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A study in talent, perseverance

Posted by: tdt -

10 years of basketball pays off for Callie Schniederjan

Tump, thump, thump was the sound of a consistent basketball dribble to third-grader Callie Schniederjan as she began her unknown journey into the world of athletics.

This tiny Dalhart schoolgirl was to use this beginning as a launch for a star-studded basketball career at Dalhart High School. Little did she know at the time what was in store and how much support she would get along the way.

Basketball was pretty much her athletic life until the seventh grade when she took on volleyball and track. But, the thump, thump, thump of the basketball was her true love and it has paid off handsomely with a full scholarship to West Texas A&M beginning this fall.

Stating that she "hasn’t reached her full potential yet and is looking forward to honing her skills under WT coach Krista Gerlich," Callie was signed during the first signing period last fall in the middle of volleyball season.

WT made the elite 8 of the NCAA Women’s Division II tournament this year, so, Callie was recruited early by one of the better basketball programs in the country.

"This says a lot about her ability, potential and character," Dalhart boy’s head basketball coach, Dustin Klafka, explained. Callie attributes much of her improvement and success to Coach Klafka. "He was the freshmen girl’s coach and helped with the varsity when I was a sophomore," Callie explained.

"I saw in Callie a tremendous potential because of her foot speed, body control and overall athletic ability. I had coached on the college level for eight years and knew what the college coaches were looking for, so, I worked with her on taking all aspects of her game to a higher level. She was basically a good shooter in the beginning. I showed her how she could score in other ways, off the dribble, passing off and getting open," Klafka said.

"She was receptive to constructive suggestions and wouldn’t be the player she is today without a lot of hard work and putting in the time. Callie added a new dimension every year," Coach Klafka explained. "I know why WT signed her, they see in her what I did three years ago plus she has character, that is intangible."

As a freshmen Callie averaged 18 ppg and was named ‘Newcomer of the Year’. Many accolades and honors followed over the next three years: First team all-district all three years; first team all-region, two years; Amarillo Globe 3-A Super Team; as a senior she was first team all-state; Amarillo Globe-News 2A/3A player of the year; Panhandle Plains first team super team. Over her four-year HS basketball career she scored 1,988 points for an average of 16.6 points per game.

Callie played two years of AAU ball under Coach Stan Newman. "This competitive atmosphere made me step up my level of play and gave me some insight into college requirements," she said.

She has also excelled in volleyball and track: In track she qualified for five regional events as a junior; as a senior she has qualified for four events in regionals, 300 hurdles, triple jump, sprint relay and mile relay.

Callie is the daughter of Gary and Tammy Schniederjan, who have encouraged her every step of the way, and the sister of Colby and Noah.

"Colby, my older brother by two years, was my early ‘coach’ and my role model. He was constantly coaching me and was very supportive in every way," Callie said in describing their relationship. Her younger brother, Noah, also plays basketball and was the quarterback on the freshmen HS team.

"Academics is something my parents instilled in me. I was expected to make good grades, and once I found out how and that I could, it was normal for me," Callie said. "I want to major in Biology at WT." Callie currently ranks in the top 15 of her class at Dalhart.

Chosen recently to the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Academic All-State team for the 2008-09 year this is the latest of a long list of honors that have come her way during her high school days at Dalhart.

That thump, thump, thump of the basketball will continue to be a big part of Callie’s life for the next four years as she makes her mark on the collegiate level.

Top Photo: Courtesy Photo

Sports Photos by N.L. Olson