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1:21 PM Fri, Dec. 14th

Family's son mends after Iraq firefight

Miner Photo/TERRY ORGAN Odyssey of the Mind team members from Kingman Junior High School are, seated from left: Tenaya Snider, coach Daysha Roberts, Alison Smith and Drew Cummins; and, standing, from left: Shane Covery, Brandon VanRees and coach Marilyn Westercamp.

Not pictured are coach Victoria Neal and team member Donovan Mallory.

Kingman finished third overall in the competition Saturday with judges awarding the team first place in scenery and play production.

Roberts and Victoria Neal were long-term problem coaches, while Marilyn Westercamp was the team's spontaneous coach.

Team members at the competition were Tenaya Snider, Alison Smith, Brandon VanRees, Shane Covery, Drew Cummins and Donovan Mallory.

In the long-term problem part of the competition, teams had to create and present a performance that included works of art that appeared to come alive when nobody is watching and return to their original inanimate state while people are present.

The team members made four works of art to solve that problem.

Two were replicas of works by artist Ando Hiroshige, and there were two original works.

In the spontaneous problem, the team was given toothpicks, golf balls, rubber bands, a book, wood and string and told to build something capable of breaking 50 toothpicks in six minutes.

Once finished, the team's creation had to systematically break those 50 toothpicks one-by-one in 60 seconds.

"We've gotten e-mail comments from some of the judges wondering why we're not going to state," Roberts said.

"They said our scenery was awesome and our costumes fantastic.

"But in the spontaneous competition we did not do as well as we should have."

A soldier whose parents and sister live in Kingman is recovering from injuries received Feb.

27 in Iraq during hostile fire.


Brandon Ritter, 22, is an Army combat paramedic assigned to the 102nd Armored Cavalry, which is based in Fort Polk, La.

His unit deployed to Iraq in September.

"Brandon is in stable condition right now with a gunshot wound to his right arm," his mother, Laurie Ritter, said.

"He also has shrapnel in his legs, a broken right collarbone and he chipped a couple of teeth.