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