Web Posted: Jul 14 2011 12:00:00:000AM
Columbia, MO – This year will be the 27th anniversary of the Show-Me STATE GAMES. Many talented athletes from across the state will compete in the events beginning June 10. Following is a list of athletes who have submitted their story. For media interesting in contacting these athletes, email Emily at email@example.com or Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit our blog at http://showmegames.wordpress.com/ for photos and more information.
If you would like to share your story, email email@example.com
Athletes of Interest—July 29-31 (updated July 20).
Natalie Helling--- Player credits soccer with motivation for recovering after accident. Natalie Helling, a player for the competitive Panathinaikos Soccer Schools’ U13 Girls PAO regional team, was in a bad accident three years ago at the age of 9 in which her legs were severely injured. Her right leg was severed down to here femoral artery and her left leg was nearly cut off. Natalie’s surgeons were incredibly not only able to save her life, but her legs as well. “The road to recovery was not easy, but I knew I wanted to play soccer and other sports, so I never gave up,” said Natalie. With her parents’ help and encouragement, Natalie learned to walk again and joined the swim team in order to build her strength back up. By the next fall, she was able to begin to play soccer again. “It has been 3 ½ years since my accident and I feel very blessed to still be playing soccer,” said Natalie. “I will admit that soccer in general gave me a true motivation to not let life’s unfortunate events hold me down, but to make me a better person in all that I do.” Natalie now sees how sports can provide motivation when one faces adversity. “Life isn’t always about sports, but to me, sports can give you lifelong lessons that will carry you through some of the toughest and most enjoyable moments in your life,” said Natalie. Natalie and her team will play in the Show-Me STATE GAMES 13 and under soccer tournament July 29-31.
Jay Tennyson--- Man needs exercise to overcome health problems. About 10 years ago, Jay Tennyson, now 50, woke up one morning to find the right side of his face paralyzed. Doctors told him they believed he had Bell’s palsy and that they could not be sure how long it would last. Tennyson was shown facial exercises that he could do in order to help him get back to work. Almost exactly one year later, Tennyson woke up again one morning and could look up but could not look down. This time, doctors initially believed he had had a stroke but soon determined that this was not the case. They checked to make sure he did not have any tumors and came to the conclusion that he might have MS. He had to undergo several spinal taps and MRIs for a year in order to test for the disease. While determining treatment options, Tennyson remembers his doctor giving him advice that still continues to help him cope with his condition. “The doctor said that diet and exercise will probably help me now more than anything,” Tennyson recalls. Upon hearing this, he joined a gym and hired a nutritionist. He found that exercise made a drastic difference in his health because a virus was overproducing something in his muscles that exercise helped to burn off. “For me, exercising isn’t something I always enjoy doing, but it’s a necessity,” said Tennyson. “I’m the opposite of most people. If I don’t workout, I feel like I’ve been beaten up.” His trainer urged him to take up running, so he, along with his daughter Meagan, 24, have run a few 5ks together and will be competing in the road race in the Show-Me STATE GAMES on July 31. “We started out just going run in the Jay Dix 5k to honor my parents and a few friends who we lost to cancer, but while training for it, we discovered it gave us back some of the ‘dad and daughter’ time we were missing since she has gotten married and is grown and gone now,” said Tennyson of running with his daughter.
Marcus Shaeffer--- Boy uses perseverance and dedication to excel in track and field. Marcus Shaeffer, coached by his father Les Shaeffer, has competed previously in the Show-Me STATE GAMES soccer and has done well. This year, however, Marcus is coming to the GAMES to try his hand in track and field. “Marcus has been to a couple of track meets and wanted to compete in one,” said Les of taking Marcus to the Show-Me STATE GAMES. “To this day, he has raced and won five or six running races with varying distances of a quarter mile to a full 5K, winning them all or tying with his best friend who he refused to leave behind.” Marcus’s goal is to compete in the Junior Olympics track and field in 2012. He recently joined the Ozarks Regional Young Marines, taking after his father who was in the United States Marine Corps, and was the only young Marine out of 55 kids, who scored a perfect physical fitness score. “His entire life revolves around the Marine Corps mentality of never giving up and finding a way to finish,” said Les. “Marcus has never started something he hasn't finished, always gets back up when knocked down, and is always willing to help others along if they need it.” Marcus will compete in the Show-Me STATE GAMES 14 and under track and field meet July 29-30.
Hy-Strung/Bob Robertson--- Baseball team wins tournament, shares victory with their biggest fan. Anthony Esposito, catcher for “Hy-Strung,” a baseball team from Gallatin, Mo., has a younger brother Phillip who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis a few months ago at age 12. Following his diagnosis, Phillip had part of a lung removed. Just before a tournament that “Hy-Strung” was scheduled to play, his lungs started bleeding and he was admitted to the hospital. The team did well in the tournament and was to play in the championship game on the last night. Phillip really wanted to watch his brother’s team play, so his doctor agreed that he could leave and watch the game as long as he came right back to the hospital afterwards. “No one knew he was coming to the game, not even Anthony, and everyone was really excited when his dad pulled up with him,” said Bob Robertson, coach. Phillip was able to watch “Hy-Strung” win the tournament that night, which also happened to be his birthday. “Phillip stayed in the dugout with us during the game and celebrated with us after our win, he even got a trophy and was included in the team picture as you can see.” “Hy-Strung” will play in the Show-Me STATE GAMES in the 16 and under age division July 29-31.
Jessi Westcott--- Level 7 gymnast to compete in the Show-Me STATE GAMES. Jessi Westcott, 13 of Trenton, Mo., will compete on July 30 at the USAG Level 7 gymnastics competition of the Show-Me STATE GAMES. “Jessi began gymnastics at age 5 and has been tumbling every since,” said Jennifer Westcott, Jessi’s mother. She is a member of the Aerial Angels team that competes at the YMCA in Chillicothe, Mo. Jessi, who has competed with this team since age 7, is not the oldest and highest level gymnast on the team. “She is a very dedicated and passionate girl that strives to do her best while encouraging the younger gymnasts to do the same,” said Jennifer.
Ali and Jenna McDaniel--- Twin sisters to appear in Show-Me STATE GAMES for the first time. Ali and Jenna McDaniel of Kansas City, Mo., are both seniors at Oak Park High School and have been playing tennis for five years. With the help of Ali and Jenna, their school won its conference for the first time in eight years and Ali was awarded first team all conference. “I always play with my twin sister, Ali,” said Jenna. “We are also a good doubles team.” The pair will be playing doubles together in the Show-Me STATE GAMES junior tournament July 30-31.
Steve Lipe--- Racewalker to compete in SMSG for the first time since 1986. Steve Lipe had been an avid racewalker for about six years before he gave up the sport 11 years ago. “I got away from the sport because I was with someone who could not have cared less, so I pretty much forgot all about it,” said Lipe. However, in October, 2006, Lipe met his future wife whom he married in 2009. “We were putting away some thing into storage and she found all of my trophies and my ribbons,” said Lipe. “She was impressed and she encouraged me to take up the sport again and I am constantly gaining the ground that I lost 11 years ago.” Lipe will compete in the Race Walk on Sunday, July 31, in the Show-Me STATE GAMES. “I really enjoy my sport again and I want to be the best I can be at it, as long as I have my wife to cheer me on,” said Lipe.
Reece Goddard---YouTube helps seventh-grade boy self-coach himself into successful discus competitor . Just over a year ago, Reece Goddard of Festus, Mo., taught himself how to compete in discus throwing through watching YouTube videos of the sport. The knowledge he picked up through the videos led him to first place victories in AAU Ozark District Qualifier Meet in June 2010, AAU Area 11 National Qualifier Meet in July 2010, and in the July 2010 Show-Me STATE GAMES for the 11-12 age division. Reece also went on to take the silver medal in the AAU Junior Olympics in Norfold, Va., in August 2010. According to the Elite Youth, Reece holds the record for the farthest throw in his age group in the country at 109’ 5.5”. This year, Reece will again be competing in the discus competition of the Show-Me STATE GAMES in the last weekend of July 2011.
Sarah and Katie Bagley--- Sisters to compete against each other in the Show-Me STATE GAMES. Sisters Sarah, 11, and Katie, 10, Bagley are both USA level 6 gymnasts who have been practicing gymnastics for about five years and competing for the last three. Although on the same gymnastics team at Flipz, the girls compete against one another at meets. “They are very close and, so far, competing against each other has not been an issue,” said Debbie Bagley, their mother. “Some gym meets Katie gets more medals and some Sarah does, and they are always happy for each other and cheer each other on.” Debbie says her daughters work hard to stay in the same level. “If Sarah learns a new skill before Katie, Katie will work extra hard to catch up because they cannot stand it if one can do something and the other cannot,” said Debbie. The girls will compete in the Show-Me STATE GAMES gymnastics for the first time this year on July 30, and are also planning on participating in the Audrey Walton Opening Ceremonies on Friday night because their dream is to be in the Olympics.
David Walker---Father and son excelled together in 2010 Show-Me STATE GAMES. David Walker and his son Darius Walker both share a passion for Track & Field. During the past year in the Show-Me STATE GAMES, they together took first place in the following events: 100M, 200M, 400M, long jump, triple jump and 4 x 100M. This was nearly every event the two participated in. Darius also placed second in the 400M. Darius, a student at the University of Central Missouri, took first place in the NCAA Division II Decathlon in 2010. David and Darius hope to continue their success in the Show-Me STATE GAMES this year.
Rebecca Wideman---Families compete together in Show-Me STATE GAMES soccer for over 20 years. Rebecca Wideman, of Union, Mo., grew up playing soccer in the Show-Me STATE GAMES with her siblings and friends of her family. They have competed in the GAMES for more than 20 years. “We all started as little pee-wee players and now as adults all play together on our 'family' co-ed team,” said Wideman. “It’s such a great experience and tradition for all of us." Her team “P and H” consists of her two brothers, another family with four siblings and two other families with two siblings each. Wideman remembers her parents making Show-Me STATE GAMES weekends a big deal while growing up and says they still come out to show their support of “P and H.” “There are a few players with kids and they definitely hope to have their kids continue our tradition,” said Wideman of passing on the family tradition. “My brother, as a matter of fact, has two little ones that he pre-maturely tries to get into uniforms.” "P and H” will be competing in the last weekend of GAMES on July 29-31. “These GAMES, and soccer in general, have been such a staple in all of our lives,” Wideman said. “We hope to continue this tradition for another 20 years.”
Amber Morris---Moberly girl takes up tennis despite health obstacles. This June marks Amber Morris’s one-year anniversary of taking up tennis just a few months before she began high school. With only three months of practicing under her belt, she was able to score a spot on the varsity tennis team as a freshman. This feat is remarkable considering the fact that Amber had to take a few years off from playing sports after being diagnosed with severe exercise-induced asthma in the seventh grade. Before her diagnosis, Amber played soccer, softball and basketball, but had to stop competing until she got her asthma under control. After two years, her doctor cleared her to start playing one sport and she took up tennis. “From the beginning, I fell in love with this sport,” said Amber. As she is getting ready to enter her sophomore year of high school and preparing for the fall tennis season, Amber will be competing in the 16 and under singles tennis event during the last weekend of the Show-Me STATE GAMES from July 29-31. “If it wasn't for me getting diagnosed with asthma, I would probably never have tried tennis or discovered my love for the game,” said Amber.
Julie Krause---Sisters find competing in gymnastics together challenging yet rewarding. Sisters Brooke, 9, and Hanna, 10, Sublett of Harrisburg compete in gymnastics together for Show-Me Gymnastics and will both be competing in the final weekend of the Show-Me STATE GAMES on Saturday, July 30. The girls have been training in gymnastics for the three years but only have competed for one year. They have been advancing at the same pace and each moved from Level 3 to Level 4. The girls’ mother Julie Krause acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult for the two sisters to compete against one another, but says they are very supportive of each other and their entire team. “They have overcome this and still help each other with their skills,” said Krause. “They support each other and can still be friends.”
Elizabeth Mashl--- National level Senior Olympics bowler to compete for the first time in the Show-Me STATE GAMES. Elizabeth Mashl will bowl during the final weekend of the Show-Me STATE GAMES from July 30 -31. This is her first time participating in the GAMES. Although having never competed in the Show-Me STATE GAMES before, Mashl is not new to Olympic-style sporting festivals as she competed in the Senior Olympics while living in Arizona. Here, she qualified in all bowling events and went on to compete at nationals in Orlando, Fl., where she placed sixth in the nation. “The experience was super and they did an outstanding job for all of the states that participated,” said Mashl.
Jim Barksdale--- Father and daughter to compete in the Show-Me STATE GAMES after excelling together in National Senior Games. Jan Weisel who recently turned 50 has been bowling since she was in the seventh grade. Although she has bowled most of her life, Weisel was eagerly awaiting her 50th birthday so that she could begin competing in senior games together with her father Jim Barksdale. The father-daughter pair recently competed in the National Senior Games in Houston and took bronze in the mixed doubles. Surprisingly, the pairs that took first and second places in this event were also father-daughter pairs. Jan also took first place in her age group, beating her competition by just five pins. “I was a nervous wreck,” said Jim of watching his daughter compete. Jim says the two are looking forward to competing in the Show-Me STATE GAMES final weekend on July 30-31 as well as in the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland.
Alyssa Williams--- Grandview girl hopes to medal in SMSG for fifth consecutive year. This year, Alyssa Williams, 13 of Grandview, Mo., will make her fifth straight appearance playing tennis in the Show-Me STATE GAMES. Alyssa has medaled in each GAMES that she has competed in and, during the past two years, she took three gold medals. Two of these first place victories were in the singles competition and one was in doubles. In July, she will attempt to capture her third straight singles gold medal in the girls 18s age group. Alyssa has previously took first in the girls 16s and girls 14s age groups. “Alyssa looks forward to the Show-Me STATE GAMES every year as this is one of the only times that her family that reside in Columbia can watch her play tennis,” said Nicole Williams, Alyssa’s mother. She will compete from July 29-31 in both Junior Singles and Junior Doubles.
Rick Messner/Team International--- Team “International” to return to the Show-Me STATE GAMES soccer tournament. The soccer team “International” consists of a group of friends who have been playing together for more than five years in both indoor and outdoor soccer leagues. The friends chose the name “International” due to the diversity present on the team with players from the US, Mexico, Uruguay, Honduras, Venezuela, Italy, Nigeria, Jamaica and the Czech Republic. Three years ago, the team played in the Show-Me STATE GAMES men’s over 30 soccer tournament, took first place and has been playing together in the GAMES ever since. “We have enjoyed the competition of the Show-Me STATE GAMES every year and are hoping to take the gold medal this year,” said Rick Messner, player and organizer of the team. Team “International” will be playing in the 2011 Show-Me STATE GAMES men’s over 30 soccer event during the final weekend of the GAMES, July 29-31.
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