The 2017 fall sports season has come and gone, maybe a little faster than some had hoped. It was full of highs and lows for all the teams in the area each and every week. Individuals from al across the Local County News area put in work and the results showed under the lights when it was game time.
With that, we are proud to introduce the 2017 Fall Sports All-Area Teams. With help from our staff and coaches from across the region, we narrowed down the list to 25 football players, 25 volleyball players, 15 boy cross country runners and 15 girl cross country runners that stood above the rest all year long.
Congratulations to all the honorees on both the All-Area teams and the honorable mention list. You’re hard work has not gone unnoticed.
On the top 25 list for football, Holt County placed nine standouts on the team for 2017.
Carter Croxen, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing: Even though he was the quarterback for an unstoppable Renegade offense, it was on defense where Croxen made the biggest impact, finishing among the state leaders with nine interceptions.
Spencer Davis, Jr., O'Neill: Davis was a tackling machine for the Eagles in 2017, finishing the year with a team-high 109 total tackles, with 49 of them being solo.
Ross Gribble, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing: Another defensive standout, Gribble put up video game numbers for the Renegades, finishing with 170 tackles, 30 of which came behind the line of scrimmage.
Bryce Kerkman, Sr., West Holt: The key to the high-powered rushing attack of the Huskies, Kerkman mastered the competition from his quarterback spot all year while leading West Holt to a #1 seed in the playoffs.
Trevor Klabenes, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing: Klabenes was the big man in the middle of an unbeatable Renegade defense, racking up 100 tackles and seven sacks.
Daniel Libolt, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing: Libolt did it all for CWCE. Offensively, he racked up 1,485 yards on the ground with 31 total touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 118 total tackles.
Wyatt Liewer, Sr., O'Neill: Coach Eichelberger said Liewer has some of the best hands he has ever coached, which might explain his 787 receiving yards. His 102 tackles just comes from being a great football player.
Mason Lofquist, Sr., West Holt: Every great football team needs great lineman. For West Holt, Lofquist was one of the best around.
Ethan Sattler, Jr., Stuart: For Sattler, throwing for 1,575 yards is nice. Completing 22 of those passes for scores is even better.
The competition on the volleyball court was intense all year in Holt County, which is bound to happen when you have nine members on the all-area team.
Payton Birkel, Sr., O'Neill: The Eagles saw notable improvement on the floor in 2017, and Birkel was a big reason for that with her play at the setter spot.
Reaghan Engel, So., Stuart: Like Coach Mustin said, Engal is just an all-around player. She led the Broncos all year with 203 kills and 249 digs.
Ashley Koenig, So., Ewing: When you can do everything good, your team will be good. When you can do everything great, like Koenig, your team will be great. She showed that with her 345 kills and 280 digs in 2017.
Bailey Kraus, Sr., West Holt: The Huskies nearly found themselves in the district final this year and Kraus was a major reason why. She finished the year with 221 kills, 298 digs and 88 blocks.
Jenae Osborne, Sr., West Holt: Another key cog in the Husky lineup was Osborne. She finished the year 178 kills, 35 assists, 85 blocks and 216 digs. That's a mouthful.
Taylor Jean Peter, So., Chambers/Wheeler Central: Another girl who can do it all, Peter finished the year with a team-high 228 kills, 60 blocks and 163 digs.
Peyton Randolph, Jr., West Holt: Randolph was one of the top defenders in the area in 2017, finishing with 85 blocks and 248 digs. She also dished out an impressive 554 assists.
Bailey Schindler, Sr., Ewing: One of the most powerful hitters in the entire state, Schindler used her skills to guide the Tigers to their first state tournament in nearly a decade, finishing with 355 kills on the year.
Miranda Summers, Jr., Ewing: With all these scorers for the Tigers, someone had to get them the ball. That someone was Summers, who guided the Ewing attack flawlessly with her 786 assists. She also did work on defense with 251 digs.
Boys Cross Country
If you went to the state meet to watch Holt County runners, you know just how busy it was, as evidenced by the six boys on our list.
Joseph Albrecht, Fr., West Holt: One way to set a solid foundation for your high school career is to make it to state as a freshman. Albrecht did that, finishing 130th with a time of 21:13.5.
Nathaniel Jennings, Sr., O'Neill: If you've paid attention to O'Neill cross country and track over the past few years, you are familiar with Jennings. This year, he ran all the way to a 59th-place finish with a time of 19:11.7.
Aaron Kraus, Fr., West Holt: Another freshman that ended up down at state, Kraus finished his season in 74th with a time of 19:11.8.
Cole Laible, Jr., West Holt: Another great Husky runner, Laible worked as a leader for the young West Holt squad. He finished in 77th at state, navigating the course with a time of 19:14.7.
Derek Mahony, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central: A multi-year qualifier, Mahony rounded out a great cross country career at state once again, taking 92nd with a time of 19:40.6.
Ben Thiele, Jr., West Holt: The top finishing runner on an already impressive squad, Thiele took 37th at state with a time of 18:24.0.
Girls Cross Country
There are a lot of familiar faces on the girls list, with three different schools represented among the four girls.
Kira Dickau, Jr., Stuart: Dickau has taken her swings at state multiple times over the years and 2017 was no different. This year, she took 64th with a time of 23:01.0
Briaunna Parks, Sr., O'Neill: Part of an incredible 1-2 punch for the Eagles, Parks had a great season that culminated in a 40th-place finish at state with a time of 21:59.9.
Whitney Watson, Jr., O'Neill: The second part of the dynamic duo for O'Neill, Watson nearly found herself amongst the medal winners at state, taking 25th with a time of 21:36.1.
Carlie Wetzel, Jr., West Holt: Wetzel nearly made her way to the top of the mountain as just a junior. She took home 14th place with a time of 21:09.6.
Complete All-Area Lists
The full all-area list, including athletes from Antelope, Holt, Boone and Knox counties, is below, listed alphabetically:
Creston Bertschinger, Sr., Clearwater-Orchard
Carter Croxen, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing
Spencer Davis, Jr., O’Neill
Dylan Gentrup, Sr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Ross Gribble, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing
Ghatlin Hegge, Jr., Wausa
Andrew Herley, Jr., Neligh-Oakdale
Bryce Kerkman, Sr., West Holt
Chris Kester, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Trevor Klabenes, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing
Levi Krueger, Sr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Daniel Libolt, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing
Wyatt Liewer, Sr., O’Neill
Mason Lofquist, Sr., West Holt
Jacob Long, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Ty Martinsen, Jr., Riverside
Josh McFarland, Jr., Elkhorn Valley
Quentin Moles, Sr., Bloomfield
Cody Nelson, Sr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Hunter Reestman, Jr., Elgin Public/Pope John
Ethan Sattler, Jr., Stuart
Levi Stacken, Sr., Creighton
Clay Thiele, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Derek Wortman, Jr., Creighton
Bryce Zimmerer, Jr., Creighton
Kirsten Adams, Jr., Creighton
Payton Birkel, Sr., O’Neill
Reaghan Engal, So., Stuart
Ashtyn Fritz, Jr., Creighton
Grace Henn, Sr., Elgin Public/Pope John
Morgan Haschke, Jr., Riverside
JoCee Johnston, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Haley Kerkman, Jr., Neligh-Oakdale
Ashley Koenig, So., Ewing
Bailey Kraus, Sr., West Holt
Calli Krebs, Sr., Elgin Public/Pope John
Paige Meis, Sr., Elgin Public/Pope John
Amber Miller, Jr., Elkhorn Valley
Hannah Ollendick, Jr., Elkhorn Valley
Jenae Osborne, Sr., West Holt
Taylor Jean Peter, So., Chambers/Wheeler Central
Peyton Randolph, Jr., West Holt
Grace Rittscher, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Josie Sanger, Jr., Crofton
Bailey Schindler, Sr., Ewing
Miranda Summers, Jr., Ewing
Julian Tuttle, Jr., Clearwater-Orchard
Michelle Wachter, Sr., Bloomfield
Maddie Walkowiak, Sr., Riverside
Allyson Wemhoff, Jr., Elgin Public/Pope John
Boys Cross Country
Joseph Albrecht, Fr., West Holt
Connor Arens, Fr., Crofton
Tanner Arens, Jr., Crofton
Cole Belitz, Jr., Neligh-Oakdale
Hunter Bennett, Fr., Elkhorn Valley
Brayden Effle, Sr., Elkhorn Valley
Tyler Janssen, Jr., Crofton
Nathaniel Jennings, Sr., O’Neill
Aaron Kraus, Fr., West Holt
Cole Laible, Jr., West Holt
Jonathon Lindgren, Fr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Derek Mahony, Sr., Chambers/Wheeler Central
Jacob Riggs-Ramage, Jr., St. Edward
Ben Thiele, Jr., West Holt
Colby Zuhlke, Fr., Crofton
Girls Cross Country
Haley Arens, Sr., Crofton
Emma Bixler, So., Neligh-Oakdale
Alexis Boldenow, Fr., Crofton
Kira Dickau, Jr., Stuart
Bree Eisenhauer, So., Bloomfield/Wausa
Katie Goodwater, Jr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Briaunna Parks, Sr., O’Neill
Kelsey Schieffer, Fr., Crofton
Autumn Simons, Fr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Jordan Soto-Stopak, Fr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Alison Stineman, So., Elkhorn Valley
Whitney Watson, Jr., O’Neill
Samantha Weeder, Fr., Boone Central/Newman Grove
Carlie Wetzel, Jr., West Holt
Ann Woockman, So., Bloomfield/Wausa
Honorable Mention, football
Neligh-Oakdale - Austin Rice, Nate Buck, Tucker Knust, Kaleb Pofahl
Elkhorn Valley - Brock Schaecher, Caden Reikofski
Elgin Public/Pope John - Liam Heithoff, Kyle Schumacher
Clearwater-Orchard - Zach King, Ryan Wilhelm
Boone Central/Newman Grove - Jessie Sullivan, Will Frey, Garrett Cornwell
Riverside - Micheal Bernt, Riley Swerczek, Trey Carraher, Joseph Bloom
St. Edward - Jesse Osantowski, Trevor Rasmussen
Niobrara/Verdigre - Dakota Crosley, Trent Bauer, Keith Rudloff
Creighton - Travis Tyler, Brayden Zimmerer, Noah Lilly, Brady Nelson
Bloomfield - Branston Gieselman, Michael Castaneda, Trenton Holz, Braden Eisenhauer
Wausa - Tyson Kaiser, Drew Munter
Crofton - Jaden Janssen, Ethan Poppe
Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing - Ethan Naughtin
O’Neill - Alex Thramer, Shayne Campbell
St. Mary’s - Grady Semin
West Holt - Shayden Neptune, Mason Hale
Stuart - Wade Paxton, Wyatt Paxton, Isaac Steinhauser
Honorable Mention, volleyball
Neligh-Oakdale - Amanda Dietz, Bailey Frey, Kristen Snodgrass
Elkhorn Valley - Brianna Werner, Sierra Rystrom
Elgin Public/Pope John - Nicki Payne, Kaylee Martinsen, Lydia Behnk
Clearwater-Orchard - Avery Cheatum, Katie Stearns
Riverside - Grace Schalk, Becky Schmeits, Alix Bloom
St. Edward - Treva Tharnish
Creighton - Kasey Kuhl, Sydney Walton, Clarissa Becker
Bloomfield - Addison Barger
Wausa - Paige Nissen, Megan Kleinschmit
Crofton - Madisen Kube, Danielle Steffen, Mackenzie Foxhoven
Ewing - Skye Schroeder, Tiana Thramer, Jaidyn Schindler
Chambers/Wheeler Central - Jamie Koenig, Morgan Ramsey
O’Neill - Aurora Gutshall, Claire Morrow
St. Mary’s - Abby Everitt
West Holt - Caitlin Butterfield, Madisyn Steinkraus
Stuart - Peyton Alder, Kennison Kunz
Central Community College head volleyball coach Mary Young picked up her 700th career win in style.
The Raiders came to the NJCAA Division II national tournament hoping to improve upon an 11th-place finish a season ago.
After a disappointing loss to start the tournament Thursday in Charleston, West Virginia, the eighth-seeded Raiders won twice on Friday to ensure they’ll meet that goal.
Young’s 700th victory came against a familiar rival — No. 12 Northeast Community College.
“It’s something I’ll always remember that it came with this group of girls,” Young said. “They’re a great group.”
After losing the first set 25-21, Central came back with two strong sets, winning both 25-17. The Hawks (19-16) rallied for a 25-20 win to force a deciding fifth set.
Central took control and went on to win 15-8, sending the team to Saturday's nine-place match.
“I thought our offense and our blocking really came to life,” Young said. “We hit zones on our serves very well."
Jacie Laetsch led the Raiders with her second double-double of the tournament, tallying 20 kills and 24 digs. Chainey Tompkin was a force at the net, recording a double-double of her own with 17 kills and 10 total blocks. Paxton Throne had 55 assists and 10 kills for CCC.
Central (35-11) made quick work of No. 16 Harcum (20-9), winning 25-14, 25-13, 25-15 in an elimination match to open play Friday.
“I thought they played loose, they were excited to play,” Young said of her team.The blowout allowed Young to give every girl on the roster some playing time at the national tournament.
Laetsch led Central with 12 kills on .370 hitting and three total blocks and Tompkin added nine kills and four total blocks. The Raiders hit over .300 in the match as a team.Throne finished with 34 set assists and nine digs, leading the team in both categories.
The Raiders face another familiar foe, No. 10 Iowa Central, in the ninth-place match scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday.
Getting to Day 3 of the national tournament was one of the team’s goals at the beginning of the season.
“We’re playing on the final day of the season,” Young said. “That’s what we wanted.”
Iowa Central beat the Raiders in four sets on Oct. 7 in Columbus, when Central Community College was without four players because of injuries.
“We weren’t our true selves in that match,” Young said. “It’ll be fun to get to play them at this point.”
After seasons that saw both squads go deep into the playoffs, Chambers/Wheeler Central/Ewing and West Holt both had more than their fair share of players earn all-district honors.
The D1-7 all-district honorees were released on Thursday. For the Renegades, Daniel Libolt, Ross Gribble, Trevor Klabenes, Ethan Naughtin and Logan Pelster were all named to the first team. Carter Croxen, Lucas Anderson, Justice Metschke and Joshua Klabenes were named honorable mention.
The Huskies were represented on the first team by Bryce Kerkman, Mason Hale, Shayden Neptune, Payton Williams, Kooper Jelinek and Mason Lofquist. On the honorable mention list, Devon Dohrman, Joseph Seger, Brandon Jelinek and Jordan Tasler were all listed.
The Niobrara Valley Conference volleyball honors were announced, with a number of Holt County athletes making the squads.
On the first team, Ewing was represented by Ashley Koenig, Miranda Summers and Bailey Schindler. West Holt's Bailey Kraus earned a first team nod. Taylor Jean Peter rounded out the Holt County honorees on the first team, representing Chambers/Wheeler Central.
Tiana Thramer and Jaidyn Schindler of Ewing both earned second-team honors. Peyton Randolph and Madisyn Steinkraus represent West Holt. CWC is represented on the second team by Jamie Koenig and Jordan Laetsch.
A number of girls also earned honorable mention. Reaghan Engel of Stuart earned a nod. Sidney Stallbaum of Ewing was honored as well. For West Holt, Caitlin Butterfield and Jenae Osborne were given a spot. St. Mary's had Jadyn Eby and Abby Everitt on the team. CWC's Tessa Metschke and Morgan Ramsey were also named honorable mention.
Ewing's impressive state tournament run didn't just end with medals for the players. It also ended with honors for the fans as well.
Ewing was awarded the 2017 D2 Nebraska National Guard Sportsmanship Award for their incredible fan support at the tournament. There are a number of criteria to win the award, including student section support, positive chants and interaction and a strong visual presence.
Three Tigers also earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Setter Miranda Summers and hitters Bailey Schindler and Ashley Koenig were all honored for their strong performances over the three days.
The Ewing volleyball ended its season in impressive manor with state hardware.
The Tigers fell to Exeter-Milligan in the D2 State Volleyball Championship game on Saturday morning at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln 25-19, 25-20, 28-26.
Stats will be added when they become available.
Ewing wraps up its championship fight after defeating Mullen and Humphrey St. Francis on Thursday and Friday. The Lady Tigers finish their season with a 32-3 record.
The Ewing Tigers are headed to the D2 State Volleyball Championship game.
The Tigers took down Humphrey St. Francis on Friday morning at Pinnacle Bank Arena in four sets 25-23, 29-31, 25-14, 25-20.
Stats will be added when they become available.
The Tigers will take on Exeter-Milligan on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Devaney Center. Ewing will be looking for it's first state championship since 2008.
The Ewing Tigers are moving on after a straight-set sweep in the first round of the 2017 D2 State Volleyball Tournament.
The Tigers took down Mullen in the opening round on Thursday at Lincoln Northeast High School. They controlled the game from the opening serve, taking it 25-17, 25-16, 25-20.
The win guarantees the Tigers a spot in the final day of play. Which game they play will be decided on Friday. They take on Humphrey St. Francis at 11 a.m. on Friday, with the winner locking up a spot in the state championship game.
A member of the Northeast Community College volleyball team has been named Athlete of the Week by the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference.
Monique Schafer, Stuart, was a key player in Northeast’s tournament run last weekend, as the Hawks clinched a trip to the National Junior College Athletic (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament.
In the semi-final win over Southwestern, Schafer recorded 16 kills and 19 digs. The tournament MVP posted an incredible 14 kills and 31 digs in the championship match against Kirkwood in both her hitter and defensive specialist roles, helping the Hawks clinch the Region XI-A title.
Schafer and her teammates are preparing to face Sauk Valley Community College (IL) in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II National Tournament on Thursday, November 16, in Charleston, WV.
The Ewing volleyball team drew the No. 1 seed at the Class D2 state volleyball tourney on Thursday.
The Tigers will play No. 8 Mullen at 7:30 p.m. at Lincoln Northeast High School. With a win, Ewing will then play at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday.