auburn. With one performer to go, the crowd went wild, as the Tigers had clinched the victory no matter the performance of anchor Amari Celestine. For good measure, Celestine topped it all off with her usual flair to go with a season-best 9.95. When it was all said and done, three of the six Tigers recorded season-high scores on the last event, with another tying their best, and Mizzou knocked off Auburn by 0.900, a victory for only the 11th time in their 45 meetings. Truly shocking. —Karen Steger
Beating the Buzzer By the Beach
Fatalism stalks anyone who follows Mizzou, an ever-present sense that if something can go wrong, it certainly will. When MU traveled to play UCF on a neutral floor, it wasn’t hard to wonder if that wasn’t playing out again. MU built a nine-point lead midway through the second half, and then let the Knights roar back. Before the ball was in-bounded and made its way to Dree Gholston, you could already hear the criticism, MU played nobodies and is mortal against anyone with a pulse.
And then Gholston banked in a 3-ball at the horn. For one season at least, MU displayed the kind of resiliency and late-game magic that’s long been foreign, conjuring it in various forms against Wichita State, UCF, Tennessee, Mississippi State, LSU, and Ole Miss. It takes fortitude to rally back — and a little luck. We saw the first glimpses of that as MU dogpiled at center court in mid-December. —Matthew Harris
Kara Daly Walks It Off... Twice
In their last series of a very flip-floppy season, the Tigers got it together when it counted, likely cementing their Regional berth while pulling off two walk-off victories at the bat of Jeff City native, Kara Daly against rivals to the west, Arkansas. After being shut out AND run-ruled (for good measure, I suppose) in Game 1, Game 2 started out with what we thought would be more of the same. After coming from behind and tying the score in the 5th 2-2, the score remained knotted going into extras until the top of the 8th when a WP and a sac fly made it 3-2 Hogs. In the bottom of the 8th with all the cards on the table, the mid-MO natives brought it home. CoMo native Maddie Snider tied it up with a leadoff solo shot to right center, and with two uots, Jeff City’s own Kara Daly smashed a first pitch shot to LF to bring home the W, 4-3.
In Game 3, playing at home for the final time, the Tigers once again brought it, earning their first series win over the #12 Razorbacks in a 7-6 victory. Coming from behind (again) 2-0, the TIgers took a 3-2 lead in the 3rd on a FC and a Maddie Gallagher 2-run single. Disaster struck in the 4th, as relief pitcher Laurin Krings allowed a grand slam, giving the Hogs what seemed like an insurmountable 6-3 lead. But it wasn’t over, as Riley Frizell’s solo shot in the bottom of the inning made it 6-4 and her bases-loaded 2-run single up the midlde in the 6th ultimately knotted the score at 6-6. Freshman lefty Taylor Pannell came in to close it out, showcasing nerves of steel, and held serve for 1.2 innings to make way for Daly’s late inning heroics. After an Alex Honnold fly out to start the bottom of the 7th, Kara Daly hit ANOTHER walk-off homer, her second in two games, to seal the sweet, sweet victory that no one saw coming. — Karen Steger
Zach Elam and Peyton Mocco First-Time All-Americans
In their five seasons with Mizzou Wrestling both Zach Elam and Peyton Mocco have reached the NCAA Championships four times each. The 2023 season deemed no different for the these two individuals.
Following a second place finish at the Big 12 Championships, Peyton Mocco entered the NCAA Championships seeded 7th inside the 174lbs weight class. He opened his first two rounds knocking off the #26 and #23 wrestlers before falling a point shy to eventual finalist and number #2 seed Mikey Labriola (Neb) in the qaurterfinals. Mocco proceeded to compete among the backside of the bracket going 1-2, knocking off the #13 and falling in back to back matches before collecting an 8th place All-American medal.
Elam on the other hand, competed inside the 285lbs bracket as the 10th seeded wrestler in his division. Elam defeated the #23 and #7 ranked wrestlers in route to a quarterfinals loss to eventuall 3rd place AA (#2) Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force. Pacing the consolation side, Elam followed his loss with back-to-back victories over the #11 and #12 seed. Elam rounded out his Championship falling in his next two bouts but still walked out with a 6th place All-American finish -Matthew Smith
Mizzou Smacks Down Illinois on a Cold Winter’s Night
On a treacherous and unbelievably cold late December night, Mizzou fans who braved the elements were rewarded mightily in the 42nd iteration of Braggin Rights, a game in which KP predicted only a 32% win probability for the black & gold. What the Tiger faithful witnessed was astounding, because not only did Missouri beat a heated rival, but they completely dismantled the Illini in a 93-71 victory and got to witness a very disgusted Brad Underwood look like he’d rather be back in Champaign without his team. The massive upset also featured Kobe Brown recording a Braggin Rights scoring record with his 31 points (yet he didn’t garner a I’m Him nomination for this?!), perhaps showing off what the senior was capable of in the future. The team as a whole, after hitting a bit of an offensive lull to start the game, rebounded quite nicely, shooting 59.3% overall and 50% (!) from three. D’Moi Hodge proved once again how valuable of a player he was, notching 20pts, including 44% from three, while Dree Gholston added 15pts and Ronnie DeGray III added 10.
The Tigers, sporting the nation’s no. 4 offense coming into the game but not exactly facing a murderers row of competition at that point, also showed off on the defensive end against a U of I team rated in the top 20 in defensive efficiency. Gates’ first marquee win featured the Tigers forcing 17 turnovers, of which they converted for 33 points, to go along with a suffocating defense which caused Illinois at one point to miss 9 consective missed FGs. It was GLORIOUS. What a way to kick off the holiday season! —Karen Steger
Soccer Beats kU
Having not played their arch-rivals in front of a crowd (thanks, Covid year) since 2016, the Tigers came into their matchup hungry for a win over the jayhawks. An early kU goal quieted Audrey J Walton Stadium, but a stellar two-goal performance from Keegan Good, including an 86th minute game winner, gave the Tigers their highlight win of the season. — Adeen Rao
Softball Run-Rules No. 17 Alabama
There were two other forgettable games in this series, just as there were many forgettable games all season, but the final game of this series was a case of Last One, Best One as the Tigers took down an eventual WCWS team in the Tide on an 11-3 run-rule victory. For a Tigers team that had shown an inability to come back from a deficit for much of the season, it was a welcome surprise to watch them come scorching back from down three runs to take a 5-3 lead in the 3rd on some savvy offense and a Chantice Phillips 2-run homer. After tacking on another run in the fourth, they opened the floodgates shockingly so in the 5th with a Phillips bases-clearing double to make it 9-3 and a Julia Crenshaw single to CF to walk off the game in run-rule fashion.
While the victory didn’t ultimately end up changing the course of the Tigers’ season when it was all said and done, victories like this one likely helped persuade the committee (just as the aforementioned Arkansas nomination) to put Missouri in the NCAA Tournament field. —Karen Steger
Time to vote!
Best Moment of Euphoria
This poll is closed
Only 10pts for Spencer/SC in road W
Iowa State Hoops win
Brock Mauller’s ISU Win
Gymnastics beats Auburn/Suni Lee
Dree’s UCF buzzer beater
Elam & Mocco All-Americans
Soccer beats kU
Softball run-rules Bama
Mizzou bulldozes Illinois
Kara Daly walks off Arky twice