It was another great year of covering our local sports athletes in the KCNI/KBBN coverage area. Central Nebraska’s Sports Source once again had the privilege of having a front row seat to some outstanding athletic performances turned in by our area youth.
Back in February we were in Omaha for the State Wrestling Championships. The format had a different look due to COVID concerns but the competition was as good as ever. We had the enjoyment of watching an all area championship final in Class D at 182 lbs. as Reece Zutavern of Sandhills/Thedford faced Cooper Slingsby of Ansley/Litchfield. Zutavern would claim the gold medal by an 11-7 decision. That was one of the two gold medals S/T would claim as Brayton Branic claimed the title at 285. We witnessed the conclusion of the amazing high school wrestling career of Broken Bow’s Lathan Duda. Duda would finish his senior season undefeated and claim the 195 lb. Class B state championship.
We watched the Broken Bow girls basketball team qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2003.
Joining Broken Bow at the girls state basketball tournament was Mullen who finished third in Class D2. On the boys side, Ansley/Litchfield qualified for the boys state basketball tournament for the first time as a co-op and the Mullen boys made their 2nd straight appearance and 4th appearance in the last 5 years.
After the disappointment of the 2020 state track and field championships being cancelled due to COVID, athletes returned to Omaha’s Burke Stadium to compete for gold in 2021. The Mullen boys claimed the state runner-up trophy while Callie Coble of Mullen claimed individual gold in the girls Class D 3200 and Arcadia/Loup City’s Jessica Stieb was Class C state champion in the girls shot put.
What an enjoyable summer it was following the Broken Bow American Legion baseball teams. The Bow Juniors went undefeated in the regular season, won the league championship and cruised through the Class B Area 6 tournament to qualify for the state tournament with a 24-0 record. The Seniors team also won the area tournament and qualified for state. While the state tournament results weren’t what the teams wanted, others across the state saw first hand the baseball talent that has developed in our area.
In the fall we had the opportunity to cover a state championship girls golf team – AGAIN! For the second year in a row, the Broken Bow girls golf team claimed the Class C girls golf state title. The Lady Indians trailed by five shots to Columbus Scotus after day one but came back on day two and improved their team score by 29 strokes to secure the title.
The area had strong representation at the state cross country championships this past fall. The Broken Bow boys and girls as well as the South Loup girls all qualified as a team for this year’s event. Mullen had three individual medalists including Trevor Kuncl runner-up in Class D boys, Peyton Paxton was third and Callie Coble 15th in Class D girls.
We had the joy of being in Hershey when the Anselmo-Merna girls volleyball team won the D2-8 district championship and qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1972.
We were busy during the state football playoffs. We covered Broken Bow in its first state playoff game since 2015 and were there for quarterfinal appearances by Anselmo-Merna and Ansley/Litchfield. One of our greatest honors this past year was to follow the Sandhills/Thedford Knights who once again played for a state football championship. After not being able to play the championship game at Memorial Stadium in 2020, it was a joy to announce that they would be headed to Lincoln after their semifinal victory over Elgin Public/Pope John.
As we reflect on the accomplishments of our student athletes in 2021 we say thank you for letting us come along for the ride and we look forward to the exciting moments that await us in 2022.