Loaded Nixa boys focused on Columbia, start year ranked No. 1



Springfield, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- The Nixa Eagles have enjoyed one of the most successful runs in its rich tradition under 21st year head coach Jay Osborne. Nixa returns a wealth of talent from last year’s Class 5 state runner-up team and are the top team in the preseason Class 5 state polls. If the Eagles season doesn’t end in Columbia it will be a disappointment.
Head Coach – Jay Osborne, 21st season (384-169)

2011 Record- 30-2

Returnering Starters: 3 (Jalen Norman, 6’5”, senior; Austin Ruder, 6’2”, senior; Chan Hocklander, 6’, senior)
Returning Lettermen: 3 (Jacob Ruder, 6’5”, sophomore; Wes Middleton, 6’4”, junior; Bryce Dulin, 6’4”, junior;

Players to Watch – Carney Wilmes, 6’, senior; Athan Lummis, 5’11”, senior.

2012 Outlook

Despite losing two great seniors in Kameron Bundy (Drury) and Jordan Epps (C of O), the expectations are still extremely high in Nixa thanks to a pair of names you’ve heard before. Austin Ruder and Jalen Norman have been key cogs to Nixa winning 78 games over the past three seasons. Ruder, a Missouri State signee, averaged 18.2 points per game last year and also fired in a school record 81 trays. Norman, who remains undecided on where he will play, but has a bevy of D-1 schools interested in his services. Last year the 6’5” forward averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game, he holds the season and career marks in both blocks and rebounds. However, if the Eagles wish to cut down the nets at Mizzou Arena, it won’t be about Ruder or Norman, it will be the supporting cast. Last year Bundy and Epps enabled Nixa to be very creative offensively and freed up Ruder to play off the ball. This year, Nixa will rely on Ruder to play the point more than in years past. Also, in last year’s state championship game McCluer North’s Jordan Granger dominated the interior of the Eagles to the tune of 26 points and 16 rebounds. Nixa has got to find consistent size and depth inside to help out Norman. Jacob Ruder, Austin’s little (bigger) brother could be the answer there. The 6’5” forward is young, but has a great skillset. Like years past, the preconference slate is a juggernaut for Coach Osborne, the only quality team the Eagles won’t play this year is Duke. DeSmet Jesuit, Blue Valley Northwest and Little Rock-McClellan, all with marquee D-1 talent of their own, will size up Nixa this season, in addition to an always tough COC slate.

Odds and Ends: Nixa will have a new all-time leading scorer after this season; however that remains to be determined. Norman (1,208) has the inside track over Ruder (1,172). Nixa will also join Hillcrest in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in January.

Photo Galleries

Pictures: Lasers vs Kastles


The Springfield Lasers hosted the Washington Kastles for the World Team Tennis title match.

Pictures: Best of 2013-14 Springfield Catholic Irish


Catch the best photos from the 2013-14 Irish athletic year.

Pictures: O-Zone Sports Jeopardy


The area's most knowledgeable sports fans faced off in the first annual O-Zone Sports Jeopardy at the Ozark Empire Fair.
Videos
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Oklahoma the right choice for Dorial Green-Beckham
Dorial Green-Beckham is now an Oklahoma Sooner. If you're scratching your head right now, you're not alone. Yes, DGB will have to sit out the entire 2014 season, something that he wouldn't have had to do had he transferred to a FCS or D-2, but is...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Ozark Conference 7v7 Football recap
For the third summer in a row Kickapoo hosted the Ozark Conference 7v7 Tournament. Here is a recap from the 3rd annual event. The Champs are here For the first time in the 3-year history of the Ozark Conference 7-on-7 Tournament someone...
Read More
The future is now for local soccer
We’re graduating a great crop of senior soccer players this spring. Anywhere from 15-25 will not only contend for all-state honors once the season is over, but also keep playing in college next school year. So, who replaces some of those top...
Read More
Most Viewed