Jandreau takes breakaway roping event at stateSix other Mitchell area high schoolers earn Team South Dakota spots for the national rodeo.
By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic
Jill Jandreau has some big shoes to fill.
Her mom, Tia, made it to the National High School Finals Rodeo in 1988 for barrel racing. In 2007, Jill’s older sister, Jacey, competed at nationals in breakaway roping. Her dad, Fay, also was “really good” at rodeo in high school, Jill said.
Jill, of Kimball, can now add her name to the list of Jandreaus who have made it to nationals. Last weekend, from Friday to Sunday, at the South Dakota High School Finals Rodeo in Belle Fourche, Jill won the breakaway roping competition with a score of 46.50.
Jandreau is one of seven Mitchell-area high schoolers who will be participating at nationals in Gillette, Wyo., on July 17-23. The top four finishers in each event at the South Dakota finals earn a trip to the national event.
Joining Jandreau will be Syerra Christensen, Kennebec, who finished third in the breakaway roping competition.
Charli Kenzy, of Iona, and Schae Hanson, of Burke, qualified for nationals after they finished third and fourth, respectively, in the girls’ cutting event. Springfield’s Chesney Nagel finished third in the goat tying.
For the boys, Avon’s Joe Bertus finished third in bull riding and Lane Hall, of Winner, claimed third place in the saddle bronc.
Jandreau had to work her way to the top coming into the state event if she was going to make it to nationals for the first time. She had 14 points coming into the finals, which put her in a tie for 22nd place.
“Regions didn’t go quite as planned, so I didn’t come in with quite as many points,” she said. “I knew I had to rope well going into state.”
Jandreau got off to a good start right away to push her up the standings. Her time of 2.92 seconds was the second best in the first go, giving her nine points.
“That first go gave me a lot of confidence, and I was really focused on that first one,” she said. “I knew I had to start off well, and it gave me the confidence that I had a shot. I think if I would have got a lower time, I don’t think I would’ve been able to place as good as I did.”
Jandreau scored six points in the second go, and she had a combined time of 6.12 seconds — which was the best time for the average go, giving her another 10 points. In the short go, Jandreau scored 7.5 points.
Jandreau said her performance at the state finals was her best of the year.
“I was focused on what I had to do, so it all worked out,” she said. “I was really focused on roping well, and I just think I was more focused than I was before.”
Jandreau was not the only one who had to overcome a low point score coming in to make it to nationals. Christensen was tied for 18th place after regions with a score of 15.
“I didn’t come in with very many points and I just knew I had to go out and place in every go-round,” Christensen said. Christensen finished 10th for one point in the first go with a time of 4.22 seconds, but in her second go, she had the top time at 2.11 seconds. That gave her an average go of 6.33 seconds, second-best to Jandreau for nine points.
Christensen, who won the event last year, said she was confident she could qualify for nationals even with the low score in the first go round.
“I wasn’t concerned,” said Christensen, who will make her second trip to nationals. “I knew I was still in it, and I knew there were still two go-rounds left.”
Christensen finished with 42.50 points after scoring 7.5 points in the short-go.
Kenzy came into the girls’ cutting tied for the third best score of 29. Kenzy’s first two rounds scored her 277 points, which gave her eight points for the average-go. Kenzy scored five points in the short-go to solidify a spot on the South Dakota national team with 53.50 points.
Hanson finished with 49.50 points for fourth place, just earned a spot at nationals over Winner’s Kenzie Owen, who scored 49 points.
Coming into the state event, Hanson was tied for 16th place with 19 points, but she said she was in the same position last year and earned a trip to nationals. Last year at nationals, Hanson placed 16th.
But Hanson knew this year would be tougher.
“There were a lot of the same competitors and horses, but there were 27 cutters, whereas last year, there were about 20,” she said. “There was a lot more competition this year.”
Hanson scored 8.5 points on the first go and five in the second go for an average score of 277 for eight points. Hanson was still in seventh place, though, going into the short round. Hanson stepped up and put up the second best score, 140 points, to earn nine points. Anything else would have left her off the national roster.
“Going into the short-go, I had to have a good run; a few of the girls ahead of me didn’t do so well, so that helped,” she said. “I was nervous and I didn’t know the outcome until the very end. If I had done just a little worse, I wouldn’t have made it.”
In her first year, she was able to compete in the high school events, Nagel came into the state finals with the third-best score with 27 points in goat tying. That is exactly where Nagel finished, as she claimed third with 50 points.
“My weekend went pretty well,” Nagel said. “I knew I had a good shot, and I just had to go for it, get the best times I could and see what happens.”
Nagel’s first go of 8.30 second earned her eight points and she finished in 10th place in the second go. Her combined time of 16.81 earned her nine points.
Nagel said her score on the first go gave her a good chance to finish in the top four.
“I had enough points to make it to the short-go event with a no time,” she said. “I still had to stay focused in the second go and get some average points … I knew I was sitting good.”
Bertus was on the outside looking in coming into state in bull riding. He had a score of 19, putting him in a tie for eighth place. Bertus scored no points in the short go, but he already earned seven points in first and second go to give him 136 points, which earned him eight points in the average go. Bertus finished with 41 points, giving him the third best score.
“It was a great weekend,” said Bertus, who will make his second trip to nationals. “I got on three really good bulls, had a lot of fun and everything worked out.”
Even though he did not score in the short-go, Bertus said he thought he had a good enough score already to make it to nationals.
“I was kind of thinking I was set, but I didn’t want to say that,” he said. “I wanted to keep myself on edge and try to do better. I just got behind the bull and came down in four seconds.”
In the saddle bronc, Hall scored 53.50 points to finish in third place, which is where he was ranked coming into the event. Hall had the best score in the first go for 10 points, and even though he did not record a score in the second go, he still scored six points for his average go and 9.5 points in the short go.