Tag Archives: missouri

2014 MSHSAA Baseball Championships

Members of the Springfield Catholic Fighting Irish celebrate after winning Wednesday’s Class 3 championship game over the Christian Eagles during the 2014 MSHSAA Baseball Championships at T.R. Hughes Stadium on June 4, 2014 in O’Fallon, Mo. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

Two weeks ago, I made my second visit to T.R. Hughes ballpark in O’Fallon, Missouri for the second year the Missouri State High School Baseball State Championships were held there. Last year, we had a week full of rain that postponed several games and we got drenched. This year however, we only had rain the last day, and the rest of the week was beautiful weather. Below are some of my frames from the week, including a group of photos from a game feature I shot for the News-Leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the second year in a row, the Springfield Catholic Fighting Irish baseball team made it to the State Championship game. My job for the Springfield News-Leader was to provide coverage of the Irish seeking a state championship win. They ended up defeating the Christian Eagles 8-3 to claim the Class 3 title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 MSHSAA Track Championships (Large Schools)

 

Last weekend marked the fourth time in nearly five years that I have covered track. It has always been one of those sports to elude me. However, it it is always a breath of fresh air to shoot something different and try and find new ways to look at things. Since this was the second week in a row covering the state track meet, I had a general idea of what to expect as far as access is concerned. As I quickly found out, there were times where I was granted access that I was completely surprised about, and others that left me scratching my head at it being pulled or denied. All in all, I was pleased with what I walked away with this past week, and am looking forward to moving forward with the rest of my summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is how I felt at the end of the weekend:

 

Hoops, Hoops, Hoops: Two Weeks of Basketball

Lafayette Head Coach Chris Neff reacts with his son after the Fighting Irish won Friday’s Class 4 semifinal against the Farmington Knights during the 2014 Show-Me Showdown at Mizzou Arena on March 21, 2014 in Columbia. The Irish defeated the Knights 46-41. (David Welker | Special to the News-Press)

 

I cannot remember the last time I photographed so much basketball in such a short amount of time. When March comes in Missouri, it really does turn into a time of Madness, as photographers from around the state come to Columbia for the state basketball tournament. For two straight weeks, I found myself on the hardwood at Mizzou Arena and the Hearnes Center on the campus of the University of Missouri. All in all, these two weeks of the 2014 Show-Me Showdown were filled with great basketball, fun time with friends, and working for some great clients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Night Lights: Parkview Vikings at Kickapoo Chiefs

Last night marked the first high school football game of the season. I was assigned to cover the Parkview Vikings as they took on the Kickapoo Chiefs in a cross town rivalry to start off the Ozark Conference season. Both teams were hoping for a good start to their season by jumping right into conference play. Kickapoo started the game off sluggish, but by the third quarter, had a firm grip on the control of the game. Here are a few frames of game action from the first high school game  of the season.

 

 

Kickapoo senior captains walk out to the coin toss prior to Friday’s game against the Parkview Vikings at Kickapoo High School on August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

Senior captains from the Parkview Vikings and Kickapoo Chiefs listen to the head referee during the coin toss prior to Friday’s game at Kickapoo High School on August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

Kickapoo’s Anthony Cooper (9) hands off the ball to Tony grant (45) during the varsity football game against the Parkview Vikings at Kickapoo High School on Friday, August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

Kickapoo’s Tony grant (45) is tackled by a group of Vikings defenders during the varsity football game against the Parkview Vikings at Kickapoo High School on Friday, August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

Parkview’s Anthony Gilliland (10) hands off the ball to Anthony McCrimmons (24) during the varsity football game against the Kickapoo Chiefs at Kickapoo High School on Friday, August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

Parkview’s Anthony Gilliland (10) makes a cut while running up the field during the varsity football game against the Kickapoo Chiefs at Kickapoo High School on Friday, August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

 

 

A general view of the field during the varsity football game between the Parkview Vikings and Kickapoo Chiefs at Kickapoo High School on Friday, August 30, 2013 in Springfield. (David Welker/For the News-Leader)

A Racer’s Mission

I spent this past Saturday on one of the most exciting and personally fulfilling assignments I have ever done. I spent the 14 hour Saturday documenting friend, and Late-Model race car driver, Mark Penticuff, as he raced his car at Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri. This was a first to me as I had never been to a dirt track nor had I covered any motorsports since the NHRA races last year in St. Louis.

While I have known Mark for several years, I became interested in photographing him earlier this year when he mentioned that he is a race car driver and uses his racing as a way to minister to people. A few weeks ago, I asked him if I could tag along to one of his up coming races. Mark agreed and I began planning how I was going to tell his story visually.

“Chaplain” is seen written on the rear spoiler of Mark Penticuff’s Late-Model Camaro car while in pit row at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri. Penticuff is one of several racers who participate in the National Fellowship of Raceway Ministries as a chaplain for Southwest Missouri.

I met up with Mark in the early afternoon and we headed up to the track. When we got there, he showed me around and gave me the lay of the land. He then went to prep his car for the night’s races. As other racers began showing up for the night’s events, I began to notice something profound about Mark’s operation. His rig was a modest one, run mostly off of donations from churches and other local support. He didn’t have the flashy car, camper-trailer combos, or the the hydraulic lifted bays that some of the other drivers had. But one thing I noticed was Mark was happy and thankful for what he did have, and explained to me that having the biggest and best and winning wasn’t the point of all of this. He wanted to show people that he is different than most. He wanted to be the guy that other drivers could come and talk to if they didn’t feel comfortable talking with the “paid religious folks” at the track. Win or lose, he would be content.

Mark Pentficuff works on his Late-Model Camaro in the pit area prior to NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri.

Mark Penticuff’s gear sits in the back of his pickup truck in the pits at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri. Penticuff is his own driver, mechanic and pit crew during races and has runs his ministry off of donations from churches and other sponsors for the past five years in order to put a car on the track.

Mark Penticuff sits in his Late-Model Camaro prior to NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri.

The “Racer’s Prayer” is seen in the cockpit of Mark Penticuff’s Late-Model Camaro during NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri. Penticuff serves as a chaplain for the National Fellowship of Raceway Ministries in Southwest Missouri.

As Mark finished up preparing his car, I went out and began photographing other races in order to get a good idea of how this track operated and figure out what kind of shots I could possibly get at Lucas Oil Speedway. Mark was scheduled for a total of four races on the night and he took the track shortly after I entered the infield.

Mark Penticuff races his Late-Model Camaro around the track during NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri.

After a few hot laps, Mark raced in his first featured race of the evening. He placed 17th in a make up race from two weeks ago that was rained out.  His race ended and he went back to the pits to make some adjustments for the later races. Meanwhile, I stayed out on the track to photograph other cars that were making their heat races for the evening. The track staff  was very generous and gave me the run of the place in order to make some pretty neat photos from the night’s festivities.  At Lucas Oil Speedway the staff really only has one rule. “Never turn your back to a car”. Other than that, everything was fair game. Since this track has no infield guard rail, I was allowed to stand as close as 20 or 30 feet from the track edge to get images down the stretch as cars made their way through turn two. I was quickly reminded how loud and fast some of these cars are as they rushed by me at nearly 110 mph.

Cars drive on the track at Lucas Oil Speedway during NWTF night on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri.

Mark’s heat races came and gone and he was placed into the “B Feature” race to fight for a spot into the main feature. This is when disaster struck. After completing their first lap of the feature, Mark’s Late-Model Camaro was wrecked by another driver who spun out coming out of turn two. The driver clipped the right side of Mark’s car, peeling aluminum off like a banana. As the two cars came to a stop, the damage was evident. The Late-Model Camaro suffered a snapped axle tube, a severely bent axle, and major cosmetic damage to the right side. Mark’s night was over.

Mark Penticuff sits in his Late-Model Camaro after being wrecked in the first lap of the “B Feature” race during NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri. Penticuff snapped is axle tube and bent his right rear axle after another car collided into him during the race.

Mark Penticuff sits in his Late-Model Camaro while being towed back to the pits after being wrecked in the first lap of the “B Feature” race during NWTF race night at Lucas Oil Speedway on August 3, 2013 in Wheatland, Missouri. Penticuff snapped is axle tube and bent his right rear axle after another car collided into him during the race.

Or so it seemed. As people came by the pitted race car later that night, observing the damage and offering their condolences on wrecking his car, Mark surprised me with how calm he was being. When a fellow racer mentioned that Mark should have gone over to the guy and given him a piece of his mind, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said “It happens, and it won’t solve much now.” Later that night, I asked Mark about that encounter, and why he said what he did. Simply put, Mark said, “My job is not to win races. It is not to be the fastest car out there. My job is to be different in a culture where it is easy to be selfish and let my temper get the best of me. I want to show some of the other drivers that there is a more important race to be won than the one on the track tonight. It’s about caring more about the people than the car or the race itself.”

A Wet Week: 2013 MSHSAA Baseball State Tournament

Springfield Catholic third baseman Matt Tipton (4) reacts quietly in the dugout after losing the 2013 MSHSAA class 3 championship game against the Fatima Comets at T.R. Hughes Ballpark on May 31, 2013 in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Two weeks ago, the 2013 Missouri high school state baseball tournament got underway at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon, Missouri. Unfortunately, as the title of this post suggests, it became known as “wet week in O’Fallon”. In the seven days of the tournament (which was only supposed to last five), we saw more than six inches of rain fall on the field. I helped the amazing grounds crew at the ballpark tarp and de-tarp the field about 15 times over the course of the week, which was a cool and new experience for me. Maybe something to add to the resume down the road perhaps? Either way, I love this week of baseball every year. I get a chance to see the best teams in the state battle it out for the elusive state title. The thing about shooting the state championships is that every photographer is always looking for that ONE emotional shot. The image showing a team either elated or entirely broken. Because of my position with MSHSAA, I am usually the first one on the field and am blessed to have unique access to many shots. Here are a few of my favorite images from the week, but you can see my entire take at the link HERE.

And this is how I felt at the end of the week: