Well folks, this is it.
After much discussion with my family, its been decided that I’m going to take my career in a new direction and will no longer be your Antelope County News sports editor as of February 2. However, that gives me one final column, and I want to leave you guys with some positive predictions for the future. Hang on, because here we go.
Neligh-Oakdale - The Warriors will be back in a state final before this year’s freshmen boys are gone. This year has been a bit rough compared to recent ones with the departure of some strong seniors last year, but it is only temporary. The younger classes have plenty of depth and talent. I’m betting they make it to the finals in either football or boys basketball before 2021.
Clearwater-Orchard - The Cyclone boys will be the West Holt of next year. What I mean is that the Huskies had a strong year last year, but came up short in both football and basketball. This year, with a ton of returning contributors, they have dominated in both sports, including being the top-ranked D1 basketball team. That will be O-C next year with a will-be senior class that is overflowing with talent leading the way.
Elkhorn Valley - Their junior class will lead them to a state championship berth. The trio of Hannah Ollendick, Amber Miller and Sierra Rystrom are as strong of a front line as you will find in any class D school. They do it all in both volleyball and basketball. They were underdogs entering the state tournament for volleyball this year. They won’t be next year.
Elgin Public/Pope John - The boys will join the girls in prominence again soon enough. Obviously, the Wolfpack boys haven’t seen the success they would want the past two seasons. It’s not for lack of talent, it’s for lack of numbers. When the depth isn’t there for any sport, it makes it hard to consistently win. The numbers will grow. The Wolfpack will be back on top soon enough.
In addition, some of you may remember my crystal ball predictions this past summer regarding future all-star game participants. I’d like to add a couple of gifted freshmen to that list.
From Neligh-Oakdale, Julien Hearn, Brock Kester, Colton Klabenes, Dawson Kaup, Garret Belitz, Caleb Payne, Trinity Kurpgeweit, and Paige Furstenau all have the gifts.
Elkhorn Valley’s Braedyn Ollendick, Hunter Howard, Caden Reikofski, Hunter Bennett and Adam Miller will have spectacular careers.
Anthony Umphress, Elly Herley and Avery Cheatum will lead the Cyclones to great things.
Kirsten Krebs will have an incredible career for EPPJ as well. I’m sure a few more will pop up, but these athletes have shown great potential from day one.
There it is ladies and gentlemen. My final predictions for you.
Thank you all for reading and the appreciation you’ve shown over the past nearly-two years. I’ve had some great experiences with you all and have enjoyed the impressive performances of our area teams in that time. I hope to continue to carry over the great relationships I’ve built into the next step.
Until then, I’ll see you all around.
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