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O'Neill Eagles Earned The Right To State XC

Last week the O’Neill Eagles once again ran in district competition.  Districts C-2 district meet was held at Wayne.  Eleven teams competed with the best three teams and top fifteen individuals qualifying for the state meet next week held in Kearney at the Kearney Country Club.

The Lady Eagles were in the first race of the day.  Leading the Eagles to a 6th place finish against 5 rated teams in the top ten in Class C.  Alejandra qualified for the state meet placing 9th overall.  Running for the Eagles and helping earn 95 points were Abby Gillham 25th, Ellery Butterfield 28th, Kadra Sommersted-Simmons 34th, Traci Vandersnick 42nd, and Olivia Schmale 47th.

“I thought their performance was great.  These young ladies have improved all year.  Alejandra has worked hard and is a three time state qualifier,” said Coach Hilker.

The O’Neill Boy’s team ran against 5 rated teams and one of the best individuals in the sate.  The Eagles placed 3rd and qualified for state earning sixty points.  Leading the Eagles again was Grant and Blake Johnston who placed 2nd and 11th respectively and earning medals.  Nathaniel Jennings 23rd, Jon Gettert 24th, Kyle Fowler 30th, and Blake Walters 39th.  This is the team who will run next week at Kearney.

“Like the girls this race was tough.  I knew that all the runners were going to make a difference at the end of the race.  We were only two points away from the runner-up team and twenty-one points from the district championship team, Columbus Scotus.  I feel that we ran a little tight but we have a chance to make it up next week,” said Coach Hilker.

Next week the Eagles will compete at the state cross country meet.  The Class C girls will run at 2:00 pm and Class C boys at 3:00 pm at the Kearney Country Club, October 24th.

CWC Earns Runner-Up and West Holt Makes It Two At Districts

Shay Weber leads Blake Ahlers and Connor McDermott near the halfway point.

On a windy day at the Atkinson-Stuart Country Club, runners took to the course for what would be the last race of the season for most of them. Only fifteen individuals and three teams qualify for the State Cross Country Meet in Kearney, and the D-4 District was definitely up for grabs. One thing was for sure: Ainsworth would probably win the team title. The question was who would nab the final two spots in a wide open field?

Ainsworth did not disappoint, placing all six runners in the medals, which didn’t leave many open spots for individual qualifiers. Zach Welch was the only runner to go under 17 minutes in his championship effort, while teammate Brady Delimont beat out Osmond star Cameron Moes for second. North Central’s Colin Erickson narrowly edged the Bulldogs’ Hunter Martin to round out the top five. As if three in the top five wasn’t enough for Ainsworth, the number two ranked team in Class D had Alex Masters (8), Hayes Chohon (11) and Austin Harthoorn (13) in the medals.

Coach Erickson and girls' qualifier Kristin Mahony join the CWC runner-up boys team.

If you were at the meet and paying close attention as the runners crossed, CWC figured to be the runner-up team, but just like the girls’ division, the third place team was a little tougher to pin down. The Renegades were buoyed by their top two runners John Walnofer (6) and Shay Weber (9) with the team score rounded out by Derek Tomjack (18) and Derek Mahony (21). Jordan Sterns and Jeremy Hubel provided depth. West Holt just edged out North Central for third by scores of 87 versus 94. While the Knight’s Erickson was 4th, West Holt had the more consistent team. Connor McDermott again led the Huskies with a 12th place showing, running 19:03. The other three team scores came at the hands of Tony Bohnet (16), Dennis McDermott (29) and Theo Stenka (36). Brent Lemmer and Anthony Meyer were the other two runners for West Holt. This makes it the second year in a row that the Huskies are sending both teams to State.

Garrison Hazen ran a strong race to finish 7th in a strong boys' field.

With Ainsworth taking over a third of the medals, there were limited opportunities to qualify as an individual. Garrison Hazen of Creighton became the Bulldogs’ first State qualifier in the young program’s history with a 7th place medal. Bloomfield saw Kyle Young qualify in 10th, Plainview’s Aaron Boone was 14th, and Blake Ahlers from Boyd County ran a 19:33 time for the final medal and State berth. Justin Bellar from Elkhorn Valley had a good finish, but was just out of the qualifying in 17th.

You can see the results from the D-4 District in the Pinnacle Bank Scoreboard.

West Holt and Boyd County Qualify Girls Teams for State XC

Jayden Reiman and Kasi Grosserode sprint to the finish at Districts

On a windy day at the Atkinson-Stuart Country Club, runners took to the course for what would be the last race of the season for most of them. Only fifteen individuals and three teams qualify for the State Cross Country Meet in Kearney, and the D-4 District was definitely up for grabs. One thing was for sure: Ainsworth was good, and both of their state-ranked teams would probably win the team titles. The question was who would nab the final two spots?

In the girls’ race, Ainsworth did indeed take the district title, led by individual champion Julia Beater, freshman Liz Salzman (3), Logan Clark (6) and Maria Harthoorn (8), who all placed in the top 10. Add in a medal for Morgan Osborn (14) and the fact that the lowest finish they had was in 32nd place, Ainsworth did in fact prove to be the team to beat.

West Holt finished with a solid runner-up effort, making State as a team for the second straight year. Led by the Reiman girls (Jayden 5 & Alyssa 7), the difference makers for the Huskies proved to be their other two runners. With the Huskies fielding the bare minimum for a team, Emma Laible and McKenna Young had to run good races. While Emma was edged out for the final medal, she ran a solid 23:51 to place 16th, and McKenna was just over a minute back to place 24th in her first race in five weeks due to injury.

Morgan Harmon leads teammate Shelby Heiser and WH's Emma Laible.

The third team race was decided by just 11 points between three teams. While both Neligh-Oakdale and Chambers/Wheeler Central had better finishes from their top runners, Boyd County placed three girls in the top 20 to finish seven points ahead of the Warriors. Shelby Heiser was the final individual medalist, while Morgan Harmon finished two spots back and Micaela McGeorge placed 20th, with Jessa McCarthy coming in several seconds ahead of two opponents to help Boyd County qualify for State.

As for the individual qualifiers, newly named Top Dawg Athlete Kasi Grosserode of Neligh-Oakdale finished a step ahead of Jayden Reiman for 4th place in what was the closest photo finish of the girls’ race. Teammate Jayda Chance was exactly one minute back to nab the 13th medal and a State berth. Megan Erickson of North Central was 10th, and Kristin Mahony of CWC ran 23:11 to medal 11th.

You can see the results from the D-4 District in the Pinnacle Bank Scoreboard.

Hale Medals at State to Lead Area Golfers

West Holt’s Mackenzie Hale capped a brilliant senior season by finishing in 10th place at the State Girls Golf tournament in Columbus. In her second appearance at State, Hale shot a two day score of 186, notching a 93 both days to show off the consistency that she displayed during the regular season. It was Hale’s first medal and the highest finish from a KBRX area golfer since O’Neill’s Allison Depko placed 9th in 2011.

In the rest of Class C, Stephanie Sorensen of Plainview shot a 92-100 to place 18th in her senior season. Sorenson shot a 221 at State her freshman year when the Pirates made it as a team, and finished 16th as a junior in a rain-shortened contest last year. Hale’s Husky teammate Paige Mitchell had a great first day but fell a few places on the second day, shooting a 94-109=203 to finish in the top 3rd of the pack with a respectable 32nd place.

Several golfers just on the outside of the KBRX coverage area also did well. Albion’s Melissa Kyncl shot an 86 on the second day to medal 4th with a 178. Crofton senior Mariah Zavadil tied for 20th with a 195, and Breanna Attema of Pierce was tied for 29th with a 201. Battle Creek sent their team, which placed 10th out of 15 teams. Senior Bridget Henn paced the Bravettes with a 28th place 200. Sophomore Taylor Finke went 207, juniors Abby Westerman and Faith Lenox shot 225 and 238, respectively, and sophomore Dannica Chrisman shot a 248.

In Class B, the two O’Neill girls tied for 25th place. Paige Gaughenbaugh shot 99-95 and Hailee Harmon went 91-103. The two juniors were golfing in the State Championships for the second time, as O’Neill qualified as a team last year in Class C. A girl with ties to the KBRX area (and KBRX Junior Golf Tournament alum), Murphy Sears of Crete medaled in a tie for 11th after shooting a two day 179 (86-93).

Brady Wakefield is PRCA Badlands Circuit Rookie Of The Year


Brady Wakefield 2014 PRCA Badlands Circuit Rookie Of The Year Buckle

The 2014 PRCA Bandland Circuit Finals Rodeo was held October 9-12 at Minot, North Dakota.

Brady Wakefield of O'Neill qualified in the Team Roping with teammate Paul Griemsman and the two had a pretty good weekend. They placed 4th in the first round, 2nd in the third round and 3rd in the fourth round.  That put them in 2nd place in the average and a  weekend earnings of $3289.  And to top it off Brady Wakefield was named the 2014 PRCA Badlands Circuit Rookie of The Year!  Brady is the son of Jim & Susan Wakefield of O'Neill.  Congratulations Brady!!

Some other results from the Finals of interest in our area:
Nebraska cowboy Riley Pruitt won the average title for the Finals in the Calf Roping with a total of 36.9 seconds on four runs.
For the third consecutive year, Jeff Bertus’ name can be found as a champ in Minot. The Avon, S.D. cowboy was the only man to ride all four of his bulls, winning the average and the year-end title for the Badlands Circuit.

O'Neill Eagles Claim Conference Championship

The Eagle boys come out of the gates at the Albion Country Club.

Last week the Eagles competed in the Mid-States Conference Cross Country Meet.  The meet was held at the Albion Golf Course. 

The girl’s team started the meet and placed 5th as a team.  Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock was the lone medalist and placed 7th.  Other team members who helped the team was Ellery Butterfield 22nd, Abby Gillham 23rd, Kadra Sommersted-Simmons 30th, Traci Vandersnick 40th, Olivia Schmale 43rd, Gabby Montez 46th, Addie Wetzel 47th, Jayde Rosenkrans 53rd, and Alex Strampher 55th.

The O’Neill Eagle Boy’s team won the their 1st Mid-States Conference Team Trophy.  Leading the Eagles and medaling were Grant Johnston 1st, Blake Johnston 6th, Nathaniel Jennings 10th, and Blake Johnston 15th.  Rest of the championship team were Kyle Fowler 21st, Jon Gettert 27th, Ehric Strope 32nd, Zeb O’Bryan 34th, Cody Watson 37th, Cuoy Shaw 38th, Sergio Gonzalez 39th, McCoy Strong 40th, Casey Vandersnick 43rd, Tyler Beeks 51st, and Jacob Donley 53rd.

“Good step for the team.  We still have room for improvement.  We need to continue to strengthen the middle of our race.  I don’t feel that we have come close to our full potential.  Our goal is to get stronger every week,” said Coach Hilker.

Next week the Eagles will compete at district competition, October 16th, at Wayne Country Club.  The girls' race will begin at 4:30 and the boys' race will follow immediately after.

O'Neill's Junior Team Flex Their Talent at State Cross Country

Last week the O’Neill Junior High Cross Country Team ran at the state junior high meet held at Papillion South High School.  The O’Neill Eagles competed in the open division.

First race of the day was the girls open-division.  Over 120 runners participated in this race.  The O’Neill Eagles placed 3rd out of fifteen teams.  Medaling for the Eagles was Melody Walton who placed 13th.  Rest of the Eagles who helped the team to a third place finish were:  Hali Kloppenborg 17th, Taya Rainforth 23rd, Whitney Watson 29th, and MiKyla Grenier 67th.

In the boy’s open division the boys also placed 3rd as a team out of thirteen teams with 153 athletes.  Running and placing for the Eagles were:  Tyler Frtiz 19th, Dennis Herrara 21st, Trinity Mosel 22nd, Andrew Alder 59th, and Derrick Bronzynski 70th

Two Eagle Golfers Make State As Team Just Misses, Hale Wins District Honors

Two Golfers Qualify for State; The Team Misses Qualifying by ONE Stroke!
O'Neill article courtesy of Coach Fernau

Hailee Harmon, Paige Gaughenbaugh, Nikki Gotschall, Molly Atkeson,
Amy Schmitz, Marie Sitz, Coach Fernau in the back

Paige Gaughenbaugh and Hailee Harmon placed in the top 10 at the B-3 Districts at York to qualify the Class B state tournament at Pioneers Golf Course in Lincoln. Hailee played some of her best golf of the season on a very tough course. Her back nine score of 44 allowed her finish in 2nd place with the runner-up medal. Paige had a few holes that caused her some problems during the round, but was able to stay patient to finish in a tie for 9th place.

Amy Schmitz finished in 11th place, just one stroke from qualifying. Amy is a battler and never gave up. Even though she finished one stroke away from reaching her goal, Coach Fernau was proud of the way she competed and is excited to have her back for next year. Molly Atekeson shot a 126 for the day followed by Nikki Gotschall with a 129. Molly always put forth her best effort and she played hard all day long. Nikki got off to a rough front nine, but she composed herself and came back with a very good score of 58 on the back nine.

The top three teams qualified for state. Aurora was district champions with a 411, Grand Island Northwest was second with a 425 and Holdrege finished 3rd with a 427. O’Neill shot a score of 428 to fall just one stroke short of qualifying as a team. Even though the team never reach their goal of qualifying for state, they had a very successful season by placing 1st or 2nd in seven of the nine tournaments and still have the majority of the varsity returning for next year.

Mackenzie Hale Wins C-3 District, Mitchell and Sorensen Qualify
left: Hale and Mitchell earlier this year at Laurel

West Holt placed two of their three girls in the top 10 in a crowded district to send them on to State Golf in Columbus. Mackenzie Hale led the way at FairPlay Golf Course, shooting her second lowest score of the season en route to a district title in her senior year. Her 87 was just two strokes back of her season best 85 at Ainsworth early this year, which coincidentally was her only other individual championship this season despite being in the top 5 almost every meet. The Ainsworth meet was also the only other time this season that Hale edged out nemesis Stephanie Sorensen. Sorensen placed 2nd in the district after a round that saw her match her season low at 89. The senior from Plainview was last year's 16th place finisher in a rain-shortened one day State Championship.

Also qualifying for the Huskies was Paige Mitchell. Mitchell placed 4th with a 94 to tie both her best finish and score of the year. Mitchell joined Hale in placing in every tournament that the Huskies played in this year. It should be mentioned that while teammate Courteney Hostert missed State, she also placed in almost every meet. Other than districts, Hostert finished 11th in a small invite that only awarded 10 medals (most offer 15 places).

Wayne, Battle Creek, and Norfolk Catholic finished as the top three teams, with the Blue Devils' 404 coming in at 21 strokes better than the runner-up Bravettes. These three teams, as well as the individuals, will golf at Quail Run in Columbus at State Golf next Monday and Tuesday.

Eagle Cross Country Teams Compete in Two Races

Grant Johnston runs the course to be used at State XC during the UNK Invite.

O’Neill Eagles competed in 2 invites last week.  The first meet was the UNK Cross Country Invite which brought together some of the best Class C teams in the state.

The O’Neill girl’s competed first against eighteen other complete teams.  The team finished 9th overall with Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock leading the team with 5th place finish earning a medal.  The rest of the team was:  Abby Gillham 47th, Ellery Butterfield 56th, Kadra Sommersted-Simmons 72nd, Traci Vandersnick 81st, Olivia Schmale 83rd, and Jayde Rosenkrans 126th

In the boy’s division twenty-five teams competed.  The boy’s team placed 4th with 99 points and were 9 points away from the runner-up team Sidney.  Leading the Eagles was juniors Grant and Blake Johnston who medaled by placing 3rd and 15th overall.  The rest of the team who contributed to the team was:  Blake Walters 30th, Nathaniel Jennings 51st, Jon Gettert 57th, Ehric Strope 103rd, Cody Watson 105th,  Zeb O’Bryan 110th, Cuoy Shaw 116th, Sergio Gonzalez 144th, and McCoy Strong 150th.

The West Holt Invitational was held Friday, October 3rd.   The girls and boys team placed 4th and 3rd respectively.  Placing for the Eagles were Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock 5th, Abby Gillham 15th, Grant Johnston 4th, and Blake Johnston 9th

“The Eagles ran well at UNK but struggled at West Holt.  We are getting stronger and rest is in store.  We just need to keep working on finishing the race,” said Coach Hilker.

O'Neill Eagles Show Grit at Boone Central Individual Invite

Blake Walters placed 3rd in the Senior division.

Last week the O’Neill Eagles ran at the Boone Central Individual Invite.  Twelve schools participated in the meet.   No official team trophies were given.  Runners earned a medal by placing in the top five in their grade level.

In the freshman level Gabby Montes placed 3rd and Nathaniel Jennings 4th.  In the junior division Grant Johnston placed 1st.  Then in the senior division Blake Walters placed 3rd and Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock 2nd.

In team standings the O’Neill Boys placed 2nd and the girl’s team placed 5th

“As a team as a whole we have a better race in us,” said Coach Hilker.

This week the Eagles will be run in two meets.  Monday, the Eagles first will have run at UNK Invite, September 29th at Kearney, and then October 3rd, West Holt Invite.  The Eagles will run at 4:00 pm at Kearney, and then 4:00 pm at the Atkinson-Stuart Country Club.

HS Rodeo Points Leaders at the Halfway Mark


The Nebraska High School Rodeo Association is calling it quits for the winter, finishing their final rodeos of the fall season last week in Broken Bow. Rodeo is unique in the fact that the season covers two distinct times of the year, with rodeos for around two months in the fall and three months in the spring. Although there is about a one month break between the State and National Finals and another between Nationals and the beginning of the new season, the competitors are generally in action for around 7 consecutive months.

To this point, 13 rodeos have been completed, leaving 16 other regular-season competitions remaining for the spring. The winter break is a good time to check up on the standings in the individual events as well as the standings. For a refresher, the sport of rodeo has two ways of rewarding the winners. Cash, gas cards, clothing, and gear among other things are won at many individual rodeos (the NHSRA is an independent organization, unlike the NSAA, so they can give high-schoolers these things). Points are also awarded to the top placers at each rodeo, and at the end of the season the top 30 points winners are invited to the post-season, meaning State and Nationals.

So here are the points standings for the area cowboys and cowgirls. The first set are the All-Around leaders, the award that goes to the top multi-event finishers, followed by each individual event. Here are just a few of the top area finishers, but every KBRX area competitor who has scored points can be seen by clicking the title of this article to open up the full list.

Boys All Around Girls All Around
Place Member Name City Place Member Name City
Individual Events
Place Member Name City Place Member Name City
Place Member Name City 15 ALISON STRACKE STUART
3 SHANE WEBER BURWELL Place Member Name City
Place Member Name City 2 RACHAEL CALVO BASSETT
BREAKAWAY ROPING Place Member Name City
8 LINZIE VAN HORN PAGE Place Member Name City
Place Member Name City 2 RILEY WAKEFIELD O'NEILL
10 DANIELLE WRAY ORD Place Member Name City
Place Member Name City 4 RILEY WAKEFIELD O'NEILL


Birds of a Different Feather Flock Together (And Play Good Football)

Concordia University in Seward has benefitted from having several KBRX area players on their football team during the last few years, and now the Bulldogs are enjoying their decision to put a tandem of O’Neill players in the defensive backfield.

St. Mary’s alum Tait Sibbel has enjoyed success as a safety during the last two years, starting his career during only the second game of his freshman year. Since then he has totaled 121 tackles and five interceptions (four last year) in his two seasons with the Bulldogs. This year Tait has ten tackles and a pass breakup in three games.

This season former OHS Eagle Michael Hedlund was converted from quarterback to safety, and the swap has yielded some good returns. Quite literally in fact, as Hedlund has intercepted two passes that were returned for 33 yards. Although Michael hasn’t played much as a defensive back for several seasons (due to health reasons as a prep player and being on offense his first year of college) he has made his mark not only on the team but in the conference. He currently ranks ninth on the team in tackles with 11, including one for a loss, and two passes defensed to go with his pair of interceptions. His two picks in only three games leave him as just one of four players in the Great Plains Athletic Conference with at least two INTs.

Sibbel and Hedlund are the only are players to see a lot of time early this season, but there are several others on the Bulldog roster that hail from the area. West Holt graduate Kelby Feddern is a freshman who is listed as a defensive lineman. Boone Central graduate Derek Gentrup is a freshman wide receiver as well, joining former prep teammate Halleck Lehmann. Although they aren’t from the area, the former Doniphan-Trumbull duo of Riley Wiltfong and Jordan Slough are names that high school football fans would recognize who also landed at Concordia.

So far Concordia is 2-1 on the season with wins over Midland and Sterling College of Kansas, and a close loss to Hastings.

O'Neill Eagles Grab Runner-Up Trophies at O'Neill Invite

Nathaniel Jennings leads Connor McDermott into a turn at the O'Neill Country Club.

Late week the O’Neill Eagles hosted their own invitational track meet.  The Eagles were able to take home two runner-up trophies in both the girls and boy’s division.  Fifteen schools competed with eleven schools having full teams.

In the girl’s division The Lady Eagles were able to score 44 points and place 2nd behind the defending Class D State Championship Team, Crofton.  Leading the Eagles again was senior standout Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock who placed 4th and junior Abby Gillham who placed 14th.  Both girls earned a medal.  Finishing out the varsity team was:  Ellery Butterfield 18th, Traci Vandersnick 29th, Kadra-Sommersted-Simmons 31st, and Olivia Schmale 38th

Abby Gillham placed 14th to help the Lady Eagles to a 2nd place finish.

In the girl’ s junior varsity division Jayde Rosenkrans medaled placing 5th.  Alexis Montes placed 11th, Addie Wetzel 13th, and Alex Strampher 17th.

The high schools boy’s division, the Eagles earned 36 points to place runner-up to the tough Ainsworth Bulldog Team.  Grant Johnston placed 4th, Blake Johnston 8th, and Nathaniel Jennings 12th, which were medalist.  Rounding out the team was Blake Walters 17th, Kyle Fowler 20th, and Jon Gettert 29th

The Eagle JV Boy’s Team medaled seven of the ten Eagle Runners.  Placing is as follows:  Logan Spencer 1st, Ehric Strope 4th, Cody Watson 6th, Sergio Gonzalez 7th, Zeb O’Bryan 8th, Cuoy Shaw 9th, McCoy Strong 10th, Casey Vandersnick 12th, Tyler Beeks, 13th, and Jacob Donley 16th.

“It was great to see both teams bring home a team plaque.  Both the girl’s and boy’s team ran against the best teams in not only the area but are Class D favorite to win state meet.  I did feel we were a little flat though.  This part of the season we need to work on running on the 2nd half of the race.  As for the meet, it ran smooth only because to the people who volunteer and take time out of their day to support O’Neill Cross Country,” said Coach Hilker.

Next week the Eagles will compete at Boone Central Individual Invite on September 26th, and then at the UNK Invite 29th.  The Boone Central Meet will start at 4:30 pm and at UNK O’Neill’s division will run at 4:00 pm, starting with the girls. 

Junior High Show Strides at Home Invitational

The O’Neill Junior High Team ran last week at the O’Neill Invite.  Fifty girls and forty-seven boys ran in the respective divisions.  Placing 3rd the girl’s team medaled 3 individuals:  Whitney Watson 8th, Haylee Kaufman 11th, and Hali Kloppenborg 12th. Rounding out the girl’s team was Mikyla Grenier 35th, and Kiara Irwin 44th

In the boy’s division the team placed 4th.  Dennis Herrara placed 10th.  Rest of the runners are as follows:  Tyler Fritz 16th, Trinity Mosel 19th, Derrick Bronzynski 23rd, Andrew Alder 29th, Hunter Smith 31st, Lukas Dougherty 34th, Heydon Strope 37th, Jace Stagemeyer 41st, Justin Beeks 44th, Aaron Dewitt 46th, and Kobi Ennen 47th.

Next week the junior high will travel with the high school team Boone Central and race in their division.  Meet starts at 4:30 pm.

A Piece of History: NVC Edition


A few years ago we had a listener send in a copy of a 1944 O'Neill Tournament roster. Last week another listener shared more area history with us by sending us a copy of one of the early NVC basketball tournament programs dating to 1953.

According to our source, who did not want to be named, the NVC was organized in the early 1950's ('50 or '51 most likely). The conference initially included Butte, Spencer, Lynch, Niobrara, Verdigre and Center. One interesting fact about Center is that they played their home games at Verdigre until they built a gym. NVC teams played each school twice in the regular season, one home and one away. Besides the conference tournament, in those days there were two other big basketball tournaments in the area. The Boyd County Tournament alternated between Naper, Butte, Spencer and Lynch. The Big Four Tournament, usually held around New Year's, was hosted by Bonesteel, Fairfax or Spencer in their community halls or in the Butte gym. Districts were always at Atkinson.

Thanks to our listener for sending in this piece of NVC history! If anybody else has anything of interest to add, or has any other bit of area sports history they would like to share, contact Mark at the station. Here is the program from the 1953 Niobrara Valley Conference Basketball Tournament. Click on the pictures below to open up the full image.


NSAA Releases Basketball Classifications for 2014-15


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.
Call KBRX at (402) 336-1612