Athlete Stories

July 20-22


Hailing from Florissant, MO, the Flyers have made quite a name for themselves over the last year. This U8 soccer team has been playing together since they were around three-four years old. A group of young girls consisting of diverse backgrounds came together with one goal; Have fun, play hard and give it their all. At a young age, these girls are sacrificing many things just to compete in practice. What more could a coach ask for? Coach T and Coach Mike guide this team as they compete in the Florissant Area Athletic Association (FAAA).

This year the Flyers conquered the U8 division of the FAAA and also a new territory, indoor soccer. Their first year competing in indoor soccer they won 1st place champions in the both sessions. The Flyers have received interest from locals in the Florissant area and attained their first sponsorship. This young, hungry group of girls are looking to showcase their unbelievable ability in the U8 competition of the SMSG.


Andrew Wolfe’s sole dream has always been to be recognized for his athletic potential. Dating back to his high school years; despite being smaller than other, he was always motivated, ambitious and driven to overcome all obstacles. This former Lincoln University football player has faced adversity in many situations that have shaped the man he is today. Wolfe’s journey to becoming a high level athlete started in 2011. The next couple of years became challenging as he welcomed a child into the world and had to move back with his parents due to financial reasoning. To continue fulfilling his dream, he attained a job and went to the gym every off day.  In 2014, Andrew Wolfe landed a huge opportunity to walk on as Blue Tiger at Lincoln University. For the simple fact that he had never played football in his life, this was a huge accomplishment. Shortly after he had become acquainted with everything he faced another unfortunate obstacle, melanoma skin cancer. After learning his toe would have to be amputated, Wolfe had a lot of thoughts running through his head. The melanoma skin cancer happened to be a blessing in disguise as he realized his true gift, weight lifting. The part of Andrew that wanted to be a professional football player is now absolutely obsessed with the weight room and wouldn’t change it for the world. He has been powerlifting training for two years now and plans to compete in the 2018 SMSG.


Max Starkloff is a true fighter, a strong individual who was once told by a team of physicians that he’d never be able to eat or drink by mouth ever again. Max’s fight of his life began when he was just seven months old. He became very sick from a birth defect with his respiratory and digestive system growth and development. After three surgeries and many other procedures, Max was put on G-Tube placement (permanent feeding tube). The family remained optimistic that everything would eventually work itself out. With over a year of hospitalization and three years of occupational/speech therapy, Max beat the odds. Shortly after, Max’s G-Tube was removed and he’s back to normal. Max will be competing in the 2018 Show-Me-State Games Wrestling event.


Sam Blaine will be doing it all this weekend in the GAMES – playing and coaching soccer. He is bringing an U18 team from Springfield, MO, that includes his two sons – brothers Drew & Pete, 17 & 16-years-old.  They are also playing with their 16 year-old cousin.  Sam will also himself be playing soccer in the Over40 division.


Ben Akoro, age 10, is competing in the Show-Me State Games basketball competition. He is following in the footsteps of two older sisters who competed in the Games.  Ben’s sister Izzy Akoro won the 3rd grade competitive division in 2011 with Jr. Storm.



July 28-30


For the Leyva family, making memories and spending quality time is what means the most. It all started last year when the family came down from Illinois to compete in their first ever SMSG as a family. The family competed in various events such as miniature golf, grandparent/youth bowling doubles and adult bowling singles. Grandpa Leyva hasn’t bowled in over 15-20 years and it was an obstacle in itself to get him to commit as it took handwritten letters from the grandchildren. Seeing the whole family compete in the games was an opportunity and moment they’ll never forget. Last year, the family walked away from the SMSG earning various medals in every event they competed in.

This summer, the Leyva family plans to explore different events to compete in. Nothing beats a failure but a try, right; meaning how do you know if you could enjoy or be successful at something if you never give it a shot. After a long day of events; the family enjoys swimming, fishing and grilling at their Columbia rental home. The Leyva family aims to make the SMSG a yearly tradition to come down and participate in the games.



Back in 1987, Bill Rainey set the boys state 800 meter record at Parkview High (1:49:89). He was a member of the 1988 Arkansas NCAA Indoor National Championship team. Rainey then transferred to MSU and set the 800 meter school record in indoor/outdoor. Not only that, in 1992 he also set a Missouri Valley Conference record at Drake University. About three years ago, Rainey began to compete in various track & field events just as a way to stay in shape. A few injuries have been problematic but he’s all ready to come out showcase his abilities. Watch out for this guy!



EJ Olson began playing in the Games (Mens Open soccer) back in 2003 with hisfriends and college teammates. After aging a bit, they have continued to play, but have made a switch to the CoEd soccer. In 2009, at 6 years old, his son Landon starting joining in at the tournament. He is 14-years-old now. It has been great having him along each year and he more than looks forward to it each July. He has been the team’s water boy, assistant bench coach, photographer and even our dinner coordinator. It is always his favorite spot, Shakespeare’s pizza. The Show-Me State Games has been something that has helped EJ and Landon bond as father and son. It has given them both something to look forward to each summer and has showed him friendly competition at any age, win or lose. EJ says “I cannot wait until Landon is old enough to play on our team with us. That would mean more to me than ever winning first place again.”



Josh and Jeanne Shupe are parents of five in an area of Missouri. Growing up, Josh participated in the SMSG every summer. The 2017 SMSG was the first year the family attended the event as one to compete in track & field events. This year the Shupe family plans to enter their three year-old in an event and get the ball rolling.



From a very early age gymnastics has played a major role in Kyndall’s life. She started training around age three and began competing by the time she was four. Currently, Kyndall has been training very diligently and focusing on recovering from her injury she faced two seasons ago in 2016. Originally it started out as complaining and not being able to complete practices to barely being able to put any pressure on her back when she walked. During her first meet of the 2016 season, she was warming up and did a roundoff, back handspring, back handspring and fell straight to the floor. A lot of emotions were running through Kyndall’s body at the time but she still decided to finish the competition. The next eight weeks for Kyndall was something she could never imagine.

Kyndall was diagnosed with spondylolysis, a stress fracture on her L5 and an assimilation on her right side resulting in her having to wear a back brace. Making it back to competition as quickly as possible was the only thing on Kyndall’s mind. She made it back to competition in February of 2017 and she still qualified for state. In and out of the doctor’s office, she finally decided to sit out last season. Well for Kyndall, that wasn’t going to happen. Her coach and trainer worked with her all year long to condition and get stronger. As of now Kyndall has been working her way back into eight-hour practices and gearing up for her second Show-Me-State Games. She will be competing in Level 5 sanctioned gymnastics.



The seven siblings of the McKeown family will be competing in this years Show-Me-State Games. Competing under the team name Mexico Bradford FC; Jonah, Christian, Rory, Sophie, Rosanna and Dominic will will be participating in the coed soccer event. The youngest of the seven, Brendan will competing in the U14 Tennis event.

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