The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 18, 2013

Schremmer: A quick run through the week in sports

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

— A quick run through the week in sports:

• Talk about drama. Neosho’s hopes of sharing the Missouri Class 3 state wrestling title fell on the shoulders of Christian Lopez. The 220-pounder came through, capturing the individual state title in an epic 3-2 double overtime decision over McDonald County’s Jordan Moffett. The win propelled the Wildcats to the co-championship with Kearney.

Neosho’s Nate Rodriguez also won his third state title by beating Kearney’s Blake Clevenger 6-3 in the 132-pound division. Six other Wildcats earned medals.

Seneca 120-pounder Will Roark won a Class 1 state title, and Monett’s Chase Brennan won a state title at 113 pounds.

Columbus’ Taylor Watkins and Gavin Houser, as well as Pittsburg’s Gershom Avalos, all won Kansas Class 4A regional titles on Saturday in Pittsburg. All three have a good chance of coming home with individual titles from this weekend’s state tournament in Salina.

The local accomplishments in wrestling help highlight the absurdity of the recent decision to eliminate the sport from the Olympics. Wrestling requires great discipline and dedication, and the world’s best deserve the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage.

• Another great individual sport is swimming. Nevada junior Grace Reichard shined at this past weekend’s state championships by placing fifth in the 100-yard breast stroke and ninth in the 200-yard freestyle. More remarkable than Reichard’s finish was how much she improved from her seed time. She entered the meet with a time of 1:10.61 in the breast stroke, and improved to 1:08.61 during Friday’s preliminaries. During Saturday’s finals, she cut even more time and finished in 1:07.86.

• With more time to analyze the recent recruiting classes of the Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State football teams, it appears both teams have reason to be excited.

The Lions are bringing in a pair of highly touted defensive linemen, for instance.

MSSU, of course, has big shoes to fill in that area with the departure of senior Brandon Williams. The All-American defensive tackle shined at the Senior Bowl and may have propelled himself to the second round of the draft, several NFL experts report. One thing that could hinder Williams, however, is that defensive tackle is considered the deepest position group in the draft.

• Ozark Christian College won its MCC Tournament this past weekend. The team obviously deserves the credit. However, the OCC student section also is deserving of props. The group of about 40 students under one basket helped create a great basketball atmosphere. Several were dressed in bathrobes and others started chants, imitating a much smaller version of Duke’s Cameron Crazies.

It would be great if the Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State basketball student sections would create a similar atmosphere.

• The NBA All-Star weekend …

Sorry, I had to stop and yawn for a second. But seriously, you have to love the DVR. I was able to watch TNT’s three hours of slam dunk and 3-point contest coverage in about 15 minutes.

It’s evident the All-Star weekend is in need of changes. First, the NBA’s biggest stars need to participate. Can you imagine a slam dunk showdown of LeBron James and Blake Griffin?

The NBA also should consider bringing back the Legends game. Who else would like to see if Magic Johnson can still pass, if Larry Bird can still shoot and if Michael Jordan can still dunk? Another possibility is creating a team of legends to play a team of rookies. Outside the box? Yes. But would you watch?

By the way, did Michael Jordan have a birthday? I’m not sure, because ESPN reminded me only 1,000 times this week.

Don’t worry, though. ESPN is sure to resume its regular Tim Tebow coverage very soon.