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TMP settles for split -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Shields strikes out 12 as Royals complete sweep -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Indian swimmers seventh in Salina -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS softball splits with Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

HHS baseball swept at Salina South -4/18/2014, 10:23 AM

Final home games for Tigers -4/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Tiger softball No. 8 in first region rankings -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Indian track competes at Valley Center -4/18/2014, 10:13 AM

Hayes is KSU's next big 'Cat -4/17/2014, 10:44 AM

New group for Plainville track -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Otis track team deals with injuries, illness -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Jets land former Titan Chris Johnson -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

HDN Area Track & Field honor roll, April 17 -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Freeman winds up with N.Y. Giants -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Tigers win on grand slam -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Weber gets extension at K-State -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

HHS' Weigel becomes a Cowboy -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

Humburg jumping well for Ness City -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Prep golf results, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger tennis ends MIAA season in loss -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger golfers ninth in St. Charles, Mo. -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Track results, Redmen Relays, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys win at Ellsworth -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP softball sweeps Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP soccer suffers loss at Garden City -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys' golf third at Goodland -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP baseball rolls past Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 9:53 AM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

HHS soccer rallies for victory -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

KSU, WSU Barnstormers coming to Hays -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Watson wins Masters -4/14/2014, 10:08 AM

Royals swept by Twins -4/14/2014, 10:07 AM

Harvick wins at Darlington -4/13/2014, 6:51 AM

Royals ace James Shields struggles in loss to Twins -4/13/2014, 6:42 AM

K-State's Deante Burton feels ready to take his game up a notch -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

Former Jayhawks address football team about facing struggles -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

HHS basketball camp May 27 to 29 -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

Tigers’ Wolf second at K.T. Woodman -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

FHSU tennis drops pair of MIAA outings -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

FHSU softball 3-1 in weekend -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger offense shines in Spring Game -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger baseball 1-3 in series -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

Mattheyer jumps onto scene at Ellis -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

HHS golf finishes second in Garden City -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

HHS pitcher, catcher share chemistry -4/13/2014, 7:56 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Olympian has NW Kansas ties

Published on -2/14/2014, 10:13 AM

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Special to the HDN

Rawlins County Olympic viewers watched their favorite U.S. skeleton racer flash down the track to a fourth-place finish in the first two runs Thursday and have hopes of seeing her on the medals podium tonight.

Katie Uhlaender, 29, who calls a farm near Atwood home, has been featured in national and international media coverage of the U.S. skeleton women's team and chose the helmet she wears, emblazoned with a large eagle, through a Twitter contest.

Uhlaender's times were 58.83 and 58.75, for a total of 1:57.58 - 0.69 of a second behind first-place racer Elizabeth Yarnold of Great Britain.

The final two runs will be today, with Uhlaender and the other skeleton competitors lying on their stomachs on stripped-down sleds and speeding at up to 85 miles an hour face-first down a curving, plunging, nearly milelong track of ice.

Working the farm

Uhlaender, who is currently ranked 15th in the world, began working the Rawlins County farm purchased by her father, Ted Uhlaender, a former outfielder for the Minnesota Twins, after his death in 2009.

She spends time at the farm mending fences and caring for cattle when she isn't busy training for skeleton competition or preparing to compete in weightlifting in the 2016 games.

Not only is she competing for the gold for the United States, she's bringing Rawlins County its 15 minutes of fame.

Uhlaender competes at a pace that is hard to fathom for many of her Rawlins County neighbors.

Proud neighbors

"It's bad enough driving a car at 85 miles per hour," said area farmer John Skolout.

However, they are excited to see her compete and will be happy to welcome her home afterward -- no matter how things turn out in Russia.

"We feel a connection to her because she's moved here, and she's making a life here," said Atwood area farmer Ken Higley. "She's a very nice gal, tough to the bone. She's the type of gal that if you give her a mission, she'll figure out how to do it."

Higley said Atwood and McDonald area residents are "very proud of the fact that we've got somebody from our county and our town competing at the Olympics."

"Everybody plans on watching her," he said. "It's pretty exciting for us."

Higley described Uhlaender as a "go-getter."

"There's no grass growing under her feet," he said.

Xavier Ramirez, of rural Atwood, was a longtime friend of Uhlaender's father. Before Uhlaender's family moved to Rawlins County, she and her brother lived with Ramirez for half a year while their mother was fighting cancer. He said she attended junior high in Bird City at that time.

"She was a Cheylin Cougar," he said.

Ramirez was looking forward to watching Uhlaender's performance and planned to rise early and search online for today's results.

"Of course I think she'll get the gold," he said. "She's very determined -- just like her dad was -- and she's really, really good."

Melinda Basnett, who knew Uhlaender's mother when her parents lived on the farm and has met Uhlaender, said Thursday afternoon that she had set her DVR to record Olympic coverage that night while she attended a McDonald City Council meeting.

"We're all rooting for her," she said. "Everybody here's excited for her -- we kind of have a claim on her. You don't get to say you know an Olympic athlete very often."

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