Today's Poll
Sports

2014 Cross Country Preview



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.
 

Eagles Jump Back to Class B in Softball




The Eagles won the program's first district title last year with a 9-3 win over Pierce.

Fresh off their first district championship and second State Tournament appearance, the Eagle softball team will look to continue building their program this year. Known for their summer program, O’Neill has had fairly good success with its NSAA counterpart, which is in its eighth year. Although the Eagles didn’t win a game at State, the trip to Hastings was well earned with a year that saw them go 20-9. O'Neill may have to battle a bit of inexperience, as six longtime starters and contributors graduated last year. However, plenty of talent remains on the Eagle roster.

The annual drama for O’Neill softball is not necessarily the play on the field (which has been pretty exciting, of course) but the yearly classification. The Eagles have been in Class C twice (last year and 2007), which have been the years when they have qualified for State. In the between times, O’Neill has been classified in Class B. While they haven’t qualified for State in B, they have had a winning record every year, and have generally competed well. Usually they are right on the edge of the B/C line, and this year is no exception. The Eagles fell on the Class B side this year as the second smallest team in the class. Familiar foe Wisner-Pilger is the smallest team in B this year. Wisner will host the B-4 district, which will feature powerhouse Blair. O’Neill seems to be the team best equipped to challenge Blair in the district, as the Eagles and Bears are the only two teams that had winning records last year.

The Eagles will see many of their usual opponents, although there are a few changes to the softball landscape in Northeast Nebraska. Lutheran High Northeast struggled to field a full team last year, so Norfolk High accepted LHNE and Norfolk Catholic into their program in Class A. Madison is joining with Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family this year, adding Lindsay into that co-op. Newman Grove will also join Boone Central in softball, after being with them in other sports previously. The Mid-State Conference will feature five teams that offer softball: O’Neill, Wayne, Pierce, Boone Central and Guardian Angels CC.

The first day of softball is Thursday, August 21, but the Eagles will wait until Saturday to play their first games, traveling to the always tough York Quad. The conference tournament will be Saturday, October 4 at Wayne. Districts are October 9 and 10 in Wisner, with the three-day State Tournament in Hastings starting Wednesday, October 15.
 

Huskers Picked 2nd in Big Ten Volleyball



Lincoln – Fresh off the first AVCA rankings, the Big Ten Conference released its preseason volleyball poll on Thursday afternoon and Nebraska’s 2014 squad was picked second by the league’s coaches. Senior Mary Pollmiller and sophomore Kadie Rolfzen were named to the 15-member preseason All-Big Ten team, with Rolfzen an unanimous selection.

The 2014 season marks Nebraska’s fourth season as a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Huskers have finished no lower than second in each of their first three years, including a conference title in 2011.

Two-time defending Big Ten champion Penn State was picked to finish first in the conference, while the top five was rounded out by No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Illinois and No. 5 Purdue.

Nebraska finished the 2013 season second in the Big Ten with a 16-4 league record, while then senior Kelsey Robinson was named player of the year. Pollmiller and Rolfzen each earned All-Big honors last season and the Huskers also return honorable-mention All-American Meghan Haggerty.

Rolfzen was one of six players in the conference to earn unanimous preseason honors, she was joined by Illinois’ Jocelynn Birks, Michigan State’s Kori Moster, Penn State’s Micha Hancock, Purdue’s Val Nichol and Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini.

2014 Big Ten Preseason Poll

1.       Penn State
2.       Nebraska
3.       Wisconsin
4.       Illinois
5.       Purdue
6.       Michigan State
7.       Minnesota
8.       Michigan
9.       Ohio State
10.     Northwestern
11.     Iowa
12.     Indiana
13.     Maryland
14.     Rutgers
 

Girls' Golf Capsule For 2014


 

Four of O'Neill's State Qualifying golf team return in 2014, as Davita Dick (middle)
was the only senior on the varsity in 2013.

Girls’ Golf is one of the first NSAA sports to start off the new year, teeing off on Thursday, August 21. It shares that distinction with softball. State Golf is October 13 & 14, with sites in Norfolk, Lincoln and Columbus.

There are just a few girls’ golf teams in the KBRX area. O’Neill, West Holt, Elkhorn Valley, Plainview and Ainsworth are the schools within earshot that offer fall golf. Boone Central, Crofton, Battle Creek and Pierce are some of the others that are on the edge of our area as well. This year O’Neill didn’t have much luck in any of the classifications, as they bumped up to Class B this year after finishing as the 4th place team in Class C last year. Not only did they bump up, but they are the smallest team in Class B. Wayne and Crofton are some familiar opponents that will be two of the biggest Class C teams. Elkhorn Valley will be the third smallest team in C.

Mackenzie Hale is a returning State Qualifier from West Holt.

O’Neill was the only team to make State last year, but several individuals who did well last year will be returning. Senior Stephanie Sorensen of Plainview tied for 16th at State in 2013, while O’Neill’s Hailee Harmon was just two spots back as a sophomore. Mackenzie Hale of West Holt is also a returning State Qualifier, and will lead the Huskies in 2014 as a senior. Although O’Neill moves up to Class B, they do return four of their top five golfers, and will be very junior-heavy. Another team that all of the area golf teams will see a lot is Pierce, who brings back four pretty good golfers from last year's eighth place team and could be fairly tough this fall.
 

OHS Grad Wins Nebraska Golf Tournament



A former O’Neill Eagle has come out on top of a Nebraska PGA event.

Kyle Schellpeper shot the low round at the National Car Rental Nebraska Assistants Championship on Monday. Schellpeper notched a 76 on Sunday, and improved with a 73 on Monday for a three stroke win. The rounds were played at Wilderness Ridge Golf Club in Lincoln.

Besides a check of $1,150, the win qualifies Kyle for the national competition in a couple of months. The 38th National Car Rental PGA Assistant Championship will be at Wanamaker Golf Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida from October 30 through November 2. The competition is for assistant golf pros and is run by the PGA of America. Schellpeper works as a PGA apprentice at Oak Hills in Omaha, and has competed in around a dozen tournaments this year, mostly in Nebraska. He has not missed a cut.
 

Huskers Ranked Seventh in Preseason VB Poll



The Nebraska volleyball team came in at No. 7 in the preseason AVCA Coaches’ poll, released on Monday. The Huskers return all but one starter from last year’s team, which finished with a 26-7 record, a trip to the NCAA Regional Final and a No. 7 final ranking.

The preseason poll had a Big Ten flare, as seven conference teams earned a spot in the top 25, while Michigan was receiving votes. Six of the top 12 teams in the preseason poll were from the Big Ten Conference. Defending national champion Penn State was picked first, followed by Texas, Stanford, Washington and USC. Wisconsin, the 2013 national runner-up, came in one spot ahead of Nebraska at No. 6, while Purdue was ranked eighth. BYU and Florida, respectively, rounded out the top 10.

With the release of the first 2014 weekly poll, the Huskers have now been ranked in each of the AVCA’s 462 all-time polls, dating back to 1982. Nebraska has been ranked in the top 10 in 418 of those 462 polls, the highest total of any team in the country.

Nebraska’s ranking will be put to the test throughout this season. The Huskers will face a ranked opponent in 13 of their 29 matches this season, including six matchups with top-10 opponents. NU will face the top three teams in the preseason poll a total of four times, beginning with a contest against No. 3 Stanford in the second game of the season at the Devaney Center on Sunday, Aug. 31.

The Huskers open their season on Friday, Aug. 29, against 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles. The back-to-back matchups with FSU and Stanford are part of the AVCA Showcase at the Devaney Center.

Creighton also made an appearance, being tabbed at #23 in the preseason poll. The Bluejays, who return three starters from their 23-9 team, open against Lipscomb in the Kansas Invitational on Aug. 29.

Also, limited number of single-match tickets for Nebraska’s 2014 home volleyball matches will go on sale to the public beginning at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20. Tickets can be purchased on Huskers.com, but fans are advised that availability is limited and some tickets may be standing-room only. Tickets for the Huskers’ Red-White scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 23 are on sale now. Tickets for the scrimmage are available for $10 (reserved) or $8 (standing-room only).
 

Field of 33 Youths Play the KBRX Junior Golf Tournament



33 Golfers participated in the 2014 KBRX Junior Golf Tournament at the O'Neill Country Club on Thursday, August 7.  Here are the results.
 

(left to right) Charlie Gale, Peyton Matthews, Gunnar Knaak
10-12 Year Old Boys - Played 9 Holes on Shortened Course
1st  Gunnar Knaak, Plainview 41
2nd Peyton Matthews, O'Neill 41
3rd Charlie Gale, Bassett 41
4th Gunnar Bussinger, Bassett 44
5th Jaxon Cadwallader, Atkinson  51
6th Brenna Pint, Plainview  53
7th Peyton Hoefer, Elgin 53
8th Grant Mlnar, Atkinson 56
9th Issac Everitt, O'Neill 59
10th Will Otte, O'Neill 74
11th Adam Everitt, O'Neill 75

12-14 Year Old Girls Played 9 Holes
1st Abby Broderson, Albion 57
2nd Claire Everitt, O'Neill 67
3rd  Abbey Everitt, O'Neill 69

(left to right) Murphy Sears, Hailey Harmon
15-18 Year Old Girls Played 18 Holes
1st Murphy Sears, Crete  80
2nd Hailey Harmon, O'Neill 86
3rd Paige Gaughenbaugh, O'Neill 98
4th Mackenzie Hale, Atkinson  102
5th Amy Schmitz, O'Neill  102
6th Victoria Osterman, Ainsworth 125

(left to right) Tucker Knaak, Mason Hale, Bryce Kerkman
13-15 Year Old Boys Played 18 Holes
1st Mason Hale, Atkinson  77
2nd Tucker Knaak, Plainview  78
3rd  Bryce Kerkman, Atkinson 81
4th Jake Lingenfelter, Plainview 101
5th Seth Hytrek, Atkinson 101
6th Cole Gaughenbaugh, O'Neill  103
7th Connor Hermsen, Butte 122
8th Joseph Seger, Atkinson 166

(left to right) Austyn Lech, Colin Wright, Josh Cuddy
16-18 Year Old Boys Played 18 Holes
1st Colin Wright, Plainview  76
2nd Austyn Lech, Atkinson 81
3rd  Josh Cuddy, O'Neill 83
4th  Baylee Colfack, O'Neill 106
5th  Jon Hoefer, O'Neill 114

 

Are You Ready For Some Football?



Believe it or not, high school sports are right around the corner. The 2014 fall seasons are just weeks away from starting, with softball and girls' golf kicking off the season on August 21. Football starts one week later, followed by volleyball and cross country the week after on September 4.

This article will focus on football to re-aquaint fans with all of the changes 2014 brings. This year is the first year of the new cycle, so we have new classifications, new districts, and new two-year schedules.

Here are a few of the notes that came out of the new classifications that were released earlier this year:
- Class C1 involves 47 schools, while Class C2 features 48. Class D1 and D2 are each made up of 54 schools, and Six Man will have 18 schools.
- Ainsworth drops down to C2, and will be the fourth biggest school in that class.
- In Class D1, 14 schools exceeded the 8-man enrollment limit. Plainview and Niobrara/Verdigre are two of the eight schools that opted to play in D1 and be ineligible for playoffs. Neligh-Oakdale and Burwell are in the exemption period that allows them to make the playoffs.
- CWC and St. Mary’s both dropped to D2. They join 2013 runner-up Stuart in D2, who is again one of the smallest in the class.
- After several year of playing Six Man, Elkhorn Valley will jump back up to 8 Man, playing in D2.
- Greeley-Wolbach will now play with North Loup/Scotia in D1. Spalding High will co-op with Cedar Rapids (to be known as the Riverside Chargers), and Spalding Academy will be alone. Both will be in Six Man.

Here are the new districts for the next two years:
 
District C1-3: Boone Central/Newman Grove, Madison, Norfolk Catholic, Pierce, Wayne,West Point-Beemer District C1-7: Broken Bow, Cozad,
Gothenburg, O'Neill, Ord, Valentine
District C2-5: Ainsworth, Battle Creek, Crofton, Hartington Cedar Catholic, Lutheran High Northeast, West Holt District D1-3: Bloomfield, Creighton, Hartington, Plainview, Wakefield
District D1-7: Boyd County, Clearwater/Orchard, Elgin Public/Pope John, Neligh-Oakdale, Niobrara/Verdigre, North Central District D1-8: Amherst. Ansley-Litchfield, Burwell, Greeley-Wolbach/North Loup-Scotia, South Loup, Twin Loup
District D2-4: Elkhorn Valley, Hampton, Heartland Lutheran, Humphrey St. Francis, Osceola, Palmer District D2-5: CWC, Osmond, Randolph, St. Mary's, Stuart, Wausa


Check out this year's football schedule on the Three River Scorecard to see who and where all of our KBRX area teams play, and the Gutshall & Blumenstock Broadcast Calendar to find out which games you can listen to.
 

Jelinek Swims in AAU Games


 

Kooper Jelinek of Atkinson recently competed in the AAU Junior Olympic games in Iowa. Jelinek was one of many competitors in the pool, swimming for Team South Dakota during the four day portion of the Games.

Jelinek qualified for the Junior Olympics in three events, swimming in the 100 Meter Backstroke, the 100 Meter Breaststroke, and the 400 Meter Freestyle Mixed Relay. Kooper placed 13th in the 100 Backstroke, swimming a time of 1:33.86. He placed 11th in the 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:39.73. Swimming with 3 other boys, Jelinek’s Mixed Relay team was 3rd with a time of 4:54.52. Kooper swam the anchor leg in a time of 1:22.46. His team was composed of 3 other 13 year-olds, while it should be noted that the two teams ahead of theirs both featured older swimmers in the 13-18 age group.

Results can be found at www.aaujrogames.org, with full swimming results at this link.
 

Lady Broncos Make Their Mark in Kearney




photo courtesy of Lori Kunz

The Stuart Lady Bronco volleyball team left a big stamp on Class D volleyball at a recent camp, winning the Class D section of the Nebraska Top Ten Volleyball camp in Kearney.

The camp was divided into two pools, with nine Class D teams in each pool. The Broncos were in a group with NVC foe CWC, as well as such teams as Giltner (who downed Stuart in the D2 Championship last year) and Class D1 3rd place Friend. The rigorous first day consisted of eight two set matches, allowing every team to play every team in their pool.

Teams were re-seeded on the second day into the Gold and Silver pools, with the top 5 teams going to the Gold bracket. Stuart and CWC both made it into the Gold pool as the #1 and #4 teams in Group B, respectively, along with Giltner, Emerson-Hubbard and Mullen. Group A’s Gold Pool included some teams that have been in the mix in recent postseason play: Howells-Dodge, Hampton, Ansley-Litchfield, Exeter-Milligan and Lawrence-Nelson. Teams played five more matches on day two, matching up in cross-pool play.

Final results were determined by the best match record, with tie breakers coming down to head-to-head records and point differentials. Stuart came away as the victors in Class D this year, beating their 10th place finish two years ago. The Broncos finished 15-3, while CWC went .500 in their 18 games in Class D. St. Mary's tallied a record of 12-6 to place 4th in the C2 division, with Crofton (17-1) finishing as the champions at that level.

The NVC has had a strong showing in the annual camp over the last few years, with Ewing and St. Mary’s going 1-2 last year in Class D, and three teams in the top 10 in 2012. St. Mary’s and West Holt will competed in this year’s Class C2 competition, which included a number of C2 teams and a few D1 schools. The only other category is for Classes A-B-C1.
 

Hurley Qualifies for Long Drive Championship



He's always been able to hit it a mile.

More realistically, one-fifth of a mile, but whether that phrase is used figuratively or literally, the ball goes a ways. John Hurley has been known for his long drives throughout his career, and now he is competing in a tournament specialized for his skills.


John Hurley (front left) will head to Nevada in two months to smash golf balls.

Hurley qualified for the Open Division of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship by winning his regional competition over the weekend. Hurley has had to come through the qualifying process in several stages. After winning a Region 7 sectional with a drive of 310 yards into a 25 mph wind, Hurley advanced to the Region 7 finals at WinStar Golf Course in Thackerville, Oklahoma. There he became one of eight qualifiers to come from Region 7, notching the third best distance. Hurley's 352 yard drive in the final round was just three yards short of the furthest shot from Adam Smith, with only one other competitor getting past that mark (353). Golfers did have a small battle with Mother Nature, hitting into a 15 mph wind that day. Smith also won the $1,000 shootout with an impressive drive of 362 yards, a contest in which Hurley just missed on the money with a drive of 336.

With that, the Re/Max WLDC is the next and last stop in the competition for Hurley. Held in Mesquite, Nevada at the Mesquite Sports and Event Complex, the contest will be played out in late September, starting on the 25th. Golfers from around the globe will battle for the $500,000 prize and the bragging rights. The WLDC will be featured on the Golf Channel/NBC Sports Network.
 

Local Golfers Play In Nebraska Amateur Championship


 

 
The 106th Nebraska Amateur Championship Golf Tournament concluded today at Norfolk Country Club in Norfolk and the KBRX area saw a couple of golfers finish towards the top of the leaderboard.

Kris Koelzer of O'Neill, Tyler Schaaf of Lincoln, formerly of Atkinson, and Sam Meuret of Brunswick are KBRX area golfers who made the cut in the four round tournament. Several golfers with local ties are also competing. Josh and Rylee Reinertson of Gibbon were both in the top 10 to start the day, and Lucas Grossnicklaus of Aurora also made the short list for the final two rounds.

David Clouse of Friend had a great finish to the tournament to take the title at 13-under-par. His 66 score on the final day was more than enough to insure his first place finish, as he was seven strokes ahead of the field. The Reinertson boys finished second and fourth to push their way to the top of the scorecard.

 
Pos. Player City Total R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
2 Rylee Reinertson Gibbon -6 72 72 70 68 282
T4 Josh Reinertson Gibbon -2 68 74 72 72 286
T10 Kris Koelzer O'Neill +3 76 70 73 72 291
T10 Sam Meuret Brunswick +3 72 69 72 78 291
T18 Tyler Schaaf Lincoln +6 74 72 69 79 294
T30 Lucas Grossnicklaus Aurora +10 77 72 72 77 298

 
   
Call KBRX at (402) 336-1612