The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 20, 2012

Sonic series fuels rivalry

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— There’s been a little added flavor to the Missouri Southern-Pittsburg State rivalry the last three years.

The Sonic Trophy Series, a cooperative effort among the two schools and Sonic, was announced in September 2009.

Sonic gives each school $10,000 per year, and in return, it receives naming rights to the trophy series, the Sonic Miners Bowl football game, and it will have presenting game sponsor rights at all regular-season games between the Lions and Gorillas.

The trophy series logo was designed by Paulina O’Malley, an employee in the graphics department at Pittsburg State.

“I know there are great rivalries,” said Kevin Greim, then assistant director for marketing at MSSU. “But when it comes down to it, we’re all in the business of making sure our student-athletes have the best possible experience. This helps do that in terms of competition and also financially for both institutions.”

The series involves 13 sports that both schools compete in. One point is awarded for each sport a school wins in MIAA competition only.

In sports where there are multiple regular-season games — basketball and baseball, for example — the point goes to the school that wins the most games. Should there be a 1-1 or 2-2 tie in regular-season games, then the point goes to the school that finishes higher in the final conference standings.

Track and cross country points are awarded based on finishes in conference meets.

This year’s series began with the conference cross country meets in Maryville, and two more points will be determined on Nov. 10 when Pittsburg State’s football and volleyball teams play at Missouri Southern.

Four points are awarded during the winter sports season — basketball and indoor track and field for men and women. The last five points are determined in the spring — baseball, softball, golf and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

Missouri Southern won the first three Sonic trophies by identical 7-6 margins. Last year’s winner wasn’t determined until the Lions beat the Gorillas in the final event of the women’s outdoor track and field meet.

During the past three years, points have been won by the same school every time.

Missouri Southern has won the point each year in men’s basketball, men’s cross country and women’s indoor track and field.

Pittsburg State has won each year in football and men’s outdoor track and field.