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CTP has had some amazing athletes in front of the camera.  I’ve seen the Zoe’s Wheatland-Grinnell Thunderhawks bring home the trophy.

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Zoe Schultz slams a spike during the 1A title game.

I’ve stood on the sidelines as Golden Plains fought hard to the very end, but came up short. I’ve seen the heartbreak. I feel the heartbreak.

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Hallie (Spresser) Walker drives to the hoop during the championship game. 2014

When I follow these athletes many from middle school to high school I get attached to them. I want them to succeed.  I’ll be honest I had tears when Bryce Arnberger won state wrestling in 2016. I know how much work he put in to be a champion and how proud his family was of him.

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Colby High School State Champion Bryce Arnberger. 2016

But NOTHING prepared me for sitting mat-side as my nephew won state this February for Holcomb High School. I repeat that NOTHING prepared me!

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Tanner Johnson 10 years old Golds Gym Wrestling Club,  2013.

I try every year to make it to at least one tournament during the regular season to take pictures of my nephew Tanner Johnson.  This wrestling season I just couldn’t seem to get there. Between bad weather and our household being sick it just wasn’t in the works. Thankfully Open Spaces Sports covers most of the tournaments he attended so we watched at home. When the matches were really close I’m surprised they couldn’t heard us cheering.

 

When we arrived in Hays for State wrestling I saw something in Tanner that I hadn’t seen before. Was it determination and confidence? No, he’s always had both. This year there was something different.  All the hard work he had put in through Golds Gym, to middle school and finally high school was going to pay off. He was ready. He came into the tourney with a 31-1 record. The one loss was at the prestigious Rocky Welton Tournament in Garden City to the kid who would go on to place 2nd in 5A.

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Semi Final match at State Wrestling 2019

His first two matches he rolled.  He won by a tech fall in the first period in match #1 and match #2 he pinned his man in the second period.  The semifinal match was the last for Friday evening and a win would put him in the Finals on Saturday. Boy was it nerve-wracking.  He wrestled the #1 ranked kid in Kansas who had built an undefeated season. I sat mat side and I don’t think I took a breath the whole 6 minutes.  My stomach was in knots and at any moment I was sure I would throw up. It was a great match with an 8-3 decision in favor of Tanner.

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Normally on the sidelines I am impartial, but how can I not cheer just a little when his hand was raised in victory.

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Semi Final win. 2019

While Mother Nature’s blizzard went crazy outside we were impatiently waiting for the finals to start on Saturday.  Finally it was time. It seemed those 6 minutes lasted an eternity.  It was a close match with a 9-4 decision in favor of Tanner.

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Championship match 182 pounds. 2019

I think what makes me the proudest of Tanner is once the final buzzer sounded he didn’t jump up, didn’t flex his guns, didn’t show off.  Which he had every right to. He was a Champion.  Instead he shook his opponents hand, told the ref where his crowd of fans were sitting in the stands then walked off to hug his Coach/Dad.  To me that is a true champion.  You walk on the mat the same way you walk off with respect for your opponent.  I don’t think I could have been any prouder of him than in that moment AFTER he had won.

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Celebratory hug from his Dad/Coach. 2019

It was an absolute honor to sit mat side and watch my  nephew win. He made school history by bringing a gold medal to Holcomb. I get teary eyed again just thinking about how proud I am of him and how lucky as a photographer to have been able to capture that moment for him and my family.

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My husband and I with the Champ! 2019

I have to ask who is going to be my next State Champion?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being the sports fanatic that I am it was natural to add sports photography to my portfolio.  I started offering sports sessions in the Fall of 2013. I didn’t know a whole lot about football and I was shocked at how much trash talking went on. Especially certain teams.  There is so much you don’t see/hear up in the stands.  I do have to say football is one of my favorite sports to shoot.  Of course that changes once another season starts and then that one is my favorite.

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Tanner Elias snatching an interception from a Scott City player 2015

I’m often asked how I know where to be to get those shots. In all honesty it’s luck!  I say that, but I also know where to position myself to get them. You wouldn’t believe how many times after a great play I’ve thought, I should have been over there. Or you get the great catch only to look at the back of your camera and the crowd is in focus not the player. Yep it happens more often then I’d like to admit.

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Brielle Bange steals home. 2019

My advice for shooting sports is  all about angles.  For football you want to angle yourself off the line depending on your subject. However, I do love to shoot straight up the line to get all the linemen working their tails off.

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Colby’s Ben Matchell makes a play for the interception against Concordia 2015.

When you follow a football team for years, Colby and Oakley for example, you pick up on the plays.  I may not know the actual play but if the star player lines up in the tight end spot I can almost guarantee that it’ll be a passing play. I would suggest having some knowledge of the sport you are photographing, but if you don’t that is okay too.  I went to a golf meet having never swung a golf club. Basically all I knew was the “golf clap” so my knowledge was limted. However, I got some great shots. So not knowing the sport shouldn’t dissuade you from trying.

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Austin Hart slides in for the run 2013.

However when you are on the sidelines you HAVE to be aware of your surroundings.  You never want to interfere with the play, officials, players on/off the field/court, coaches and in football the chain gang. I have come close twice to being ran over. The closest its came was in Ulysses.  It wasn’t the actual two players sliding out of bounds toward me, but the player following the play who happened to jump over those two players.  Our eyes locked and we both said a couple choice words. Thankfully we both went different directions.

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All time favorite football shot is this one when Oakley’s Morgan Rains jumped over a Sublette player in the first game of the 2018 season.

Shooting other sports can be more difficult because you don’t have the room to move around as much to get those angles.  In many gyms you only have 2 or 3 spots you can stand to get shots. On the softball and baseball field you find spots to shoot through on the fence. Or to shoot over the fence you have to carry around a little stool since you were not blessed with height.

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Holcomb’s River Amos blocks a shot against Colby. 2019

Sports photography is a great adventure. I am always very thankful for all my clients. Especially the ones who push me outside of my comfort zone when it comes to shooting sports I’m not familiar with.  The one sport I have yet to photograph is rodeo and maybe this spring I’ll make I’ll be able to check that off my list.

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Eli Applebury goes wide to return a shot. 2019

I hope my pictures will be a reminder of how much fun/love/joy they had being an athlete.  During those playing years you think your last game is far far away, but the next thing you know it’s been 20 years since you last suited up and all you have are those memories and pictures from CTP.

~Carrie

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Tanner Johnson clears 13′ at the Colby Track Meet. 2019

Lane picked a cold day in February for his session but I just loved the way his pictures turned out.  I feel when you shoot in 30 degree temperatures I think the colors are so crisp.

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I’m not sure what I’ll do without having a Rains boy on my schedule again.  Morgan was the third one to be in front of my camera and just like his brother’s sessions we had a great time.  I can’t thank them all enough for trusting me with their senior years!

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Cutter ~ Class of 2019

Cutter’s mom and I only get to see each other a couple times a year which means when we do get together we are both talking 100 mph and we cover a wide range of topics. Some Cutter probably wishes he didn’t have to hear, but he takes it like a champ and laughs when he should and rolls his eyes when things get too deep!

Cutter it was an absolute pleasure taking your pictures.  I wish you the best!!

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I’ve watched Xavier play football and basketball for years but didn’t have the chance to meet him until our session. What a great kid!! I always say CTP has the best clients and Xavier backs up my claim!! Thank you for choosing me.

All of Xavier’s hard work and his families dedication has paid off when he heads to Fort Hays to play football. Congrats!!