UTM rodeo load on underclassmen
Posted: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:02 am
By: UTM Sports Information
John Luthi has taken a team to the College National Finals Rodeo every year since 1997 when he started at UT Martin. However, this year will be the first time he has taken a UT Martin men’s team loaded with freshmen and sophomores. Luthi’s underclassmen hung on to claim second in the Ozark Region and claim an automatic bid to this year’s CNFR, June 12-18, out in Casper, Wyo.
UT Martin entered its own rodeo recently with an 85-point advantage over rival Murray State.
When the dust settled, Luthi was able to smile and breath relief as UT Martin scored 480 points, 60 more than Murray State.
Go ahead and call it close if you want, but the bottom line is UT Martin finished second in the Ozark Region, 145 points ahead of Murray State.
“I am very thankful and impressed,” Luthi said. “We have been using freshmen and sophomores all season long. They have been able to learn and grow this year. They learned about pressure and focused on what they had to do.”
Freshman Tyler Waltz led the UT Martin men’s team with 1,335 points. Waltz was second in the Ozark Region all-around, third in the bareback and ninth in the bull riding and steer wrestling.
Other members of the men’s team scoring points throughout the season, included freshman John Alley, freshman Clay Mitchell, sophomore Jordan Thrasher, freshman Ty Hughston, freshman Ben Walker, junior Seth McDaniel, junior Evan Alley and freshman Robert Joyce.
Mitchell and Alley finished third in the region team roping, while Thrasher was fourth in steer wrestling.
The UT Martin women’s team raced to the Ozark Region title this season. The team scored 670 points at the Missouri Valley College Rodeo and never looked back. The team finished first in five of nine Ozark Region rodeos and capped off its race to the CNFR by scoring 300 points in its own rodeo and finishing second.
A trio of juniors – Chelsie McDade, Heather Moore and Abby McDuff – led the UT Martin women’s team throughout the season.
McDade scored 1,130 points, Moore tallied 1,050 points, while McDuff piled up 1,010 points this season.
The trio accounted for all but 370 of the team’s 3,560 points in nine rodeos.
McDade, who transferred to UT Martin from Northeast Oklahoma, won the Ozark Region women’s all-around, while McDuff was third.
In order to score points in the all-around, a cowgirl must work at least two events in a rodeo.
McDade helped her cause by working the team roping and finished seventh in the Ozark Region. She also finished second in the breakaway roping and fifth in the goat tying. Despite an injury to her horse, Hero, Moore from New Johnsonville, won the region’s barrel racing saddle. She was also 15th in the breakaway roping.
McDuff, from Centreville, Miss., finished second in the region’s goat tying and fifth in the breakaway
She finished third in the region’s all-around, just 15 points out of second place.
“We have had different people caring us throughout the year,” Luthi said. “That shows, even though we are extremely young on the men’s side, we have some depth.
“We just have to go to the finals and take advantage of the opportunities we are given.”