NCHS awards show—third installment

Kirt Manion
Nebraska City News-Press

High school athletics stopped in the middle of March, just as athletes were gearing up for their spring seasons at Nebraska City High School.

Athletes, coaches and parents recently took a time out of their own to honor the seasons that were and the seasons that could have been during the Nebraska City High School Sports 2019-20 Awards Ceremony.

Coaches thanked the Booster Club for putting on the show, the parents for their support and the athletes for the honor of leading them.

Below is the third of three articles about the 2019-20 athletic seasons at Nebraska City High School.

Patrick King, girls’ soccer

Athletic Director Matt Koehler delivered remarks on behalf of Coach King, who was not able to attend.

Koehler said the Nebraska City team struggled early on last year in attempt to get acclimated to the new coach, but by the end of the 2019 season, Nebraska City was starting to turn a corner. The Pioneers took Waverly down to the wire at districts but fell just short.

Koehler said he was anxious to see what King’s crew would be able to accomplish in 2020 and that King had shared that enthusiasm as well.

Koehler also relayed that the team had posted a solid preseason and seemed primed for the challenges ahead.

“I was proud to be a part of this soccer team,” King said in a statement.

The Arbor Bank Female Soccer Player award went to Selena Balquier.

Kyle Ferguson, baseball

Assistant Coach Drew Southard spoke on behalf of Coach Ferguson, who was not able to attend.

The Nebraska City baseball team for 2020 would have boasted a roster of   11 freshmen, 16 sophomores, three juniors and eight seniors.

“I am sorry we were not able to spend more time together this spring,” Ferguson said in a statement, adding that he was thankful for the short time he did get to spend with the players this year.

The seniors on this year’s team were Brayden Betts, Max Chaney, Adam Dia, Colton Davis, Quintin Holman, Jaren Johansen, Eli Southard and Jordan Williams.

“Thank you for being great leaders and great role models,” Ferguson said in his statement. “You have built a foundation for future players to build upon.”

Since the 2020 season could not be played, the 2020 Kenneth and Betty Hoback Baseball Award, was chosen based on stats from the 2019 season.

This player hit .317 with 19 hits including four doubles. He showed great defensive utility and shined on the pitching mound with 49 strikeouts and a 1.529 ERA.

The award winner was Jordan Williams, who plans to continue with baseball at the college level.

Ben Foust, girls’ and boys’ track and field

Coach Foust will have to wait a year for his first season with the Pioneers as 2020 was to be that season.

Foust said he was thankful for all the support he received and noted that he was thankful for the time he got to spend with the Pioneer athletes.

“I wish I would have gotten a chance to know you better,” Foust said. “Three weeks was just not enough. I feel like I missed out. I am looking forward to the coming years.”

The George Peterson Boys Track award and the Cindy Meyer Girls Track award went to Riley Wehling and Chloe Schaulis.

Mark VonFeldt, Lifters of the Year

Coach VonFeldt talked about the five aspects of excellence expected from a lifter of the year, those being leadership, effort, character, summer weight room attendance and overall improvement.

VonFeldt said the focus for lifters of the year is on personal growth, doing the right thing, having rules and having expectations.

The lesson, VonFeldt, is that nothing in sports or, more importantly in life, is given. It must be earned and that process can be very hard.

In looking back at past winners, VonFeldt said that the strongest person doesn’t always win the lifter of the year. The overall effort rules in this case.

“It is given to the students who put forth the effort to get the most out of thier abilities,” said VonFeldt.

The lifters of the year for the girls and the boys  were Abby Balfour and Sawyer Kinnison.

Athletes of the Year

MacKenzie Anthens, the 2019 First Nebraska Bank Female Athlete of the Year, handed out this year’s award to Patricia Trice. Anthens said she is currently playing softball at Southeast Community College in Beatrice. Trice will continue with her softball career at Peru State College.

Bryce Levy, the 2019 Clemmy Holmes Male Athlete of the Year, handed out this year’s award to Eli Southard.

Prior to announcing the award, Levy took a moment to address both the underclassmen and the seniors who are about to go into college, the real world or into careers, including the military.

For those underclassmen, Levy encouraged the students to have no regrets and to take advantage of the opportunities they have at NCHS with a fantastic teaching and coaching staff and with opportunities to participate in multiple sports, clubs and other activities.

He told the students they should strive to have no regrets about not taking up opportunities.

For the seniors leaving NCHS, Levy said they should remember one command.

Never. Give. Up.

There are going to be times, Levy said, when it will be easier to give up. But he implored the students to keep on going.

“This senior class is amazing.

“You guys can do anything you want and I can’t wait to see what your future holds,” said Levy.