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Area athletes took part in the NCA All Star games this week in Lincoln. We got the perspective of Kearney Basketball Coach Drake Beranek and Blue Hill Volleyball Coach Kristi Allen on those contests. 



Drake Beranek

Kristi Allen

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The Home Federal American Legion Seniors saw a 15 year state tourney appearance streak come to a close with a 9-1 loss to Gretna in the A6 semifinal. Gretna scored two in the first and three in the second to take command. 

The Five Points Bank Juniors are headed back to state after a 5-4 win over Gretna. They'll open state tourney play in Lincoln on Saturday. 






Jake Ritzdorf after Gretna

Pitcher/3B Javi Cruz player profile

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Grand Island Home Federal rallied for four runs in the fifth inning for a 4-3 win over Columbus in the A6 Area American Legion Tournament.

Noah Halsey had an RBI single. Blake Leiting's two run single tied it. Jack Friesen scored the go ahead run on a balk. Carson Cahoy and Javi Cruz each had two hits. 

Halsey picked up the win with three hitless innings behind Trevor Johnson. 

Home Federal (18-22), plays Gretna at 4pm Wednesday in Columbus. Pre-game at 3:45 on AM 1430 KRGI/105.5 FM. 

If Fremont beats Gretna tonight, Fremont would earn a spot in the championship game at 7pm and play the Gretna/Home Federal winner. 

If Gretna wins. there will be just two teams remaining and Home Federal would have to beat Gretna twice for the A6 title. The top two finishers qualify for the state division tournaments.

The Five Points Bank Juniors took out Columbus 9-2 at the A6 tourney in South Sioux City. Five Points plays Gretna today at 4:30 needing one win in two games to claim the championship.





Coach Jake Ritzdorf after Columbus

Home Federal IF/P Rans Sanders

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Former Nebraska volleyball national champion setter Kelly Hunter will join the coaching staff as a graduate assistant for the 2019 season.

Hunter, a two-time national champion with the Huskers in 2015 and 2017, will help coach the setters while finishing her accelerated master’s degree in business administration. After graduating from Nebraska in 2018, she played one season professionally in Turkey with Beylikduzu.

“One of the greatest joys in coaching is having a former player come back and coach in your program,” Head Coach John Cook said. “Kelly has decided to finish her master’s degree and work with our program this season. Nicklin (Hames) and Nicole (Drewnick) are two of the luckiest setters in the country, as they’ll be able to train with her. Not only will Kelly be in the gym every day, she’ll also be helping us develop leaders in our program. She was one of the best captains we’ve ever had, and now after her experience being away from the program and playing professionally, she’ll have a lot of wisdom to share with our players.”

“I’m so excited to be back with Nebraska volleyball and working as a graduate assistant,” Hunter said. “It’s awesome to be a part of a program that supports their former athletes so much. I’ll be working every day with the setters at practice. I’m looking forward to a great season.”

Hunter was named a first-team AVCA All-American, the Big Ten Setter of the Year and an All-Big Ten selection for the second time in her career following her 2017 senior season. She received numerous honors from volleyball publications, including National Player of the Year and All-America first-team honors from PrepVolleyball.com and VolleyMob.com. Hunter was also named co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship with teammate Mikaela Foecke after the Huskers beat Florida in the national title match in 2017.

Hunter earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team accolades and was named a semifinalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She ended her career with 4,125 assists, the second-most in Husker history, and she totaled 699 career postseason assists, the highest total in school history. Hunter finished her career with a 16-1 record in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s starting setter, posting the most wins and highest postseason winning percentage by a starting setter in Husker history.





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Lincoln – University of Nebraska senior linebacker Mohamed Barry was honored Monday morning, as he was chosen to the Butkus Award Watch list.

Barry is one of 12 linebackers named to the 51-member watch list, as the 51 watch list members honor the No. 51 that Butkus wore during his Hall of Fame career. It is the second watch list Barry has been named to, as he was on the initial Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list released earlier in the summer.

Barry, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound linebacker, returns to anchor the Huskers’ defense after an outstanding junior campaign. The Grayson, Ga., native led the Huskers and ranked second in the Big Ten with 112 tackles, including 55 solo tackles, and added 11 tackles for loss and two sacks from his inside linebacker position. His 112 tackles were the most by a Husker since NFL All-Pro Lavonte David totaled 133 stops in 2011.

Barry, a 2018 All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media, led NU in tackles in nine of 12 games, including seven double-figure efforts. He posted a career-high 12 tackles against Colorado and had 11 stops six other times as a junior. For his efforts, he was chosen by the Husker coaching staff as the team’s defensive MVP last season.

The finalists will be announced on Nov. 25, and the winner will be announced on or before Dec. 10. Trev Alberts is the only Husker to win a Butkus Award, as he was honored in 1992.

Formed in 1985, the Butkus Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels while supporting causes important to the Butkus family. They include the I Play Clean® initiative promoting training and nutrition instead of performance-enhancing drugs, and the Butkus Takes Heart™ initiative encouraging early cardiovascular screening among adults.





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Sunday's games at the A6 Area Senior Legion Tournament have been postponed to Monday. We'll have Grand Island Home Federal vs Columbus at 7pm. Pre-game 6:45 on AM 1430/105.5 FM KRGI.

Friday
#1 Fremont 7, #6 Norfolk 1
#2 Gretna 7, #5 Grand Island 4
#4 Waverly 11, #3 Columbus

Saturday
Grand Island 3, Norfolk 1
Columbus 3, Fremont 0
Gretna 4, Waverly 3

Monday
Fremont vs Waverly 4pm
Grand Island vs Columbus 7pm

Tuesday
Fremont/Waverly winner vs Gretna

Wednesday TBA

Here are Jake Ritzdorf's post game interviews from the weekend.





Jake Ritzdorf after Gretna

Jake Ritzdorf after Norfolk

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New Husker Golfer Caleb Badura was in studio for the Huddle on Thursday. After spending his freshman year at Northwestern, IA, The Aurora grad will get his crack at D1 golf beginning in the fall. 



Caleb Badura

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The Nebraska Coaches Association has its annual clinic beginning Monday in Lincoln. 

Former Alabama Football Coach Bill Curry will the featured speaker. 

The All-Star basketball games will be Monday. The volleyball match is Tuesday with the softball game on Wednesday. 

Executive Director Darin Boysen discussed the events. 




Darin Boysen

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Nebraska junior wide receiver JD Spielman was honored Thursday afternoon, as he was named to the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list.

It was the second straight year Spielman garnered a spot on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. The award is presented to that season’s most outstanding FBS receiver, regardless of position.

Spielman is one of only five Big Ten players on the 50-member preseason list. The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder has a chance to finish his junior season as the most prolific receiver in Nebraska history. He is only 68 catches and 1,099 yards away from the Husker career record in both categories.

Last season, Spielman hauled in 66 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns, despite missing the final two games of the season. He finished on NU’s top-10 single-season list in catches (third), yards (ninth) and touchdowns (seventh). Spielman ranked among the Big Ten leaders in receptions per game (6.6, second), receiving yards per game (81.8, fourth) and all-purpose yards per game (111.5, fifth) en route to earning All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season.

His best performance came against nationally-ranked Wisconsin, when he shattered Nebraska’s single-game receiving record with 209 yards. He is the only player in school history with a 200-yard receiving game. Spielman hauled in 10 passes for 135 yards against Purdue and is the only receiver in school history with multiple double-digit reception games.

The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner will be presented live on December 12, 2019, at the Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.





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Chicago - University of Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez was one of 10 players included on the 2019 preseason honors list released Thursday morning in advance of Big Ten Media Days.

A panel of conference media members selected 10 players – five from the East and West Divisions – as preseason nominations. Martinez, the only quarterback on the 10-player list, is the first Husker signal caller to earn a nod on the Big Ten preseason list since Taylor Martinez in 2013.

Martinez guides a prolific Husker attack and returns after a record-breaking 2018 campaign. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder set 11 school records after becoming the first true freshman quarterback to start an opener in school history. Martinez completed 224-of-347 passes for 2,617 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, while also rushing for 629 yards and eight TDs on his way to All-Big Ten accolades.

Last season, Martinez ranked 12th nationally and led all freshmen nationally in total offense per game (295.1 ypg, a Nebraska record) while also setting school marks for 300-yard total offense (seven) and 400-yard total offense (three) games. He set freshman records for completions, completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, total offense and total touchdowns (25) and ranked fourth nationally among all freshmen with 237.9 passing yards per game.

Martinez threw for a season-high 384 yards and two touchdowns against Wisconsin, while his best game of the year came against Minnesota, when he completed a school-record 86.2 percent of his passes (25-of-29) for 276 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for a season-high 125 yards and a score on 15 carries.

Martinez, along with seniors Khalil Davis and Mohamed Barry, are representing the Huskers at 2019 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago today and tomorrow. Fans can watch much of the action on BTN and online at BTN.com and on the Fox Sports app beginning at 11 a.m. today.

2019 Big Ten Players to Watch

 EAST DIVISION Joe Bachie, Sr., LB, Michigan State Kenny Willekes, Sr., DE, Michigan State J.K. Dobbins, Jr., RB, Ohio State Chase Young, Jr., DE, Ohio State Yetur Gross-Matos, Jr., DE, Penn State

 WEST DIVISION A.J. Epenesa, Jr., DE, Iowa Adrian Martinez, So., QB, Nebraska Paddy Fisher, Jr., LB, Northwestern Rondale Moore, So., WR, Purdue Jonathan Taylor, Jr., RB, Wisconsin
Nebraska Preseason Big Ten Honorees (2011-Present)
2019 – Adrian Martinez, QB
2018 - Stanley Morgan Jr., WR
2015 - Maliek Collins, DT
2015 - De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR
2014 - Ameer Abdullah, RB
2014 - Randy Gregory, DE
2013 - Taylor Martinez, QB
2012 - Rex Burkhead, RB
2011 - Jared Crick, DT
2011 - Lavonte David, LB

 





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