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Intramural athlete takes step on different court

BY MATT SCHOMMER | OCTOBER 14, 2009 7:30 AM

Joe Scott/The Daily Iowan
UI student and intramural athlete Kendall Gifford stands in her room with her intramural trophy from last year and her Homecoming Court sash. Gifford was recently named the first DI Intramural Athlete of the Week. She plays on one of only four women’s flag-football teams.
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For the Show Stoppaz’ Kendall Gifford, nothing was more thrilling about last weekend’s Homecoming than standing on the field at Kinnick Stadium.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “That was one thing I wanted to do before I graduated. Because it was a blackout, it looked really cool with all the pom-poms and everything.”

The senior from Waterloo was one of six women elected to this year’s Homecoming court, which attended several events throughout the week, including movie night at the Pentacrest, a trip to the Hall of Fame building, and the parade the day before the game.

“Last year, I remember seeing people I knew on the court, and it looked like a lot of fun,” Gifford said. “I thought it would be one more unique thing I could do to remember the years at Iowa.”

Unique could also be the word to describe the selection process to get on the Homecoming court.
Students hoping to be considered had to fill out an application and acquire two letters of recommendation. From there, the university’s Homecoming Council selected 15 men and 15 women to interview with a panel of five judges.

Afterwards, the six most-qualified men and women are chosen for the court. The judges look for three criteria — scholarship, leadership, and service.

Gifford’s accomplishments and community service show her character.

She is a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a community mentor for a 13-year-old girl, and a participant in S.T.A.T., which took part in a Make-A-Wish Foundation project for terminally ill children earlier in the year.

Gifford’s flag-football teammate and close friend, Anna Schmitz, can attest to Gifford’s good nature.

“She has always been a really good friend to me, and I’m glad we both came to Iowa,” Schmitz said. “In high school, we both had a lot of shared thoughts and feelings about our coaches and their philosophies. But we stuck through it, and I probably wouldn’t have wanted to play sports all four years without her. It was great just having someone to talk to, make me laugh, and keep the mood light.”

Last summer, Gifford was an Orientation adviser for incoming freshmen. Her boss, Jon Sexton, the student program coordinator in Orientation Services, also thinks Gifford’s ability to take on a humorous persona makes her well-liked.

“Kendall has a kind of a quiet leadership about her,” he said. “Then, one time, she explained to everyone that she could do the Soulja Boy dance. She challenged someone to it, and she definitely pulled it off. We were all like, ‘Wow.’ ”

But those aren’t Gifford’s only moves.

As the quarterback for the Show Stoppaz, Gifford uses her hand-eye coordination for more than just “Supermanning.”

“My favorite flag-football moment had to be playing in the Bubble [in 2007],” Gifford said. “Our game went into triple overtime, and I threw a pass where my friend Katelyn sort of dove in the end zone to score. I don’t know if we we’re more excited to just be done with the game because it was freezing or to actually play in the Bubble.”


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