MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings are reversing course, putting star running back Adrian Peterson on the exempt-commissioner's permission list. It means Peterson will have to stay away from the team while he deals with charges of child abuse in Texas. The announcement was made early this morning, about a day and a half after the team decided Peterson could play while the legal process played out. Peterson is charged with a felony for using a wooden switch to spank his 4-year-old son.
BALTIMORE (AP) — The NFL players' union is appealing Ray Rice's indefinite suspension, saying that he shouldn't be punished twice for punching his fiancee in a casino elevator. Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault for the February attack. The Baltimore Ravens running back had already served the first game of that suspension when a video surfaced last week showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, now his wife, in that elevator. Within hours, the Ravens released Rice and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to indefinite based on the "new evidence."
UNDATED (AP) — Anheuser-Busch says it has spoken with the NFL about former Raven Ray Rice's domestic abuse situation and the child abuse charges against Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. McDonald's, Visa and Campbell Soup Co. say they have also voiced similar concerns to the league. In response, the league has issued a statement saying: "We understand. We are taking action and there will be much more to come."
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The magic number for the Los Angeles Angels to clinch the National League West is two. They lost last night to the Seattle Mariners, but the Oakland Athletics also lost, lowering the number to two. Last night, the Baltimore Orioles clinched the American League East title and the Washington Nationals clinched in the National League East.
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A.J. Burnett and the Philadelphia Phillies are looking forward to putting a forgettable season behind them. The San Diego Padres beat the Phillies and Burnett last night, 5-4. Burnett's record now drops to 8-17. He took over the major league lead in losses, and the defeat ensured Philadelphia its second consecutive losing season.
Coach Fernau, Molly Atkeson, Hailee Harmon, Nikki Gotschall, Paige Gaughenbaugh
and Amy Schmitz claimed runner-up honors in Pierce on Saturday.
The O'Neill girls' golf team continues to pile up trophies and medals as the season goes on. With a team that returned their top four golfers, the Eagles expected to have a good season. So far the team has won three tournaments and finished as the runner-ups in two. O'Neill, Ainsworth, and now Battle Creek are all the sites of the team wins, while at a very tough York course and the Pierce Invite the Eagles placed 2nd. In the case at Pierce O'Neill's team fell to a Battle Creek team that has usually finished towards the top of the pack.
The Eagles have kept a pretty solid core of golfers at every meet this season, with juniors Hailee Harmon, Amy Schmitz and Paige Gaughenbaugh usually providing the top three scores. The final two spots have been a bit of a rotation, as Marie Sitz generally is part of the varsity's five, but Molly Atkeson and freshman Nikki Gotschall have also gotten some looks. Although the Eagles have not claimed an individual title yet, they have consistently placed at least two and most times three in the top 15. So far the O'Neill team has fifteen medals in just five full meets, with twelve of those in the top 10 and seven top five finishes.
The next action for the Lady Eagles is Saturday, when they split the team between the Plainview and Boone Central invites. Districts for the Eagles comes up in early October when they return to the York Country Club, with State Golf on Oct. 13-14.
The Eagle boys were dominant in both varsity and JV divisions.
Last week the O’Neill Eagles ran at the Norfolk Catholic Invitational. Thirteen schools competed at the meet.
Starting off the day, the Lady Eagles competed in the junior varsity and varsity division race. The varsity team was led by senior standout Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock who placed fourth overall and medaling in the meet. Placing for the girl’s varsity team was: Abby Gillham 21st, Ellery Butterfield 27th, Kadra Summersted-Simmons 38th, Traci Vandersnick 44th, and Olivia Schmale 47th. The team scored 88 points, which placed them 6th as a team. In the junior varsity division Jayde Rosenkrans placed 18th and Addie Wetzel 22nd.
The O’Neill boy’s team ran the second race of the meet. Grant Johnston not only led his team to a championship but earned an individual gold medal as well. Blake Johnston placed 5th and Nathaniel Jennings placed 12th, which resulted in medals. Helping the team also with a season low of 42 points were: Blake Walters 24th, Kyle Fowler 28th, and Jon Gettert 29th.
In the junior varsity division the O’Neill Eagles had a perfect score of ten points. Leading the J.V. Eagles and medaling were as follows: Logan Spencer 1st, Sergio Gonzalez 2nd, Zeb O’Bryan 3rd, Cody Watson 5th, McCoy Strong 7th, Cuoy Shaw 9th, and Ehric Strope 10th. Finishing out the team was: Casey Vandersnick 16th and Tyler Beeks 17th.
“The team ran better. We improved this week. We brought home nine medals. We are going in the right direction. We just need to keep improving if we want to meet some of our goals,” said Coach Hilker.
Next week the O’Neill Eagles will be hosting our meet. Fifteen schools will be coming September 19th to the O’Neill Golf Course. The meet starts at 3:45 pm with the girl’s race followed by the boys race, junior high girls race, and finally the junior high boy’s race.
The NSAA released the Winter Classifications on Tuesday, so now we get to talk about basketball and wrestling even as the fall season is in its infancy. Which is basically like talking about the 2016 Presidential Election already in 2014, except you don't want to pull your hair out. And there is actually more to learn in the case of wrestling, where new co-ops and a few teams found themselves in some interesting positions.
The wrestling classes are designated by specific numbers, except for Class D. The first 32 teams are in Class A, the next 48 largest schools are in B, and C is made up of 64 wrestling programs. The rest of the schools are sent to Class D, which usually has 70-80 programs.
This year O’Neill had a bit of a scare, as they were right on the border of B and C. Unlike many of their sports this year that had the bad luck to bump into B, the wrestlers will remain in C this year. In wrestling, being in Class B could mean that the smallest school in the class could be three times smaller than the biggest in the class. And if you don’t go to a school named Omaha Skutt you probably won’t be winning any titles. For the Eagles, who have some title aspirations of their own, the official release putting them in Class C was a huge relief. They will be the second biggest school behind Auburn.
There are several big changes in area wrestling this year. Plainview, who has been one of the top 5 programs in Class D since dropping in 2010, will have to make the switch back to Class C. The Pirates were 3rd place in 2013 and last year’s runner-ups. In both cases the Pirates did as well as they could have, given that they were dealing with Amherst and Pender in the team race. Creighton will also be dropping to Class D this year for the first time after a lot of years and success in Class C. This will be the first time since 2009 that the Bulldogs won't be combined with Verdigre, so that helped drop their enrollment. Right down the road, it bears mentioning that Neligh-Oakdale was given the same fate as O'Neill, “winning” a tie-breaker to remain in the lower Class D division rather than bump up a class.
The other change is that we will see a new team on the mat. The Niobrara/Verdigre co-op for wrestling was approved by the NSAA in August, clearing the way for the Cougars to field their first wrestling team. Verdigre spent six years with Creighton prior to this, even as they joined with Niobrara for their other sports. With the addition of the Cougars, the NVC now has eight schools that offer the sport. Although many of them do not have a full team, another team means good things for the future of the NVC duals tournament that was started last year. When the season draws closer we will learn a little more about the Cougars and their program start-up.
The Winter Classifications were released yesterday by the NSAA, setting the six classes in Nebraska for basketball. Although most times the classes do not change too much, in this age of co-ops and rapidly changing enrollments there is always something interesting to talk about.
This year several area schools will be bumping up or down a class, and several fell right on the edge. Creighton will be dropping down to D1 in both boys and girls, just as they did in volleyball. Ainsworth will be back up to class C1 after a brief respite in Class C2 last year, in which the girls made a good run and the boys were the C2 runner-ups. Burwell, who had several recent boys’ teams make State in D1, is moving back to C2 this year. EPPJ was just one person away from possibly dropping to D1 this year, but will remain in C2.
One other thing to note is that there will be several teams that cross the C2/D1 border. For some reason it seems that there is not as much difference between a C1/C2 team or a D1/D2 team as there is between a team that moves from C to D, or vice versa. Blue Hill is a team that is making the switch from C to D in several sports, as they will be in Class D1 this year. Pender is also dropping back down to D1 after being there in 2012-2013. North Platte St. Pat’s is back to C2 after dropping down into D last year. These are a few of the major moves that affect teams that aren’t used to switching classes. Although they are not in our area, sometimes it is something to keep in mind when State comes around. In the last two years, area teams have played both Pender and NPSP at State, so it is worth mentioning these teams.
One oddity about the classifications is that several teams will see their girls in one class and boys in another. While this hasn’t typically affected our area, this year one school that is a familiar foe to the east will straddle the classes. Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, a member of the Lewis & Clark Conference, will have their girls in D1 and boys in C2. The culprit for this is an imbalance of gender-specific schools. Three girls-only private schools (Mercy, Duschene and Marion, all of Omaha) are NSAA certified, as opposed to two boys-only high schools (Creighton Prep and Mount Michael Benedictine). This creates a trickle-down effect that shakes up Adams Central, Fillmore Central, Meridian, and the afore-mentioned Bears.
For those wondering about how the classifications work, here is a simple explanation. The classification is based on combined boy and girl enrollment, grades 9-11 from September of the year before the one-year classification period. A system is in place to break a tie, which ultimately comes down to a coin flip if all other means have been tried. The first 28 schools are put into Class A, with the next 32 belonging to Class B. After that, C1-D2 is split up into as even numbers as possible. This year there will be 29 schools in Class A since Omaha Benson’s petition to opt up from B was approved.
Grant Johnston more or less picked up where he left off last year.
Last week the O’Neill Eagles competed at the Boone Central Invite. The O’Neill Cross Country Team completed against fourteen different schools.
Starting the meet off the Lady Eagles placed 8th with Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock placing 9th as an individual and earning a medal. Rounding out the top six were Abby Gillham 38th, Ellery Butterfield 44th, Traci Vandersnick 65th, Kadra Summersted-Simmons 69th, and Olivia Schmale 80th. Finishing out the team for the Lady Eagles were Jayde Rosenkrans 84th, Addie Wetzel 92nd, and Alex Strampher 98th.
In the boy’s race the Eagles ran seventeen strong. Leading the Eagles to a 5th place finish was Grant Johnston placing 3rd, and Blake Johnston placing 12th. Freshman Nathaniel Jennings placed 34th; seniors Kyle Fowler 45th, Blake Walters 46th, and junior Jon Gettert earned 49th. Rest of the team placed as follows: Logan Spencer 55th, Zeb O’Bryan 57th, Cody Watson 70th, Sergio Gonzalea 74th, Ehric Strope 75th, Cuoy Shaw 96th, Casey Vandersnick 102nd, and Tyler Beeks 105th.
“We had a great opener for the season. We had a lot of runners running their high school 5K for the first time, and had a great opener. Obviously, we need to keep improving every week. It’s no secret, we need to get everyone closer to number #1 O’Neill runner, “said Coach Hilker.
This week the O’Neill Eagles will travel to the Norfolk Catholic Invite. The O’Neill Eagles will run against fourteen different schools. The high school girl’s race will start at 3:00 pm, followed by high school boys, junior high girls, and then junior high boys.
The O’Neill Junior High Cross Country team joined the high school team at the Albion Country Club to run at the Boone Central Invite. Team junior high teams competed at the meet. The top ten boys and top ten girls were awarded medals.
In the boys division the O’Neill junior high boys placed 8th with one medalist Dennis Herrara 10th. Other runners were: Tyler Fritz 15th, Andrew Alder 43rd, Trinity Mosel 44th, Derrick Bronznski 46th, Collin Lorenz 62nd, Jace Stagemeyer 70th, Heydon Strope 72nd, Lukas Dougherty 73rd, Justin Beeks 79th, Jace Thompson 80th, Hunter Smith 83rd, and Aaron Dewitt 84th. The team placed 8th.
The junior high girls had a total of seventy-six runners. Medallling for the Eagles was Taya Rainforth placing 7th. Running for the junior high girls team were: Hali Kloppenborg 12th, Haylee Kaufman 17th, Melody Walton 24th, Whitney Watson 25th, Mikyla Grenier 42nd, and Kiara Irwin 54th. The team placed 3rd of ten teams.
Next week the O’Neill Junior High Cross Country Team will run at the Norfolk Catholic Invite.
We’ve been rolling out season previews as the various fall sports begin, and this week we focus on volleyball. The season starts Thursday, Sept. 4 along with cross country, making it the last season to start. Since it is the only one played indoors, it certainly makes sense. This year the postseason begins on November 3rd, with State Volleyball running from November 13-15 in Lincoln.
One of the biggest changes this year is the move back to Lincoln, which won back the three-year bid to host the State Tournament from Grand Island. Lincoln hosted the tournament from 1981 through 2009. It was moved to Grand Island in 2010 and was played there for three years. The tournament returns to a new configuration in Lincoln with the Pinnacle Bank Arena playing a large role. The NSAA Board of Directors voted to go a new direction with the layout and format of State Volleyball this year. PBA will host the larger classes during the tournament, with Classes A and B playing on split courts on Thursday and Class C1 joining on Friday. Classes C1-D2 play at four Lincoln high school locations on Thursday, and C2-D2 are sent to Devaney on Friday. The Bob Devaney Sports Center will host the championship matches on Saturday, giving the top two teams in each class a chance to play in the home of the Huskers. Consolation matches will be played at Lincoln East this year. The NSAA dropped third place games in classes A and B, so the only consolation games will be held in the lower classes.
Classifications remain largely unchanged this year, but several area schools find themselves in new territory. Creighton is the one that jumps out, with the Lady Bulldogs dropping to D1 for the first time. A couple of schools were right on the line. Ainsworth is one of the smallest C1 schools and EPPJ is in the same boat in C2, coming in as the 2nd smallest. Burwell is also in C2 this year. Boyd County has been right on the edge in volleyball and basketball over the last few years, but settled into D1 this year. Speaking of D1, St. Mary’s and Osmond were both part of a seven-way tie at the bottom of the class. Since C1-D2 is split up into equal class sizes, rather than a specific enrollment number, tie-breakers bumped Meridian down to D2. Although most teams would probably rather be in D2, St. Mary’s is glad to be in D1 (explanation coming). Ewing and Santee continue to be some of the smallest schools in D2.
The 2014 Stuart Broncos won the UNK Class D2 Top 10 summer camp.
The area will welcome back two teams that played in the State Championship last year. St. Mary’s brings back some great athletes from their D1 title team, and Stuart was the D2 runner-ups. The Lady Broncos bring back almost every player from last year, and had great success on the camp circuit during the summer, including a team title in Kearney. The reason that the D1-D2 classifications were important is that keeping the Cardinals in D1 will eliminate a district meeting between the two schools. Separate classes give each team a better chance to return to State. Another team that qualified for State last year was Chambers/Wheeler Central, who made it in as the wild card. The Renegades were fairly senior-heavy last year, but bring back some good players that earned experience in Grand Island last year.
Two final things of note are the loss of several outstanding coaches and a strong graduating class in the NVC last year. Both St. Mary’s and Ewing will be replacing championship-winning coaches, as Nicole Renshaw is no longer in the area and Suz Funk withdrew from coaching for family reasons. Although new coaches will be able to fill in ably, it will be a much different sideline for those teams. A great class of seniors also departed from the Niobrara Valley Conference last year. The group featured many third or fourth year starters on their respective teams. Last year, the NVC coaches awarded honors to 45 girls, of which 25 were seniors. Many of last year’s seniors are also starting the year on college rosters. Justine Blumenstock and Hannah Rittscher are both playing for Nebraska Wesleyan, while Emily Filsinger joins the Hastings Lady Broncos. Riley Funk will join a who’s who list of Nebraska’s former prep standouts at Wayne State as well. (I apologize if I missed someone; please contact us to let me know who.)
L to R: Nikki Gotschall, Molly Atkeson, Hailee Harmon, Amy Schmitz,
Paige Gaughenbaugh, Claire Everitt, Marie Sitz
The O'Neill Eagle golf team picked up another team title in the fledgling season by winning the Ainsworth Invite. After hoisting the Eagle Invite trophy, the team competed in a scramble in Atkinson before coming to Ainsworth. O'Neill played their top three golfers in the scramble and tied with West Holt's three for 2nd.
At Ainsworth, the Eagles were just one of three teams, but they finished 86 strokes in front to earn their second team trophy. Individually, it seems that the top area golfers have been defined, as the same three girls that led in O'Neill finished as the top three in Ainsworth. West Holt's Mackenzie Hale won the individual medal by five strokes with an 85, while Stephanie Sorensen of Plainview and Hailee Harmon finished 2-3. O'Neill placed four in the top ten, with Amy Schmitz (6th), Paige Gaughenbaugh (7th) and Molly Atkeson (10th) leading the varsity. Freshman Nikki Gotschall continued a strong start to her career with a 14th place finish as a JV golfer. West Holt also continues to impress, with their three golfers placing 1st (Hale), 4th, (Paige Mitchell) and 9th (Courteney Hostert).
Check out the full results in the Pinnacle Bank Scoreboard. The next action for our area teams will be at the Atkinson-Stuart Country Club with the West Holt Invite on September 4th.
O'Neill put together a 33 stroke win over runner-up Battle Creek to seal up their second straight win on their home course. The Lady Eagles have had much recent success in the O'Neill Invite, with back-to-back wins following a runner-up finish in 2012. It was a good start for O'Neill, who brought back four members from their state-qualifying and 4th place Class C team last year.
The individual title came down to the wire during regular 18-hole play as it was, and when the back nine was completed two golfers were sent to hole one for a playoff. Two returning state qualifiers, Plainview's Stephanie Sorensen and West Holt's Mackenzie Hale, battled in the sudden-death playoff. Sorensen won the playoff by two strokes, aided by a drive that went straight down the fairway and a chip that landed a couple of feet from the pin.
Stephanie Sorensen golfed an almost perfect hole in the playoff to earn the individual title.
West Holt and O'Neill rounded out the rest of the top five individuals. Lady Husky Paige Mitchell finished 4th, sandwiched by Hailee Harmon and Paige Gaughenbaugh in the top five. Breanna Attema of Pierce, another superb golfer returning from a 2013 State Golf appearance, placed sixth with the last score under 100. O'Neill's Amy Schmitz and West Holt's Courteney Hostert gave the Eagles and Huskies three medalists apiece. The Huskies actually medaled every golfer they had entered, as they only have those three girls.
This meet was not only the first of the golf season, but the first of the NSAA fall sports season. Softball is the other sport that began today, with the other three sports that involve area teams to follow in the coming week. To see the complete results from the O'Neill Invite, go to the Pinnacle Bank Scoreboard.
Cross Country has been around since the 1800s, but it’s unclear when people started running on golf courses. Your local Sports Guy theorizes that someone who was terrible at golf but liked running was trying to find their ball after yet another bad shot, and decided that it was a pretty nice environment to run in. However it actually happened, local golf courses will become the haven for high school runners beginning on September 4th this year. The sport shares its opening day with volleyball, becoming the final fall sports to get their seasons underway.
Cross Country is not offered by several schools in the area, but most have a program. Almost all of the KBRX area schools fall into Class D, which is a pretty diverse class because not every school offers it, but many small schools do. O’Neill finally got lucky with the classifications, as the OHS/SMH co-op was able to avoid Class B, and is the fourth biggest school in Class C. They are joined by folks on the fringes of our coverage area such as Pierce, Boone Central and Ord. Every other school KBRX covers is in Class D, with Ainsworth and Stuart being the biggest and smallest in the class, respectively. Overall, 104 schools are in Class D this year.
Don't call them Johnson: The Johnston twins could rule the Mid-State this year.
O’Neill brings back a solid pair of runners in the Johnston twins, who led the Eagles last year as sophomores. Grant earned an 11th place medal at State last year, and Blake finished with a pretty solid 38th place finish himself. They return as some of the top runners in the Mid-State, with most of the other conference state qualifiers graduating last year. Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock just missed the medals last year with an 18th place finish, but returns as a senior with quite a few accolades in her XC and track career. Unfortunately for her (and many other runners), Class C returns almost all of the girls’ medal winners from last year, and a bevy of talented girls in the Mid-State. The OHS girls’ team will be small but veteran, made up of seniors and juniors. One girl to keep an eye on is Ord’s Katherine Lansman, who was almost untouchable last year in the track season, but will move up a class after winning Class D last year. She is joined by Zoe Ritz, who was 22nd as a freshman.
2014 could be a promising year for the area Class D teams. Individually, three male runners return after State medal finishes last year: seniors Zach Welch of Ainsworth (2nd) and Osmond’s Cameron Moes (7th), and junior Colin Erickson from North Central (10th). CWC will bring back a pair of seniors that like to run together in former medalist John Walnofer and Shay Weber, who finished in the top 25% at State. West Holt’s Connor McDermott also placed 43rd out of 147 runners as a sophomore last year, and will lead a solid Husky team. Individually for the girls of Class D, Crofton will bring back a trio of seniors who placed last year. West Holt, like O’Neill, has their own dynamic duo in identical twins Jayden and Alyssa Reiman. Jayden medaled 14th as a freshman while Alyssa was only a minute behind, finishing 44th in the state.
They aren't going anywhere: West Holt made State last year with a team of underclassmen.
In the context of teams, Crofton swept State last year, so they are expected to continue their dynasty this year. West Holt generated some excitement last year by qualifying both boys and girls teams, and have an encouraging group returning. Sophomore Emma Laible joins the Reiman twins to give the Lady Huskies a very young core group from a team that placed 9th last year, and all six boys return from the 14th place 2013 Huskies team. Luke Welborn, Tony Bohnet and Lukas Laible will all be looking to leave an impact as seniors this year. Another young team that made school history last year is Neligh-Oakdale. Two seniors and three sophomores return from the Lady Warriors squad that placed 17th in the school’s first girls’ appearance at State XC. They are led by 10th graders Claudia Orozco and Jayda Chance, who had strong showings in both cross country and track last year.
Finally, there are several relatively new things to note for the 2014 season. Last year was the first year that the girls’ course was extended to 5,000 meters, and it will stay that way this year. Previously it was 4,000 meters, but it was changed last year to be the same length as the boys’ course. The other big change last year was that Class D was separated into six districts instead of five. District assignments for Class D will be released on September 1st. Both of those rules changes will remain this year. District XC competitions will be on Thursday, October 16 with State Cross Country held on Friday, Oct. 24 at the Kearney Country Club.