Cherokee Nation citizen Sydney Lawrence, right, stands with teammate Abby Hoover after being awarded All-American medals at the 2017 NCAA Division II Women’s Cross-Country Championship in Evansville, Indiana. Lawrence and Hoover are the first student-athletes to receive All-American honors of any sport from Oklahoma Baptist University since it joined the NCAA in August. COURTESY
Lawrence named cross-country All-American
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Cherokee Nation citizen Sydney Lawrence recently earned All-American status at the 2017 National College Athletic Association Division II women’s cross-country championship.
Lawrence, 20, was one of two student-athletes to achieve the status for Oklahoma Baptist University. She and her teammate, Abby Hoover, are the first athletes of any sport to receive that honor for OBU since it joined the NCAA in August.
“It is a huge honor to be one of the first to receive something like this in OBU’s history, but I cannot take all of the credit for it. God has worked in incredible ways to allow me to be here at OBU and to continue to run and compete for his glory, Lawrence, who OBU recruited from Stilwell (Oklahoma) High School, said. “It was an honor to receive this because this was my first time to ever compete in the NCAA. All of the work I had put in since my freshman year of college to prepare for this opportunity paid off.”
She also thanked her family, coach and teammates for her and the Lady Bison’s success, which as a team placed 20th at the championship.
“My family has supported me through this entire process and helped me keep the right perspective about everything,” she said. “And also my coach and teammates, everyone’s dedication to being successful and also having the mindset of competing and living for Christ is what makes this team and program such a special and life-changing thing to be a part of.”
To receive All-American honors, student-athletes must place in the top 40. Although Lawrence said she was “doubtful” in the race’s beginning, she steadily progressed past other runners to the finish line in 40th place for the final All-American spot.
“I was kind of doubtful in the beginning of the race because I was hearing that I was in like the seventy, eighties and I thought ‘wow I’ve got a lot of work to do and people to pass,’ but I tried to stay focused on racing smart and being patient. I truly cannot deny that the Lord was at work and giving me strength through the entire race,” she said.
At Stilwell, running in Class 4A, Lawrence won state in the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs as a freshman and was a three-time all-state cross-country runner. She also won a national championship as a junior. She excelled in cross-country after picking up the sport as a freshman. Up to that point she had concentrated on track.
She said she was also recruited by the University of Central Oklahoma and Stephen F. Austin and John Brown universities but chose OBU because of the people she met and its Christian environment.
As cross-country season closes, Lawrence said she’s had a successful season with awards and achievements, including All-Region, Great American Conference Meet runner-up, First-Team All-Great American Conference, GAC Scholar-Athlete, GAC Runner of the Week and NCAA All-American.
Lawrence said with indoor track season beginning she would work hard to meet her goals.
“It would be really great to go to the national indoor meet as well. The national standard is much more difficult than previous years of competing in NCCAA’s (National Christian College Athletic Association), but I am excited to have that motivation to keep working hard and meeting running times I never thought I could run,” she said.
KALGOORLIE, Western Australia – From Europe to Western Australia, Cherokee Nation citizen Jeylyn Sharpe is making a name for himself overseas as a professional basketball player.
“I get to continue to play the sport I love, get paid for it and see the world,” Sharpe said. “If I didn’t take the opportunity then I would never get that chance again and probably regret not doing it.”
The 6-foot-5-inch standout from Ketchum, Oklahoma, said he didn’t seriously consider playing professionally until after his senior season at Rogers State University, where he accumulated 1,125 career points and was named the 2017 Heartland Conference Player of the Year.
Emails and Facebook messages from agents overseas wanting to represent him eventually led Sharpe to signing a professional contract in 2017 with BBC Grengewald Hueschtert of the Nationale 2 League in Niederanven, Luxembourg.
With help from an RSU assistant coach, the transition from collegiate to professional play was seamless.
“After my senior season in college, he put me through a lot of workouts to get me prepared,” Sharpe said. “The pace of play at the next level is faster. The shot clock time is shorter. You always hear ‘Europeans are very fundamental’ and you don’t really get an understanding of that until you play there. We were doing drills I use to do in elementary school. That’s how we would start our workouts and work our way up to the more difficult things.”
Sharpe also gave a “special thank you” to the same coach for fostering a connection with Australia after his season in Europe ended. Listed as a guard and forward, Sharpe is one of three Americans playing for the Goldfields Giants, a professional club in the State Basketball League of Western Australia.
“I am very fortunate to be at a place that feels like a big family, all the way from the owner down to the water boy,” he said. “The owner, GM (general manager) and coaches have all had us over at their house multiple times for dinner or just to relax and hang out. My teammates are great. I have never once questioned their effort on the court.”
Though struggling in the win column, Sharpe said he’s confident in the team’s direction.
“Our games have been a fight all the way to the end. Sadly the win and loss column doesn’t show that,” he said. “But we are a team that has stuck together the whole time and never pointed fingers at one another. By the end of this we hope to be a playoff team and keep playing into September, hopefully being a championship contender.”
As for the style of play overseas, Sharpe said there are differences. “In college, we had a lot of set plays and quick hitter offenses to score, but out in Australia and Luxembourg we just have different type of motion offenses and they let us play out of it. They know we are good smart players and they expect us to make the correct decision.”
Sharpe recorded one of his best games against the Mandurah Magic on May 12, accounting for 38 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and five steals as the team won 105-104. He is also the only Giant named to the 2018 SBL All-Star Games to be held June 4-5 in Mount Claremont.
When asked what he brings to the team, Sharpe said his energy and basketball IQ. “In college I played a little bit of guard some times and a little bit of a post. I would also have to guard posts and guards in college, so I can do the same at this level. I try to be the guy that you can put anywhere on the court and you can have confidence that I will get the job you are asking done.”
Sharpe’s dedication and leadership have not gone unnoticed by coaches and teammates, who voted him vice captain after arriving in February. “I was honored that they picked me as vice captain after only being there a few weeks. I think that they saw the knowledge and leadership I bring to the table. You don’t have to be a leader with just your voice. You can set the example by your actions, and I think the team saw me do that day in and day out.”
Playing overseas has also allowed Sharpe to take the Cherokee culture to that part of the world.
“It is cool to be able to tell them that I am Native American and that I am Cherokee,” he said. “I get to show them some pictures of my ancestors, and I know a little bit of Cherokee language, so I am able to show them what that sounds like. It’s great to get an opportunity to show other young Native Americans that goals are achievable if you work hard enough.”
As for the future, Sharpe said he’s “going with the flow.”
“I have been going with the flow lately, just letting this basketball take me around the world,” he said. “I would really like to play in China and Dubai before I am done playing. After this season I will be spending some quality time at home with family and friends. I really do enjoy it out here and can see myself coming back for another season.”
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen and employee Stephen Highers on May 3 graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.
“Having graduated from the OU EDI program, I can now set for the test to become a Certified Economic Developer through the International Economic Development Council,” CN Entrepreneur Development Manager Stephen Highers said.
According to the IEDC website, it’s a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization serving economic developers. It also states that with more than 5,000 members, the IEDC is the largest organization of its kind.
“Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities, by creating, retaining and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base,” the site states. “From public to private, rural to urban and local to international, IEDC’s members are engaged in the full range of economic development experience.”
Highers, who also serves as a Tahlequah city councilor, said he was excited to bring back knowledge he gained at the OU EDI to Tahlequah.
“Economic development is not easy, especially if you don’t understand the data and process by which to make informed, sound decision. Through my coursework and training at the OU EDI, I’m able to bring back to Tahlequah concrete ideas and solutions that will enhance our future growth in a healthy, competitive, and objective manner,” he said.
Highers said the program is a two-year program, and he has plans to become certified in the winter of 2019.
For more information, visit <a href="https://pacs.ou.edu/edi/about/" target="_blank">https://pacs.ou.edu/edi/about/</a>.
TAHLEQUAH – Family, friends and community members gathered on May 11 at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah grounds for a surprise ceremony for 9-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Grant York.
York suffers from several health conditions, including mitochondrial mutation. His mother, Kasie Mendenhall, said with mitochondrial mutation he is unable to absorb nutrients and hasn’t been able to eat solid food since he was 3 years old. In April, he was admitted to Physicians Choice Hospice.
“The last two years have been hard on him. He has spent most of all of it in the hospital,” Mendenhall said. “Physicians Choice Hospice has allowed Grant to have his pain adequately controlled and for him to remain home and not in the hospital.”
Caring for their patients is not the only thing PCH nurses do. They also grant wishes – Butterfly Wishes.
York’s wish was to go to the “Dixie Stampede” in Branson, Missouri, and through the Butterfly Wishes program he and his family received an all-expense paid trip for him to fulfill that wish.
However, before York and his family left for Branson, the nurses surprised him with a special ceremony that included York’s class at Keys Elementary School. This was the first time York met his classmates and teacher in person, Mendenhall said.
The Tahlequah Police Department also joined the ceremony making York their first junior officer, and he even took the official TPD oath. He was also presented a certificate, T-shirt and badge.
“Grant loves police and now he is a real police officer,” Mendenhall said.
After a photo shoot for the family, the TPD gave York a police escort out of town. Once they reached Branson, the Branson police, fire department and Missouri Highway Patrol were waiting to escort him into town.
Mendenhall said she was thankful for the community’s support her son and family received.
“Seeing our entire community come together to support Grant and our family leaves me speechless. Without the support of the community things like this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.
BROKEN ARROW – An old Vaudevillian joke goes something like this: “She shall now hang upside down while juggling pianos...on horseback.” Adding a horse to an impossible task makes the joke funnier and even more impossible. That is, unless you’re 10-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Sophie Duch.
Take away the pianos and that’s exactly what she does as a professional trick rider at rodeos.
On May 11-12, Sophie and her trusted horse, Jesse, took their act to Broken Arrow for the 2018 Rooster Days Festival and Rodeo.
Born and raised in Stilwell, Sophie’s love for western trick riding began when her parents took her to a rodeo in 2011 where the All-American Cowgirl Chicks trick riding team performed.
“I knew we were in trouble the moment Sophie saw the Chicks perform. She was only 3 years old but latched onto the fence and watched their every move,” said her mother and CN citizen Shawna Duch. “After the rodeo, Sophie had to meet each one of them. I could tell even then she was hooked.”
Sophie has received much help learning her craft during her young life, including from her first coach, CN-sponsored professional trick rider Haley Ganzel.
“There’s a lot of people around here to help you,” Sophie said. “They’ll even loan you a horse if you need one.”
This has never been a problem for Sophie. The other half of Sophie’s team, Jessie’s Girl, is a good-natured bay mare and has been with her since she fell in love with trick riding.
“She (Jessie’s Girl) just kind of took to it,” Sophie’s father Troop Duch said. “She’s a natural show-off. She really shines once she gets in the arena.”
Having a well-trained horse is key to the success and safety of the trick rider because many of the most difficult and dangerous tricks are performed with little or no control of the horse’s reins. Sweeping and precise ovals of the arena must be completed at the right speed to be successful.
For safety’s sake, tricks are performed from the inside or left as the horse runs counter clockwise, thus keeping the horse between the acrobatic rider and the arena’s fence line. At the Rooster Days Rodeo, Sophie performed not only as entertainer, but she also carried the American flag into the arena for the national anthem.
In her act Sophie performed three tricks and demonstrated twice during Jessie’s giant loop giving spectators on both sides of the arena a look. On the second night of the rodeo, Sophie performed her mounted shooting act, in which she shoots targets while on horseback.
For more information, call 918-696-1648 or 918-696-1648 or email <a href="mailto: Shawnaduch@gmail.com">Shawnaduch@gmail.com</a>. ??
PRESCOTT, Ariz. – With more than 30 years of experience in public service, Cherokee Nation citizen Dale Deiter was recently selected as forest supervisor of the Prescott National Forest.
Growing up in Arizona, Deiter said he developed a love for public service from his father, who served as a district ranger in Arizona and New Mexico.
In 1983, Dieter began his career in the U.S. Forest Service, first as a volunteer and then as a wild land firefighter for the Gila National Forest in New Mexico for three summers and one summer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Jackson, Wyoming. During that time he also attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a later a master’s degree in forestry.
After college, Deiter landed a job as a pre-sale forester and then a hydrologist for the Idaho Panhandle National Forest. The hydrologist job took him to the Fishlake National Forest in Richfield, Utah, where he spent more than seven years in that position dealing with watershed management and restoration. In 2007, he went back to Wyoming where he served as the district ranger for Bridger-Teton National Forest, a position he held prior to his promotion as forest supervisor with Prescott National Forest.
With a long resume under his belt, Dieter said the best part of having a career in the Forest Service is “leaving a legacy for public lands.”
“The (national) forests are a place where people can go to have fun, so knowing you’re part of making that happen is very rewarding,” he said.
Deiter said during his time with the Forest Service he’s traveled extensively throughout the western United States, even into Quebec, Canada, fighting fires. He said it’s “neat” to be able to work in places where a lot of people go for vacation.
“You get the opportunity to fly the national forest either in a helicopter or a plane or on horseback or by snowmobile into the back country or even hiking as well. You just get see a lot of unique lands in a lot of places that people don’t tread,” he said.
In his new role as forest supervisor, his job is to help with the oversight of the management of PNF’s 1.25 million acres of public land located across north central Arizona. He said the biggest challenge for him is adapting to challenging conditions facing climate change.
“Even in my career, fire season has gotten longer and fires have gotten bigger, and we are seeing its impact even in terms as snowpack and spring flow and that then presents a lot of challenges in long-term-sustaining management of national forests,” he said.
Deiter said he’s happy to be in his new position with PNF and plans to finish out his career there.
“I am planning to spend quite a bit of time there. There are a lot of challenges to deal with there, and it’s a really neat forest with great people, and so I will finish out my career there,” he said.
STILWELL – Cherokee Nation Distributors, a company within Cherokee Nation Businesses’ engineering and manufacturing sector, has again been named a prestigious supplier in the aerospace industry.
Sikorsky Aircraft, part of Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Missions Systems business, recently honored CND among its foremost suppliers.
CND received honors as a Sikorsky Elite Supplier for best-in-class performance in achieving on-time delivery, cost and quality standards during 2017.
“This is a great recognition of our CND team and of their unwavering dedication to providing first-in-class service,” CNB’s Diversified Businesses President Steven Bilby said. “It is our employees’ commitment to building the highest-quality of products while serving our clients with innovative solutions that truly sets us apart as the best in the industry.”
Dan Schultz, Sikorsky president, and Mike Ciocca, vice president Supply Chain Operations at Sikorsky, presented the award at a recent ceremony honoring the company’s top suppliers.
“We have developed a long-standing relationship with Sikorsky and, through that relationship, established a reputation for excellence in our field,” Chris Moody, CNB’s executive general manager of CNB’s engineering and manufacturing sector, said. “We are extremely proud to see our employees recognized for their commitment and continued diligence, year after year.”
CND has also been awarded Sikorsky Gold Supplier status five times since first earning its Sikorsky Gold Supplier Certification in 2012.
CND produces wire harness and electro-mechanical assemblies, interconnect solutions, distribution and kitting. The tribe’s engineering and manufacturing sector also offers laser and water-jet fabrication, 5-axis machining, welding, and assembly for military aircraft, ground vehicles, missile systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle programs.