Tag Archives: MSHSAA

Australian exchange student finds unexpected success at Nodaway-Holt

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader

NaliSmilesWhen Nali Tattersall arrived in Missouri in January, the 17-year-old exchange student had never participated in track and field, never attempted the high jump nor the long jump, never even seen how to do the triple jump.

Now, the Nodaway-Holt junior from Darwin, Australia, will be competing at state this weekend after qualifying in all three events at sectionals.

“(I) feel overwhelmed to receive all the attention,” Tattersall said. “I enjoy seeing everyone’s athletic ability and getting to meet others I compete with and build relationships with them.

“I’m also excited to be able to help my team with points and hopefully continue this journey as far as I can.”

Tattersall’s host family, Erick and Heather Thornton and their son, Derick, have enjoyed watching him compete.

“He is a natural to jumping events, and having never done it before, we didn’t expect him to be doing so well,” Heather said. “It’s been great to celebrate with him each time he sets a new personal record or see his face light up when he gets another trophy or medal.”

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Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia and has a population of 136,000.

Tattersall said while the language is the same and western culture is shared, there are several differences between his home country and the US.

“We drive on different sides of the road and (there are) changes in climate. Here it gets really cold and I’m used to it being hot year round,” he said.

The food is also different.

“Americans have so many choices,” he said. “There are so many different kinds of snacks and restaurants in the states. In Australia, we don’t have free refills and very few candy bars. I love trying it all.

“I do miss vegemite, though.”

Vegemite is a popular spread for sandwiches, toast and crackers in Australia. It’s dark brown, tastes salty and slightly bitter and is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with vegetable and spice additives.

Tattersall has also found that school is somewhat different.

“There are no sports in schools in Australia and here there is something to do all year,” he said.

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The students at Nodaway-Holt, however, are mostly the same as those in Australia.

“(They) like similar things such as hanging out on the weekends, playing video games and they like to fish and hunt,” Tattersall said.

Sarcasm has been a bit of a challenge for him, he said, understanding when it’s being used and what is meant by it. But he is really enjoying his time at Nodaway-Holt especially participating in athletics and making new friends.

“My school is amazing,” he said. “And I’ve built so many friendships that will last a lifetime.”

That includes his host family.

“I have been placed with an awesome host family who are very supportive and keep my family in Australia involved with pictures and videos on Facebook,” he said.

Heather said they are grateful for the opportunity to have him in their home.

“He is a great kid, very funny and easy going, polite and enjoys interacting with others,” she said. “He has taught us many things about his culture and answers your questions, even if it’s the 500th time he had answered it. Watching him experience new things is a joy.

“We are grateful for the experience and know he will be a part of our family for many years.”

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Track

While there were no athletics offered at school in Australia, Tattersall did play basketball in what would be equivalent to a YMCA or community center league.

In addition to track and field, he participated in part of the basketball season at Nodaway-Holt after he arrived, and because he will be here until November, he plans to also play football in the fall.

Before Tattersall arrived in Missouri, a few students had shown Coach Josh Petersen video clips of him dunking a basketball from right inside the free throw line.

“When he started school here, I think it was his first or second day of basketball practice, I asked to see him dunk it,” Petersen said. “And I was just amazed at how high he could jump.”

So when track season rolled around, Petersen said he couldn’t wait to see how well he could or would do in the jumping events.

“Long jump and high jump weren’t really an issue but I was curious to see how he would do in triple jump,” he said. “The day before our first meet, I showed him the technique. And after seeing the look on his face and him saying ‘far out’ in that Australian accent of his, I figured he would like it.”

Not only did he like it, he excelled at it.

The day after learning how to triple jump, Tattersall participated in his first meet and jumped around 38 feet. Now, he’s jumping nearly 43 feet.

His long jump started at around 18 feet and now he’s jumping 20’2”.

In high jump, Petersen said he was stuck on 6’2” for awhile but he eventually got 6’4” at the Mound City meet which is his best and a Nodaway-Holt school record.

He was also a part of the 4×200-meter relay team, which Petersen said fared pretty well in every meet.

“Nali has been a very big part in the success of our track team this year,” Petersen said. “We only had six guys out and he was usually first or second in every event he was in. He has been our high point guy in every track meet, usually scoring 26 to 30 points by himself.

“I have really enjoyed watching him do his events and couldn’t have asked for a better person to coach in my first year. It’s been exciting to watch him perform.”

With his unexpected success, Tattersall is now considering the sport as a potential part of his future.

“Participating in track at the collegiate level is not a possibility (at home); they don’t have sports in college there,” he said. “I could continue track in Australia, however, it would be very limited and difficult.”

So after he finishes high school, he said he will consider returning to the US to further his education and participate in track while doing so.

“This has been amazing,” Tattersall said, “and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

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Hounds defeat Oak Grove to advance to semifinal game

By Jacki Wood, Nodaway News Leader, November 2013

And then there were four.

The Maryville Spoofhounds took one step closer to a return to the Dome on November 16.

The Hounds’ 42-20 win at Oak Grove in the state quarterfinal game makes them one of four teams left in the Class 3 playoffs.

But Head Coach Matt Webb isn’t letting his team get ahead of themselves.

“We talk about one day at a time,” Webb said. “Win the day.”

It’s been a phrase he’s used since the beginning of last year when the Hounds began the historic ride they are currently on – a 28-game winning streak.

And it’s the phrase he’ll continue to use as they head into this weekend’s semifinal game against 12-1 California, a rematch of last year’s semifinal game against the Pintos in which Maryville won 42-7.

“California is a great football team,” Webb said. “We feel like this was a great team we just beat and we know California is going to be just as good.”

Not only did Maryville beat a solid Oak Grove team Saturday, they also did it battling against the wind, which had gusts of 30-40 mph.

The Hounds started the game facing that wind but seemed undeterred by it. After a 53-yard run by junior Brody McMahon, senior quarterback Trent Nally scored on a one-yard keeper to go up 6-0 with 10:54 to go in the first.

Oak Grove responded with a touchdown of its own, but the Hounds blocked the PAT to keep it tied at 6-6 with 5:18 remaining.

On the next drive, Nally fumbled the snap and the Panthers took over at the Maryville 24-yard line. But Oak Grove wasn’t able to capitalize on the turnover and the quarter ended still tied, 6-6.

The Hounds used a big second quarter with the wind at their backs to tack on two touchdowns – a 42-yard pass from Nally to Payden Dawson and a two-yard run by McMahon. The defense also came up big, holding Oak Grove scoreless, to take a 22-6 lead into halftime.

“We were able to score twice with the wind in the second quarter,” Webb said. “And that was huge.”

Oak Grove scored first in the third quarter, but Maryville quickly responded with a 32-yard Nally-to-McMahon TD to make it 28-14 with 7:04 left in the third.

The Panthers and Hounds traded touchdowns once again. Oak Grove scored with 4:21 left to make it a 28-10 game. Then with just over a minute to go, Nally found the end zone from 13 yards out, and a two-point conversion by McMahon put Maryville up 36-20.

Maryville’s defense responded again in the fourth quarter. With 7:13 left in the game, the Hounds held Oak Grove on 4th and 13 to regain possession. The offense put together a long drive and Nally added his fifth score of the game. His one-yard rushing touchdown put the Hounds up 42-20 with 2:53 remaining, which would hold as the final score.

“That was two very good football teams, laying it on the line,” Webb said. “That’s what playoff football is. I’m just very proud of the character and effort of our young men.”

Nally was 5-6 passing for 137 yards and two TDs. He also had 11 rushes for 45 yards and three TDs.

McMahon carried the ball 17 times for 136 yards and one touchdown. Dakota Beemer had 10 rushes for 64 yards and Dawson added six rushes for 20 yards.

Adam Thompson had two receptions for 43 yards, Dawson had one catch for 42 yards and a touchdown, McMahon had one catch for 32 yards and a touchdown and Beemer had one reception for 20 yards.

Chris Dougan led the defense with 13.5 tackles. Nally and Elijah Green each had 9.5 tackles, followed by John Schenkel with 6.5 and Dawson and McMahon with five each. Dalton Pistole added 3.5 tackles, Adam Thompson had three, Jackson Morrison had 2.5 and Brendan Weybrew added two.

With the win, the Hounds advance to the state semifinal game at California on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm.