Northwest senior catcher finds home in baseball, Maryville

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Growing up every young kid has dreams and Northwest senior catcher Alixon Herrera was no different.

Hailing from Maracay, Venezuela, Herrera was able to find a way out of a political unstable country by pursuing a career in baseball.

The 26-year-old catcher came to the United States when he was 20 years old. Unlike most college students, Herrera started is collegiate career when most players end it.

Senior pitcher Ross Davis said because of his experience Herrera helps him control his emotions on the mound.

“He’s very confrontational,” Davis said. “He’s always there for you and like to talk to you when things are going bad. So he’ll come out and calm you down if things aren’t going your way and he’s really supportive when you do something good.”

Davis also explained the age difference between Herrera and the rest of the team is beneficial because at the catcher position, he can see more of the game than anyone else.

The team affectionate calls Herrera “Papi.” Around the field and duggout you can hear the shouts of Herrera’s nickname along with the crack of the bat and the ball flying around the field.

“(We call him Papi) because he’s kinda the old man,” Davis said. “He’s like a dad sometimes. It just kinda fits with his Latin personality too.”

With the season nearing its close, Herrera is having the best year of his career batting .305 with a career-best 37 RBIs, 26 runs and 15 doubles.

The Bearcats will end the season with a road trip to Emporia State with hopes of clinching a spot in the MIAA Conference tournament.


Northwest baseball claims 9-2 victory of Fort Hays State

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Max Spitzmiller was good for seven and 1/3 innings of scoreless innings as the Northwest baseball cruised to a 9-2 victory against Fort Hays State April 5 at Bearcat Baseball Field.

The 6-foot 200-pound sophomore got the nod to start the game on the bump for Northwest. Spitzmiller gave up five hits and struck out four Tigers.

The Bearcats have now won a season-best four in a row while junior infielder Calvin Rudolph extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Rudolph also extend his on-base streak to 11 and junior first baseman Connor Quick extended his to 14.

Northwest advances to 15-15 on the season and 11-8 in the conference.

The ‘Cats will play two more to complete the series against the Tigers at Bearcat Baseball Field.


Sportscast for March 19

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest men’s basketball completed its run through the Central Region for a chance for a national title.

Bearcat softball restructured its schedule for this weekend’s Missouri Western tournament.

Former St. Joseph Central and Plattsburg football coach Jeff Wallace takes the reins as Cameron’s football program.

All-Star outfielder Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to the largest deal in pro-sports history.


Sprinter dazzles in conference meet

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State University held the 2019 MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships March 2-3 at Hughes Fieldhouse.

The Bearcat men placed second in the meet while the women finished seventh.

Freshman sprinter Omar Austin stole the show setting the Northwest and MIAA record for the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.69. This mark put Austin 9th overall in NCAA Division II and gave him an automatic bid to the NCAA National Championship Tournament in Pittsburg, Kansas.

For perspective on this time I employed a group of average Joes to demonstrate how fast Austin is. All three runners finished over the one minute mark.

Published Articles

Maryville wrestling coach speaks out on resignation, district remains quiet

This article was published in the Feb. 28 edition of the Northwest Missourian as well as published on

When the Maryville wrestling team took to the mats in Columbia, Missouri for the Class 2 state wrestling tournament at Mizzou Arena Feb 14-16, the Spoofhounds were without their core of coaches.

The Maryville R-II Board of Education accepted the immediate resignation of Maryville wrestling coach Kody Koster during its Feb. 20 meeting after suspending him and assistant coach Riley Klein, barring the duo from attending the state tournament.

The incident resulting in Koster and Klien’s suspension took place while the Spoofhounds were competing at the Class 2 District 14 tournament in Excelsior Springs Feb. 8-9

Koster told the Maryville Forum that Klein went to get alcohol for the two of them when the student-athletes were at the pool.

“During the time when we were swimming, Riley went and grabbed a six-pack of Busch Light,” Koster said to The Forum. “He asked me what I wanted. I’m not a big beer drinker so I said, ‘Just get me a little bottle of whiskey, and I’ll have a nightcap.’”

After swimming, the team then went to Dairy Queen for dinner. Koster made it clear there was no consumption of alcohol before or during the trip to dinner.

Before the two coaches started drinking, they surveyed the students’ rooms making sure all athletes were present. When the coaches came upon the one female room, with one female manager and one female wrestler, the manager was on a phone call and the female wrestler went and waited in the coaches’ room for her roommate’s phone call to end, according to The Forum.

“She came into our room for about 20 minutes, and she might have seen something. I don’t think she did, but she might have,” Koster said to The Forum. “She never confronted us about anything. (Superintendent Becky Albrecht, Assistant Superintendent Steve Klotz, and Activities Director Mat Beu) said because we had let her into the room and we had alcohol in there, that was kind of the biggest deal.”

Koster made it clear to The Forum that, by his evaluation, the students were never put into danger of any sort by him or his staff.

“There was no endangerment to the kids at all with us doing that,” Koster said. “It just bugs me because they don’t hold the same standard to everybody. … But we were guilty before we even got to say that we were not guilty. They took the parent’s side before they even wanted to hear our side of the story.”

When the ‘Hounds arrived back in Maryville, sophomore wrestler Connor Weiss said some athletes were called in for interviews in regards to the event to determine the punishment.

“A few people had to give statements,” Weiss said. “We talked about it as a team after school and kinda just felt terrible.”

When the news came out that Koster and Klein would be suspended for state, Weiss said the team was disappointed by the decision.

“All of us wrestlers were pretty down about it because we were really close to them,” Weiss said. “We all know it wasn’t like they were wasted, they just had a few drinks while we were already in bed, and then after that, they went to bed.”

The way the school district handled this event surprised Koster. He explained to The Forum he thought coaches were allowed to do what he did.

“I asked them, ‘I thought all the coaches did this?’” Koster said to The Forum. “It was just something that coaches did. I hear about other coaches going to the bars all the time. … This was just relaxing in the room, watching a movie and having a few drinks. They said, ‘Yeah, we understand the culture, and we know what happened, but for you guys, a parent turned you in so it makes it a little bit different.’”

Koster declined to elaborate on the interview with The Forum to The Missourian.

“There’s not much more of a story then what’s on The Forum,” Koster said to the Missourian when asked for additional comments. “The only thing I might add would be a little bit about the program. I would have liked to thank the wrestling team for a wonderful two years and for all the hard work they gave me.”

Junior state qualifier Gaven Grey-Walker said he could tell the suspension weighed on the wrestlers during the tournament.

“I definitely think it was in the mind of some of the wrestlers,” Grey-Walker said. “I get why they had to be suspended, but I didn’t like how the school had to suspend them right before state instead of waiting till after. A coaching change is never ideal before the biggest meet of the year.”

With the state tournament quickly following the suspension of Koster and Klein, Maryville turned to former coach and National Wrestling Hall of Famer Joe Drake to take the reigns of the program.

“We know it was still the wrong decision in the end, but we just wish it went another way,” Weiss said of the suspension. “Coach Drake was amazing as well. Props to him for taking time out of his life to put us in the best situation for state.”

Beu declined to comment on the situation and deferred to Albrecht for questions on personnel matters.

Albrecht acknowledged The Forum’s article regarding the matter but declined to comment on the situation.

The Spoofhounds are now tasked with finding a wrestling coach for the third time since the retirement of Drake in 2014.

Audio Samples

Trenton girls basketball adds another trophy to an already decorated case

HIGGINSVILLE, Mo. – The Trenton girls basketball team took on the Chillicothe Hornets for the Class 3 District 14 championship.

The Bulldogs held a wire to wire lead as they beat the Hornets 46-25. Trenton adds a district championship to an already successful year where they won the Grand River Conference.

Seniors Mykah Hurley and Salem Croy both had 11 points for the Bulldogs. Fellow senior Ainsley Tolson added 10 in Trenton’s championship effort

In the last two years, the Bulldogs have won the last three matchups against the town only 20 miles south.

With this win, Trenton moved to 24-0 in the historic season. The Bulldogs will play at sectionals in Moberly on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m.

Video Stories

Maryville girls basketball adds another home win

MARYVILLE, Mo. – The Maryville girls basketball team was able to gain a senior night win over visiting Lathrop 52-33 on Jan. 29.

Sophomore Serena Sundell had 23 points on 60 percent shooting in the win and fellow sophomore Emily Cassavaugh added 14 points to the Spoofhounds total.

The ‘Hounds will stay at home for a matchup against MEC rival Chillicothe on Feb. 5.


Maryville girls basketball

These pictures were taken during a Maryville girls basketball game against Savannah Jan. 29.


Maryville wrestling

These pictures were taken during a wrestling meet in Maryville, Missouri, Jan. 10. The Spoofhounds took on the Sabetha Blue Jays.


Finals week presents stress for all students

MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University’s fall trimester is coming to an end. With the trimester’s closing comes final exams and the stress that comes with it.

Many different students have different ways to cope with stress and the daunting tasks that are ahead.

Students need to remember to take breaks and put their mental health before their grades.