The atmosphere at Hickman High’s pool was a little unusual for Peter Wong of Columbia, but he seemed to learn from it.
Wong, 19, who swims for Princeton University, competed in the 50-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly Saturday in the Show-Me State Games’ swimming competition.
It was different for Wong to compete against swimmers 40 and older. In the butterfly, he swam against Ken Grayam, 71, of Parkville.
Wong said he was surprised to see swimming as a lifetime sport for so many people, and he said it was inspiring.
“It’s kind of fun to see everyone come out here, get a chance to race and have some fun,” Wong said. “I swim in college, but hopefully, afterward I’ll get a chance to keep on swimming and keep on racing like them.”
Dale Elletson, 58, of Columbia, who said he has been swimming for about 40 years, has been swimming nonstop this weekend. Elletson, who competed in two events Friday and three events Saturday, will compete in three events today.
“I’ve been swimming ever since I was 10 or 12 years old,” Elletson said. “You have to be in shape to swim, and as you get older, you have less opportunity to work out than you used to. So, makes it tougher. But, I am doing pretty good against the younger swimmers. I feel pretty good about that.”
Elletson won the 50-yard freestyle in the 55-59 division in 28.60, about 25 seconds ahead of runner-up Ken Buscher, 57, of Trident. Elleston placed 12th out of the 40 swimmers 19 and older in the 50 freestyle.
Ryan Smith, 17, of Jefferson City, won the five youth events he competed in.
For the Columbia Vipers girls’ volleyball team, the Games will be a bittersweet ending. It will be their last tournament before the players leave for college in the fall.
The Vipers are the returning champions and eager to defend their title in the 10 team, 18-and-under division competing at Columbia College. Melissa Everitt has coached the team for two years and is the director of volleyball operations at Missouri. She has been coaching volleyball for eight years.
“I won’t say we’re going to win, because you never no what will happen,” Everitt said “We’re rusty, we haven’t played since May, but this is their last time to play together.”
The Vipers are comprised of players from Columbia and Jefferson City, and their regular season started in January. Everitt said the Games are an opportunity for the girls to play together and have fun. It is not a USA Volleyball sanctioned tournament, so anyone can form a team and play.
Viper Brenna Schlader, a recent Hickman graduate, is headed to Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardo next year to continue playing. At 6 feet 3, Schlader was first recruited to play basketball, but her desire to play volleyball was stronger.
“I could have gone Division I for basketball, but I was more interested in volleyball,” Schlader said. “I just have a lot of fun and never get tired of it.”
Schlader said she is looking forward to playing with her teammates for the last time and is optimistic they can win the tournament.
“I think that we can whoop up on these teams here, if we just keep our focus and have some fun,” Schlader said.
Veronica Smith, one of seven valedictorians from Hickman, will be playing for Lindenwood University in St. Charles in the fall. She said she isn’t big enough to play Division I and wanted to stay in Missouri for school. Smith who plays on the right side, received a scholarship from Lindenwood. She said she agreed that the Vipers will do well in the Games.
Each team plays four matches and then enters a single elimination tournament Saturday.
A rendition of Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting” was one of the highlights of the Games’ Ultimate tournament at Hinkson Field.
Marika Weiner, a player on MU’s Midnight Monkey Madness team, said that after a game it is tradition for each team to sing a song to the other team with its name in the lyrics. The players on Ju Jitsu, a team from Truman State University, sing loudly while throwing banana peels in the air and mimicking monkeys in honor of its opponents.
Midnight Monkey Madness began with gatherings for games every night from 10 p.m. to midnight on Stankowski Field. Chris Bethel, Midnight Monkey Madness’ captain, has played in leagues, but most of his team never played Ultimate before learning about the game, and the team, by word of mouth. Weiner said that her team is mostly a “mish-mosh” group.
Dan Stout, the ultimate commissioner, picked up the game in college and said that it is a popular college sport.
Stout said that the ultimate tournament is a low-key event. There are 11 teams competing, five in the college division and six in the non-college division.
“The Truman team is the first seed,” Stout said. “They are the most organized team out here, and they have 17 good players.”
Players on Truman’s team said that people think they are going to win, because they have jerseys. Brady Nelson has graduated, but used the Games as an opportunity to play with his team again.
“We used to be called Fat Kids’ Revenge, but when the school gave us funding they said our name was offensive and we had to change it,” Nelson said. “We didn’t really think the Truman Bulldog was in the spirit (of the game).”
The team’s name is a play on the abbreviation of Truman State University.
The Wirkus sisters were two of the five girls playing for Truman. Christina Wirkus wore a hot pink skirt and demonstrated getting familiar with the ground by doing somersaults when diving for the flying disc. Sharon Wirkus said not being afraid to dive for the disc is what sets her team apart.
— Tammy Portnoy
Brandan Lindhorst yells, “Go, Big T” as his dad, Terry Lindhorst, walks onto the stage of the Lange Middle School auditorium to compete in the second flight of the Games’ power-lifting event.
It is the first power-lifting competition for Terry Lindhorst, 47, and his sons Brandan, 16, and Patrick, 14, of Blue Springs. Last year, they competed in the Games’ track events, and this year, because of time conflicts, they tried a new event.
“We always like to do stuff as a family,” Terry Lindhorst said.
The Lindhorsts said they were not sure what they were getting themselves into when they arrived. They read magazines on weight lifting and a cousin who works in a gym gave tips, but they were not familiar with the event’s rules. On Brandan Lindhorst’s first try, he threw the bar back into position incorrectly, and Patrick Lindhorst forgot that he was not supposed to move his feet around.
Terry Lindhorst told Patrick that he would get the gold, because he is the only one competing in his weight division. Brandan and his father competed in the same flight. Terry Lindhorst started by bench pressing 150 pounds; Brandan Lindhorst started at 170, and Patrick Lindhorst started at 140.
“We’re in different weight classes, but I’ll beat (my father) anyways,” Brandan Lindhorst said.
Terry Lindhorst said that his sons should be able to beat him. He said that this is good football training for his sons. Both take after their father, who played football in high school, and play for St. Mary’s High in Independence.
Patrick Lindhorst, who has braces and wore a black T-shirt with “I love Conan O’Brian” on it, started weight training a year ago, but he talks as if he has been training for a long time. Patrick Lindhorst said it would be cool to beat his brother.
“I’m doing better than he did at my age,” Patrick Lindhorst said.
There are all types of people at the power-lifting event. The volunteers from Clark’s Championship Gym, mothers trying to figure out how to work video cameras, and friends of competitors, such as Marty Specking, trying to keep the competition’s mood light.
Specking left Rockport at 6 a.m. and drove four hours to see his childhood friend Rick Rone compete in the 45-49 division.
“I have relatives at home in Rockport right now, but I told them I would be back tonight,” Specking said. “(Rone) told me, ‘I’m going to win, come and watch me win.’”
This is the first power-lifting competition for Rone since 1980, when he was a Marine Corps champion in the 152-pound division. As the soccer coach at Harris-Stowe State College, he spent all his free time in the weight room preparing to compete.
— Tammy Portnoy
Jason Alcorn had the complete bowling experience at the Show-Me State Games’ bowling competition at Town & Country Lanes.
Alcorn, 18, from Villa Ridge, came 10 pins short of his all-time high in his first game, then scored nearly 100 pins less two games later.
“Everything was going well for me, so I just kept going,” Alcorn said. “It was really good. I was focused, I was geared.
“Then I got three straight splits in a row, so I don’t know. When you get three straight splits, that doesn’t help.”
The splits contributed to a third-game total of 168. He rolled a 255 in his first game, which held up as the best score of the day in the teen singles’ division. He bowled a 225 in his second game for a 638 series.
Alcorn began bowling at 6, and picked up the game’s nuances from family, friends and lots of practice.
“I bowl on at least two (leagues) a year,” Alcorn said, “and I’ve bowled on the traveling team for (Pacific High) for two years.”