The Cards become three-peat Niobrara Valley Conference champions in 2014.
St. Mary's seems to have Stuart's number this year. For the second straight game in the NVC, one team came in with three previous wins against the other in the 2014 season. The Cardinals made it look easy in the first set, but ultimately had to battle for a four set win. Although it may have been done before (we would appreciate help on this one if anybody knows!), it isn't often that the #1 D1 team and #1 D2 team meet in a conference final. Coming in as one of two undefeated D1 teams (more on this later), St. Mary's downed Stuart for the fourth time this year by a score of 25-8, 18-25, 25-22, 25-14.
The first set doesn't need much explanation. St. Mary's jumped out to a 6-0 lead before a Stuart timeout, and everything seemed to go right for the Lady Cardinals. Behind Riley Sibbel's serving and Tracy Chvala's four kills the Cards made it seem as if it would get out of hand. But the Broncos got fired up with the first point of the second set, and behind Monique Schafer's seven kills and Taylor Malone's two ace serves, the Broncos were in control of most of the 25-18 second set win. This was the first loss in a set by the Cardinals since EPPJ stole one back on Oct. 7th. With the game tied at 1-1, it looked like the matchup everyone expected. What nobody may have expected is Sibbel teeing off in the final two sets. After not tallying a successful attack in the first two sets, Riley ripped off seven kills in the third set to pair with Emily Pongratz's back-to-back ace serves, and St. Mary's survived a close 25-22 third set despite leading 23-16 earlier. Contributing to the Stuart run was some strong blocking by Courtni Kunz, who had five of her six blocks in that set. St. Mary's was able to steadily build their lead in the final game, and another four kills from Sibbel and strong finishes from the net and serving stripe by Chvala and Krissy Krotter put the finishing touches on the Cardinal win.
St. Mary's had a balanced attack again, with five attackers getting multiple tallies into the kill column. Sibbel led the way with 11 kills and an ace on 24/24 serving, Krotter tallied nine kills with two blocks, Chvala finished with nine kills, two aces and two blocks, Sydney Hupp picked up six kills and three blocks from the MH position, and Pongratz had four kills, two aces and three blocks. Stuart was led by Monique Schafer's 15 kills and Courtni Kunz's seven kills and six blocks, with Hailey Paxton chipping in a half-dozen kills and a block, Harlee Fischer notching four kills, and Trisha Fox adding three kills. Two positions that also deserve recognition are the liberos and setters. Mackenzie Wecker is as good as any libero in D1, and Brittany Hanzlik has done a great job transitioning to the position this year. Bridget Schneider and Jaden Schafer perhaps played as good as anyone on Friday night. Besides their setting performances that led the way for the hitters, Schneider was perfect from the serving stripe and Schafer notched three kills along with more one-hand digs than you could shake a stick at.
St. Mary's became the first three-time champion since Ewing did the same from 2006 through 2008. The Cardinals have taken three straight 3-1 matches over their opponents, knocking down Ewing in the two previous years. St. Mary's heads to Neligh on Monday to the D1-7 Sub-District with a game against Boyd County or North Central. Stuart heads to the D2-4 Sub-District in Creighton, where they will be the favorite in a sub that also features Ewing.
There are still plenty of smiles to go around for the NVC runner-ups.
EPPJ picked up their highest NVC finish since being 2nd in 2010.
It's tough to beat a team twice. Three is no small feat. Four can get you a win in the NVC if you catch the right night. For Elgin Public/Pope John, they caught the right night to play CWC for the fourth time in 2014. The Wolfpack got a Friday night win in the NVC Tournament in four sets, completing a hard-fought 25-20, 25-20, 16-25, 25-23 victory over the Renegades. The third place win for EPPJ was their first trip back to a Friday night NVC game since 2010. In fact, that game came against CWC in the early days of the two co-ops, when the Renegades knocked down a game Wolfpack team 3-2. CWC played a Friday game for the 5th straight year after capturing the championship in 2010 and finishing 3rd each of the last three years.
EPPJ took the first two sets by similar scores on the strength of a solid start by the two leading hitters on the club, Liz Selting and Jenna Parks, who combined for 8 kills. In a second set, a great serving performance by senior Sharla Schindler helped the Pack overcome an early deficit, and they were able to secure the win despite six kills by Jacie Laetsch. CWC came roaring back in the third, starting on a 9-2 run en route to a 25-16 win. Most of the way through the fourth set it looked like CWC would force a decisive 5th, but EPPJ overcame a 19-15 deficit to take the match in four. Despite Nicole Beed coming alive with five kills, two blocks and two ace serves, and Laetsch and Dawn Klabenes hitting well, the Wolfpack took the lead at 20-19 and held off a CWC rally to win by two. Senior Hayley Stamp had two of her three kills in key moments, Selting picked up four kills, and Terri Seier did an outstanding job at the net with two kills and three blocks in the fourth set to help EPPJ to the win.
Selting and Laetsch dueled for the match-high lead in kills, and both finished with 15 by Mark and Scott's count. Reigning Top Dawg Athlete of the Week Jenna Parks knocked down nine kills along with two aces and Terri Seier was in on five blocks to go with her seven kills. The Wolfpack also had great performances from the serving line by Baylee Wemhoff, Taylor Schumacher, Jordan Mescher and Schindler, who combined 59 of 60 serving with some good defense. Besides Laetsch's plethora of kills, CWC was led at the net by Klabenes, who looked unstoppable at times with 10 kills and three blocks, and Regan Dierks with seven kills and a block. Tami Jo Marcellus chipped in a handful of kills and two aces, Beed pounded out a half-dozen kills and three aces, and Marissa Koenig took time off from her part-time setting duties to hit four points. Sophomore libero Aleesha Williams' performance shouldn't be overlooked either, as she made play after play in the back row.
Fortunately for these two teams, they will not see each other again. EPPJ comes back to the Aerie at OHS as the favorite in the C2-8 Sub-District. CWC heads to Neligh for the D1-7 Sub-District on Monday as the second seed and a matchup with Clearwater/Orchard brewing.
As a final note on this game, the NVC Consolation game has gone four sets for the last six years. Pope John was involved in the start of that run. After beating West Boyd 3-0 in 2008, the Crusaders beat defending champion Ewing 3-1 the next year. Since then, CWC and Stuart have been involved in four straight 3-1 contests, and the Wolfpack continued that this year.
CWC finished 4th, but has played on the final day of NVC every year of the co-op.
Brooke Bauer (#3, bottom left) and Allie Millard (#20, upper right) join the
NECC basketball team, which begins its season this weekend.
NORFOLK – Several new faces join this year’s women’s basketball team at Northeast Community College – a team that is coming off a strong season last year. Hawks Coach Matt Svehla welcomes nine freshmen this season along with four returning sophomores.
Northeast ended the 2013-14 campaign 26-4 following an appearance in the Region XI Championship game. The Hawks were also ranked several times in the National Junior College Athletic Association Top 25 Division I poll during the season.
“We lost some really good players from last year’s team, but we return some really good players too,” Svehla said. “Three of our returners averaged around ten points per game last season, so they will provide some scoring and experience with this year’s team. Like always, we will need for our freshmen group to contribute and some will need to contribute right away. I have been pretty pleased with their development and I expect that they will continue to improve as the season goes along. The freshmen class has a good balance of perimeter players and inside players. Our freshmen inside players bring nice size to our roster, which makes us bigger than we were a year ago.”
The Hawks will be led by returning sophomores Yasmin Miller, Mountain Creek, Qld, Australia, Annie Szczepaniak, Bellevue, Megan Trinder, Hollywell, Qld, Australia, and Ena Viso, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Freshman players this season include Brooke Bauer, O’Neill, Janea Bunn, Springfield, MA, Cameron Eddie, Belden, Sydney Koel, Sioux Falls, SD, Jayla Mayes-Jackson, Minneapolis, MN, Octavia McGraw, Omaha, Allie Millard, Valentine, Hannah Riley, Richmond Hill, GA, and Kara Valasek, Palmer.
Svehla said his players are excited to begin the season. “Preseason can get long and it is time to shift gears. Opening up on the road is always difficult, but hopefully we’ll be ready to go. We won’t have much of a scouting report on our opponents, so we’ll try to worry about our own business. Playing solid defense, rebounding, and minimizing turnovers will be our focus.”
The Northeast Community College women’s and men’s basketball teams open this season on Saturday and Sunday, November 1 and 2, at the North Dakota State College of Science Classic at Wahpeton, ND.
Cameron Moes and Zach Welch picked up postseason attention from the NCA.
The Nebraska Coaches Association released its list of Cross Country honors on Friday. With the State Championships in the books, the fall running season had its end in Kearney last week. Since media around the state do not make All-State selections for some sports, including Cross Country, the NCA handles postseason honors. The NCA mostly took the results from the Championships into consideration when selecting their teams.
For classes C and D, usually the winners in each class are named Super-State. This year Zach Welch of Ainsworth garnered that honor in Class D. Area girls' All-State awards went to Zoe Ritz of Ord in Class C, and Class D freshman Haley Arens of Crofton and Anna O'Malley from North Platte St. Pat's. Three area boys picked up All-State Honors for their efforts at State, including O'Neill's standout junior Grant Johnston. In Class D, Brady Delimont of Ainsworth and Osmond senior Cameron Moes picked up All-State awards.
Girls All-State Class C
Zoe Ritz Ord Class D
Haley Arens Crofton
Anna O'Malley North Platte St. Patrick's Boys Super-State Class D
Zachary Welch Ainsworth Boys All-State Class C
Grant Johnston O'Neill Class D
Brady Delimont Ainsworth
Cameron Moes Osmond
Click the title of this article to see all of the recipients of NCA Super-State and All-State awards.
There weren't many upsets in Classes D1/D2 on Thursday night's first round. Only two upsets happened in Class D1, and one of them was an evenly matched Neligh-Oakdale over EPPJ, a 9 seed downing an 8 seed. That left #11 Clarkson-Leigh getting an eight point upset over #6 Hartington-Newcastle. When the second round begins, that means that only two higher seeded teams will be on the road. Here are the Class D1/D2 area matchups for Wednesday, Nov. 5. Times will be noted as soon as they are released.
Class D1 Bracket D1 West
6:00 - Creighton @ Neligh-Oakdale
6:00 - Elm Creek @ Burwell D1 East
5:00 - Bloomfield @ Bruning-Davenport-Shickley (Shickley) Class D2 Bracket
5:00 - CWC @ Exeter-Milligan (Milligan)
3:00 - Falls City Sacred Heart @ Stuart
AP Sports News
CHICAGO (AP) — Rick Renteria has been fired as manager after one season by the Chicago Cubs. The team is up front in explaining why: It wants to pursue former Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon. Renteria led Chicago to a 73-89 record in his only season as a major league manager, a seven-win improvement from 2013.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians have exercised their $3.5 million option for next season on utilityman Mike Aviles. He hit .247 with 16 doubles and five home runs in 113 games. A versatile player, Aviles played six positions, including 28 at third base and second.
UNDATED (AP) — The preseason Associated Press men's basketball poll has been released and the top team is Kentucky. This marks the second season in a row that the Wildcats have been No. 1 in the preseason poll. The 'Cats received 52 first-place votes from the 65-member panel. The second-ranked school is Arizona after getting five first-place votes. No. 3 Wisconsin got eight first-place nods but fewer points than Arizona. The remaining top-five schools are Duke and Kansas.
CHICAGO (AP) — Two teams picked to dominate the NBA Eastern Conference this season are meeting tonight in Chicago. The Bulls are playing host to the Cavaliers a night after Cleveland lost its home opener to the Knicks.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Qualifying is taking place this evening for Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Fort Worth, Texas. On this same track in April the checkered flag was taken by Joey Logano.
Last week the O’Neill Eagles ran at the state meet held in Kearney. The O’Neill Eagles competed at the Class C level.
In the girls race Alejandra Vergara-Kersenbrock placed 9th overall and earning a medal. In the boys race the team qualified and placed 6th as a team with 104 points. Leading the Eagles was junior Grant Johnston placing 7th overall. Blake Johnston placed 22nd, Kyle Fowler 59th, Jon Gettert 65th, Blake Walters 72nd, and Nathaniel Jennings was unable to finish due to an injury.
“I was really proud of all of them. Alejandra placed as 9th at districts and came back and placed 9th in the state meet. She ran her best run of her career. The Eagle Boys’ team placed 6th. Grant Johnston placed four places better than last year and placed 7th which earned an individual medal. It isn’t where we wanted to finish as a team but they showed great effort. I wouldn’t ask for a better group of athletes to work with this year,” said Coach Hilker.
The NSAA has released the playoff brackets for the 2014 football season. The first day of playoffs will be Thursday, October 30 when Class D kicks off, followed by the other four classes on Halloween Friday. Classes D1 & D2 have a 32 team bracket, while this is the first year that C1 & C2 have gone the way of the other 11-man classes in allowing 16 teams in. Here are links to the brackets along with the area teams and who and where they play.
Class A BracketClass B Bracket Class C1 Bracket
7 pm - #14 Pierce (6-3) at #3 Columbus Scotus (9-0) (at Pawnee Park)
2 pm - #10 Falls City (8-1) at #7 Norfolk Catholic (8-1)
7 pm - #15 Milford-Dorchester (6-3) at #2 Boone Central/NG (9-0) (Albion) Class C2 Bracket
7 pm - #16 Lutheran High NE (6-3) at #1 Battle Creek (9-0)
7 pm - #11 Hartington Cedar Catholic (7-2) at #6 Sutton (9-0) Class D1 Bracket West
6 pm - #16 Twin Loup (2-6) at #1 Creighton (8-0)
7 pm - #9 Neligh-Oakdale (5-3) at #8 Elgin Public/Pope John (5-3)
5 pm - #13 Perkins County (4-4) at #4 Burwell (7-1)
2:30 pm - #11 North Central (6-2) at #6 Blue Hill (5-3) East
5:30 pm - #10 Scribner-Snyder (6-2) at #7 Bloomfield (6-2)
6 pm - #11 Clarkson/Leigh (4-4) at #6 Hartington-Newcastle (6-2) (Hartington) Class D2 Bracket East
6 pm - #9 Wynot (6-2) at #8 CWC (5-3) (at Chambers)
6 pm - #13 St. Mary's (5-3) at #4 Humphrey St. Francis (8-0)
3 pm - #15 Osceola (5-3) at #2 Stuart (8-0)
Three O'Neill girls were recognized for their efforts during the softball season when the All-Conference teams were realeased on Wednesday. Voted on by the Mid-State coaches, Randi Pinkerman, Libi Slack and Caleigh Miles were all honored on the first-team ballot.
Pinkerman, a four year starter, moved to pitcher this year, where she threw almost all of the innings for the Eagles. Through 155 1/3 innings, Pinkerman had an ERA of 3.24 with 208 strikeouts to just 94 walks in her first extensive experience as the pitcher. Randi was nothing short of spectacular on offense, batting .506 with 2 home runs (one was inside the park) and 13 RBIs despite being at the top of the order. She was also prolific on the basepaths, leading the team with 27 stolen bases. Junior Libi Slack served her second season as the team's catcher, committing only 2 errors in the 225 total plays she was involved in. On offense, Libi was a tough out, reaching base half of the time she was up, hitting .446 with 16 RBIs and only three strikeouts. Caleigh Miles was named All-Conference as a sophomore shortstop, playing solid defense at arguably the toughest position on the field. On offense, Caleigh was far and away the leader in Runs Batted In with 24, while hitting .329 and scoring 17 more runs. Miles did all of this from the two-hole in the lineup, while also putting pressure on the defense with 9 stolen bases, second on the team to Pinkerman.
Here is the rest of the Mid-State Softball All-Conference Team:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.