Once that happened, according to Lauren’s dad, Larry, a Morrison police officer, the Mizzou coaches got together with the family in a huddle, and offered Lauren the full-ride scholarship, which she took then and there.
“I had the feeling Mizzou was the right fit all along,” Lauren said. “I love the family-style atmosphere, I love the coaches and the campus was beautiful.
“I also want to be a part of a national contender. The SEC is a very competitive conference, and Mizzou has a history of making it to the College World Series.”
The experience hasn’t nearly sunk in for Larry, either.
“It’s surreal to think that this is starting to sink in,” he said. “She knows exactly what she wants, though, and she loved Mizzou from the start.
“We wanted her to make this decision and not wait. We were scared that she might lose this opportunity if we had waited.”
Lauren also doesn’t care about those who say she’s experiencing this all too early.
“It doesn’t bother me what others may say,” she said. “I’m happy with what’s happened.”
Two of Lauren’s inspirations also play for the Tigers and hail from Morrison. Michaele and Abby Vock played in the 2009 Women’s College World Series, and the Rice family traveled down to support their hometown heroes and to gain what kind of experience Oklahoma City is like.
“It was everything I had hoped it would be, it was amazing,” Lauren said.
Dad liked the experience, too.
“We learned a lot from that trip,” he said. “We spoke to their dad, Phil, to get an idea of what to expect. He said to just hold on because it would all go so fast. It sure has.”
Moving forward, Rice is excited to play for the Fillies and win the school’s first state title since 2011 while having fun along the way.
“I think about winning constantly because I hate to lose,” Lauren said. “But I can do it without the pressure now. I know where I’m going, and now, I can just play.”