Top 5: Sports moments of the year

From national champions to emotional wins, Mizzou sports fans had plenty to cheer about.
Missouri basketball coach Brad Loos and his family watch the #RallyForRhyan video tribute before coming out on the court during halftime of the game against Tennessee on Feb. 13 in Mizzou Arena.

Through hundreds of games, championships and stories, it’s nearly impossible to recap each and every moment that took place in the world of Missouri athletics this year.

So, we give you five. These are the five best sports moments of the year:

Five — Fabian Schwingenschlogl wins swimming national title

As difficult as swimming the 100-yard breaststroke in 51.29 seconds must be, it rivals the difficulty of spelling Fabian Schwingenschlogl’s last name.

The German junior does the latter daily, but he did the former on March 25, becoming the first Mizzou swimmer to win a national title.

After transferring from Western Kentucky over the summer, a school that was suspended amid hazing allegations, Schwingenschlogl (and no, I didn’t type the name for the third time — I copied and pasted) found a home at Missouri.

Mizzou’s swimming team as a whole excelled the entire year, but this title cemented the program’s successes in 2015–16.

Four — Mizzou women’s basketball makes NCAA Tournament

You knew prior to the season tipping off that the Missouri women’s basketball team was special.

How?

Because Mizzou had Sophie Cunningham, a freshman from Rock Bridge High School who was a McDonald’s All-American. Mizzou also had Cierra Porter, a 6-foot-4 forward also from Rock Bridge. Add them to the returning roster led by coach Robin Pingeton, and it was bound to be a special year.

Ultimately, the Tigers made the tournament for the first time in 10 years and beat BYU to make it to the second round. The best part about this moment, too, isn’t what was accomplished. It was the potential of what could be accomplished in the future.

Three — J’den Cox qualifies for Olympics

Everyone knew J’den Cox was a star talent, but this talented?

In a story earlier this year after Cox won his second NCAA championship, Cox had gotten back to “having fun,” as his mom, Cathy, said.

Fast forward a month later and her son was still having fun — this time while qualifying for the Olympics.

Cox went to an Olympic Qualifier in Mongolia and won, earning a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team, one of the great Mizzou accomplishments in recent memory.

Two — Mizzou beats Tennessee in Rally for Rhyan game

You couldn’t have scripted it better.

Mizzou, who came in on a nine-game losing skid, beat Tennessee. But more importantly than the rare win, they did it in front of the largest crowd in the 2015–16 season, which was there on that Saturday in February to support assistant basketball coach Brad Loos’ daughter, Rhyan Loos, who has bone cancer.

After the game, Rhyan was given the game ball in one of the more iconic Mizzou moments of the year.

One — Mizzou beats BYU, Gary Pinkel has emotional press conference

What a week, a game and a finish. The football team boycotted practice in support of Concerned Student 1950 and then coach Gary Pinkel announced his retirement, but the Tigers still had a game to play against BYU.

Football had struggled all year, but that night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City was different. The Tigers pulled out the win.

Sitting in the press conference afterward, Pinkel began to get teary-eyed. His team and his school had endured so much, and they came out on top that night.

It was a game to remember forever.

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