Eagles notes: Chadron State football to open season
CHADRON, Neb. -- August 30, 2023 -- The Chadron State College football team hopes to get its season off to a rousing start when it plays the Quincy Hawks at Quincy, Ill., on the banks of the Mississippi River on Thursday, Aug. 31. Kickoff will be at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.
The game was arranged last spring when neither of the head coaches, Jay Long of Chadron State and Gary Bass of Quincy, could find a closer opponent for their season-opener.
Long said he can't make any guarantees about this year's team, but he's excited about the seasons and knows the Eagles will play hard
The teams have some similarities. Both are coming off disappointing seasons. The Eagles had a 3-8 record last fall and the Hawks were 4-7. Each has just five seniors on its list of probable starters.
Because of injuries, Chadron State was forced to start three different quarterbacks last season. The one who played the most, senior Heath Beemiller, is expected to start the opener. Offensive Coordinator Micah Smith said Beemiller has shaken off the injuries and become more consistent.
"We have a lot of good playmakers among our receivers and running backs. We'll try to get the ball to them in space," Smith said.
The offensive line leader is center Michael DeCamillis, who will be the starting for the fifth consecutive season, including 2020, when the Eagles bucked the national trend and played four games despite COVID 19. DeCamillis was second-team all-conference last fall and is one of the six co-captains that the players elected last week.
The Eagles' defense will feature a strong front line, where nine players are expected to rotate and play physical football. The group includes Hunter O'Connor, who, as a sophomore last fall, finished with 60 total tackles, 24 of them for minus yards, including 16 quarterback sacks that led NCAA II through the regular season and broke the CSC single-season record.
Senior linebacker Joey Geil long ago established the reputation for playing hard and making big plays. Defensive Coordinator Clint Sasse believes redshirt freshman Reed Henkel is from the same mold.
"A year ago Reed was on the scout team, but he had a great spring, a great off-season and has made huge strides," Sasse said.
The secondary has several newcomers, but Sasse says they are talented and will provide excellent depth. A big plus is the return of cornerback Jahvonte Hair, who sustained a broken leg in last year's season opener. Sasse often talks about the "high football IQ" of this year's group and believes they are "well prepared and ready for anything."
Not a whole lot is known about the Quincy Hawks, but they have some players with impressive numbers.
They have a new quarterback in Drake Davis, a transfer from Northern Michigan, where in 17 games the past three years, he completed 227 of 371 passes for 2,412 yards and 16 touchdowns to go with 12 interceptions. He also ran for 546 yards and six TDs.
The Hawks return their top receiver from a year ago in senior Jason Lawrence, who caught 51 passes for 818 yards and nine scores. Their defensive leader is Peyton Plunkett, a 6-3, 237-pound senior who had eight sacks among his 18 tackles for minus yards last fall and also forced six fumbles.
The Eagles will play their second game at home starting at noon on Saturday, Sept. 9 against the Augustana Vikings. At halftime of that game, the 1989 and 1990 teams, both of which were nationally ranked in the top 10 and were the first from CSC to qualify for the playoffs while be inducted into the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Eagle golf picked sixth in RMAC Poll
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- August 30, 2023 -- The Chadron State golf team is picked to finish sixth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference out of 11 teams, the RMAC announced today.
CSU-Pueblo finished first in the preseason poll with 99 points and nine first place votes. Colorado Christian is slated second with two first place votes and 88 points.
Points values are accumulated from the league's 11 head coaches, who ranked their opposition 1-10 without voting for their own team.
The three spots above CSC went to Colorado Mesa with 83 points, MSU-Denver had 69 while Regis was fifth with 60 points.
Below CSC in order are Westminster, South Dakota Mines, Fort Lewis, Black Hills State and Adams State.
The Eagles will look to replace multiple record holder Alpine Hickstein, who exhausted her college eligibility last semester.
Head Coach John Ritzen doesn't have to look too far, as the team has no newcomers and returns seven golfers.
The roster consists of five seniors, all who scored for the Eagles last season, and two sophomores.
CSC opens their season on September 8 and 9 when they travel to Broomfield, Colorado. Colorado Christian is hosting the Swan Memorial Tournament at the Broadlands Golf Course.
CSC cross country team to open season at Wyoming
CHADRON, Neb. -- August 30, 2023 -- The Chadron State College cross country team will open its season Saturday at the University of Wyoming Invitational Meet in Laramie, starting at 9 a.m. The competition is expected to be tough, but CSC Coach Luke Karamitros believes the experience will be invaluable.
The Eagles' rosters have 16 women and 16 men. There's only one senior on the two rosters. That is Kyle Shirley of Queen Creek, Ariz., who is rehabbing from an injury and won't run at Wyoming. The men's team also includes four juniors, five sophomores and six freshmen. The women's team has three juniors, three sophomores and 10 freshmen.
Led by Topi Alahuhta of Conifer High School at Pine, Colo., and Charles Fossey of Rock Springs, Wyo., last fall when both were freshmen, along with Shirley, the CSC men were improved. They finished 17th among the 25 teams at the South Central Regional Meet in Denver after placing 22nd the previous year.
Both were even more impressive during the 2023 track seasons. Alahuhta had the Eagles' third-fastest time in the 5000 meters indoors (14:59.88) before missing most of the outdoor schedule because of an injury. Also indoors, Fossey set the school's 3000 record (8:24.95) and had the third fastest mile (4:18.56). Outdoors, he ran the Eagles' second fastest 3000 steeplechase (9:45.47).
In addition, the men's team will be strengthened by the return of junior Cale Schafer of LaSalle, Colo., who was on the injury list last year.
The coach calls junior Nate Mann of Queen Creek, Ariz., the team's "darkhorse," stating that he has "high ceiling and just needs to gain confidence."
Wyatt Bly, who is from the same high school as Alahuhta, is among the promising freshmen who could make an immediate impact, Karamitros said.
The women's team expects benefit greatly now that junior Alissa Wieman of Douglas High School at Box Elder, S.D., is completely healthy and after she posted the best marks of her career in distance races for the CSC track team last spring.
The same is true for junior Tukker Romey of Gering, while sophomores Lydia Peters of Sidney and Josie Diffendaffer of Berthoud, Colo., showed potential as freshmen last season. Karamitros said both "are tough as nails."
The team's freshman leader could be Samantha Rodewald of McCook, who has been keeping pace with the returnees in workouts this fall. The coach said the large number of freshmen will provide the CSC women's team with needed depth.
The rookies include former Chadron High stalwarts Makinley Fuller and Emma Witt. The men's roster includes twins Franklin and Greg Johns of Gordon-Rushville. Their cross country experience is limited but they did well in track last spring. Franklin's time of 1:57 at the state meet was the best ever in the 800 by a northwest Nebraska high school runner.
The Eagles' assistant cross country coach is Chadron native Nicky Applegarth Banzhaf, who owns the Lady Eagles' school records in the 3000 and 5000 meters indoors and the 5000 and 10,000 meters outdoors.