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UNK Today

Kearney Hub Aug. 15, 2012

Loper Lineup

Golf school Kearney Hub file

THE RACE IS on to replace record-setting Loper quarterback Jake Spitzlberger.

Who’s in the passing lane? It’s still race to replace last year’s QB By JASON ARENS Hub Sports Writer

Buck Mahoney, Kearney Hub

THE UNK GOLF ACADEMY at Awarii Dunes Golf Course allows players to hit full shots outdoors while standing indoors. The facility gives golfers from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the surrounding area the opportunity to work on their swings year-round. Awarii Dunes professional Chad Lydiatt, right, watches Loper coach Wes Bernt work on his swing.

Academy gives Lopers teaching advantage, link to juniors By BUCK MAHONEY Hub Sports Editor KEARNEY — Golf in Nebraska in December? That certainly has to appeal to students from the Sun Belt. Maybe not. But the opportunity to train yearround at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Golf Academy played a huge part in recruiting Michael Colgate from Sarasota, Fla., UNK Director of Golf Chad Lydiatt said. Colgate already had Nebraska ties. His mother played basketball at UNK. He looked at Nebraska Wesleyan and other colleges around the area but signed with UNK “almost exclusively because of this Director of Golf facility,” Lydiatt Chad Lydiatt said. “He just loved it.” The facility includes three swing bays with garage-type doors that open facing the driving range at Awarii Dunes Golf Course. They can be used year-round with golfers smashing irons, hybrids and drivers into the snow and cold. Indoors, there is a 40-foot by 24-foot putting green.

“We saw immediate improvement on the men’s side. … We had a good fall season, but this year we had by far our best spring.”

“It’s turned out better than I thought it would,” said Lydiatt, who has long wanted such a teaching facility. “There are tons of people using it in the wintertime.” People come in from nearby towns such as Holdrege, Minden, Hastings and Grand Island to knock the frost off their games. Others who drove farLYDIATT STANDS outside the UNK Golf Academy. A Kearney native and former playing pro, ther — from Lydiatt always wanted to run a year-round teaching facility. The UNK academy is one of two such facilities in Nebraska. McCook, Benkelman, even “We saw immediate improvement players from the recruiting class to Omaha — often join them. on the men’s side. … We had a good step into varsity spots immediately, They’re adults, high school kids, including Mesa State transfer Marisjunior high kids taking advantage of fall season, but this year we had by sa McClintock, the RMAC Freshthe shelter from the cold, north wind far our best spring. We won two tournaments and qualified for the man of the Year. to rip a drive down the range. regional even though our best golfer, Further into the future, Lydiatt The only other such facility in Alex Farrell, graduated in Decemhopes the UNK Golf Academy will Nebraska is at Wilderness Ridge raise the level of golf throughout the Golf Course in Lincoln, Lydiatt said. ber,” Lydiatt said. On the women’s side, Stephanie region. Elsewhere, golfers who can find an “Our junior program is huge. We Moorberg finished fourth in the indoor opportunity to take a full just have to keep them in it and keep Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferswing are knocking their balls into a ence and just missed qualifying for them involved. … The academy net or against the wall. helps a ton in piquing their interest,” “I think it’s helpful to see the ball nationals. Lydiatt also ranks the women’s he said. actually fly,” Lydiatt said. recruiting class as one of the best in email to: He also thinks it has helped the school history, and he expects four Loper golf team “big time.”

Stots likes having target on his back, page 2

Pair of Californians find home in Kearney’s defensive backfield, page 5

G rowing legacy, Family keeps page 4 Anderson

focused, page 6

At this point, h e delivers page 8

KEARNEY — The start of spring football practice had a different feel for the University of Nebraska at Kearney. There was a sense of eagerness in anticipation for new competition in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. There was no denying that something was missing, too. Absent from the field was a figurehead. Absent was an unquestioned leader. Absent was Jake Spitzlberger, the quarterback who had led the Lopers to 37 wins and two conference championships in the past four seasons. Spitzlberger finished second in career passing yards at 9,067 and in touchdowns with 80. No other quarterback rushed for as many touchdowns, 38, in UNK’s history as he did, and Spitzlberger finished fifth in career rushing yards at 2,496, running backs included. “Not only was the kid a great football player, but had a great football mind,” UNK coach Darrell Morris said. “He put in the time in the film room and playbook. He was a good person and never put himself in a situation where his leadership could be questioned.” In 2011, Spitzlberger capped his UNK career by leading the Lopers to a 10-win season and an NCAA playoff appearance. He finished sixth in the voting for the Harlan Hill Trophy, awarded to Division II’s College Football Player of the Year. The Spitzlberger era was successful, but the football program must turn a new page in the midst of its transition into the MIAA, setting up what is sure to be a memorable year for Loper football. “What you have to come to grips with is that you won’t find anyone like Spitz,” Morris said. “But there are characteristics you look for, like threatening the defense with your feet and arm. We were scouring the country for someone like that and looking at people inside

West Coast trio happy here, page 3

Wuest’s long run gets him home at UNK, page 7


Page 2 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Promising start to fitting end After injuries ended his football career, former Texan found his niche By BUCK MAHONEY

“The first move they taught me, which is the move I use now, was the double (leg) to a half (nelson). That was pretty KEARNEY ⎯ Raufeon much all I knew,” Stots said. Stots grew up Texan. He managed to qualify for “I didn’t even know the state tournament his junior wrestling existed when I was year, but things weren’t going little,” said Stots, last year’s as well off the mat. His mother NCAA Division II wrestling was in and out of the hospital, champion at 149 pounds. “They do football. They had us then died of pneumonia, so Stots and his two younger running plays. It’s like a relibrothers moved in with their gion.” Stots didn’t rise to sainthood aunt. “I fell off grade-wise. I wasin the church of Texas, but he n’t focused at all ... and didn’t made the varsity roster as a sophomore at Klein Oaks High get to go (to state) because of my grades,” Stots said. School in Houston. He made it to state as a senHis sophomore season ended ior, but placed only sixth, with a broken leg on the final which doesn’t bring college play of the game. coaches to your door. But he “It was a play where they were kneeling and a dude came kept learning and wrestling in and chop-blocked me from the the summers. With a couple wins in side. Everybody was like, ‘Wow, we won,’ and I was like, national tournaments, Stots caught the eye of Labette ‘Owwww.’ I was hurting so (Kan.) Community College bad. I actually didn’t care coach Joe Renfro, another forabout the win,” he said. mer Loper. Stots placed fourth He missed the summer workouts, and not blessed with at the national junior college meet as a freshman and wasn’t a late growth spurt, he started able to improve on that as a his junior year on the junior sophomore because of torn carvarsity. That’s when Brad tilage in his knee. Ewing, a former University of But Ewing and Renfro had Nebraska at Kearney wrestler set his wrestling path, and and Klein Oak’s wrestling UNK is the obvious destination coach and science teacher, for late-blooming Texas bribed him into trying out for wrestlers such as Stots and wrestling. Olympian Tervel Dlagnev. “He told us if we would As a Loper, Stots’ career got come out for wrestling, he would give us a 100 on a quiz,” off to a promising start. At the Wyoming open, he lost to the Stots said. No. 2-ranked Division II He would have failed a wrestler by a point on riding wrestling quiz. All he knew time. But, as quickly as it startabout wrestling was what he ed, it ended. In the next match, had seen on television. He’s he tore up his elbow, and his sure that’s what his family season came to an end. thinks when he says he wres“That put a little fire in my tles. He soon got educated on the belly to wrestle the top kids,” Stots said. different styles of wrestling, When he returned last year, and he liked the sport a lot.

Hub Sports Editor

Hub file

UNK’S RAUFEON STOTS turns his opponent during a dual last year at UNK. Stots, who didn’t start wrestling until he was a junior in high school, won the NCAA Division II national championship last year at 149 pounds.

he turned the rankings upside down, beating the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked wrestlers early in the season to take over the No. 2 spot. He was ranked No. 2 when the Lopers arrived at the national tournament and provided part of the impetus that led UNK to its second national championship. “I went into it like I wanted

I’m too busy to get in to see the dentist!

to win it,” Stots said. “I knew I was going to make the finals.” As the national meet came down to the final few matches, with UNK and St. Cloud State tied on the scoreboard, Stots rode the wave to help the Lopers claim the national title. Sandwiched between senior wrestlers Dalton Jensen and T.J. Hepburn, Stots defeated

John Hagerty of Maryville 5-4. “A group of guys going for a goal and getting a goal is pretty fun,” Stots said. “Last year was so much fun. It was the time of my life. I was on cloud 9. Even now, I can’t stop smiling when I think about it.” He’s even excited that he goes into his senior year with a target on his back.

“I just know everyone’s going to be gunning for me like they were for T.J.,” he said. “I saw how T.J. handled it. ... Every match you wrestle your best match and when you go to practice, practice like you’re practicing for the national championship and give it your all.” email to:

Know Your




This fall UNK competes in the MidAmerica Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA). The best NCAA Division II conference in the nation.


How will the




Find out in a profile report about each MIAA member university at


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Page 3 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Calif. trio excited to be in Kearney It’s not just basketball that brings these ladies to UNK – it’s the coach, too By DENNIS DRISCOLL Hub Sports Writer KEARNEY — When the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s women’s basketball team takes the court this season, there will be a West Coast flavor. Ivy Jones, Nadia Williams and Melissa Norman — all from California — will compete for starting spots for the Lopers. “When the coaching staff is on the recruiting trail we look for the best basketball players who can contribute,” UNK women’s basketball coach Kevin Chaney said. “It just happens that we found three great ladies from California.” This will be the second season the trio will be in Kearney, and the new chair is now a comfy recliner. “I know when the kids from California started classes they were nervous,” Chaney said. “But they are comfortable with Kearney and love being here.” For Jones, a point guard, the decision to attend UNK UNK women’s was easy. basketball coach “I have a Kevin Chaney long history with Coach Chaney. He used to coach at my old school (Solano Community College), and he was close with the program,” she said. “When Coach started to recruit me, I felt comfortable because I knew what to expect.” Williams, a junior college recruit from DeAnza College, a community college in Cupertino, Calif., loved Chaney’s goals for the UNK basketball team, but the goals Chaney had

“I have all the confidence in the world Ivy, Nadia and Melissa will do a great job for us this season. They have proven to work hard on and off the court. They are great role models and our great ambassadors for UNK and the community of Kearney.”

Hub file photos

THREE CALIFORNIA girls have found their place in the UNK women’s basketball team. Guard Ivy Jones, left, and post players Melissa Norman, center, and Nadia Williams, right, came to Kearney last year to play for coach Kevin Chaney’s squad.

in California,” for her as an Norman said. “If individual set I was going to UNK apart from attend a school the rest. far away, I need“I remember ed the team to the first time I be my family, talked to coach, UNK basketball player Ivy Jones and I found that he shared his here.” faith with me Each player and that meant a lot,” Williams, a power forward brings an important element to said. “Coach Chaney wants his the basketball court, Chaney players to be role models in the said, and when combined it can be dangerous. community, be great students Jones is seen as a natural and live a life to be proud of. point guard, who can pass the ... I was sold.” ball, and score as well. Unlike Jones and Williams, “I was thrilled when we Norman was recruited straight out of high school, and she was brought Ivy on board,” Chaney looking for a family-based pro- said. “She is extremely smart with the basketball and rarely gram. turns the ball over. It’s popular “I’m a person who loves being around my family, and I to say point guards shouldn’t score. If Ivy has the opportuniknew there was a chance I would not be attending college ty to score, I’m not going to

“When Coach started to recruit me, I felt comfortable because I knew what to expect.”

coming in that will likely see tell her no. If she has a good playing time,” Jones said. “Yes, shot, then she will shoot it.” When Chaney was hired, he we are in Nebraska, but I feel like it’s the California girls wanted to improve the size on who need to step up and be the roster, and that is where Williams and Norman come in. leaders. We need to show the newcomers what’s expected.” “Nadia and Melissa both Norman echoes Jones’ outbring in much-needed size,” look. Chaney said. “When I “Both players are arrived in Kear6-foot-plus, and ney, the girls on they have helped the team were us in the front great and showed line of defense. me the ropes,” What I like about Norman said. “ I them is they are need to show versatile, and freshmen how both can create we practice and, their own shot.” UNK basketball player most importantly, As the team Nadia Williams just be a great prepares for the season, chemistry is of utmost teammate, and that will improve our chemistry.” importance. Chaney expects his “Califor“Team chemistry is vital, nia girls” to be leaders this seaespecially with new players

“Coach Chaney wants his players to be role models in the community, be great students and live a life to be proud of. ... I was sold.”

“If I was going to attend a school far away, I needed the team to be my family, and I found that here.” UNK basketball player Melissa Norman son and help set a solid foundation for the years to come. “I have all the confidence in the world Ivy, Nadia and Melissa will do a great job for us this season,” he said. “They have proven to work hard on and off the court. They are great role models and our great ambassadors for UNK and the community of Kearney.” email to:

Save these dates for Loper games Home games in bold * Conference game

FOOTBALL Aug. 30 * at Washburn, 6 p.m. SEPT. 8 * EMPORIA STATE, TBD Sept. 15 * at Missouri Western State, 6 p.m. SEPT. 22 * NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE, TBD Sept. 29 * at Lindenwood, 1:30 p.m. OCT. 6 * TRUMAN STATE, 2:30 P.M. Oct. 13 * at Lincoln, 2 p.m. OCT. 20 * SOUTHWEST BAPTIST, TBD Oct. 27 * at Central Missouri, 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at South Dakota Mines, 3 p.m. NOV. 10 * FORT HAYS STATE, TBD

VOLLEYBALL Aug. 31 Augustana (SD), at Hilo, Hawaii, 4 p.m. Aug. 31 at Hawaii-Hilo, midnight Sept. 1 University of British Columbia at Hilo, Hawaii, 7 p.m. SEPT. 7 MARYVILLE, NOON SEPT. 7 NORTHERN STATE, 6 P.M. SEPT. 8 MINNESOTA STATE-MANKATO, NOON SEPT. 8 ST. CLOUD STATE, 6 P.M. Sept. 11 * at Fort Hays State, 7 p.m. Sept. 14 * at Pittsburg State, 7 p.m. Sept. 15 * at Central Oklahoma, 2 p.m. SEPT. 19 HASTINGS COLLEGE, 7 P.M. SEPT. 25 DOANE COLLEGE, 7 P.M. Sept. 28 * Emporia State, 6 p.m. Sept. 29 * Washburn, 4 p.m. Oct. 5 Northwestern Oklahoma at Bolivar, Mo., 9:30 a.m. Oct. 5 Henderson State at Bolivar, Mo., 2 p.m. Oct. 6 Arkansas-Monticello at Bolivar, Mo., 9 a.m. Oct. 6 Arkansas Tech at Bolivar, Mo., 1:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Wayne State, 7 p.m. OCT. 12 * TRUMAN STATE, 6 P.M. OCT. 13 * LINDENWOOD, 4 P.M.

120 Calories 1 GRAM SUGAR 20 Grams Protein

Oct. 16 * at Missouri Western, 7 p.m. Oct. 19 * at Southwest Baptist, 7 p.m. Oct. 20 * at Missouri Southern, 6 p.m. OCT. 23 * FORT HAYS STATE, 7 P.M. OCT. 26 *CENTRAL OKLAHOMA, 7 P.M. OCT. 27 * PITTSBURG STATE, 4 P.M. Oct. 30 * at Emporia State, 7 p.m. NOV. 3 * NORTHWEST MISSOURI STATE, 4 P.M. NOV. 9 * CENTRAL MISSOURI, 6 P.M. NOV. 10 * WASHBURN, 6 P.M. Nov. 13 MIAA Tournament 1st Round, Campus Sites Nov. 16 MIAA Tournament Semifinals, Campus Sites Nov. 17 MIAA Tournament Finals, Campus Sites

Sept. 29 at Roy Griak Invitational, Flacon Heights, Minn., 9:20 a.m. Oct. 20 MIAA Championship at Maryville, Mo. Nov. 3 NCAA Central Region Championships at Joplin, Mo. Nov. 17 NCAA Division II Championships, Joplin, Mo.



Aug. 31 Sept. 2 SEPT. 5 Sept. 7 SEPT. 11 SEPT. 14 SEPT. 16 Sept. 21 Sept. 23 SEPT. 27 SEPT. 30 Oct. 5 Oct. 7 OCT. 11 OCT. 13 Oct. 19 Oct. 21 Oct. 26 Oct. 30 Nov. 2 Nov. 4

at Southwest Minnesota State, 3 p.m. at University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) 1 p.m. MIDLAND UNIVERSITY, 7:30 P.M. Abilene Christian (at Joplin, Mo.), 4 p.m. NORTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA, NOON * SOUTHWEST BAPTIST, 7 P.M. * CENTRAL MISSOURI, 1 P.M. at College of Saint Mary, 5 p.m. * at Missouri Southern, 1 p.m. * EMPORIA STATE, 7 P.M. * WASHBURN, 1 P.M. at * Northeastern State, 7 p.m. at * Central Oklahoma, 1 p.m. * NORTHWEST MISSOURI, 7 P.M. * MISSOURI WESTERN, NOON * at Lindenwood, 7 p.m. * at Truman State, Noon * at Fort Hays State, 6 p.m. MIAA Tournament at Campus Sites MIAA Semifinals at Campus Sites MIAA Finals, at Campus Site

CROSS COUNTRY SEPT. 4 OR 7 LOPER TIME TRIAL, TBD Sept. 15Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invite, Lincoln, 10 a.m.

MEN’S GOLF SEPT. 2-3 Sept. 11 Oct. 1-2 Oct. 15

UNK Fall Invitational, Awarii Dunes at Pittsburgh State Inv. at Lindenwood Inv., St. Charles, Mo Nebraska Intercollegiate at Fremont

SEPT. 2-3 UNK INVITATIONAL, AWARII DUNES Sept. 10-11 at Bellevue U. Invitational Sept. 17-18 at Northeastern State Inv., Tahlequah, Okla. Oct. 22-23 at Lindenwood Inv., St. Charles, Mo.

MEN’S BASKETBALL Nov. 1 at Florida (Exhibition) Nov. 9 at Chadron State Nov. 10 at South Dakota School of Mines Nov. 13 at Hastings College, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Wayne State, 7 p.m. DEC. 6 * LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, 7:30 P.M. Dec. 8 * at Northwest Missouri Dec. 17 at Doane College DEC. 18 HASTINGS COLLEGE, 7 P.M. DEC. 30 SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL OF MINES, 5 P.M. Jan. 3 * at Pittsburg State University Jan. 5 * at Northeastern State University JAN. 9 * MISSOURI WESTERN, 7:30 P.M. JAN. 12 * WASHBURN UNIVERSITY, 4 P.M. JAN. 16 * CENTRAL MISSOURI, 7:30 P.M. Jan. 19 * at Missouri Southern

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Jan. 24 Jan. 26 JAN. 30 FEB. 2 Feb. 9 FEB. 16 Feb. 21 Feb. 23 FEB. 27 MARCH 2

* at Truman State * at Southwest Baptist * EMPORIA STATE, 7:30 P.M. * CENTRAL OKLAHOMA, 4 P.M. * at Fort Hays State * FORT HAYS STATE, 4 P.M. * at Washburn * at Missouri Western * NORTHWEST MISSOURI, 7:30 P.M. * LINDENWOOD, 4 P.M.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Nov. 4 at Nebraska (Exhibition), 2:05 p.m. Nov. 7 at Nebraska-Omaha (Exhibition) Nov. 11 at South Dakota School of Mines, 2 p.m. NOV. 14 SIOUX FALLS, 5:30 P.M. Nov. 17 at San Francisco State, 4 p.m. Nov. 18 Academy of Art at San Francisco, 3 p.m. Nov. 23 Bemidji State at St. Paul, Minn., 5 p.m. Nov. 24 at Concordia-St. Paul, 5 p.m. DEC. 6 * LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, 5:30 P.M. Dec. 8 * at Northwest Missouri DEC. 30 SOUTH DAKOTA SCHOOL OF MINES, 3 P.M. Jan. 3 * at Pittsburg State Jan. 5 * at Northeastern State JAN. 9 * MISSOURI WESTERN, 5:30 P.M. JAN. 12 * WASHBURN, 2 P.M. JAN. 16 * CENTRAL MISSOURI, 5:30 P.M. Jan. 19 * at Missouri Southern Jan. 24 * at Truman State Jan. 26 * at Southwest Baptist JAN. 30 * EMPORIA STATE, 5:30 P.M. FEB. 2 * CENTRAL OKLAHOMA, 2 P.M. Feb. 9 * at Fort Hays State FEB. 16 * FORT HAYS STATE, 2 P.M. Feb. 21 * at Washburn Feb. 23 * at Missouri Western FEB. 27 * NORTHWEST MISSOURI, 5:30 P.M. MARCH 2 * LINDENWOOD, 2 P.M.

690 Calories 3 CARB SOURCES 45 Grams Protein

Page 4 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Linemen protect a legacy Vets advise younger players: There’s a lot of learning, a lot of growing By BUCK MAHONEY

UNK CENTER Parker Jolly, left, and guard Nate Bryan, right, have inherited the position of senior leadership on the Lopers’ offensive line. As fifth-year seniors, they have been part of some of UNK’s most successful programs and hope to lead the team into a new era in the MIAA.

Hub Sports Editor KEARNEY ⎯ From survivors of football’s trenches comes sound advance. It’s a jungle out there, and only the strong survive. University of Nebraska at Kearney offensive linemen Parker Jolly and Nate Bryan remember being wide-eyed freshmen five very short years ago. Part of a recruiting class that numbered 44, they are among the seven who remain in the program. They’ve gone through what many think are UNK’s best of times ⎯ two appearances in the NCAA playoffs, two Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles, 30 UNK offensive lineman Nate Bryan wins. They have a legacy to protect, along with a quarterback. They’ve played with and behind some of UNK’s all-time best offensive linemen, such as stein, Jake McGlade and Jack Hiett, Kyle Davison, Stephen Goodin. Orion Matthies, Matt Golden“We’re on the shoulders of

“We’re on the shoulders of giants. We’re trying to build on what they had. The guys under us know that even though we’re going into the MIAA, we don’t want the legacy to end.”


Buck Mahoney, Kearney Hub

giants. We’re trying to build on what they had,” Bryan said. “The guys under us know that

even though we’re going into the MIAA, we don’t want the legacy to end.”

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The younger players — Pete Trausch, Cody Wheeler, Cole Manhart and Brett Douglass — will have to step up and fill key positions on the line. But their elder statesmen have confidence in the younger generation’s abilities. “I think we’ve got a good starting unit. ... I think that’s the best thing we’ve got right now, except for (wide receiver) Tommy Flanagan,” Jolly said. To live up to his assessment, they will have a lot of growing up and a lot of learning to do. It won’t be easy ⎯ a fact reflected in the attrition numbers shared by the entire team. “I always tell the guys, if you don’t love it with all your heart, you’ll hate it,” Jolly said. The difference between a player’s first year and his last “is two different worlds,” Jolly said. “You come in wide-eyed, not knowing what’s going on. Then, you become the old, wise man.” Learning how to play football on the college level develops only through experience. Learning what it takes ⎯ to go through practices, lifting, classes and college life, comes with a price. “It blew my mind apart not knowing what was to come. But once you do it for three or four years, you just know the whole gamut,” Jolly said. “There’s a lot of wear and tear that comes. These young guys are still testosteronefilled, wanting to show the world up. “After a while, you have to know your UNK offensive lineman Parker Jolly body limits ⎯ how to not overwork yourself and know your body limits.” The offensive linemen also have the front-row seat when it comes to working with head coach Darrell Morris because he also is their position coach. “Coach Morris demands a lot out of you. It makes us better players and all that, but at the same time, not a lot of guys stick it out,” Bryan said. “I try to tell them, ‘If you know you love football and you know you love putting in the work but it’s wearing on you, it will get better.’” Bryan remembers when he was a freshman and he showed up a few minutes late for weightlifting. “I had to run for an hour,” he said. Later in the year, Hiett was late for lifting ⎯ “way late” ⎯

“You come in wide-eyed, not knowing what’s going on. Then, you become the old, wise man.”

With new season, conference come new rivalries for UNK football By BUCK MAHONEY Hub Sports Editor KEARNEY ⎯ The season approaches with a lot of unknowns. Gone are the familiar foes of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Ahead lie the uncharted waters of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. “It should be a good challenge,” football center Parker Jolly said. “I think it will be cool. “Everyone else kind of knew what to expect. But now it will be new ⎯ where are we going, who are we playing, what are they doing?” UNK opens the football season Aug. 30 at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. It will be the first time the Lopers have played at Washburn since 1987. Other than Fort Hays State and Missouri Western, the Lopers haven’t played any of the teams on this year’s schedule for more than 20 years. “Everything is going to be different. Everything is going to be better, I think. ... What’s better than playing the best?” offensive guard Nate Bryan said. What UNK is leaving behind is a certain amount of familiarity, some rivalries and some history. “I wish we could keep a Chadron game or a Mines game. Those were good, good rivalries,” Jolly said. “There were teams, when it was time to play them, your blood boils because from the start when we got here that’s what we were taught,” Bryan said. “I guess we’re just going to have to find new rivalries now.” email to:

yet he didn’t have to run. “I asked Coach Morris about it and he said, ‘He’s earned the respect that he can screw up once in a while.’ You have to reach that level ... of trust and honor,” Bryan said. For a freshman, that level of trust and honor can seem to take an eternity. But for seniors, it seems like just yesterday. “I can’t believe it’s been half a decade I’ve been playing UNK football. It’s gone by so fast,” Bryan said. email to:

Page 5 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Hill, Lendrum ready for MIAA Now regulars, California natives view Kearney as their second home

UNK DEFENSIVE BACK Ryan Lendrum (2) pursues Wayne State College’s Kevin Paulsen, left, during the Lopers’ season opener in 2011. Lendrum and fellow cornerback Kenny Hill, both from California, have found a second home in Kearney.


we are capable to make our own names.” Hill, who started opposite KEARNEY — It’s no secret Hobbs last season, is the most college football coaches recruit experienced cornerback on the from Southern California each roster. Hill sees himself as a team leader and plans to be a year because of its wealth of role model to incoming players. talent. “I feel like I need to show The University of Nebraska at Kearney has a pipeline to the the newcomers what to do,” Hill, a sports administration West Coast, and although formajor said. “After I transferred mer UNK All-American corfrom Grossmont College nerback and California native (Calif.), I was not in a familiar place, but the veterans on the Arthur Hobbs roster showed me Kearney has graduated, wasn’t a bad place, and right two California now, I love living in Kearney.” natives will Lendrum echoes Hill’s view. keep that con“At first I thought Kearney nection running. was on the other side of the Kenny Hill Ryan Lendrum world. But now it’s my second and Ryan home,” Lendrum said. “When I Lendrum, both from San Diego, arrived from San Diego, the are projected to entire team, just not the corners man the corner- and safeties, took me under their wing, and I was comfortback positions. able. I owe it to the freshmen “As a group that enter our program to do of corners and safeties, I think the same thing.” Kenny Hill Bob Crocker, UNK’s defenwe are pretty sive coordinator and secondary good,” said Lendrum, a precoach, has seen Hill and physical therapy major. “We understand we need to replace Lendrum grow in his defense Hobbs. He was a great corner, and is excited to see how they perform this fall. and I was fortunate to learn “Kenny and Ryan are from him. But, at the same time, I know we want to prove extremely competitive people,

Hub Sports Writer

Kearney Hub file

and they don’t like to lose,” Crocker said. “Kenny and Ryan aren’t the biggest guys in the world, but their hearts are big, and that is what I look for in football players.” Along with All-American candidate Sam Kuck at free safety, Crocker said, the secondary has the potential to be great. “Kenny and Ryan are both corners, but I know they look up to Sam,” Crocker said. “With Sam’s experience and Kenny and Ryan’s speed, we should be a solid unit.” As UNK switches to the MidAmerica Intercollegiate Athlet-

ics Association from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Hill and Lendrum are excited to face new competition. “I loved playing in the RMAC because I knew kids who played at Chadron, Western and other schools,” Hill said. “But, from what I’ve been told, the MIAA is like the SEC of Division II athletics, and that’s exciting, to compete with the best in the nation. It will not only make me a better cornerback, but our team will be better.” UNK has been tapped as a preseason top-25 team in several publications, but that does-

n’t impress Lendrum. “It’s nice to receive preseason accolades, but that’s exactly what they are — preseason accolades,” Lendrum said. “We take it one game at a time and, hopefully, at the end of the season we are in contention for the conference championship.” It’s the thought of a conference championship, and potentially a national championship, that drives Hill. “We want to win the conference championship,” Hill said. “That was our goal in the RMAC, and just because we no longer play in the RMAC does-

n’t mean we need to lower our expectations. We want to win the MIAA, and we want to be in the national championship conversation.” Lendrum is excited to start practice and prepare for UNK’s first game. “I’m just so excited to start the season,” Lendrum said. “I want to put my pads on and compete. We are new to the MIAA, and the Washburn game is our season opener and first game in the new conference. ... I can’t wait.” email to:

QB RACE : Veteran, redshirt, two frosh, Division I transfer all in signal-caller mix CONTINUED FROM 1

our program, as well.” So began the quarterback competition. Kevin Romero, entering his third and final year with UNK, is the knowledgeable veteran. Aric Kaiser is a talented redshirt freshman ready to make his mark. Sam Brauer and Sean Flanagan are a pair of true freshmen who won’t back down. Just when is seemed as if the competition couldn’t get any hotter, enter sophomore Tyler D’Amore, a Division I transfer from the University of Arizona. “It’s an open position,” Morris said. “We’ve got 21 days (as of Aug. 9) to figure out our starting quarterback. Whoever it is will need to get in plenty of reps to feel comfortable against Washburn on Thursday night (Aug. 30).” For Romero, it’s a last opportunity he doesn’t want to miss. “I’m just preparing like I’m going to be the guy,” Romero said. “I’m trying to go up and over what’s expected to be that much more prepared for the season.” Romero has been married since 2010 and has two daughters, ages 4 years and seven months. Both he and his wife are taking classes at UNK. Originally from Hawthorne, Calif., the Mira Costa High School star played at Los Angeles Harbor and El Camino Colleges before transferring to UNK in 2010. He backed up Spitzl-

berger for the past two seasons. “I really can’t explain the experience I’ve gained from sitting behind Jake for two years,” Romero said. “It was amazing to see the numbers he put up and what he did with the team. I saw it all firsthand, so I know what to go off of.” “He’s been in our program the longest,” Morris said of Romero. “He’s a different athlete than Jake was, but he’s got familiarity with the team and does a good job of analyzing situations.” Kaiser, who is more of a dual-threat quarterback, shared the snaps during spring practice. “When Aric ran with the No. 1 offense in the spring, he showed great promise,” Morris said. “I wish he could’ve gotten in a few more snaps. He doesn’t have the game experience, but he could do things that make it difficult to defend.” Kaiser is the younger brother of former standout wide receiver Kyle Kaiser (2007-10), who put his name in the UNK record books with Spitzlberger’s help. “He’s given me a lot of advice,” Kaiser said of Kyle. “He’s making sure I’m learning the offense and doing all I need to do to become the No. 1 guy.” Despite being just a redshirt freshman, Kaiser is confident he has what it takes to lead the program. “I know what I can do,” he said. “I’ll go within the offense


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and throw the ball where it needs to go. You can’t judge off of age; you have to see me play and go from there.” UNK suffered a blow when Sam Hutsell, a junior college transfer from California who was the front-runner for the position, left the team after spring practice. But his departure opened the door for D’Amore, who joined the program in early July. As a freshman, D’Amore was a backup at College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, Calif.), the same school that produced New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. D’Amore

then got a call from new UA coach Rich Rodriguez, asking him to walk-on for the Wildcats. D’Amore won the secondstring position and saw ample playing time in Arizona’s spring game, but soon realized it wasn’t the right fit. “I got second string, but Matt Scott was very good. They were bringing in some top recruits, and I wanted to go somewhere to compete for a starting job,” D’Amore said. “Through a weird connection, UNK came along. Coach Morris and coach Siegal seemed like great guys, and the spread offense was a perfect fit.”

While working at a quarterback academy, new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Andy Siegal heard of D’Amore and his quest to find a new school. “We watched him running things in high school on YouTube, and we watched Arizona’s spring game,” Morris said. “He did a good job of extending plays with his feet. He only had a couple months to learn that offense, and he was running it well. He’s very intelligent.” D’Amore must hit the ground running at UNK if he wishes to compete for the starting spot, but he says he’s well-

prepared to do so. “It’s all going to come down to focus and knowing what the coach wants,” D’Amore said. “Look at coach Morris’ record; he knows what will work. I’ve got to get in there, get coached up and win football games.” All the quarterbacks share a mutual respect and are aware that there is no free pass to the starting job. Morris said, the position is open to every quarterback listed on the roster. “Whoever gets it will do great things,” Romero said. email to:

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Page 6 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Family, integrity Anderson’s priorities Inspired by her dad, Loper loves playing, coaching volleyball By BUCK MAHONEY

college coach and be in the same place for 15 years. ... The saying I’ve always heard is that there are two types of coaches: KEARNEY ⎯ Kaleigh the ones that have been fired Anderson has seen coaching and the ones who are soon to from both sides of the fence. She coaches club teams and be fired. It’s just a part of coaching. It’s not a fun thing to summer camps, and she has go through at all, but it’s a part one more year of filling her of it. We all understand that,â€? spot on the back row for the she said. University of Nebraska at She looks back on her Kearney volleyball team. The behind-the-scenes joys father’s career at Nebraska ⎯ he was the head coach when of coaching have come to her Nebraska won its only College home every day of her life. So has the dark side of World Series game ⎯ and she’s proud of many things he coaching. accomplished. She wants to Two years ago, she endured follow in his footsteps, espethe ordeal of her father, cially in stressing the imporMike’s, dismissal from the tance of family and treating University of Nebraska basepeople with integrity. ball team. “I’m a lot like him in tem“It was an extremely stressful time because we’re so close perament, attitude and everything,â€? she said. “I’m very as a family, and it’s a tough competitive. I’m thing to have not the sweetest something like girl on the court that happen,â€? or anything. But Kaleigh said. I think off the She said her court, in every family “went aspect of your chaotic.â€? Her life, there’s a brother, Taylor, way you treat had committed people with to play baseball respect.â€? for the Huskers Maybe she and his father, will follow in his and those plans footsteps in changed. Shortly another way. thereafter, the Kaleigh Anderson Kaleigh is family moved to majoring in famColorado. ily studies and sociology. Kaleigh stayed in Kearney, Coaching isn’t in her plans, but calling UNK volleyball coach she hasn’t ruled it out, either. Rick Squiers immediately to “I absolutely love everything let him know she was commitabout coaching. I coach a club ted to play for the Lopers. team and I do summer camps “There’s never been a point in my life where I ever doubted all the time, so I feel like that’s what I do,â€? she said. my dad or my dad’s ability to She does a little coaching on take care of his family,â€? the court, too, mostly with herKaleigh said. “And I never doubted his integrity in every- self, trying to stay in step with the game and with what both thing he did in his job ... his coaches are trying to accomrespect for his players and plish. everyone he worked with.â€? “My dad always joked with She took solace in her belief me, even when I was younger, that everything happens for a about how I would look at reason. things from a coach’s perspec“It’s extremely rare to be a

Hub Sports Editor

“My dad always joked with me, even when I was younger, about how I would look at things from a coach’s perspective. ... He would say, ‘Stop. Just play. Stop doing all that stuff and just play.’�

Kearney Hub file

UNK VOLLEYBALL senior Kaleigh Anderson passes the ball to the setter during a match last year. Anderson grew up in an athletic household, witnessing the good and bad things about coaching with her father, Mike, the former head baseball coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

soccer. Every day, the family tive. ... He would say, ‘Stop. went off to some activity. Just play. Stop doing all that “It was always important to stuff and just play,’â€? Anderson do things as a family,â€? Kaleigh said. “It’s so very hard for me said. not to have a coach’s perspecIt only took a quick look in tive even to this day. I feel like the stands at most UNK games I see things through Coach the past three years to find Squiers’ eyes more than any Kaleigh’s parents. Even when other player is supposed to.â€? he was coaching in Lincoln But the effects of a lifetime and the team was active in its of living in a coach’s home fall schedule, Mike found time can’t be erased in a few years of college — it’s too ingrained. to get to the Lopers’ matches at Growing up in the Anderson home and at times, on the road. That hasn’t changed since the home was what you would family has moved expect ⎯ “four to Colorado. kids that are the “There’s an craziest, multiabsolute uncondisports-activity tional support and kids you could unconditional love ever imagine.â€? in my family that Kaleigh is the is one of the best oldest. Taylor, things I could ever who now plays ask for,â€? Kaleigh baseball at Cuesto said. Community ColThe activities, lege in San Luis Kaleigh Anderson while Kaleigh was Obispo, Calif., growing up, followed. Younger encompassed all of the family. sisters Maddie, 17, and already in community college, Consequently, Kaleigh will tell you that on the volleyball court, and Andie, 10, round out the her brother has better “setting active family that played handsâ€? than she does. together. And she’s had more experiThere was baseball and softball, volleyball and basketball, ence in baseball than most boys after accompanying her golf and swimming, track and father and brother to baseball camp after baseball camp. “There are a lot of similarities in the throwing motion and the (volleyball) hitting motion ⎯ you have to have your elbow back and turn your body. When I’m working with little, little girls and they don’t understand that it’s not just

FORMER NEBRASKA Cornhusker baseball coach Mike Anderson cheers on the Huskers during his coaching tenure at Nebraska. Anderson, who was relieved of his coaching duties after the 2011 season, now lives in Colorado but has been a strong supporter of his daughter, Kaleigh, and the UNK volleyball team.

“There’s an absolute unconditional support and unconditional love in my family that is one of the best things I could ever ask for.�

Omaha World-Herald file

your shoulder, sometimes I literally have to go through baseball-throwing progressions,� she said. Baseball has given her something else. “I’m very superstitious. I have very weird things that I do. I honestly think it’s all because of baseball and seeing things like rally caps,� she said. Before home games, she touches certain bricks in the locker room wall and goes


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through other rituals. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of little things I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think anybody would notice. But Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m so used to doing it that I feel if I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the end of the world,â&#x20AC;? she said. For UNK, this is the beginning of a new world. The Lopers will embark on their first year of membership in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. While the MIAA hangs its hat on football, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a strong league in volleyball as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Going into to a new conference is a very exciting thing,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exciting to go out and play these new teams that have that credibility.â&#x20AC;? The other teams in the league may not share that excitement when it comes to playing the Lopers. Anderson said sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not afraid to brag about UNK volleyball. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The goal has always been to win the national championship. ... I honestly have that much confidence in our team,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have such an amazing coach and such an amazing program that if we continue to go on the path weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t doubt we can get to that point.â&#x20AC;? email to:

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Page 7 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Wuest just swinging through His offense may guide Lopers to more wins By JASON ARENS Hub Sports Writer KEARNEY — When Brian Wuest arrived in Kearney for the first time last fall, not only was he unsure of what streets to take to reach the college, he was unsure about his collegiate baseball career. It had already been a winding road for the redshirt junior. Wuest played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but in the midst of a coaching and conference change, NU coach Darin Erstad told Wuest it would be in his best interest to seek other opportunities. Entering the 2011 summer without a team, Wuest began his search for a new college while playing for the Omaha Diamond Spirit in the Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas League, a league for college players. It was there he met a pair of UNK pitchers, Austin Parker and Mike Loseke. “Austin told him we’ve got a pretty cool school and really likes what we’re doing baseball-wise,” UNK coach Damon Day said. “Brian was interested. We got the release from the Nebraska Cornhuskers and, long story short, we ended up

Offense has always been Wuest’s forte, dating back to his high school playing days at Plano West High School in Prosper, Texas. In his quest to be recruited, Wuest attended a baseball camp at the University of Arkansas where he was noticed by hitting coach Todd Butler. “I started thinking seriously about baseball later in my high school career,” Wuest Rick Tucker, Hub file said. “I originalUNK’S BRIAN WUEST (30) is congratulated by teammate Alex Miller as he crosses home plate after hitting the ly started the process to join first of his two home runs in a 16-4 win over Colorado Christian University April 20 at Memorial Field. Wuest is expected to provide the offensive firepower for the Lopers in the 2013 season. the Air Force because I wantlanding him.” under a magnifying glass to runs and 52 RBIs. He also led ed to be a fighter pilot, and I The interest was mutual. here, where people don’t know the Lopers in doubles (17), was in the JRTC program for a “During my process of find- much about you. He had to triples (four), walks received, year and a half. But once I was ing a new school, honestly, learn to rebuild his work ethic slugging percentage and onin contact with Arkansas to Coach Day was the only one to the level we wanted him to.” base percentage. play baseball, I thought, ‘Hey, who would consistently call “Coming into the year, I tried His accomplishments on the I’m pretty good at this.’” me and stay in touch,” Wuest to get acclimated with the field earned him a spot on the His top goal now is to play said. “I really appreciated that. guys,” Wuest said. “A lot of Rawlings/American Baseball professional baseball. If that I wanted to go somewhere new guys were going through Coaches Association Alldoesn’t work out, he wants to where I was wanted.” the same thing that I was, trying American Team, joining a very coach college baseball. Wuest was one of many to figure out roles on the team.” short list of Lopers to do so. Wuest began is college fresh faces on an inexperienced Wuest began to make a name “He’s a young man who’s career at Paris Junior College UNK baseball team that dealt for himself as the season proearned a lot of respect for his in Texas, where he played for with plenty of inconsistent play gressed by becoming a consis- work ethic in the cages and two years. He then transferred to start the 2012 season. tent source of offense. how he went about his craft of to Lincoln. “I think he struggled like By season’s end, it became hitting,” Day said. “He’s proba“Spending time at Nebraska everyone else,” Day said. “You clear that Wuest could swing bly one of the best offensive after leaving a junior college come from the big lights of the bat. He finished the year players that we’ve ever had was awesome. I fell in love Lincoln where everything is with a .394 average, 11 home here at UNK.” with the Huskers after two

weeks of being there,” Wuest said. “But I have no hard feelings, and I still keep in touch with some of the guys. I have nothing but respect for Nebraska and Coach Erstad. “I learned so much in Lincoln. But Coach Day, Coach (Tre) Howell and Coach (Jason) Miller have really coached me up and taught me how UNK does things. This is the first time in my college career where I really felt wanted at a place.” Wuest wants to return the favor by helping improve upon last season’s 18-33 finish. “For us, it’s a tough task as a program to rebound from a disappointing year, but we have to do so in a much better conference and a much tougher schedule,” Day said. “It’s a challenge we’re excited about, and he’s excited about, as well. “Brian will be the first to tell you that his defense lacked what it needed (for him) to be more of an all-around player. That’s why he played again this summer in the M.I.N.K. League, to work on becoming a better outfielder and first baseman for us.” Wuest has been working, and he hopes to not only improve upon last year’s numbers, but take a bigger leadership role in his final season of collegiate baseball. There’s no chip on his shoulder, just a will to succeed. “Once someone starts doing their job well, then everyone feeds off of that,” Wuest said. email to:

UNK scouts shop locally best schedule that we possibly enormous recruiting budget,” Current UNK player Brancan so the kids get the benefit Day said. “When you sit down don Pacheco is head coach for of seeing the best teams in the and look at our geographic Kearney Five Points, while state on a regular basis.” location and limited resources teammates Blake Johnson and Day and the Lopers aren’t to recruit, you’ve got to take Dillon Schroeder help Archer just bringing in a few local care of what’s in your own BASEBALL, PAGE 8 guys as a courteous gesture. back yard.” “UNK is still looking to get the best possible kids, and if they (Kearney Legion players) are good enough to By JASON ARENS play, UNK will Hub Sports Writer give them an Damon Day opportunity to KEARNEY — The crowd do that. The college won’t cut went wild. them any slack unless they have An Education in Savings Kearney Runza had just scored in a pair of key runs late the ability to play,” Day said. OPEN WED –SAT 10–5 • 308-236-8825 Having the Lopers and the in the ball game to help seal Highway 30 • Odessa, NE (in the old school building) Legion system playing at the another victory. The cheers same facility gives Day a great were loud enough to be heard opportunity to scout. inside the University of “When you get to see more Nebraska at Kearney’s baseball of their games than anyone clubhouse, and a lone silhouelse, you start to appreciate ette could be seen at the door leaning up against the left field them more,” Day said. “Those 411 2nd Avenue Legion kids are a lot like our chain-link fence of Memorial 1010 3rd Avenue players — they’re very good, 50144 880th Rd • O'Neill, Ne 68763 (308) 698-2810 Field. 224 2nd Ave. S (308) 237-5185 but not very flashy. So I don’t Jerald Pritchett 402-340-4154 It was UNK baseball coach (308) 234-2541 think seeing them one time Damon Day, observing not just J.J. Pritchett 402-340-0890 as a fan of Legion baseball, but gives you the appreciation facas a scout, getting a better idea tor for their skill set, whereas we’re fortunate to see them of who may look good in the plenty more times. We like blue and gold Loper uniform. 709 2nd Avenue “We try to land the Kearney them because they have the 15 West 8th Street makeup, desire and work ethic guys,” Day said. “Without a (308) 237-2671 (308) 234-5513 that we want.” doubt, it’s one of our major Proud And when a team’s recruitrecruiting objectives to land the Distributor of ing budget is limited, having quality student-athletes from Shaver suitable local talent pays. the Kearney Legion program.” 20% off any location room rates. Post Drivers “It’s important to get these Just take a look at the roster. Based on availability. guys because we don’t have an Chandler Klute, Brandon Pacheco, Mannie Reinsch, Brandon Landanger, Dillon Schroeder, Blake Johnson, Drew Butler and Anthony Pacheco all will be playing for the Lopers next season, and all played Legion ball in Kearney. The success of the program makes it an easy decision to go after the local talent. “Coach (Steve) Spongberg and coach (Brad) Archer have done a phenomenal job in •Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy Services building that into one of the •Sports Rehab / Orthopedic Rehab •Industrial/Worksite Consultation most respected Legion pro•Wound Care •Neurological Rehab •Balance & Mobility grams in not only the state, but in the region,” Day said. “So •Pediatrics •Lymphedema •Strokes • Keno our hat really has to go off to what they’ve been able to • Happy Hour accomplish.” 4 - 6pm Everyday Spongberg began coaching • Late Night Happy Hour Kearney Runza in 1979 and Mon.-Thurs. 9-11pm remained there until 2010 before taking a coaching posi• Over 17 Plasma TVs tion in Sutton. Archer spent 26 years as head coach for the Legion juniors team before helping Spongberg with the seniors for three years. Archer has been the head coach for Runza for two seasons now. 211 W. 33rd, Suite A 615 W. 39th St., Suite A North 2nd Avenue in the Vista Pointe Shopping Center “First of all, we’ve be fortuKearney • 308-236-5884 Kearney • 308-698-2820 Kearney • 234-3979 nate over the years to get the Hours: Monday-Saturday 11am-1am, Sunday 11:30am-12am best multisport players out,” Present Coupon for Discount. Expires 12-31-11 Clinics: Kearney, Lexington, Minden, Elm Creek, Franklin, Ravenna, Wood River Archer said. “Also, we play the

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Page 8 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Henderson finds right fit in Kearney Redshirt junior makes a quiet splash at UNK By JASON ARENS Hub Sports Writer KEARNEY — Jon Henderson’s quiet demeanor can be deceiving. He isn’t a flamboyant or flashy player, but he always seems to draw the opponent’s attention on the hardwood for the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After transferring in from Colorado Northwestern Community College, Henderson made an immediate impact for the Lopers as a redshirt junior in the 2011-12 season. The 6-4 guard’s presence was needed most after UNK’s two leading scorers, Quinston “Q” Reggins and Mike “Dent” Dentlinger, went down with injuries down the home stretch of the season. Henderson delivered. “When injuries hit and everyone started to panic a bit, Jon quietly stepped up and started making plays in order to keep the ship afloat,” UNK co-head coach Kevin Lofton said. “At that point, you’re nervous about which way the season could go. But we finished strong, and Jon had a lot to do with that.”

The Lopers finished the year with 16 wins. Henderson averaged 12 points and three rebounds per game while shooting more than 42 percent from the floor. “A lot times when you are dealing with a transfer, it’s a transition period that can take a semester or longer,” Lofton said. “But Jon came out of the gate fairly well, and as the season went on, he really gained momentum, and a lot of that was confidence and his teammates’ confidence in him.” Henderson was ready to step up when the circumstances required it. “We all sacrifice a lot because we have a lot of talented players,” Henderson said. “So when guys like Q and Dent go down, that’s when others need to step up. I tried to become more of a leader and take the initiative.” That’s just the competitive nature of Henderson, the son of former NFL running back John Henderson. It also what Lofton likes about his player. “He puts the ball on the floor very well and has the ability to get by the defender and into the lane,” Lofton said. “His

JON HENDERSON SHOOTS over Colorado Christian defender Tony Black during a 79-71 victory for the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Dec. 18, 2011. Henderson, who netted 15 points in the win, will be expected to help lead the Lopers through their first year back in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Rick Tucker, Kearney Hub file

competitiveness makes him a very good defender, as well.” Lofton saw those characteristics in Henderson during a summer 2011 recruiting trip. Phone calls led to a visit, which resulted in a commitment. “It’s a great community with a winning atmosphere,” Henderson said. “Another reason why I ended up here is because

it’s close to where I’m originally from.” Henderson’s father was Iowa State’s leading rusher in the 1987 and 1988 seasons before being drafted by the New Orleans Saints and playing for four seasons in the NFL. Henderson was born in Ames, Iowa, and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to Salt Lake City as an eighth-grader.

Henderson played football, but basketball became his love by the time he reached high school. John Henderson was in full support of his son’s decision. “My dad has been a huge part of my success,” Henderson said. “I’ve worked countless hours with him on my shot, ball handling and agility. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without him.” Henderson’s relentless work and success during high school got him Division I attention, and he signed to play for Southern Utah University for his freshman season and redshirted. “(Playing at a D1 school) really let me know how competitive college is and how hard you have to work to be a good player,” Henderson said. “It was really humbling, because I wasn’t one the best players for once, so I had to work to develop my game.” Henderson transferred from Cedar City after his first season to Colorado Northwestern Community College where he averaged 15 points per game as a redshirt freshman. The following year, Henderson led the team in scoring and led the Scenic West Athletic Conference in 3-point accuracy by shooting 47 percent from behind the arc. Henderson was finding success on the court, but CNCC wasn’t winning many games,

and he felt there was somewhere else he needed to be. “We weren’t the best, and I wanted to be a winner,” Henderson said. “I had some individual success, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to be a part of something bigger.” That’s when UNK came into the picture. Coincidentally, Henderson was coached by Kenya Crandell at Southern Utah. Crandell played for the Lopers from 1993-96 and has UNK’s career assists record. UNK is also where he began is coaching career as a graduate assistant. “I remember him talking about UNK and how it was a great Division II program,” Henderson said. “I kept that in the back of my head, but I never thought it would actually happen.” It did happen, and Henderson is poised for a big senior season after getting one year of experience under his belt at Kearney. “Looking at his time at junior college, Jon really took off in his second year with the program, and I’ve got the feeling that he may do that here,” Lofton said. “He understands that he needs to play at a high level every night in order for us to have success, and I think he’s ready for that challenge.” email to:

BASEBALL : UNK players visit Legion team to set tone, show the fundamentals of the game just play and have fun. “Coach Archer and coach coach the Runza team. Spongberg were great coaches. Pacheco is entering his senThey really bond well with the ior season — his second seakids, and kids wanted to play son with UNK after playing at hard for them.” McCook Community College Pacheco also recalls his time for two years before returning playing for the Legion junior home. He said Kearney Legion team and having UNK baseball players like the idea of playing players coming to practice to for UNK because it’s a natural help. transition. “They set the tone, showing “After playing Legion for us the basics, the fundamenthree or four years, you get real tals,” Pacheco said. comfortable with the field and The time, effort and overall facilities,” Pacheco said. commitment put into the “Kearney is a small enough Legion program has paved the town where you know a lot of way for some great collegiate the coaches growing up and careers at UNK. build relationships with them “We have a lot Kearney over the years. You’re able to guys this year. But if you look CONTINUED FROM 7

over the history of this program, we’ve always had a tremendous amount of Kearney influence from the Legion level,” Day said. Notables include pitcher Jared Loschen, who left UNK in 2008 as the school’s all-time leader in wins. He was also named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year. Just down the list at fourth overall in career wins is Ryan Sheldon, another RMAC Pitcher of the Year and Kearney Legion product who left UNK after the 2009 season. He’s currently pitching for the Lincoln Saltdogs. Blake Cover (2007-2010) was All-RMAC performer who also came from the Kearney Legion system. He left the

DILLON SCHROEDER LOOKS to turn the double play for the University of Nebraska at Kearney after Brandon Pacheco (6) scooped and tossed the ball to him at second base for the first out during an April 13 matchup with Metropolitan State College of Denver at Memorial Field. Rick Tucker, Kearney Hub file

Lopers as the school’s all-time leader in hits (269) and runs scored (195). Mike Asche played several years in the Pittsburgh Pirates

Saturday Sept. 8 Early registration deadline is Wed., August 29

organization after his playing days for UNK (1991-94) and Kearney Legion. North Alabama baseball coach Mike Keehn took a simi-

lar road. The honorable-mention All-American left UNK in 1983 and was drafted by the Texas Rangers. The list of former Kearney Legion players goes on. Neal Arnold (1994-97) has UNK’s record for career strikeouts. Bronson Bosshammer (1996-99) leads the Lopers in career doubles. Brad Archer’s son, Cole Archer, was an allconference performer who played a big role in UNK’s conference title in 2008. Chandler Klute is entering his senior year with UNK and could be the most decorated catcher in school history. “Kearney guys have been the foundation for our success,” Day said. email to:

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Page 9 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Harris juggles two loves: running, music By DENNIS DRISCOLL

would be doing in college is playing the flute, and athletics was far from her mind. “I was never the athletic kid. KEARNEY — Usually, music and athletics combine in My high school didn’t even pep band or the halftime show. have a cross country program,” Harris said. Brooke Harris’s case is difAt the 2008 state track meet, ferent. everything changed. Harris is a standout cross “It was my senior year, and country and track and field athmy coach decided to let me run lete at the University of in the mile in districts and I Nebraska at Kearney, but has qualified for the state meet. It another passion that is just as was the first time I ran the important to her: music. mile,” she said. “The second When Harris isn’t logging miles on her shoes, she’s play- time I ran the mile was at the state track meet, and I finished ing her flute. first. ... I was definitely sur“Music has always been in prised.” my life,” she said. “I’ve been UNK coach Brady Bonsall playing the piano since third grade, and I started playing the liked what he saw and offered Harris the opportunity to be a flute in fifth and I’ve been member of the cross country playing ever since.” and track and field teams. There was a time Harris “Since Wallace didn’t have a thought the only thing she

Hub Sports Writer

cross country this fall. She exhausted her eligibility in indoor and outdoor track, but I’m excited to have Brooke one more time.” Running has changed Harris’s life. “When I was younger, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, which basically means I’m a huge worrywart,” she said. “Running helps me live my life free of medication and helps stay centered Courtesy and focused. I could not imagine my life if I didn’t run. It UNK SENIOR Brooke Harris, a music major, also loves to run really has put me at ease.” As Harris finishes her career and is a member of the UNK track and cross country teams. at UNK, she’s excited to run in the Mid-America Intercollecross country program, we giate Athletics Association, and decided to redshirt Brooke her she won’t miss the Rocky freshmen year,” Bonsall said. Mountain Athletic Conference. “Since she redshirted her first “As a distance runner, I don’t year, she is able to compete in like running in the mountains,”

she said. “It’s going to be nice to run in Missouri and Kansas and face different competition.” Bonsall is thrilled to see the type of person Harris has grown into during her time at UNK. “Brooke is such a great person, and she has grown in her time here,” he said. “Not many people can be a great musician and run a sub-5-minute mile. She is such a competitive person, and if there is anyone who can do what she does, it’s her.” In the past five years athletics and cross country have played an important part of her life, Harris said, and it would be difficult to pick one over the other. “I’m passionate about both, and I just can’t imagine giving either of them up,” she said. “I love running, and I love my music. I will continue to do

them as long as I can.” Harris is quick to point out athletics and music performances are similar. “I’ve learned that music and athletics aren’t as different as people think. Both require discipline,” she said. “I take things from music and apply to running and vice versa. In the end, they are both performance-based things.” The most important element of Harris’s life isn’t music or running, it’s her Christian faith. “I owe God so much, and I would not be where I am today without him,” she said. “It’s absolutely the most important part of my life. I play the flute during Mass at the Newman Center, and I love playing there. ... It’s pressure-free playing.” email to:


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Page 10 • Kearney Hub • Wednesday, August 15, 2012

UNK Today: Loper Lineup

Dunn dominates despite injury Torn rotator cuff slowed softball star down, but she plans to return better than ever By DENNIS DRISCOLL Hub Sports Writer KEARNEY — University of Nebraska at Kearney softball pitcher Becky Dunn was born to be a Loper. Dunn’s older sister, Sara, played softball for UNK from 2007-2010, and Dunn’s father, Steve, was a Loper football player in the late 1970s. However, she wasn’t forced to attend UNK. “My family never pressured me to play for UNK,” Dunn said. “They just want me to be happy, and everything has worked out for me. I didn’t want to play Division I, and I thought, ‘Why not Kearney?’” Dunn, who is one of the Lopers’ key pitchers, has suffered two injuries to her throwing shoulder and is in extensive rehabilitation to repair a torn rotator cuff. Dunn’s determination to fight back has earned her the respect of coach Holly Carnes. “I tell you what, Becky has gone through a lot, and she UNK softball pitcher has faced multiple Becky Dunn challenges with her shoulder,” Carnes said. “She continues to fight through the injuries, and that says a lot. Let’s be honest, other players in her situation would say they are done, but not Becky. She’s a fighter, and it’s a privilege to have her on the team.” Even though Dunn is rehabilitating her shoulder, she’s excited to start the season. She understands the work she must put in to begin the season healthfully. “One thing I’ve learned is to be patient,” she said. “I’m doing well in my rehab right now, and everything is progressing the way I want and I’m looking forward to throwing a softball again.” UNK catcher Jenn Kramer is excited to have the pitcher back in action. “Sometimes I think when she is injured it upsets me more than her,” Kramer said. “She UNK softball coach has fought Molly Carnes through a lot, but she battles back. I think Becky at 80 or 75 percent is still better than other pitchers at 100 percent. She is a gamer.” When Dunn is healthy, she is a dominant pitcher. Last season, she finished with a 10-10 record and a 3.54 earned run average while striking out 94. “My first goal is to finish the season healthy. But overall, I want to improve,” Dunn said. “Individually, I want to win more games, lower my ERA and strikeout more batters. But, I want to pitch well enough to lead UNK into our new conference and prove that we can compete.” As long as Dunn stays healthy and continues to progress in her rehab, Carnes said, Dunn could have Becky Dunn a career year. “Becky has all the tools, and she is experienced,” Carnes said. “I expect her to finish her rehabilitation

“One thing I’ve learned is to be patient. I’m doing well in my rehab right now, and everything is progressing the way I want and I’m looking forward to throwing a softball again.”

“She contin ues to fight through the injuries, and that says a lot. Let’s be honest, other players in her situation would say they are done, but not Becky. She’s a fighter, and it’s a privilege to have her on the team.”

“My first goal is to finish the season healthy. But overall, I want to improve.”

and have a great senior season. ... We need her.” Dunn, the lone senior on this year’s team feels pressure, but she embraces it. “There is some pressure, but I

already considered myself to be a team leader,” she said. “We will have a pretty young team, and I hope to show them how to play softball the right way.” With UNK’s move to the

Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Dunn will miss playing her former rivals in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but she is looking forward to different competition.

“I’m going to miss playing in the RMAC. I’ve been playing against those teams for as long as I’ve been in Kearney, but I understand the move to the MIAA will benefit the

entire university,” she said. “I feel that we are the new kids on the block, and we have a lot to prove.” email to:


It’s 104 seasons,

561 victories and 32 conference titles. It’s 4th and 1. It’s going for 2. It’s UNK 20, CSC 13 in the final clash of rivals. It’s 11 players and 5,250 fans united as one—Lopers. It’s Blue. It’s Gold. It’s game day in Kearney and it’s a great day for football.

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UNK Today | Loper Lineup  

An annual publication from the Kearney Hub.

UNK Today | Loper Lineup  

An annual publication from the Kearney Hub.