Playing soccer at a championship level, athletes are always on the go. For Kenzie Snell, the defensive midfielder for the Fort Gibson Lady Tigers, that’s just the way she likes it.
“It’s typically the position no one wants to play because you’re usually the one doing the most running,” replied Snell, who plays a significant role on the pitch again this spring after helping her team win the Class 4A state title in 2021.
Dedicated and coachable are traits consistently exampled by Snell, who points to another advantage of her game on the soccer pitch or on the basketball court.
“I honestly think being stubborn is pretty important,” Snell confirmed with a slight smile. “In basketball when I have a bad shooting night, it’s my stubborn mindset that makes me stay late and put extra shots up. In soccer if I feel my conditioning level isn’t where it needs to be, it’s my stubborn mindset that makes me go on longer runs.”
The true grit and determination of the Lady Tigers number-10 jersey draws praise from the coach’s box on the Fort Gibson sidelines.
“Kenzie has had a great impact on our success with her defensive skills, hustle, no-quit attitude and her leadership,” said coach Billy Whitehead. “She’s a great example to her teammates because she always has a positive attitude, a smile on her face and she is a hard worker.”
According to Snell, the thrill of victory and winning the 2021 Class 4A girls soccer state championship has intensified her efforts.
“Winning state last year has definitely motivated our team to work harder in the offseason because we know how great that feeling was the first time and how much better it would feel to be able to do it again.”
Snell, who maintains a 4.4 GPA, points to a mental strategy as another edge for the Lady Tigers in their quest for double gold achievement in 2022 by also repeating as Academic State Champions.
“I believe academic achievements are a good judge of character. If you’re a hard worker in the classroom that’s going to translate to your work ethic on the field.”
In addition to her sports and academic accomplishments, Snell maintains an active status as a member of the National Honor Society, student council, FCA, Excel Club and the Tiger Theatre Company. Outside of school, she plays club soccer and is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council.
It’s a busy schedule that Snell manages through a simple approach.
“Team, teammate, self, specifically in that order,” emphasized Snell. “If everyone puts the team first, then their teammates and themselves last, then you’re on the right track to having a selfless and successful team.”
That approach is what Kenzie Snell defined as what it means to be a Fort Gibson Lady Tiger.
“For me I think it just means being the best version of myself for not only my teammates and coaches, but also for the community. We have the best support system possible and that’s what being a Lady Tiger is all about.”