The Nebraska City winter sports teams jump into action this week. Check out the News-Press on Tuesday for results and pick up our commemorative winter sports edition in the Friday for team photos and stories on the upcoming year.
The Pioneer wrestling team gears up for another winter sports season behind state returning qualifiers Jordan Moyer and Reid Stracke.
Senior Jordan Moyer ended the 2017-18 season with an overall record of 21-13. Moyer wrestled at 145 pounds and, during state competition, Moyer came close to reaching the medal rounds with victories over Joel Smith of Hastings and Jacob Lemmon of Chadron.
Sophomore Reid Stracke had a solid freshmen year at 106 pounds and finished off the season with 34 wins and a state appearance.
The Pioneers have plenty of depth this season. There are 35 kids total and 20 of them are at the freshmen and sophomore level. “This is about where we were at five or six years ago,” Coach Tyler Hodges said. “When you have that many guys out, it adds a lot of competition for weights and that just makes the kids better throughout the year.”
Senior Jaden Aldana will wrestle this season for the first time during his high school career. Wyatt Roberts will also be in the mix to help round out the 35 man roster.
Coach Hodges said that there were some kids last year who lost in the heartbreak rounds at districts and that the team is looking foward to getting more guys qualified for state.
On the girls side, the Pioneers will be led by returner Taylor Nicolay. Heaven Rush, Cadence Moyer, Paige Stones, Chloe Bohlen, and Taylor Moyer will shape out the girls team.
Although Nebraska girls wrestling is not an official NSAA sport, more girls throughout the state continue to make an impact. The Pioneers were to be at home to host Omaha Skutt on Thursday, Nov. 29, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Pioneer Girls Basketball
Solid guard play and a strong post presence will be the building blocks of the Pioneer girls basketball team this year.
Justin Parr is entering his second year as the Pioneers head coach and said that they are replacing three players, but the athletes coming back have experience, especially at the guard and post positions. “We are really big, and really small,” Coach Parr said. “There really is no in between.”
Last year, the Pioneers won five games. Nebraska City was competitive in a few of the losses and Coach Parr said, this season, the girls were playing at a high tempo and, in the first week of practice, looked really good. “This year, communication will be our number one focus,” Parr said.
Senior Snezana Serafimoska led the Pioneers in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots last season at the post position.
Players like senior, Mackenzie Athens and Patricia Trice will help compliment Serafimoska underneath the basket.
“We have very unique players,” Parr said. “We have plenty of players that can piggy back off Snezana and vise versa.”
Parr noted that the Pioneers will have plenty of talented guards to run the offense and looks foward to this season.
Nebraska City was to play its first game on Friday, Nov. 30, against Bennington, starting at 6 p.m. at the Nebraska City High School.
Pioneer Boys Basketball
After a tough 2017-18 season, the Nebraska City boys basketball team will look to get back on track with senior leadership.
“We have a gym full of guys that are working really hard,” Coach Matt Thompson said. “The effort we are giving right now is really going to show on the court.”
The Pioneers will be returning six players with varsity experience.
Seniors Bryce Levy and Tyler Levy will be back for the Pioneers along with senior Jacob Shannon. Jaydin Aldana, who started for the Pioneers at the post position, will take his talents to the wrestling mat.
Nebraska City brings a lot of athletism and speed to the table and will try to use that ability to its advantage. “We will push to be patient,” Thompson said. “I thought we did a good job last year at possessing the ball and not turning it over a lot.”
On the defensive side, the Pioneers surrendered 63 points per game and will look to switch things up on defense, such as gap protection.
“The kids are picking up everything really quick,” Thompson said. “For us, as coaches, we need to make sure we are correcting mistakes every time they do something wrong so we don’t have break downs on the defensive end. That’s been a big emphasis for us right now.”
Nebraska City was to start the season by hosting Bennington on Friday, Nov. 30, starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Nebraska City High School.