2021 Show-Me State Games Athlete Stories

“Ability is what you’re capable of doing, Motivation determines what you do, and Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz

The Games are so much more than the sport itself. It takes passion, drive, community, and family and we love hearing the stories and life journeys behind our athletes! Please enjoy a few from our 2021 Show-Me State Games!

Family Fight

Ava Santhuff, 13, Fulton, MO: Competed in June’s swimming events 

Ava’s love for swimming ignited after she lost her twin brother, Sam, to cancer (rhabdomyosarcoma) when they were in the 1st grade. She sees swimming as something Sam left just for her as he was granted a swimming pool through the Make A Wish Foundation. Although, Sam wasn’t able to use the pool much he loved watching his sister swim. Because of this, Ava wanted to take her swimming to the next level for Sam and did so by joining her local swim team where she excelled and her love for swimming grew. Fast forward 5 years and she’s still enjoying every minute of it!

However, Ava didn’t stop at competing in swim competitions, she decided she wanted to create her own side to the Super Sam Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer: “Ava’s Avengers.” They focus on raising awareness of childhood cancer, help advocate for federal funding, and take specific interest in helping the siblings of the kids who fight cancer. “Because cancer is a family fight” – quoted by a young Ava at the age of 7.

Keep doing what you’re doing Ava! You are a rockstar!

The Sky’s the Limit”

Shane Trusty, Centralia, MO: Competed in Wrestling

Shane started wrestling in middle school after he did not make the basketball team. From there he went on to become a 3-time varsity letterman in high school! Since high school, Shane has continued his passion for wrestling and has wrestled in intermural tournaments all over and has never been pinned!

Shane watched a documentary on Willy Burton, another wrestler with cerebral palsy, and gained some extra motivation in his pursuit for wrestling. Shane states that he wrestles to inspire anyone who has wanted to do something but has been told no, and he wants to thank everyone that has stood behind him and supports him!

Forming New Traditions

Chris Murphy, SSgt USMC, 38, Holts Summit, MO: Competed in 5k and Rifle & Pistol events

Chris is originally from Georgetown, Kentucky and him and his family moved to Missouri in 2017. He had to retire from the Marines due to an injury, but has continued to push himself both physically and mentally by getting involved in shooting and running. Chris found out about Show-Me State Games and chose us for his journey to recovery by competing in the 5k road race and .22 rifle/pistol competitions. He says he is excited to make the Games an annual event for him and his family.

We look forward to seeing you and your family for many years to come Chris!

Can’t Slow Him Down

Dennis Noel, 66, Rolla, MO: Competed in Cycling

In 2019, Dennis suffered a severe heart attack while on a 10 mile bike ride when it “felt like a softball had hit him in the middle of the chest” he was flown to St. Luke’s hospital where he underwent open-heart surgery. His early tests were not positive and he was told there was a possibility that he may never be able to ride again.

However, he and his doctor worked diligently together, and within 5 months post surgery, he returned to cycling! “Five months after my surgery I won the 40k road race in Oklahoma and 2 months after that I went to Louisiana and won the 5k, 10k and 20k cycling races. One year after my heart attack, in 2020, I continue to get better and have beaten guys who beat me before my heart attack. Dr. Martin saved my life and gave me my life back.” Keep up the good work Dennis and we’ll see you again in 2022!…/good-sports-heart-attack-survivor…

She’s Back

Josie Arms, 17, Columbia, MO: Competed in golf 

Josie has been playing golf since she was in 8th grade! At the end of 2018, she had major back surgery to correct scoliosis. After surgery, she had a 6 month recovery road ahead of her, but didn’t let that stop her. Now, Josie is back to playing golf and feeling strong!

This year was her first in our Parent/Child division and they won 1st place! Her positive attitude, great sportsmanship, and contagious smile makes her a star and we’re happy you chose the Games to continue your love of golf! See you soon Josie!

Keep on Swimming

Camden Youngblood, 14, Sedalia, MO: Competed in Swimming

Camden has been swimming since before her first birthday. At the age of just 17 months old, Camden was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Camden underwent 10 rounds of chemo, 12 radiation therapy treatments, had surgery to remove the tumor on her aorta, had a stem cell transplant, and immunotherapy treatments all before the age of 4 years old!

Just before her first birthday, Camden began swimming lessons and that began her love for the water. After her fight with cancer, she joined her swim team at the young age of 4 and has been in the water ever since. She currently swims for a club team 6 days a week and would swim more if she could! This year Camden medaled in every event she participated in at the GAMES, taking home 2 golds, 3 silvers, and 1 bronze! Keep on swimming Camden and we’ll see you again in 2022!

Don’t Stop

Beau Edwards, 15, Fulton, MO: Competed in Tennis

Beau and his twin, Bryce were born 14 weeks early. They overcame many critical complications, surgeries, and procedures after they were born. The 1st was having to receive CPR after birth. Beau was 2lbs 4 oz at birth and was in critical condition multiple times over a 3 month time span, after being born. He is a fighter and overcame the odds against him. Beau and Bryce were a part of Children’s Miracle Network where they help raise money for the cause.

Beau started playing tennis this year at Fulton High School and earned a letterman! He continues to work hard and was able to maintain 2nd seed, throughout the year. He is learning and pushes himself to do better, each day. On top of tackling all of that he also began running cross country and will be a member of the Fulton High School cross country team this year. Beau is not only an outstanding individual on the court, but off as well. He works hard to maintain excellent grades, he is kind and polite and even won the 2020 sportsmanship award! Way to go Beau!

Dynamic Duo

Team Sander: Competed in Track & Field

Journy and Jeff Sander are the perfect father/daughter duo. Journy started track at the age of 10 and started pole vaulting this year. With her father as coach, in just her first year of pole vaulting, she was All-State in the Missouri Class 1 Championship with a 7th place finish and also finished 10th triple jump!

Jeff’s coaching doesn’t come without experience, as Jeff earned his coaching spot with his very impressive resume as an inductee into the University of Central Missouri Hall of Fame for track and field! He was the 1998 and 1999 NCAA Division II decathlon champion and a 10-time All-American!

This dynamic family duo push one another to be their very best and choose the Games to continue their passion and to compete together!

Better with Age 

John Locker, 66, Ludlow, MO: Competed in Track & Field

John moved around a lot when he was young and never had the opportunity to learn how to play sports. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam War and got his GED and after three years in the service, he moved to Missouri. John took advantage of the GI Bill to enroll in college and while working and raising a family, he earned a degree in education and became a business teacher at a small country school. John went on to earn a master’s degree attending night classes and eventually became a high school principal. While doing that, he took classes in the summer to get his specialist degree which led to him becoming a superintendent. 

Although, John never participated in High School sports, he always enjoyed learning new things and took natural interest in sports as he wasn’t able to do growing up. He was asked by the school if he would aid in coaching the track team and although he didn’t know much about it at the time, he quickly learned more and more as he continued coaching, which is where he found his love for the sport. “John is a natural athlete who, like the rest of his life, is self-motivated to explore what he could do,” says his wife. She introduced him to the Show-Me State Games, where he started competing in track. Now, he has competed in everything besides pole vault, weight throw, and some distance events. Nothing is out of reach for John! Keep up the good work John!

Running Toward Her Dreams 

Jocelyn Haynes, 13, Troy, MO: Competed in Cross Country

Jocelyn was born via emergency C-section due to complications, and the doctors thought that if she were to survive she would be in a vegetable state or have severe brain damage for the rest of her life. However, 13 years later and against all odds, Jocelyn is completely healed and proudly competing in races all over, including the Junior Olympics!

Jocelyn found her love and passion for running at the young age of 7 where the school she previously attended had a running program and her hair has been in the breeze ever since!

When Jocelyn grows up, she wants to be an Olympian and a coach! Keep going Jocelyn! We look forward to seeing you excel for many more years to come!

Playing Through Adversity

Lane White, 14, New Bloomfield, MO: Competed in Powerlifting

Lane had a stroke in utero. As a result, he is weak in his right arm/leg. Lane has had to overcome adversity all of his life and because of that, he is determined to show that he can “play sports like the rest.”

Despite having the physical weakness on his right side, Lane has never let that stop him and saw it as an opportunity to push himself harder. And at the young age of 14 he can deadlift more than his own body weight! Lane is an all around athlete and not only does he have a passion for powerlifting, but also plays baseball with their local competitive team where he catches and throws with his left hand.

Even at so young an age, Lane is a true inspiration and inspires everyone he comes in contact with.  Keep pushing through and inspiring Lane!

Champion by Nature

Jackson Wagner, 24, Jefferson City, MO: Archery-Target

Jackson competed for Texas A&M archery team and graduated two years ago. During his time at Texas A&M, he was a part of 4 National Championship teams! In his final year, he placed 4th in the national at barebow!

Jackson chose us to continue his passion for archery and plans to continue for years to come. This Fall he will be teaching at South Calloway! Congratulations Jackson and we look forward to seeing you back in 2022!

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