Missouri athletics prospers over break

Missouri Tigers outfielder Logan Pearson (32) swings at a pitch Tuesday, March 10, 2015, in Columbia, Mo.

While many students went on exotic vacations or sat on the couch during spring break, Missouri athletes were hard at work.

From wrestling and swimming national championship appearances to women’s basketball’s postseason efforts and baseball’s tough matchups, the week was filled with highs and lows in Mizzou athletics.

Wrestling wavers at NCAAs

Coming in as No. 1 in the country, the wrestling team took to St. Louis on a mission: to take home the program’s first ever national championship and the school’s first in over 50 years.

However, it wasn’t going to be easy.

Although 10 wrestlers were originally qualified, sophomore Zach Synon fell early, going 0-2 and collecting zero points for the team. In his wrestleback match, down with just seconds left, senior Johnny Eblen was called for a flagrant misconduct for headbutting his opponent and was disqualified from the tournament, costing the Tigers a four-point deduction.

Then, the seemingly impossible happened when previously undefeated sophomore J’den Cox and senior Alan Waters lost their respective semifinal matches.

The Tigers entered the last day of competition with only one wrestler left with a chance to win a title and their dream of winning a team championship handed to Ohio State.

It wasn’t all bleak for Mizzou, however, as senior Drake Houdashelt, who had come in fifth and sixth in previous tournaments, was able to bring an individual title back to Columbia, and five Tiger grapplers were named All-Americans, to help the Tigers finish fourth overall.

Swimming gets historic finish

The Mizzou swimming and diving teams also found their share of success over the week, as the men grabbed 11th as a team and the women 14th at the NCAA Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, to round up both of their best finishes in program history.

Setting 11 school records, the men’s team concluded the meet with five top-seven finishes and six individual All-American honors.

Sam Tierney closed out his collegiate career as the most decorated swimmer in program history as a six-time first-team and six-time honorable mention All-American.

On the women’s side, the Tigers earned seven All-American honors, finishing with a program-record 100 points.

Women’s basketball wraps up successful season

The Missouri women’s basketball team advanced to the third round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament before a 65-55 loss to Michigan.

Despite a season filled with injuries and inconsistency, the Tigers finished the year with a 19-14 record, their best since 2006, and their best postseason appearance since 2003, when they reached the WNIT quarterfinals.

Three-point master Morgan Eye finished her career as one of the most successful Tigers in program history and was invited to the State Farm Slam Dunk and Three-Point Championship in Indianapolis, set for Thursday night.

Baseball comes to play against top foe

Still early in the season, the Missouri baseball team continued its successful start in College Station, Texas.

Despite losing two of the three games in the series to No. 2 Texas A&M, the Tigers were able to pull out their Saturday game, winning 3-2.

This didn’t come without the help of sophomore Ryan Howard, who hit a defining eighth-inning RBI double to put Mizzou up and grab its sixth conference win of the season.

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