The Next Level column takes a look at NEMO natives who have continued their athletic careers in a collegiate sport.
This roundup of area athletes by no means covers every student from the Hannibal area now participating in collegiate sports. Our goal is to highlight as many as we can over the course of the year. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have information that could help point us in the right direction to recognize these individuals.
Wilson off to strong start at Columbia College
Noah Wilson is off to a strong start with the Columbia College golf team.
The pride of Palmyra High School earned fourth place overall with a two-round score of 3-over-par 147 this week to help the Cougars win the Evangel Fall Invitational at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo.
Columbia raced to the championship with a team score of 288 on Day 2 after posting a 300 on the first day.
The former all-state Panther kicked off his freshman season by finishing runner-up Sept. 8-9 at the Fall Tiger Invitational hosted by Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) University. His score of 148 helped the Cougars beat out nine other squads for the title.
Next up for Wilson and his teammates is their home 2017 Cougars Classic scheduled for Monday, Oct. 2 at Columbia Country Club.
Wilson isn't the only Palmyra grad standing out on the links at the next level.
Former Panther Hunter Baggett opened his senior campaign at Culver-Stockton with a three-round score of 230 at the Cardinal Stritch Wolfpack Invitational at Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee, Wis.
Baggett finished 29th overall and third-best among Wildcats, who tied for fourth in the team standings.
Palmyra Class of 2017 graduate Lane Hammond also played for the Wildcats and shot a 256.
Wiley a key part of Louisville's success
Gabbie Wiley was a focal point of the Hannibal High School volleyball team that won a district championship in 2011 for the first time in 20 years.
Now the defensive specialist is making a similar impact at the University of Louisville.
The senior came up with 13 digs during a victory over Weber State on Sept. 8 at the UNLV Challenge in Las Vegas, Nev. Louisville went 3-0 at the tournament to claim first place.
Wiley has recorded at least five digs in nine of 10 matches this season while serving 10 aces, including five during a home win over NCAA No. 24-ranked Western Kentucky on Sept. 1.
She is third on the Cardinals with 72 digs this season.
Louisville (6-4) opens Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend. The Cardinals are scheduled to host Notre Dame on Friday before traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., to face North Carolina on Sunday.
Cook gives Bethel a boost
Cara Cook wasted no time making her presence felt in her first match with the Bethel University (Tenn.) Wildcats.
The former Hannibal High School soccer standout scored the game-winning goal for the Wildcats in the second half of their season-opening win Aug. 25 over Texas A&M-Texarkana.
That was the first of seven straight victories for Bethel (7-1) to open the season before losing for the first time Tuesday 1-0 at Lindenwood-Belleville.
Bethel’s signature win thus far came Sept. 2 with a 2-1 upset over NAIA No. 18-ranked John Brown.
Next up for Cook and the Wildcats is their Southern State Athletic Conference opener against Middle Georgia State on Oct. 5.