A pioneer in women’s athletics at College of the Ozarks, a longtime senior women’s administrator from Drury University, as well as two volleyball coaches and Missouri’s first state championship volleyball team are now enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Dora Quinn Arney Meikle of College of the Ozarks, Barbara (Lawson) Cowherd of Drury University, Mizzou Tigers volleyball coaches Wayne and Susan Kreklow, who previously enjoyed success at Columbia College, and the 1975-1976 Licking High School volleyball team were inducted during the Women’s Sports Luncheon presented by the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation on Wednesday. The ceremony drew more than 600 to the University Plaza Convention Center in a luncheon led by President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews.
The Hall of Fame also debuted the Wynn Awards, named in honor of Dr. Mary Jo Wynn, the Missouri State University women’s athletics pioneer and the first woman named a Missouri Sports Legend, in 2014. The awards recognize outstanding high school and college athletes. The recipients were Missouri State field hockey standout Marjorie (DeMarino) Bankovich; Camdenton High School soccer standout Monique (Willcut) Begley; Springfield Catholic High School hurdles champion Angie (Bullock) Homeyer; Monett High School basketball and track standout Angela (Beckett) Johnson; Springfield angler Julie Martin; Lebanon High School/Mizzou golfer Kerry (Speaker) North; and Jamie Vest, a cross country standout from Stoutland and Missouri State University.
Dora Quinn Arney Meikle
One of the Show-Me State’s pioneers in women’s athletics is undoubtedly Dora Quinn Arney Meikle, who taught physical education for 41 years and made a tremendous impact at College of the Ozarks and beyond. Meikle, who taught at C of O from 1965 to 1994, was responsible for starting the women’s athletic program at the Point Lookout college. She launched the intercollegiate swimming, track and cross country programs in the late 1960s and, under her leadership, C of O hosted the first state collegiate swim meet in 1967 and the second state collegiate track meet in 1969. She also was the intramurals director for 14 years and the director of the aquatics program for 19 years before being inducted into the C of O Sports Hall of Fame in 1992. In championing Title IX, Meikle served as a national delegate of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), the main national organization for women’s sports before they moved under the umbrella of the NCAA. Her tireless work also led to the formation of the Missouri chapter of the AIAW. She was active in its leadership as well as that of the American Alliance of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and its Missouri chapter, plus the National Aquatics Committee. For decades, she held officer roles in each organization and eventually was one of 15 U.S. sports delegates to Russia in 1993. Meikle taught physical education in high school from 1950 to 1963 (St. Charles, Greenwood Laboratory School, Camdenton, Bartow, Mountain Grove, Park Hill) as well as at Lindenwood University and UMKC. She coached numerous sports at both levels. Among her awards are the Teaching Excellence Award from C of O, the American Red Cross First Aid Water Safety 40-year Award, Who’s Who in American Education and the Taney County Retired Teacher of the Year. She also is in the Red Cross Hall of Fame.
Barbara (Lawson) Cowherd, Drury University
Barbara (Lawson) Cowherd has made a tremendous impact on women’s sports, particularly in the past 36 years at Drury University in Springfield. Cowherd coached volleyball at Drury for 20 years and has led in the role of Senior Women’s Administrator since the school’s jump to NCAA Division II in 1994. Cowherd has served as assistant athletic director (1999-2003) and associate athletic director (2003 to present). As an administrator, Cowherd was instrumental in helping Drury raise the profile of its women’s teams, particularly basketball, which has become one of the premier basketball programs in D-II. Cowherd also assisted in the design and development of the O’Reilly Family Event Center, the university’s basketball arena that opened in 2010. She also served on the NAIA District 16 executive committee as well as numerous NCAA D-II regional rankings committees. Cowherd graduated from East Newton High School in 1975 and was among the first trio of girls to receive athletic scholarships to Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, where she primarily played basketball but also softball, track and volleyball. Cowherd, who was inducted into the MSSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993, was a two time All-Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC) selection in basketball, and a national qualifier in the javelin as a senior in 1979. She was also a co-captain in volleyball for four years and in basketball for one. She also was named MSSC’s Outstanding Female Student-Athlete as a junior and was the outstanding senior volleyball player. After earning a master’s at Pittsburg State, Cowherd built Drury volleyball into a perennial Top 20 program in NAIA. She finished with a school-best 487-354 record, and her teams reached the national tournament. She also earned Coach of the Year honors in NAIA District 16 in 1988. Cowherd also coached tennis four years, taking three teams to the national tournament.
Wayne and Susan Kreklow, Mizzou & Columbia College volleyball
Longtime volleyball coaches Wayne and Susan Kreklow are synonymous with success, both at the University of Missouri and Columbia College. The couple has led Mizzou to 12 NCAA Tournaments in the past 16 seasons, reaching one Elite Eight, two Sweet 16’s and enjoying 14 winning seasons. Susan was head coach from 2000 to 2004 and was the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 2000 before she and her husband switched coaching titles in 2005. The 2013 team won the Southeastern Conference championship – the program’s first conference title – in finishing the regular season with a 34-0 record. Wayne Kreklow was named the SEC Coach of the Year and the Southeast Region Coach of the Year that season while their niece, Molly, was named SEC Player of the Year. The team set a combined 10 school and national records, including a school record in wins (35). At Columbia College, the Kreklows were the co-head coaches of the men’s and women’s volleyball teams. The women’s team reached the NAIA Tournament six times and won back-to-back national championships in 1998 and 1999, combining to post an 85-0 record as the Kreklows were named the NAIA National Tournament Coaches of the Year. In 1997 and 1998, the Kreklows shared NAIA/American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year and Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors.
Licking High School volleyball, 1975-1976
Talk about a Cinderella story. When the Missouri State High School Athletics Association (MSHSAA) held its first postseason volleyball tournament – and did so with only one division throughout the state – it was the 1975-1976 Licking High School volleyball team that won it all. Coached by Mary Menne, Licking finished 20-1 that season and beat St. Francois County’s Central 15-8, 15-6 in the championship in Springfield. Licking beat large schools from Kansas City and St. Louis en route to the state championship, a tremendous accomplishment for a town of less than 1,000 and for a team that had to pull from the JV to have a varsity bench. Glenna (Driesel) Adovasio and Patricia (Kissiar) Knight were captains. The team also included Sandra (Jackson) Aiken, Tammy Oligschlaeger, Linda (Benson) Huff, Kathy (Karnes) Smith, Jean (Kissiar) Potts, Debbie (Krewson) James, Gina (Wulff) Wood, Penny (Floyd) Coday and assistant coach Deanna Smith. The team kick-started a golden era of volleyball for Licking, which placed second the next two seasons and won state again in the 1979-1980 season.
Marjorie (DeMarino) Bankovich, Missouri State field hockey
Bankovich worked her way into becoming one of the top field hockey players in Missouri State University history. She was named the Southwest Missouri State Outstanding Female Athlete for the 1987-1988 school year. Playing for coach Rhonda Ridinger, Bankovich led a turnaround in 1987 when the team finished 18-4 following a 7-9-3 season. Bankovich was named to the All-Midwest Region team that season and was a two-time selection to the all-tournament team at the Midwest Independents Tournament, the Bears’ only league affiliation. Bankovich previously played halfback on the 1984 Mitchell College team that won the New England and the national junior college field hockey championships.
Monique (Willcut) Begley, Camdenton soccer
Begley was a premier high school goalkeeper in the state as she started on varsity at Camdenton High School from 1999 to 2002. Begley established – and still holds – state soccer records in solo shutouts, both career and individual single-season. She had 54 solo shutouts in 89 games from 1999 to 2002. That figure ranks 19th nationally. Begley had 17 solo shutouts alone in 2002, covering 25 games. Her play helped Camdenton finish second in districts twice. Begley was a first team All-District, All-Ozark Conference and Goalie of the Year in District 11 in 2002, when the team scored a program-record 100 goals and earned 19 wins. Begley, who served six years in the Air Force, is an administrator at Lake Christian Academy in Sunrise Beach.
Angie (Bullock) Homeyer, Springfield Catholic track
Homeyer made a name for herself by running track for Springfield Catholic High School in the late 1980s through 1990. She won 111 track medals in her career, including two state championships in Class 2 – the 100 meter hurdles (16.19 seconds) in 1990 and the 300 meter hurdles (46.33 seconds) in 1989. Those were part of her eight state medals, including five her senior year. Homeyer was on the second-place 4×400 meter relay and fifth-place 4×200 meter relay teams that included Stephanie (Thurman) Phillips, the late Kickapoo girls basketball coach and a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Homeyer also was a four-year letter-winner in volleyball for Catholic, which placed third in Class 2 in 1989. She was All-State that season and went on to play two years for Drury University volleyball before graduating summa cum laude in 1994, earning the Outstanding Woman of the Year award.
Angela (Beckett) Johnson, Monett track & basketball
Johnson was one of Monett High School’s premier multi-sport athletes in the late 1980s before enjoying success at the University of Missouri. In track, she was a three-time state champion in the high jump (1985-1987) and also was an All-American honorable mention in the high jump in 1986. Johnson went 5 feet, 7.25 inches in the high jump in 1986 in Class 3. That remains in the top 10 in state history overall and second-best in Class 3. In her junior year, she also won the Class 3 800 meters. Johnson was a nine-time conference and district champion. She also was a two-time first team All-State selection in basketball, including in 1985 when she helped Monett to a third-place finish in Class 3. At Mizzou, Johnson was a two-time medalist in the Big Eight Championships and won the Penn Relays in the high jump in 1991.
Julie Martin, fishing
A Springfield native, Martin began tournament fishing in 1972. In 1976, Martin was the only woman to compete in the National Bass Casters Association (BCA) Pro-Am circuit, finishing fifth overall in the amateur division, and caught the largest bass of the tournament. In 1978, she and Francis Knox co-founded Missouri’s first women’s bass club. Martin went on to fish professionally in Bass N’ Gals, Lady Bass and the Women’s Bass Fishing Association (WBFA). Over 22 years, Martin qualified for each organization’s national Classic 20 times and finished 15th or better in each. In 1983, Martin became the most successful woman’s angler in any open competition when she finished 40th out of 287 anglers in the U.S. Open tournament at Lake Mead near Las Vegas. Martin was one of only three women in the tournament. From 1984 through 1986, Martin fished several Missouri-based Redman Tournaments. She won the 1989 Kentucky Invitational on Kentucky Lake with 21 bass weighing 50 pounds and a 5.09 lunker, and she finished second in the Angler of the Year standings. She was the Angler of the Year four of seven years in the Ozarks Anglerettes as well as Angler of the Year of the Ozark Mountain Bass N’ Gals in 1988 and 1989. In recent years, she has led the Julie Martin Fishing Event through Life’s Journey, raising scholarship dollars for children of military veterans, law enforcement and firefighters.
Kerry (Speaker) North, Lebanon/Mizzou golf
North emerged as one of the state’s top amateur golfers in the late 1970s, turning mid-Missouri golf courses into her so-called stomping ground. North became the first high schooler – in boys or girls competition – to win three consecutive MSHSAA golf state championships, as she accomplished the feat from 1976 to 1978 at Lebanon High School. She also placed fifth in the 1975 season. North also won the Missouri Girls Golf Association state tournament and the Miss Mizzou Golf Tournament in 1977. North went on to finish as the medalist (low score on qualifying day) at the 1979 Missouri Women’s State Amateur and played two seasons at Mizzou before finishing her degree at Missouri State University. North, who won a Tri-State Golf Tournament at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield in 1993 by firing a two-day even par 148, is now in her 19th year as a teacher at Lebanon Junior High School. She has since been inducted with the inaugural 1999 class of the Lebanon Area Sports Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Ozarks Golf Hall of Fame in 2008.
Jamie Vest, Stoutland/Missouri State cross country & track
Vest was a four-time state champion in both cross country and the 3,200 meters at Stoutland High School before going on to more success at Missouri State. Vest won state cross country titles from 2001 to 2004 in Class 1, becoming the first runner in state history – in boys or girls competition – to accomplish such a feat. Her best cross country time at state was 20:12.72 in her freshman year. Vest completed her outstanding prep career with a fourth 3,200 meter state championship in 2005. She still holds the second-best time in Class 1’s 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:32.87, set in 2003. At Missouri State, Vest was a 2008 NCAA Outdoor qualifier in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, in which she set a personal-best time of 10:35.94 in the Midwest Regional during her junior season. Vest, a financial investment banker and farmer in Lebanon, recently won the Dallas Marathon in 2 hours, 58 minutes, 31 seconds.