In this 2012 photo, Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich drives past Tennessee Lady Volunteer Glory Johnson during the Kansas Lady Jayhawks’ first Sweet 16 appearance since 1998. On April 15, the Tulsa Shock selected Goodrich as the 29th overall pick in the WNBA draft. COURTESY PHOTO
Tulsa Shock selects Goodrich in WNBA draft
Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich shoots on Tennessee Lady Volunteer Glory Johnson in this 2012 photo during the Kansas Lady Jayhawks’ Sweet 16 appearance. On April 15, the Tulsa Shock selected the Tahlequah, Okla., native as the 29th overall pick in the WNBA draft. COURTESY PHOTO
BY LENZY KREHBIEL-BURTON
TULSA, Okla. – Selected 29th overall by the Tulsa Shock on April 15, Cherokee Nation citizen Angel Goodrich became the highest-drafted Native American woman in WNBA history.
A graduate of Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Goodrich played collegiately at the University of Kansas and averaged 14 points and almost 7 assists per game this past season, leading the Jayhawks to a second consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance.
“The team that came up big in the third round is the Tulsa Shock,” ESPN analyst Rebecca Lobo said on draft night. “They came into tonight without a point guard. They got their starting guard in the first round and then picked up Angel Goodrich from Kansas. That kid has a real shot to make their roster.”
With its first round pick, the Shock selected University of Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins, a four-time All-American and two-time Big East Player of the Year. Diggins’ team eliminated Goodrich’s Lady Jayhawks from the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Prior to draft, Tahnee Robinson was the only enrolled tribal citizen to be drafted by a WNBA team, with the Phoenix Mercury selecting her with the 31st pick of the 2011 draft. One other Native woman, Navajo Nation citizen Ryneldi Becenti, played as a free agent with the Mercury in 1997.
“Angel was the best available player at the time,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “Yes, we took a point guard with our first round pick, but she can’t play all 40 minutes. We will need a back up.
“We were surprised that a player of Angel's caliber was still left in the draft at pick 29,” Kloppenburg added. “She is a quality player and will have an opportunity to prove herself in training camp.”
Shock President Steve Swetoha said the team had Goodrich rated high on its draft board and was surprised to see her available at 29.
“She is a very smart point guard who has played against some good competition in the Big 12,” he said.
Goodrich earned First-Team All-Big 12 Conference honors on March 7, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. She was a 2012 Second-Team All-Big 12 selection.
The 5-foot-4 guard led the conference with 3.0 steals per game, while ranking second in the league with 6.9 assists per contest. Goodrich is second on the Jayhawks with 14.1 points per game and leads the team in 3-point field goals with 50.
This past season, Goodrich became a member of Kansas University’s 1,000-point scoring club and also became the all-time career assist leader in Kansas history. She has 201 assists this season, along with 87 steals.
The Shock’s home opener is May 27 against the Washington Mystics.
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FAIRFAX, Okla. – More than 20 Cherokee high school basketball players across the state have been tabbed for the 20th annual Oklahoma Indian All-State basketball teams.
The seven Cherokees are on the girls first team roster are Karah Basset (Grove), Amber Collins (Buffalo Valley), Jhonett Cookson (Sequoyah High School), Madison Davis (Locust Grove), Kylie Looney (Adair), Taci Owens (Ketchum) and Baylee Tanner (Jay).
Cherokees picked to the boys first team are Denver Coffee (Vian), Dalton Cunningham (Fort Gibson), Elliott Easton (Moss), Andrew Essary (Stilwell), George Fields (Hominy), BJ Leach (SHS), Josh Limes (Bishop Kelley) Chase Littlejohn (Stilwell) and Tanner Mouse (Ketchum).
SHS senior and Choctaw Nation citizen Zach Parish was also named to the boys first team.
Delaysha McCall from Tulsa East Central was the only Cherokee selection to the girls second team.
The boys second team roster has seven Cherokees: Dylan Bryant (Stigler), Isaac Carter (Chouteau-Mazie), Ryan Collins (Stilwell), Crawley Coleman (Fort Gibson), Taylor Foster (Jay), Treyton RedEagle (Pawhuska) and Will Robertson (Jay).
Run by Drs. Joe and Carol Conner through their Fairfax-based firm, Paradox Consulting, the games are scheduled for June 20 at Bartlesville’s Oklahoma Wesleyan University with first team selections split into two squads based on geographic location.
“We had no way of knowing that an event we started 20 years ago to highlight the accomplishments of some of Oklahoma’s finest high school athletes and to encourage them to pursue college educations would last two decades,” Dr. Carol Connor said. “We are as excited today as we were 20 years ago to announce this year’s first and second teams.
Coaches nominated potential participants, who were then ranked by a panel of coaches across Oklahoma based on their basketball accomplishments, potential to contribute to a balanced team, academic performance and extracurricular activities. Nominations were limited to seniors.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Midshipman Lynsey Michelle Dry of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, successfully completed four years of challenging academic, physical and professional military training and will graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy on May 22 with a bachelor’s degree in science with an emphasis in oceanography and a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy.
Dry (Cherokee/Choctaw) is a 2010 graduate of Sequoyah High School. After graduation she attended and graduated in May 2011 from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. She was then accepted to the Naval Academy.
At the Naval Academy, Dry helped establish the Native American Heritage Club, which was organized to celebrate the different Native American cultures and educate the Brigade of Midshipmen about Native cultures. She was then elected as president of the Heritage Club by her peers her senior year.
Dry participated in basketball and softball during her three years at SHS going to state tournaments in basketball, fast pitch softball and slow pitch softball.
Founded in 1845, the U.S. Naval Academy is a four-year service academy that prepares midshipmen morally, mentally and physically to be professional officers in the naval service. More than 4,400 men and women representing every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries make up the student body, known as the Brigade of Midshipmen.
U.S. News and World Reports has recognized the Naval Academy as a top five undergraduate engineering school and a top 20 best liberal arts college. Midshipmen learn from military and civilian instructors and participate in intercollegiate varsity sports and extracurricular activities. They also study subjects such as leadership, ethics, small arms, drill, seamanship and navigation, tactics, naval engineering and weapons and military law.
Upon graduation, midshipmen earn a bachelor’s of science degree in a choice of 25 different subject majors and go on to serve at least five years of exciting and rewarding service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.
The Brigade of Midshipmen is comprised of approximately 4,400 students from every state in the union. Each year, approximately 1,200 young men and women are admitted to the Naval Academy’s incoming class.
STILWELL, Okla. – Running comes naturally for Stilwell High School senior Sydney Lawrence, and it has paid off for her in the form of a college scholarship to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.
The 17-year-old will run cross-country and indoor and outdoor track for the Bison. She was also recruited by Stephen F. Austin University, University of Central Oklahoma and John Brown University but chose OBU because of the people she met and the Christian environment.
“I loved all of the people I met there. They were all very nice, and I also loved the Christian environment. I loved how organized the cross-country and track program is and how the team and coaches are serious about getting the job done,” she said.
In Class 4A, Lawrence won state in the 3200-meter and 1600-meter runs as a freshman and is a three-time all-state cross-country runner. She won state in cross-country as a sophomore and as a senior and 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 only on track. She said back then that she liked it because it was more relaxed and not as intense because she was not sprinting. She said she also liked running 2-mile cross-country races because it was more interesting than running in circles on a track.
Lawrence said she believes OBU decided to recruit her after she won state this past fall in cross-country.
At OBU she plans to major in exercise and sports science in physical training and strength conditioning. She said she feels like she has finally reached her goal, like her dreams are coming true.
“It was also a relief because my family has had trouble with college expenses from three girls going to college. I quit my job, so I could completely focus on getting my college paid for through running,” she said.
Lawrence is also a Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-State recipient. She is the daughter of Larry and Pam Lawrence of Stilwell.
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Aliana Barnoski, 12, excels in academics, but also shines as an athlete. One of her new undertakings is wrestling.
Barnoski, a sixth grader at Grant-Foreman Elementary School in Muskogee wrestles in the Muskogee Area Youth Wrestling Program.
Aliana said she became interested in wrestling after watching her younger brother wrestle.
“I thought it was cool, so I wanted to try it out,” she said.
Aliana’s father, John, said he was excited when his daughter wanted to try out the sport.
“She just feel in love with it, took to it and loved it ever since,” he said. “She can’t get it out of her mind.”
Aliana’s mother, Russanda, said Aliana began wrestling in the MAYWP in November.
“She got started late in the season because she was signed up for basketball,” she said.
Russanda said despite the late start, Aliana picked up quickly in her new sport.
Aliana said training and cutting weight for wrestling was not an easy task.
She said when she first started she was in the 12-and-under, 130-pound weight class. She said at this weight she was fighting against tougher opponents.
This is when her MAYWP coach, Andre Hill, had her diet to get in the 120-pound class.
“When I go to practice I’d have to wear a hoodie and sweatpants so I can cut weight,” she said. “It was pretty hard. I can only eat certain things. I can’t eat any takeout, fast food and stuff.”
Aliana practices three to four nights a week for approximately two hours a night. Through hard work and determination she has faired well at several wrestling competitions, including the Novice Junior Nationals, which she placed third in her category; the Tulsa Novice Nationals, which she placed third; and the Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association Novice State Tournament, which she won.
Aliana said she thought it was “pretty cool” to start winning after just starting. She also said she likes getting medals and beating boys. She added that she usually makes friends with the girl wrestlers, and tends to win against them in matches, too.
Russanda said Aliana has gone through some trials in wrestling and is glad to see her succeeding.
“When she first started she injured her shoulder and set out a week, so that put her behind a little bit, and then when she got her stitches (under her eye) she couldn’t practice for a few days,” she said. “I was really proud to see her work through those things. It wasn’t just a walk in the park to get out there and do it. She struggled all year to keep her weight and her injuries down.”
John said it’s important as a parent of an athlete to not be too hard on them when trying to motivate them.
“It’s pretty tough because you can’t be too hard on them,” he said. “I know with her if I’m real hard on her she’ll shut down and not do much at all for me. You have to find that fine line on how to talk to them and definitely find them a good program. That’s what’s made a difference with her, is just the atmosphere at wrestling practice.”
John said it has been an inspiration to see his daughter work hard and not give up.
“It makes me proud to watch her. Just to see how much heart she has and then talking with her coach, he knows that she has a lot of heart. All my kids do, but she really shows it,” he said.
Hill said he’s glad Aliana tried out for the sport and he enjoys coaching her.
“She’s got something that you can’t teach, which is heart,” he said.
Hill said Aliana had the perfect start, which helped her climb the ranks.
“She didn’t come in just dominating from the beginning, but she learned and she progressed. At the end of it all she won it all,” he said. “For a first year wrestler, it’s unheard of. It’s nice.”
CONCHO, Okla. (AP) — A homecoming celebration for Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Suzan Shown Harjo is planned by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.
The homecoming will be Friday starting at 4 p.m. at Concho Community Hall in Concho.
Harjo a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes and is a writer, curator and activist and was a member of the administration of former President Jimmy Carter. She has worked to get sports teams to discontinue using names that promote negative stereotypes of Native Americans and for the passage of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
STILWELL, Okla. – The postseason awards are rolling in for a few Cherokee high school basketball players.
After his team’s second straight trip to the state tournament, Stilwell senior Chase Littlejohn was named the Class 4A state player of the year by the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association and awarded a spot on the Oklahoma Coaches Association’s Large East All-State team. The 6-foot, 1-inch guard averaged 19.5 points per game this season.
“This is an awesome accolade to earn,” Littlejohn said. “Coming into high school, being named an all-stater was one of my two big goals, along with winning a state title. Obviously, the other one didn’t happen, but this is still pretty sweet.”
Littlejohn got word of his all-state selection while on his official visit to Rogers State University in Claremore. Littlejohn has since committed to play for the Hillcats, rejoining his former high school teammate and fellow CN citizen, Matt Lea.
Littlejohn’s coach, Ron Dunaway, sees the recognition as a welcome boost for the Adair County school and a testament to the hours Littlejohn and the rest of his teammates spent in the gym this season.
“It is so difficult at the 4A level for a kid to earn an all-state spot, as we’re bunched in with 5A and 6A schools,” Dunaway said. “The benefit is priceless for our program. It’s a compliment to…how hard they’ve worked. Chase has worked really hard and puts in lots of time. He’s not 6-8 like Matt (Lea), so he’s really had to get in there.”
The OCA All-State games are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 1 in Tulsa.
For another Cherokee student-athlete, the postseason honors come as she wraps up her basketball career.
A starter on Sequoyah’s Class 3A state championship team, senior center Jhonett Cookson made it through two rounds of tryouts to earn a roster spot on the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association’s Middle East All-State team, open to seniors at 3A and 4A schools.
“It means a lot,” she said. “Over the past four years, I’ve put in a lot of time playing and practicing and have had to give up a lot of things just to put the necessary time. After all of that hard work, it feels great to get picked for this honor.”
Joining Cookson on the OGBCA’s Middle East All-State team are CN citizens Kylie Looney from Adair, Courtney Risenhoover from Verdigris and Locust Grove’s Madison Davis. The OGBCA All-State games are scheduled for May 30 at Westmoore High School.
Cookson, Looney and Risenhoover will be teammates again come July, as all three were named to the OCA Small East team on April 9. Davis will play on the Large East team.
With an eye on eventually going to medical school, Cookson does not plan on playing collegiately. However, her last competitive game will include a familiar face on the sidelines as her coach, Larry Callison, will be on the sidelines for the OCA all-state game after being nominated by other coaches in the area.
“It’ll be fun to coach her again one more time,” Callison said. “It also gives our program a little more recognition for all the hard work and effort Jhonett and the other kids have put in this year.”