I’ve said before that there are many things that I find great about my job. One of the best is watching the success of the athletes I cover. Watching athletes reach goals is right up there with the best things I get to experience.
For example, this week, in case you hadn’t yet heard, Neligh-Oakdale’s Tyson Belitz joined teammate Grant White on Friday when he hit the 1,000 point mark for his career. Obviously it was a neat ordeal for Belitz, but even more fun was the excitement amongst his teammates, classmates and neighbors as he approached the mark.
It was obvious his teammates wanted him to reach 1,000 when they were talking about it on Twitter a few days before. Then on gameday, whether intentional or not, it seemed those teammates were making a point to put Tyson in position for good shots or clearing the lane for him to drive to the basket.
One thing that I had the chance to see from my vantage point was the excitement of the crowd. The student section had signs in support of Belitz and even a full-sized cutout of him. Throughout the game, leading up to his 1,000th point, they had cheers just for him. Everyone, with the exception of very few, in the crowd knew what was coming as he approached the mark and the atmosphere slowly grew stronger with each shot he made.
Another athlete that recently reached a major goal is actually one I didn’t have the privilege to cover in person. However, I have noticed the excitement around him from old friends and neighbors that still keep track of him and his career.
Ben Lingenfelter, a former Warrior who had to transfer to Cherokee, Iowa, accepted the offer that many young Nebraska athletes dream of getting. He announced on Monday that he would follow in the footsteps of many family members, including most recently his older brother, Luke, and walk on at the University of Nebraska to play football.
I’ve mentioned this a time or two before, but the dream of playing football for the Huskers is one that is almost engrained in any budding football player the moment they first step on the gridiron. I can’t even imagine how much that must mean for someone like Ben, who has seen his brother play for the Big Red and likely heard stories of his family’s playing days, to carry out that dream.
Ben is not only a big kid, but he is extremely athletic. I think a walk-on spot is perfect for a player like him, but I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to see him receive a scholarship offer from Nebraska too. As a matter of fact, I think the walk-on offer will help motivate him and lead to a better career for him, one that I predict will end with him on scholarship.
The number of people around Neligh that still follow Lingenfelter’s career says a lot about him, not only as a player, but as a person as well.
Congratulations once again to Tyson on reaching 1,000 points. It will be fun to see what your next step is. Congratulations to Ben on earning that coveted spot with the Huskers. I look forward to watching your career unfold as you continue to develop.
I know there are other athletes in our area that will be reaching goals that they set out to accomplish as freshmen, and I look forward to covering it when you hit those milestones. Good luck.
Sports Editor at Antelope County News/The Orchard News, Logan is from Kearney and has a diverse sports background, including several seasons playing semi-pro football. All columns here are the opinion of the writer only and do not represent the views of the Antelope County News or Pitzer Digital.