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Wrapping up a title

Scott Kleeman is quick to point out the Dickinson State women's rodeo team's key to success. Despite having no cowgirls lead the Great Plains Region standings in an individual event, DSU has nearly a 500-point lead over South Dakota State and is ...

Scott Kleeman is quick to point out the Dickinson State women's rodeo team's key to success.

Despite having no cowgirls lead the Great Plains Region standings in an individual event, DSU has nearly a 500-point lead over South Dakota State and is poised to lock up a regional team title at this weekend's Blue Hawk Stampede.

"Those girls all work multiple events," said Kleeman, DSU's coach. "It's not the type of situation a lot of these schools are up against, where somebody bought a real nice barrel horse and they're competitive in the barrels. But they don't rope, tie goats or team rope."

DSU, meanwhile, has 10 cowgirls taking up 17 spots in the region's top 15. The women compete in just four events, including team roping.

Senior Josi Price of Buffalo, S.D., believes having several cowgirls in multiple events has given the team a boost in pride, which has translated into success.

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"When everybody's doing good, everybody feels good and cheers each other on," Price said. "It's an individual event, but when you get to college and the team is counting ... you kind of get everybody going."

Price is fourth in the region's all-around standings and collects points in breakaway roping - she's third in the region with 395 points - goat tying and team roping as the heeler for sophomore Ashley Schaper, who is fourth in the breakaway roping.

Schaper points to DSU's depth as its primary strength.

"If I have a bad rodeo, it seems like everyone is stepping up and having a good rodeo," said Schaper, a Killdeer High School graduate.

Along with Price and Schaper, the Blue Hawks are consistently collecting team points from Lizzie Murphy, Halley Treeby and Kobi Olineck.

"The four girls we've had on our team throughout the year have been winning consistently," Kleeman said.

Treeby, from Britton, S.D., is third in the region in barrel racing and fifth in the all-around standings. Murphy, a Killdeer native, is second in goat tying. Olineck and Jessica Hemphill, a pair of transfers, have also given the Blue Hawks a boost in points.

Olineck, a native of Alberta, came to DSU after spending the first semester at New Mexico Junior College. Hemphill, from Tulelake, Calif., transferred from National American University.

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Although she has competed for DSU in just five of its nine rodeos this season, Olineck is sixth in the region in the women's all-around standings with 535 points and is coming off back-to-back goat tying wins last weekend at the Black Hills State and NAU rodeos.

Olineck was a member of DSU's four-member points team during the NAU rodeo.

"She's going to be a big asset and has helped take some points away from other teams," Kleeman said.

The additions of Olineck and Hemphill and the team's success has also allowed Kleeman to breathe easier when it comes to recruiting, a facet the women's team struggled with early in the fourth-year coach's career.

"It's taken us a while," Kleeman said. "... We're finally on top of it (recruiting) to where we've got the girls we need in the positions we need them in and working the events we need."

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