Archive for April, 2016

postheadericon Lackey was solid for Rangers

ALVA, Okla. – Sometimes she who makes the fewest mistakes grabs great rewards.

Such is the case for Northwestern Oklahoma State University breakaway roper Katie Lackey of Ardmore, Okla., who posted two solid times this past weekend at the Garden City (Kan.) Community College rodeo. The result was a third-place finish in the southwestern Kansas community.

“It ended up working out in my favor that I played it safe in the short round,” said Lackey, a sophomore. “I just made sure I got a time put in.”

Northwestern-Logo-200Lackey posted a 3.1-second run to finish in a three-way tie for eighth place the first round, then followed it with a 4.5 to tie for second in the championship round. Her 7.6-second cumulative time on the two runs earned her a top 3 finish overall.

As the third breakaway roper to compete in the final round, she first made sure she wasn’t penalized at the start by breaking the barrier, which receives a 10-second penalty for not allowing the calf the adequate head start. Then she made sure to secure the catch, which took a little longer than she would typically like.

“I’ve watched a few short-goes, and I know there’s always going to be some situations where girls miss or they break the barrier,” she said. “At that point, I could’ve tried to risk it, but I didn’t know if I’d be fast enough to win the average.”

Slow and steady may not win the race, but it turned into a big move for the 20-year-old cowgirl. She was one of four Northwestern women to accumulate points in the seventh rodeo of the 2015-16 Central Plains Region, joining barrel racers Sara Bynum of Beggs, Okla., and Cassy Woodward of Dupree, S.D., and goat-tier Shayna Miller of Faith, S.D.

While Woodward made the final round in her event, Bynum put together two solid runs to finish in a tie for fourth place. Bynum is second in the region standings. Miller, who placed in both go-rounds and finished second in western Kansas, also sits in the runner-up position in the Central Plains.

The Rangers men were led by four steer wrestlers that placed among the top 6. J.D. Struxness of Appleton, Minn., won the final round and finished second overall. He was followed by fourth-place finisher Mike McGinn of Haines, Okla.; Riley Westhaver of High River, Alberta, who placed fifth; and Grayson Allred of Kanarraville, Utah, the No. 6 bulldogger; Joby Allen of Alva placed in the first round but was unable to place.

Tie-down roper Bryson Seachrist of Apache, Okla., finished fourth overall, capitalizing on a solid 9.7-second run in the final round, while bareback rider Austin Graham. Seachrist continues to lead the tie-down roping standings, while Graham is third in the region.

Though she’s been close several times, the Garden City rodeo marked the first time this season Lackey has qualified for a final round. She finished one spot out of the short-round field at the first rodeo of the season in Colby, Kan., and has suffered broken-barrier penalties that have forced her to miss other times. So being among the championship field was vital for the sophomore.

“I’ve made a lot of changes in my roping and horsemanship throughout the year,” said Lackey, who just started roping three years ago. “When you make those changes, it’s not always going to come smoothly. Now I’m becoming more comfortable.

“In the end, it’s rodeo, and there are a lot of variables. I drew well and took care of business. Sometimes you just have to have it all come together for you, and it did this time.”

postheadericon A passion for soccer leads to volunteerism for Samudzi

Cleo Samudzi coaches one of his Twisters teams during a tournament in August 2012. Samudzi donates many hours per week during the spring and fall to coach multiple Twisters teams, and many graduates of the program have gone on to success on the Maryville High School girls soccer team.

Cleo Samudzi coaches one of his Twisters teams during a tournament in August 2012. Samudzi donates many hours per week during the spring and fall to coach multiple Twisters teams, and many graduates of the program have gone on to success on the Maryville High School girls soccer team.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story appeared in the Friday, April 1, 2016, edition of the Maryville Daily Forum. It’s reprinted in its entirety here. 

Cleo Samudzi unwinds a little differently than most.

As dean of the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing, Samudzi has spent his lifetime educating young people. His teachings continue even in his down time as he chases his passions in soccer.

“I don’t look at it as volunteering,” he said while contradicting himself as he explains the many hours per week that are donated to the Maryville Twisters soccer program. “The way I started this competitive girls soccer here had a lot more to do with the fact that I love the game.”

That love affair started as a lad in Zimbabwe, where Samudzi began playing. It has continued through the years, including the last several in Maryville. He took the post at Northwest Missouri State University a dozen years ago and quickly engrossed himself into the local soccer scene.

That’s when he saw the need for more development for competitive play among the community’s youth. He established the Maryville Twisters girls soccer program in 2005, and he’s been instrumental in how the sport has grown locally over that time. The recent success of the Maryville High School girls soccer team has been proof of that.

“For a coach at that level, you’re only as good as the players who come to you and get that training before you get them,” Samudzi said.

He saw the need, which also fit into his passion.

“I’ve never been paid to coach,” he said. “I have donated my time to something that I love doing. It happens to be a service to another person.

“You don’t understand how much I watch the game. This past summer, I went to Canada for the Women’s World Cup; the year before, I went to Brazil for the men’s cup and to watch the game.”

That is considerable time devoted to the game, but there’s more. In addition to the hours of practice each week for the teams – he has two age groups this spring but has had as many as three – there is also the traveling to various competitions. The Twisters play a league that is based in the Kansas City area, so most weekends during the fall and spring seasons are taken up with those trips.

It sometimes means a bit of a juggle. One age group may play in Independence at a similar time as another team plays in Liberty. He leans on other volunteers to help coordinate the activities as occasions arise.

“It’s a privilege to have parents supporting this sport, parents supporting their kids,” Samudzi said. “In essence, the parents are supporting my habits.”

He chuckled at the thought, but he recognized there’s something more to it. So do the families that are involved. Most of the girls have been part of the Twisters for several years.

“Cleo’s very knowledgeable about the game of soccer, but he’s teaching them more than soccer,” said T.J. Allen, whose daughter, Tori, has been part of the Twisters for four years. “He teaches them how to work within themselves to be at the right place at the right time. You may not be the best athlete or the best team out there, but if you can work together, you can accomplish just about anything.”

Still, all this comes from a man willing to donate his time. He may not see it as volunteerism, but it is. The Twisters’ parents see it, and so do their girls.

Samudzi has found many rewards, the foremost being around the game he adores so much. But there’s more, from the relationships he’s crafted with dozens of families over the last dozen years.

“My greatest reward is to see the high school team do well,” he said. “Almost all of the players went through out program. It’s great to see the impact of their development and skill level and also that they are enjoying the sport.

“I start them very young (11 years of age and younger). That is satisfaction seeing them grow in the sport. When they go to high school, just watching them you know you’ve had an impact on a kid’s life. That’s extremely rewarding.”

To the coach and his players.

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