KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ KOMU.com Sports Sports en-us Copyright 2016, KOMU.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:10:41 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KOMU.com http://www.komu.com/ 144 25 Local Scores: Thursday, Oct. 20 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-20/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-20/ Sports Thu, 20 Oct 2016 8:58:44 PM Charles Nichelson Local Scores: Thursday, Oct. 20

COLUMBIA, Missouri - Sports scores from around the area

Women's College Volleyball:

Park 3, #25 Columbia 0

William Woods 3, Stephens 0

Central Methodist 3, Evangel 0

High School Soccer:

So. Boone 3, Tolten 0

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Friday Night Fever Week 9 Play of the Week http://www.komu.com/news/friday-night-fever-week-9-play-of-the-week/ http://www.komu.com/news/friday-night-fever-week-9-play-of-the-week/ Sports Wed, 19 Oct 2016 9:06:03 PM Samantha Hoffmann, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Friday Night Fever Week 9 Play of the Week

Vote now for the Friday Night Fever Week Nine Play of the Week! This week's candidates hail from Montgomery County, Blair Oaks and Missouri Military Academy. Voting is now open, and will conclude Friday at 3 p.m., with the winner being announced during the 6 p.m. newscast and online.

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Zip lining's popularity grows around Missouri and the world http://www.komu.com/news/zip-lining-s-popularity-grows-around-missouri-and-the-world/ http://www.komu.com/news/zip-lining-s-popularity-grows-around-missouri-and-the-world/ Sports Wed, 19 Oct 2016 3:47:00 PM Jake Schnierow, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Zip lining's popularity grows around Missouri and the world

NEW FLORENCE - As the weather starts to cool off across the state, some tourists and thrill seekers may be looking for one last adventure.

And many might find it closer than they anticipated.

Zip lining is one of the fastest growing outdoor activities in the world. According to ZipLineRider.com, the industry has grown 30-percent since 2014. Now there are zip line courses in 72 countries across 6 continents. 

The trend also spread to Missouri, which now features almost 20 zip line courses around the state.

One of those locations, Eco Zipline Tours in New Florence, won the Pathfinder Award at this year's Missouri Governor's Conference on Tourism. The award recognized the tour for finding a new market in the state and bringing people into it.

Owner and founder of Eco Ziplines Mike Seper said zip lining is a great way to get people outside and active.

"[Zip lines are] a reason for people to get outside, and families to go out and play," Seper said. "The zip line is a great opportunity to see something really beautiful."

Rob Riffle, a tourist trying to get outside before the weather got worse, can tell that zip lining is expanding globally.

"The first time I had ever heard of ziplining was probably 10 years ago in down in Cancún [Mexico], and we didn't do it then," Riffle said. "It just seems like it's really taking over."

One of the workers at Eco Zipline Tours, Jim Day, said his favorite part about working with zip lines is helping people get over their fears.

"People will come in and they'll be a little apprehensive about it, and once they start going and start trusting the gear then they have a really good time with you outside," Day said.

Despite the appeal to zip line, not only has zip lining's popularity increased, but so has the total number of injuries. 

To learn more about the increase in risks and how Eco Zipline Tours created a unique way to prevent problems, read part two of this story later on Wednesday. 


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One Missouri location seeking innovation to curb rising zipline injuries http://www.komu.com/news/one-missouri-location-seeking-innovation-to-curb-rising-zipline-injuries/ http://www.komu.com/news/one-missouri-location-seeking-innovation-to-curb-rising-zipline-injuries/ Sports Mon, 17 Oct 2016 5:10:05 PM Tyler Murry, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter One Missouri location seeking innovation to curb rising zipline injuries

NEW FLORENCE - The sport and adventure of ziplining is taking off and soaring across the country and in mid-Missouri at Eco Zipline Tours.

"The first few times you get this little flip in your stomach. You get used to it after awhile, but when you jump off, and you are pretty high in the air, it's pretty neat," Rob Riffle said, who zip lined at Eco Zipline Tours.

The number of ziplines skyrocketed from 10 in 2001 to over 200 today. In addition, there was a 30 percent increase in the number of zip lines from 2015 to 2016. 

However, injuries are also on the rise.

Owner of Eco Zipline Tours Mike Seper said, "Ziplining is a lot of fun, so the industry is growing very quickly, and the people that are operating these are inexperienced. So, with that, comes the risk that somebody would get hurt, which is a bad reflection on the industry as a whole."

There was a 56-percent rise in emergency room visits between 2009 and 2012 due to zipline accidents.

A study by Tracy Mehan with the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found 16,850 people have gone to the emergency room since 1997 due to injuries from zip lines.

Seper and Eco Zipline Tours decided to help change that.

"With our safety procedures that we do out here, we have a built in break system that I designed. They never have to reach up onto the line. All the breaking system is built into the pulley, so they just pull down on a strap to be able to slow down."

The design features a metal attachment with two rope-like pieces for the rider to hold. The green line is what the rider holds on with while riding. The blue line is what the rider pulls down on to activate the pulley-like system in the metal device to create friction with the device and line. This allows the rider to come to a gradual stop.

"We want to keep everyone safe, and that is what our breaking procedure is all about," Seper said.

Riffle said, "It's nicer to be in control. I know the one I did in Oregon, it was real loud. You snapped into it, and it was real loud. It kind of jarred you, and this was all smooth."

Other zip line courses across the country use different methods. Some courses have riders where a glove that they use as a friction mechanism to grab onto the line to slow them down while others use a spring or stop at the end of the line to stop the rider. Seper says this results in a jerking of the rider leading to whiplash effects and other risks of injuries.

"Other places you have to reach up with the zipline cable with a glove break, and that is what slows you down. That is not a safe procedure, because you are grabbing up by a moving mechanism."

Another rider at Eco Zipline Tours said he noticed he felt safer during the experience.

"I was one of the biggest guys on the group, and it definitely slowed me down," James Stewart said. "The course was awesome. We had a good group. The guides were good. We had a great time."

In addition to not having riders have their hands near the zipline or crashing into a stopping block or spring, Seper plans to use virtual reality to help keep riders safe.

"With this new virtual reality aspect is a neat aspect that they can go home and share their experience with everybody in full 360, but it's also a way to keep everybody safe," Seper said.

Just like an official can do in football, Seper and his staff can use the footage from the virtual reality cameras to see in a full, 360-degree view what went wrong if an accident were to occur.

Seper says he plans to have the virtual reality cameras added to all the lines next year in hopes of making each zip that much safer.

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Local Scores: Sunday, October 16, 2016 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-sunday-october-16-2016/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-sunday-october-16-2016/ Sports Sun, 16 Oct 2016 9:22:30 PM Reese Johnson, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Local Scores: Sunday, October 16, 2016

MID-MISSOURI - Here are some scores from around the area for Sunday, October 16:

Men's College Soccer:

Missouri Valley 2, Columbia College 1


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Gators chomp Mizzou in The Swamp http://www.komu.com/news/gators-chomp-mizzou-in-the-swamp/ http://www.komu.com/news/gators-chomp-mizzou-in-the-swamp/ Sports Sat, 15 Oct 2016 6:23:36 PM Corey Miller, KOMU Sports 8 Reporter Gators chomp Mizzou in The Swamp

GAINESVILLE - The Missouri Tigers had another chance to ruin an SEC rival's homecoming, but as it was in Baton Rouge, the Tigers whiffed at the opportunity.

The Florida Gators decimated Missouri 40 to 14 on Saturday, dominating the entire game on both sides of the ball, in a game that saw inconsistent rain throughout.

The Missouri offense was especially uninspiring. It took the Tigers until under three minutes left in the first half before they got their first first down.

The Florida secondary was able to pick off two throws from Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, with both interceptions going for touchdowns. Lock also only had four completions in the game, just two more than his interception total for the day.

A big disparity in the game was the difference in time of possession. The fast-paced Missouri offense only had the ball for 23:07 compared to Florida's 36:53. 

Click here to check out the live blog for the game.

Missouri's next test will come next week at home, during home coming weekend, against Middle Tennessee State. 

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Missouri Football vs. Florida Live Blog http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-football-vs-florida-live-blog/ http://www.komu.com/news/missouri-football-vs-florida-live-blog/ Sports Sat, 15 Oct 2016 1:35:09 PM Corey Miller, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter and Daniel Perreault, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Missouri Football vs. Florida Live Blog



GAINESVILLE - The Missouri Tigers (2-3) football team is preparing to take on the Florida Gators (4-1) in an SEC East matchup at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Tigers are coming off a bye week, having lost to LSU in Baton Rouge two weeks ago. The Gators were supposed to play that LSU team this past week, but Hurricane Matthew had other plans. The storm forced the postponement of the contest to November 19, and the game will now be played at LSU instead of at Florida.

KOMU Reporters Corey Miller and Nick Yahl are in Gainseville to cover the action. Be sure to follow them on Twitter for updates. You can also keep track of news and notes from the game via this live blog on KOMU.com.



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Mizzou soccer tops Vanderbilt 2-1 on senior night http://www.komu.com/news/mizzou-soccer-tops-vanderbilt-2-1-on-senior-night/ http://www.komu.com/news/mizzou-soccer-tops-vanderbilt-2-1-on-senior-night/ Sports Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:28:56 PM Travis Breese, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Mizzou soccer tops Vanderbilt 2-1 on senior night

COLUMBIA - Missouri Women's Soccer edged out Vanderbilt 2-1 Friday night at home. Friday night's contest was senior night but freshman Sarah Luebbert claimned the spotlight with her two scores.

Luebbert's eighth and ninth scores of the season added to what had already been a historic season for the Jefferson City product. Her 21 points on the season are the most for a Mizzou player since 2010. She also ranks third on the all-time freshman goal list.

Her first score came in the 14th minute when she maneuvered around a Commodore deffender and put a strike on from the left side of the box. Vandy's lone goal came on a penalty kick in the 52nd minute. Kaylann Boyd made the most of the oppriotunity, netting the ball to the left of Missouri's sophomore keeper.

Luebbert regained the lead for the Tigers in the 59th minute on an assist from Kaitlyn Clark. Mizzou rode that lead to a 2-1 win, improving them to 10-4-1 overall.

Vanderbilt's loss comes at the hands of their offense as they were outshot by missouri 19-5. The Commodore Keeper Lauren Demarchi did chip in six saves, but the two that she let by her were enough to drop them to 8-6-1 on the season.

Missouri's next game will be against the Arkansas Razorbacks on the road Thursday, Oct. 20.

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Local Scores: Friday, Oct. 14 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-friday-oct-14/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-friday-oct-14/ Sports Fri, 14 Oct 2016 8:31:50 PM Travis Breese, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Local Scores: Friday, Oct. 14

MID-MISSOURI - Here are some scores from around the area:

Mizzou Women's Soccer

Mizzou 2 Vanderbilt 1


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Mexico football's seniors reminisce on what they've accomplished http://www.komu.com/news/mexico-football-s-seniors-reminisce-on-what-they-ve-accomplished/ http://www.komu.com/news/mexico-football-s-seniors-reminisce-on-what-they-ve-accomplished/ Sports Fri, 14 Oct 2016 2:36:27 PM Tyler Murry, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Mexico football's seniors reminisce on what they've accomplished

MEXICO - Senior night is a special time for friends, family and players across Missouri. However, in Mexico, the group is extremely close-knit.

"We're pretty tight. I mean we've been the four that started out together. Starting out when we were young there were a lot more people in our class, dropped out, did other stuff. So, we've kind of been the guys that have stuck with it and stayed together," Senior Tight End Brit Wilson said.

The final regular season game against the Moberly Spartans on Oct. 14 marks one of the last times they will be on the field together and potentially last time on home field.

The underclassman dominate Mexico filling up the majority of roster spots, but the players say the seniors are what tie the team together.

"I'm definitely going to be proud of what we've done," Wilson said.

The underclassman have stepped up and followed the lead as Mexico sits at 6-2 heading into its final game before districts.

However, the bond the seniors share will make that final home game an emotional one for all involved.

Senior Offensive Lineman Gabe Deimeke said, "It's a senior family you know four people. We're all friends, all buddies, we all hang out. It's kind of our own little group sometimes."

Senior D'Arquez Jennings said it really hasn't hit him this will be his final time under the lights at Mexico.

"It's a family thing. A lot of my family played football and are depending on me to keep it going. I haven't been able to think much about it," Jennings said.

Wilson said, "It's going to be pretty weird thinking about stuff like that. I don't try to think about that. I'll save that for after the game I guess. I don't know. It's going to be unreal after the game knowing that whenever we are done that it's all over."

For one senior, football goes even further and serves as a connection for him and his grandfather who is currently living in a nursing home.

"He's not able to see me any other time other than when I go visit him. He's a really good supporter of Mexico football. He's been there at every game ever since I started, and every time I've been there he's been there as well," De'Shon Fountain said.

Fountain says he hopes his grandfather is proud of what he has done at Mexico, and says every time he sees family in the stands, it makes him that much more excited for the game.

"It just feels amazing. It's kind of hard to put to words. It makes me feel a lot stronger," Jennings said.

Wilson said, "It's going to be excitement knowing it's the last hoorah. You know it's the last time walking out on that field and leave it all out there and try to have a hell of a game."

Kickoff for Mexico's senior night against Moberly will be at 7 p.m.

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Local scores: Thursday, Oct. 13 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-13-82373/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-13-82373/ Sports Thu, 13 Oct 2016 8:16:14 PM Charles Nichelson Local scores: Thursday, Oct. 13

COLUMBIA, Missouri - Sports scores from around the area:

High School Volleyball:

Fulton 2, Mexico 1

High School Soccer:

So. Boone 1, Sacred Heart 0

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Opening Drive Friday Night Fever Week 9 http://www.komu.com/news/opening-drive-friday-night-fever-week-9/ http://www.komu.com/news/opening-drive-friday-night-fever-week-9/ Sports Thu, 13 Oct 2016 10:18:07 AM Tyler Murry and Chris Turner, KOMU 8 Sports Reporters Opening Drive Friday Night Fever Week 9

KOMU 8's Tyler Murry and Chris Turner break down all their picks as we move to the final week of Friday Night Fever. Also, the crew brings you three emotional stories about players and coaches from across Missouri.

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Tarasenko helps Blues top Blackhawks 5-2 in opener http://www.komu.com/news/tarasenko-helps-blues-top-blackhawks-5-2-in-opener/ http://www.komu.com/news/tarasenko-helps-blues-top-blackhawks-5-2-in-opener/ Sports Wed, 12 Oct 2016 9:52:46 PM Associated Press Tarasenko helps Blues top Blackhawks 5-2 in opener

CHICAGO (AP) — Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday in an opening-night matchup of Central Division rivals.

Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny each had a power-play goal and two assists for the Blues, who eliminated the Blackhawks in seven games in the first round of the playoffs in April. Jake Allen had 17 saves in his first game since he became St. Louis' clear No. 1 goaltender with Brian Elliott's June trade to Calgary.

Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman scored for Chicago, which had six rookies in the starting lineup, including four playing their first NHL game. Corey Crawford finished with 29 saves.


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Centralia Softball looking for fourth state championship in six seasons http://www.komu.com/news/centralia-softball-looking-for-fourth-state-championship-in-six-seasons/ http://www.komu.com/news/centralia-softball-looking-for-fourth-state-championship-in-six-seasons/ Sports Mon, 10 Oct 2016 4:52:48 PM Chris Turner, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Centralia Softball looking for fourth state championship in six seasons

CENTRALIA -- After three straight titles from 2011-13, the Centralia Panthers softball teams looks to have its sights set on a return trip to Springfield and the state championship. 

"These kids this year went with us in 2013, they saw it. They were there, two of them played, so I think them seeing that and then wanting to be a part of that success." said Head Coach Jill Angell.

The Panthers program has been one of the best in mid-Missouri since 2010, with a record of 176-20-1. After the 2013 season, Centralia suffered early exits in the 2014-15 tournaments, both to the Fatima Comets. 

This season, coach Angell and the Panthers rolled to a 25-1 record, and their sixth straight district championship after beating North Callaway 8-1 in the District championship on Saturday. 

"I've got a really solid group of seniors that are leading this team." said Angell. "This group of kids has gelled really well, which sometimes you don't always get that."

Two of those seniors who lead the Panthers this year also were members of the 2013 state championship team: Senior pitcher Madison Preston, and senior catcher Nicole Duncan. 

"We've been there, and we know what its like and we know what it takes to get there." said Duncan. "So, I think it's just really important to give that to all the freshman and all the underclassmen that haven't been there yet"

"I just want the girls to not take anything for granted." said Preston. "I just want this to be our best season yet." 

The success of the Panthers program has attracted the attention of several SEC softball programs on the recruiting trail. Preston is committed to Alabama, Duncan to Arkansas. 

Centralia begins the journey for a Class 2 state championship this Wednesday at Bicentennial Park against Monroe City. 


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American Ninja Warrior brings talents to mid-Missouri http://www.komu.com/news/american-ninja-warrior-brings-talents-to-mid-missouri/ http://www.komu.com/news/american-ninja-warrior-brings-talents-to-mid-missouri/ Sports Sun, 9 Oct 2016 3:20:20 PM Nick Yahl, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter American Ninja Warrior brings talents to mid-Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY — Since the television show debuted in 2009, the American Ninja Warrior program continues to grow throughout the United States. 

James Stewart has trained and competed in American Ninja Warrior competitions in the Dallas area for the past five years. 

"We were training five hours a day for three days a week, and then rock climbing two other days a week, so it was intense," Stewart said. 

He's trained with some of the best guys in the business. 

"Sam Sann was always trying to make us push our grip strength and Daniel Gil was one of the most intense training partners I've ever worked with," Stewart said. 

Now he's bringing his talents to mid-Missouri to teach a younger group at Capitol City Cheer in Jefferson City.

"I've been coaching for 12 years now and I've been helping with ninja warrior classes for five. I've found I get way more happy than these kids do whenever they get a new obstacle or get a new skill," Stewart said. 

Jordan Cowell's grandfather used to own the building Capitol Cheer is housed in and said it was his grandfather who introduced him to the possibility of working as a ninja warrior teacher. 

"He introduced me to the people out here and after learning a little bit of what it was about it sounded like great fun, it's been an amazing experience," Cowell said. 

Stewart and Cowell teach kids from as young as eight to teenagers. Stewart said he hopes in the future American Ninja Warrior will create a competition where kids of all ages can compete. 

"In the near future we're going to be holding competitions where we do a grand re-opening of the gym. We're going to have competitions for all ages and skill levels of kids from beginner to intermediate to advanced," Stewart said. 

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Undefeated Battle football dedicates season to one it lost http://www.komu.com/news/undefeated-battle-football-dedicates-season-to-one-it-lost/ http://www.komu.com/news/undefeated-battle-football-dedicates-season-to-one-it-lost/ Sports Sat, 8 Oct 2016 10:35:57 PM Tyler Murry, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter Undefeated Battle football dedicates season to one it lost

COLUMBIA — The Battle Spartans have been flawless on the field winning every single game this season including a 40-33 victory over the rival Jefferson City Jays.

Despite all the wins, it's hard not to recognize one major loss.

"I couldn't hold back the tears, and not that I needed to hold them back, but I was trying to stay strong for all these guys," Battle Head Coach Justin Conyers said.

Assistant Coach Jon Dinter battled brain cancer since 2010. This past February, the tumor returned, and it was deemed inopporable just a month ago. He passed away in late September at the age of 32 around family and friends.

"I received a phone call from my wife in tears telling me that he had passed. It was very humbling and very difficult to swallow. "It was almost surreal, because you keep expecting him to come to practice and walk out, and he's not here," Conyers said.

Battle Wide Receiver Jaevon McQuitty said, "I mean I was kind of sad when I heard he was sick, but like when he passed, I wasn't sad. I was just really angry. He was a good man, and you know he was dealt some bad cards, but he just did his best, and it kind of made me mad that out of all people it was him."

"It kind of broke my heart," Running Back Brennen DeMarco said. "I didn't expect it to happen so soon."

Players said Dinter was a family man and always put those he cared about before himself. On the football field, he was a man of a few words. However, McQuitty and others said he meant it.

Running Back Brennen DeMarco said, "I came off, and I was mad I didn't make the play, and coach Dinter came up to me and he patted me on my back and goes you know what you need to do and I'm like yeah I know."

Star Quarterback Brevinn Tyler agreed noting Dinter's knack for knowing exactly what to say and when to say it.

"Since 8th grade...since I was their age, every fall he's been there. It's just sad knowing that's not going to happen again, and that's not going to be the same," Tyler said.

"He never missed a practice. He never missed a beat. He loved to be out here, and that's one of the things that made him so special," Conyers said.

The community outreach for the Dinter family has come from all over. The community created a GoFundMe for Dinter's family that raised almost 32-thousand dollars toward its goal. The team and family members will also host a benefit Oct. 9 to raise money and celebrate the life of Jon Dinter.

On the field, Battle had a game to play the week of Dinter's death, and Conyers remembered just how difficult it was to take the field.

"My energy was down. I couldn't focus real well, so how can you expect you know 14-18 year-old men to focus," Conyers said.

The players said keeping emotions in check was a tough task.

Tyler said, "I think just keeping things in check and controlling things we can control. We just had to focus on winning the game."

The team stayed focused as Tyler connected with McQuitty for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The team went on to win against Hickman on the same field the Kewpies returned to after losing a coach of their own, Arnel Monroe, to remain perfect.

"We've got something bigger than ourselves to play for right now," Conyers said.

The team returned home for the first home game against Truman since Dinter's passing. They too would not be enough to stop the Spartans as Battle won a thriller in overtime.

Tyler said "We just have to focus on winning. That's all we can do."

Conyers said, "He never let cancer define who he was, and I think that's probably the biggest thing I learned from his is you know even though the cards he was dealt, a lot of people could have laid down, but he chose to fight."

The team will also where "JD" helmet stickers and grey throughout the year, which is the color for those battling brain cancer, for the rest of the season.

Fight, inspiration, perseverance, funny memories, whatever you want to call it, it works. Battle beat rival Jefferson City and still remains undefeated in its search for a state championship for Dinter.



Photos courtesy of family and friends of the Dinters and Battle High School

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Local Scores: Friday, Oct. 6 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-friday-oct-6/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-friday-oct-6/ Sports Fri, 7 Oct 2016 7:41:39 PM Travis Breese, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer Local Scores: Friday, Oct. 6

MID-MISSOURI- Here are some local scores from around the area

Mizzou Softball

Mizzou 16 Lakewood CC 0

Mizzou 7 State Fair CC 0

Mizzou Volleyball

Mizzou 3 Auburn 0


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Local Scores: Thursday, Oct. 6 http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-6/ http://www.komu.com/news/local-scores-thursday-oct-6/ Sports Thu, 6 Oct 2016 6:22:50 PM Charles Nichelson Local Scores: Thursday, Oct. 6

COLUMBIA, Missouri - Sports scores from around the area:

High School Softball:

Class 2, District 8: Centralia 10, Hallsville 0

Class 2, District 8: N. Callaway 9, Montgomery Co. 2

Sullivan 3, So. Boone 0

Cairo 16, Harrisburg 1

High School Volleyball:

Hannibal 2, Fulton 0

Jefferson City 2, Hickman 1

Blair Oaks 2, Rock Bridge 0

So. Boone 2, Hallsville 1

High School Boys Soccer:

Rock Bridge 3, Smith-Cotton 2

Women's College Volleyball:

William Woods 3, St. Louis College of Pharmacy 0

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Trend shows more girls playing football across the nation http://www.komu.com/news/trend-shows-more-girls-playing-football-across-the-nation/ http://www.komu.com/news/trend-shows-more-girls-playing-football-across-the-nation/ Sports Thu, 6 Oct 2016 3:24:45 PM Anthony Romano, KOMU 8 Reporter Trend shows more girls playing football across the nation

CENTRALIA - Britany Levitt plays wide receiver and linebacker for Centralia High School’s freshman football team. She is the only girl.

In a sport dominated by males, however, players like Levitt are becoming more commonplace.

“A few people are a little awkward by it but a lot of them support me in doing that,” Levitt said.

A report from the National Federation of State High School Associations showed the number of girls participating in high school football across the nation increased by nearly 400 in 2015. A record 1,964 girls played the sport last season.

In Missouri, the numbers also trend upward. After a dip in participation between 2014 and 2015, the number of girls playing football across the state went up from 67 to 86 this year, according to the Missouri State High School Activities Association.

“My inspiration has to be a few of my friends,” Levitt said, “because they are the ones that are like, ‘Hey, you should try out for this sport because it would really suit you.’”

Besides playing football, Levitt also wrestles, and she said both sports teach her similar skills and values, both on and off the field.

“When I was younger I had these really amazing coaches and they’d always tell me what to do and stuff to help me,” Levitt said. “I’d get so many tackles, they’d help me so much.”

Despite showing an increase this year, Missouri still trails other states in girls’ football participation. California reported 333 players, followed by Ohio with 245 and Texas with 178 girls playing in 2015. Missouri’s data for girls’ football participation was not included in the NFHS report.

Locally, other programs have also had girls involved with football, including Harrisburg High School, which has two girls playing for its football team this year. Sophie Cunningham, a sophomore on Missouri’s basketball team, formerly played on Rock Bridge High School’s football team.

“A lot of it is peer pressure from classmates and the other players not wanting to change what they’re used to,” said Greg Stemme, Levitt’s coach, on what prevents girls from getting involved with football. “That’s probably the biggest obstacle that they have in entering a sport like this that’s predominately played by males.”

Overall, girls’ participation in all high school sports increased nation-wide for the 27th consecutive year, the NFHS reported. More than 3.3 million girls played high school sports in 2015-16, setting a new record.

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Opening Drive Friday Night Fever Week 8 http://www.komu.com/news/opening-drive-friday-night-fever-week-8/ http://www.komu.com/news/opening-drive-friday-night-fever-week-8/ Sports Thu, 6 Oct 2016 10:25:10 AM Tyler Murry and Chris Turner, KOMU 8 Sports Reporters Opening Drive Friday Night Fever Week 8

KOMU 8's Tyler Murry and Chris Turner aren't taking any bye week this week as they break down all the action from week seven from Friday Night Fever. Special guest Mark Kim joins the guys at the desk to discuss his predictions for week eight of Friday Night Fever.

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