The Next Level column takes a look at Northeast Missouri natives who have continued their athletic careers in a collegiate sport.
Grossmann reaches milestone at Valpo
Kenzie Grossmann reached a career milestone while leading the Valparaiso University softball team to victory.
The 2014 Mark Twain High School graduate allowed just one run over four innings to lead Valpo to a 3-2 win at Missouri State on Saturday, March 24.
The victory in the circle was the 50th of her career.
Grossmann is 9-6 this season with a 1.84 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched. She has made 16 appearances with a team-high 13 starts.
The Perry, Missouri, native has surrendered two runs or fewer in 11 starts so far in her senior season.
Her ERA and win total both rank fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference.
"Kenzie makes our program better on both sides of the ball," said Valpo head coach Kate Stake. "Our hitters routinely get to face one of the toughest drop ball pitchers out there, elevating our level of play at the plate when we go up against a team with a predominantly down ball throwing pitcher.
"Kenzie is hard to square up, so when she is in the circle for us, she is a very efficient arm who gives the defense a lot of routine outs."
The standout posted 20 wins last year in her junior campaign after spending her first two collegiate seasons at Morehead State.
Grossmann quickly earned respect within the Valpo program.
"We knew when Kenzie came to us that she was a workhorse that wanted the ball in pressure situations, and she has only continued to elevate her game in those moments while helping to lead Valpo to key wins in her two years here," added Valpo pitching coach Monica Wright.
The Crusaders have a current record of 15-14 overall with a 3-5 mark in the MVC.
Grossmann earned first-team all-state recognition while a senior at Mark Twain, where she also set school records for ERA in the circle and hits and RBIs at the plate.
Fulton selected to conference honor
Kyle Fulton has been named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for his strong performance for the Central Methodist University baseball team.
The Monroe City native completed his second complete game shutout of the season to lead the NAIA No. 24-ranked Eagles over Avila on Saturday, March 31.
Fulton, who is 5-0 with 50 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings this season, is ranked third in the NAIA in ERA at 0.99 and has also recorded four saves.
"Kyle has worked hard over the last three years to become a complete pitcher,” CMU coach Nate Breland said in an announcement of the honor. “We will need him to continue to progress in order to reach our goals.”
Wilson continues freshman season at Columbia
Noah Wilson has transitioned from his role leading the Palmyra High School golf team to state runner-up honors to being a key member of the Columbia College squad.
Wilson, a freshman who cracked the No. 23-ranked Cougars roster, placed ninth at the Evangel Spring Invitational at Rivercut Golf Course on March 10 with a two-round score of 156.
The event was the first of the spring season.
Wilson placed 34th overall at the William Woods Spring Invitational last weekend.
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.