Mize finds his niche (along with success) in multiple sports

Saturday, March 22, 2003

It's not a normal day when someone bowls a 300. It's even more unusual when someone bowls a 300, follows that game with a 299, and then bowls a 267 for the third game.

But Rick Mize isn't average when it comes to sports. The bowling feat was only one of his accomplishments in the sporting field. At age 34, Mize has bowled five perfect games, became the Missouri state champion in bass fishing, became the Illinios state champion in bass fishing, and still golfs at a five handicap.

"I just love my sports," said Mize of Jackson.

He was 16 years old when he started bowling, a sport that he became involved in from watching his stepfather play.

"I always begged him to let me bowl," he said. "When I turned 16 I figured he would let me, he did, and I just haven't stopped since."

Mize bowls in the Jackson Lanes Tuesday Night Bowling League and in the West Park Lanes Wednesday Night League.

"I rarely get to bowl with my stepdad anymore because I moved away, and also because he doesn't like the fact that I was beating him," he said, laughing.

On March 5, the night of Mize's amazing bowling feat, he bowled 23 straight strikes.

"The 300 was great, but trying to follow that up with another one was nerveracking," Mize said. "The 24th ball was dead flush in the pocket also. It just missed, but it was still pretty exciting."

When Mize became burned out on bowling, he reverted to a sport that he has been involved with for much more than 14 years: fishing. He took his recreational fishing up a notch and became a competitive fisherman. In 1992, he was crowned the Missouri champion, and in 1999 he took the Illinois crown.

"I just got burned out, so I took up some other things."

Mize followed those performances by finishing eighth in nationals in 1992 and sixth in 1999.

"I was fishing with the guy who won nationals the previous year, and we both agreed that I had the winning fish up to my boat, but it got off at the last second," he said. "I don't think I should tell you what I said, but I was pretty distraught about it.

"That was a bigger accomplishment for me than bowling simply because I beat over 30,000 fishermen."

The format of competitive fishing has changed slightly, and now it works to Mize's disadvantage, but he is slowly catching on.

"That hurt me recently, but I am figuring it out slowly."

When faced with the question of favorites, Mize doesn't need much time to think.

"I love to bowl, and I will do it until I can't do it any longer, but my true love is fishing," he said. "I just love it."

Troxel leads a strong opening day for Gators

Steffan Troxel topped a strong opening for the Gators Swim Team in the opening day of the Ozark Division 1 Championship at St. Peters on Friday. Troxel won the 500 free in 4 minutes, 46 seconds and was third in the 15-and-over men's 200 IM with a lifetime best 2:02.

Earlier, Morgan Fraser dropped eight seconds under her lifetime best to place seventh in the 200 IM (2:52); Caleb Coots was fourth with a lifetime-best 2:30 in the 200 freestyle; Caleb Statler had scoring efforts in the 200 IM (ninth) and 500 free (sixth).

Emily Younghouse (5:25) and Angela Welker (5:46) each had lifetime-best times in the 500 freestyle; Jameson Kuper set a lifetime-best 4:59 to take third in the 500 freestyle; and the GST's two 800 relay teams each had big finishes with third and sixth, led by big drops in time by John Wolpers and John Stoverink.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: