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Branson High School Track Standout Cali Essick had always wanted to continue her career in the Southeastern Conference. She will do that and stay close to home.

The Lady Pirate Senior announces before a gathering of friends and family Wednesday that she has signed a Letter of Intent to continue her Track Career at the University of Missouri in Columbia. 

Essick said she had several different offers from NCAA Division One Schools but was swayed by the interest the coaches at Mizzou showed in her. “I really feel like they believe in me and that they can take me to the next level. I really connected with the track athletes and I just really like Mizzou because it’s in state and I really like the campus a lot, too.” 

Essick, who claimed the Class 5 State Champion in the Triple Jump, along with a second place in the Long Jump and the eighth in the 200 this past spring, will focus on the Long Jump when she arrives in Columbia next Fall. 

Branson Track Coach Kevin Blackwell says he is excited for her opportunity and was not surprised she was highly recruited. Blackwell also adds that Essick is a leader for the team.

“They all look to her and see her leadership and her commitment to the program and they all want to be just like her, guys and girls alike, they all want to work as hard as she does. When she’s on the track, they see her working hard, that pushes them to work hard, too and that makes us all better”, said Blackwell. 

Essick says she plans to study Education and pursue Teaching and Coaching while in college. 

Visit for a full interview with Cali Essick and Todd Blackwell from MOARK Sports and Ozarks First.

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