MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin men’s rodeo team finished second while the women’s squad brought home fourth place honors in the 45th annual spring college rodeo held at the Ned Ray McWherter Agricultural Pavilion and NW (Doc) Robinson Arena over the weekend.
Entering its own rodeo ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation, the UT Martin men’s team tallied 540 points, just trailing Missouri Valley College (645 points) for the team title. Nonetheless, the UT Martin men’s team seized the Ozark Region championship by a commanding margin and has qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo, which will be held in Casper, Wyo. on June 9-15. The updated national rankings will be officially announced on Monday afternoon.
The Skyhawk women’s team compiled 220 points, narrowly missing first place honors. West Alabama took home the women’s championship with 275 total points.
In addition, Skyhawk head coach John Luthi was named Ozark Region’s Coach of the Year, marking the first time in his 17-year UT Martin career that he has captured that accolade.
In the bareback competition, Tyler Waltz finished second overall with 144 points after compiling a first go score of 70 and a short go round of 74.
Three cowboys represented UT Martin in tie-down roping, led by Jordan Thrasher (19.6 average, second overall). Lane Mitchell’s 9.4 led all cowboys after the first go as he finished fifth overall with a 21.3 average. Ben Walker’s score of 9.7 ranked third after the first go.
Micayla Gray’s average of 7.6 resulted in a fifth place finish in the women’s breakaway roping, while Natalie Fletcher ranked third after the first go before finishing sixth (14.7 average).
Ty Hughston finished first in saddle bronc riding with his 73 average. Allen Foster’s average of 64 was good enough for fourth place in the event.
In steer wrestling, Clay Mitchell (9.1 average) paced all cowboys, led by a strong 4.2 effort that led all participants in the short go. Teammate Robert Joyce finished second in the event with an average of 9.4, including a 4.4 score in the short go. Will Lummus (4.7 first go) and Austin Duckett (4.9 first go) also earned points for UT Martin.
Gray split fourth and fifth in the short go of the goat tying competition, accounting for a score of 7.2.
In team roping, the UT Martin duo of Clay Mitchell and Lane Mitchell finished first with a 14.4 score, led by a score of 7.1 that led all cowboys in the short go. Will Lummus teamed with East Mississippi’s Eli Shumaker to finish second in the average (16.2), thanks in large part to an 8.1 round in the short go. Ben Walker joined forces with Troy’s Zach Mabrey to compile the third-best average (19.6) while Jacob Dagenhart earned points with the third-best score in the first go (6.9).
Mary Francis Gorsuch (13.59) and Nealey Dalton (13.72) finished first and second, respectively, in the short go of barrel racing. Gorsuch (27.48 average, second place) and Dalton (27.76 average, fourth place) were each responsible for top-five finishes overall.