Troy women’s rodeo riding high after solid season

Published 8:50 am Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With baseball in full swing and college football teams in the midst of spring practice, the college rodeo season may slip past some radars unnoticed but the Troy rodeo squad is making waves in 2013.

The Troy women’s team has marched all the way to a third place standing nationally according to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

“They’ve been working extremely hard and it’s been paying off,” Troy head coach Josh Simmons said. “We’ve got several freshman that have been leading the way. I couldn’t be more proud of how they have competed.”

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Heading the pack for Troy has been the sister duo of Kesia and Kassandra Smith. Kesia, a freshman, is rated seventh nationally in the goat tying category while Kassandra, a junior, is 13th.

Kelsey Kennemer has also been a star for Troy this season and is eighth in breakaway roping.

“We started really using the strength and conditioning program at Troy,” Simmons said. “It’s always been available to use but this is the first year we have went all-out and taken it to heart. That has made a huge difference.”

Simmons said the team works out three day a week and practices up to four day a week. All the time spent as a team has pulled them closer together.

“I think the team chemistry has improved,” said Simmons. “This is a close team, they really get along and work together. They want it more and are working harder than they ever have.”

Of the 16 members on the women’s roster, 12 are freshman.

“The biggest challenge for anyone in rodeo is draw you get at a competition. Unlike other sports, everything isn’t always on a level playing field, a lot depends on which cow or calf you get. It can be tough for anyone especially the younger members,” Simmons said.

Troy has just one competition remaining on the season. It will take place in Martin, Ten., as part of the UT-Martin Collegiate Rodeo on April 11-13. Barring something spectacular, Troy will lock up the Ozark Region championship at the event. Currently, Troy is 693 points ahead of Southern Arkansas University. The region is comprised of 10 schools including West Alabama, Murray State and UT-Martin.

The College National Finals will be held June 9-15 in Casper, Wyoming. Troy is expected to send four women and one man to the competition though it has not been finalized.