CHADRON, Neb. -- Two teams each hoping it can make good things happen will tangle during the Chadron State Eagles' homecoming contest versus the Fort Lewis Skyhawks at Elliott Field Saturday afternoon. Kickoff will be at 1 o'clock.
Admittedly, both have struggled.  The Eagles won their first game 35-34 over Quincy University by making some big plays in the final few minutes, but have been outscored 152-46 while losing the next four.  Fort Lewis is 0-5 and has been outscored 232-79.
Undoubtedly, both see this matchup as one where they have a chance put things together, notch a victory and use it as a springboard to be more competitive the rest of the season.
To be sure, the Eagles need to get their rushing game going. They have averaged just 102 yards a game and scored only three touchdowns on the ground.  Quarterback Preston Pearson is the team's leading rusher with 154 yards and no one else has more than 79.
The passing game has had more big moments, but CSC has averaged only 177 yards through the air. The fact the opponents have completed seven touchdown passes at least 50 yards long helps them hold a 1,503-to 886-yard margin in passing yardage.
Maybe the "long bomb" issue has been resolved. With all-everything quarterback John Matocha at the controls last Saturday, none of Colorado Mines' 31 pass completions was longer than 27 yards.
Fort Lewis played its two non-conference games on the road and lost 42-6 to William Jewell of Missouri and 49-25 to Arizona Christian.  New Mexico Highlands won 31-17 over the Skyhawks in the RMAC opener for both.
The next week, Fort Lewis led Adams State 24-16 entering the fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies drove 77 yards for a touchdown midway in the frame and kicked a 28-yard field goal with less than a minute to play for a 25-24 victory.
Last week's game in Durango against CSU-Pueblo is definitely one the Skyhawks would like to forget. After the ThunderWolves had been defeated 30-14 by Western Colorado and 55-14 by Colorado Mines, they obviously took out their frustrations on the Skyhawks.
Pueblo led 50-0 at halftime and won 85-7 while rolling up 764 yards of total offense.  Fort Lewis' touchdown came on an 80-yard run by Criox Burney late in the game.
The Skyhawks, who have lost 33 games in a row, dating back to midway in the 2019 season, are coached by one of their all-time all-stars. He's Johnny Cox, a 1994 Fort Lewis graduate who still holds the school records for most receiving yards (3,611) and touchdowns (33). He also led the RMAC in punt returns as a senior with a 14.5 average. This is his second year at the helm for his alma mater.
The Hawks have six seniors in their starting lineup on offense. However, all but one of the defensive starters are freshmen or sophomores.   

Homecoming Royalty crowned Thursday

CHADRON – Chadron State College Homecoming Royalty was crowned Thursday night on Elliott Field.

They are King Porter Anderson of Russellville, Arkansas, a Marketing major, and Queen Olivia Trembly of Thornton, Colo. A Business Administration major. First Attendant to the King is Creighton Trembly of Longmont, Colo., a Business major, and the Second Attendant is Cooper Reichman of Chappell, Neb., a Rangeland Wildlife Management major.

First Attendant to the Queen is Jayden Kanno of Morrill, Neb., an Elementary Education major, and Second Attendant is Aubree Quast of Clarks, Neb., a Human Biology and Chemistry major.

Following the coronation, nearly 70 students and CSC employees climbed C-Hill for the traditional lighting of C-Hill.

Helberg, Sandstrom and Terrell receive Distinguished Young Alumni Awards

CHADRON – Megan Helberg, Mike Sandstrom, and Shane Terrell, will be honored during Homecoming activities as recipients of the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Chadron State College.

Helberg, a native of Loup County, Nebraska, graduated from Chadron State in 2006 with a degree in Business Administration and Management. At CSC she competed in track and field for two years and volleyball for a year.

After realizing her calling as a teacher, Helberg earned an education endorsement from the University of Nebraska-Kearney in 2010, then taught in Papillion briefly, and was a Language Arts teacher and volleyball coach at Burwell High School for 10 years. Since 2021, Helberg has been a teacher and speech coach at her alma mater, Loup County Public Schools, in Taylor.

As a teacher, Helberg believes in providing students with opportunities to learn about other cultures and ways of life. Education about the Holocaust and genocide has been a particular interest in her career. In 2013, she received a grant that allowed her to travel to several Holocaust sites in Europe and purchase Holocaust literature materials for her school. In 2016, she was selected by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum as a Museum Teacher Fellow, which allowed her to spend time at the museum learning from historians, authors, and survivors.

In 2018, Helberg traveled to Rwanda to study the 1994 genocide there. The following year she visited the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, where she stayed with members of the Sapara, an indigenous tribe.

As Nebraska’s Teacher of the Year in 2019, Helberg presented about her experiences more than 50 times to groups of students and adults.

Helberg’s core message to students and adults is to look for the good, and if you do not see any good, then create it.

In 2021, she was selected as a Lowell Milkin Center for Unsung Heroes fellow and was awarded the center’s Discovery Award in 2022. She also pursued an interest in space travel at the NASA space camp in 2021. This year Helberg was selected to study at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

Helberg’s extensive community involvement includes membership in the Aspen Institute’s Weave the People program, the Nebraska World Affairs Council, and the Nebraska Community Foundation. She holds positions as chair of the Calamus Area Community Fund and secretary of the Sandhills District of the Nebraska State Education Association. She has also been featured on commercial spots for Nebraska Public Media and has done numerous podcasts.

Helberg and her husband, Dan, a Scottsbluff native and 2007 CSC graduate, live on her family’s ranch in rural Loup County.

Sandstrom, a Chadron native, graduated from CSC in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. He completed a Master of Education in History degree at Chadron State in 2017 and a Master of Humanities in American History at Pace University in New York in 2020.

Following graduation from CSC Sandstrom was in his second-year teaching history at Yuma High School in Colorado when he was named the 2015 James Madison Fellow for Colorado. The first of Sandstrom’s several teaching awards, the Madison fellowship focused on study of the U.S. Constitution and included graduate level instruction at Georgetown University. He was also named to the Bill of Rights Institute’s National Teachers Council, a group that provides suggestions on improving history and civic education in the U.S.

As Nebraska History Teacher of the Year in 2019, an award sponsored by the Gilder Lehman Institute of American History, Sandstrom participated in a week-long program of discussions with eminent historians, visits to historic sites, and work with primary historical sources.

In 2021 Sandstrom received History Nebraska’s Excellence in Teaching Award and was a finalist for the Nebraska Department of Education Teacher of the Year award. The Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies recognized Sandstrom’s accomplishments by naming him 2022 Outstanding Teacher for the Third District.

In addition to teaching, Sandstrom has published history articles in peer-reviewed publications including Nebraska History and the Great Plains Quarterly, created a podcast for the World War I Centennial Commission, and collaborated on curriculum development for the National Museum of American History. He is also a curriculum contributor for the National Women’s History Museum and has developed learning guides for the National History Day website division.

Now a teacher and coach at Chadron High School, Sandstrom has sponsored several National History Day participants, including the 2019 national runner-up in senior group website division. He is a sponsor for the Capital Forum on American’s Future, and has been a leader of an international tour of CHS students.

Sandstrom’s teaching methods include extensive use of primary sources to connect students with their community’s history, and emphasis on local resources to make national issues relevant in their daily lives.

Besides duties as history and social studies teacher at Chadron High, Sandstrom is an adjunct professor at Chadron State, and recently became the head football coach for Chadron High.

Terrell, a Hay Springs native, graduated Cum Laude from CSC in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree. His CSC career included four years as a student-athlete for the Eagles’ football team and membership in Blue Key.

Following graduation from CSC, Terrell went studied at Kansas State University, where he earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2011, a masters in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences in 2012, and a PhD in Pathobiology in 2018.

During his time at KSU, Terrell worked as a graduate research assistant for the Beef Cattle Institute, where he assisted research in food-borne pathogens and vaccine technologies. He also served as president of KSU’s student chapter of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

Now a bovine veterinarian and partner in Production Animal Consultation (PAC) located in Oakley, Kansas, Terrell and his team provide veterinary services to beef cattle feedlot clients representing more 30 percent of the cattle on feed in the U.S. In addition to providing expertise in animal health, wellbeing and production for PAC’s clients, Terrell is director of the company’s research division, which has special interests in projects focused on new technologies, antimicrobial stewardship, and animal care.

Terrell has been a presenter and panelist at a number of national and international professional conferences for bovine veterinarians and has published articles in several academic publications, including the Journal of Veterinary Medicine. A member of the University of Nebraska’s LEAD Class 36, he graduated this year from the University of Illinois Executive Veterinary Program.

Terrell and his wife, Kelly, live in Gothenburg with son Clay and daughters Brett and Quinn. Kelly is business manager for her family’s feedlot and farming operation. The couple are partners in Terrell Farm and Terrell Ranches in northwest Nebraska.

Terrell’s mother, Marjean Terrell serves on the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College System.

Donnell, McConkey receive Distinguished Alumni Awards

CHADRON – Alumni Jennie May Donnell and Dr. Josh McConkey will be honored during fall Homecoming ceremonies Oct. 7 as recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award at Chadron State College.

A native of Hot Springs, South Dakota, Donnell graduated from Chadron State in 1976 with Bachelor of Science degrees in Education, Speech and Theatre, Vocal and Instrumental Music. During her time at CSC, Donnell got her first summer stock theatre experience at the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson and performed as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit.

Following graduation Donnell taught vocal music in Chadron Public Schools and directed school musical theatre performances. She has also taught creative dramatics and acting at the Performing Arts Center in Davenport, Iowa, and theatre training classes at Stage Door Manor in Loch Sheldrake, New York.

Donnell’s extensive acting experience includes community theatre, summer stock, children’s theatre, cabaret and touring with the first national tour of Steven Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George.

Among the roles she has played are Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly, Mama Rose in Gypsy, and Eunice in Streetcar Named Desire. She has trained with Anthony Hopkins at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, Uta Hagen at HB Studios in New York, and Robert Neff Williams of the Julliard School in New York.

As a director, Donnell has worked at theatres in New York City, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Louisiana, Iowa, Oregon, and Washington.  

Donnell has performed and directed at the Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota for 17 seasons and is currently president of the Black Hills Playhouse Alumni Association.

Now residing in Takilma, Oregon, with her husband, Menno Kraai, Donnell is a private music, theatre, and speech coach. She and her husband collaborate on theatre projects and are working on a stage adaptation of Leaning Into the Wind, an anthology of stories from women of the high plains. Donnell’s sister and her cousin are CSC graduates and her mother, Beulah, who wrote one of the stories in the anthology, studied at Chadron State.

Donnell said she cherishes her memories of Chadron State College and is looking forward to once again being in Memorial Hall. 

“I have lived many places, and the foundation I received from Chadron State College has kept me well-grounded and humble wherever I roam,” she said. “I am grateful for the seven years I spent in Chadron crafting my foundation in the theatre.”

McConkey, an Alliance native and Alliance High School graduate, participated in the Rural Health Opportunity Program (RHOP) at Chadron State. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree and went to earn his medical degree from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2003 and complete a Residency in Emergency Medicine at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, in 2006.

McConkey joined the Nebraska Army National Guard as a Medical Service Corps officer in 2000 and served as the Chief of Aviation Medicine for the Nebraska Guard from 2007-09. His military medical experience includes more than 340 hours as flight surgeon in both fixed and rotor wing aircraft. Deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, he was awarded the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal for his service there.

McConkey transferred to the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2011 and earned the rank of Colonel in 2019. He completed the USAF Aerospace Medicine Course in 2011 and served for a time as Chief of Medical Staff at the 916th Aerospace Medicine Squadron.

Currently serving as Commander of the 459th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, McConkey is in charge of a 100+ bed mobile patient staging system with a $1.5 million budget and oversees 122 medical professionals.

In addition to working clinically as an emergency physician for more than 20 years, McConkey owned and operated a free-standing emergency room business in Texas for two years and has been an Emergency Medicine professor and adjunct faculty member at Duke University in North Carolina. He has also worked and trained abroad, including three years in Australia and New Zealand, where he consulted on international health policy and development.

McConkey is the author of a recently released book, Be the Weight Behind the Spear, that emphasizes his leadership ethos and focus on youth leadership initiatives. Earlier this year he announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress from the 13th District of North Carolina.

McConkey and his wife, Elsa, live in Apex, North Carolina, with their 12-year-old son, Luca, and 11-year-old twins Alexandria and Gabriel.

Grimes, Kolkman to receive Distinguished Service Awards

CHADRON -- Fran Grimes and Rick Kolkman will each receive the Distinguished Service Award from Chadron State College during the 2023 Homecoming festivities Oct. 7. The award is given to friends of Chadron State College who have demonstrated exceptional service to the college through their volunteer or leadership efforts.

Grimes was a member of the Nebraska State College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000. She is a native of Chadron and earned her bachelor’s degree as a non-traditional student from Chadron State in 1979. Her husband, Jim, earned a music education degree in 1967.

The Grimes were living in Grand Island when she was appointed to the Board of Trustees. Shortly after her final term on the board, the couple returned to Chadron where they currently reside. It is believed she was the first Chadron State graduate to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Grimes served three terms on the Chadron State Foundation Board and was the first female chair of the board. She led the board during the five-year Vision 2011 Comprehensive Campaign that raised $16.5 million. Funds raised in the campaign were instrumental in the construction of the Rangeland Complex, Eagle Ridge Housing, the renovation of the Armstrong Physical Education Building, and the construction of the Chicoine Center.

Grimes said she was amazed at the fundraising abilities of the members of the leadership team and the generosity of friends and alumni who contributed.

The Grimes have donated an annual scholarship to the CSC Wind Symphony as well as including CSC in their estate plans.

The Grimes attend CSC concerts and athletic competitions. Over the years, they have also hosted many international CSC students in their home for meals, holidays, and special events.

“We had a positive experience at CSC and want others to have the same opportunity,” she said. “Everyone at CSC was so helpful and accommodating when I was trying to earn my degree in Chadron while my family was in Ogallala. It was a good experience. Staff, faculty, and administrators bent over backward encouraging and supporting me.”

Jim taught music in Morrill, Ogallala, and Hastings before landing his dream job teaching elementary instrumental music at six elementary schools in Grand Island. He retired in 2002.

The Grimes’ son, Jeff, is the information technology director at the First National Bank of Gillette. He and his wife, Lusi, have three adult sons, Jeremy, Jacob, and Isaac who all live and work in Sheridan, Wyoming. In the past, Jeff played the trumpet with the Powder River Symphony, and was a board member and board chair.

Fran’s parents both attended CSC briefly in the early 1940s before her father volunteered to serve in WWII and her mother left school to work. Her sister, Roxie Schmitz, is a CSC alum.

Kolkman served on the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges from 1993 to 1999. At the time, he was the head of the First National Bank of North Platte, where he lived. During his tenure with the bank, a branch was opened in Chadron. His involvement and leadership at the bank resulted in financial support for Chadron State College and its projects.

“My time helping at the college was a great, fun part of my career. I was pleased to associate with so many people in the community and bring the bank into active participation with the college,” Kolkman said.

In 2000, Kolkman’s bank pledged $50,000 to commission George Lundeen of Loveland, Colorado, to sculpt a life-sized statue of author Mari Sandoz that was placed in front of the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center in 2002.

“We were excited to participate in helping with the Center. Mari Sandoz was a very important part of Nebraska history,” Kolkman said.

Kolkman was on the Chadron State Foundation Board for two terms and chaired it leading up to the college’s centennial. He was a catalyst instrumental in developing the Foundation’s first comprehensive campaign called Vision 2011.

“My theory was that people were out there waiting to give to CSC and it turns out that was correct. I put the idea out there and they took it and ran with it. I don’t take any credit for the success of the campaign. They raised more than the goal. It was well-timed coinciding with the centennial of the college,” Kolkman said.

The campaign received a $100,000 gift from the First National Bank of North Platte. Campaign funds contributed to the construction of the Rangeland Complex, the Coffee Agricultural Pavilion, and the Chicoine Center.

“Chadron State College is a diamond in western Nebraska,” Kolkman said. “It has a solid administration, faculty, and staff. I can’t imagine western Nebraska without this institution to educate our leaders, motivate us to expand our horizons, and move us forward economically. It makes such an improvement to quality of life with cultural events, the students that attend, and the economic impact.”

Kolkman also participated in the CSC Golf Classics for nearly 20 years until he retired in 2014.

He and his wife, DiAnn, live in Omaha. Their daughter, Lisa, is a bank manager in Beatrice where she lives with her husband, Jeff. Their son, Aaron, is a certified financial planner in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and has three children. Their son, Dr. Paul Kolkman, is chief of surgery at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. He and his wife, Marcy, have four children.

Volleyball resumes conference play in Colorado

CHADRON, Neb. -- The Chadron State College volleyball team will resume conference play in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Friday when UCCS plays hosts to the Eagles at 7 p.m.
CSC will play in Denver, Colorado on Saturday at 3 p.m. against #12 Regis.
The Eagles are currently 9-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Last weekend, they swept both South Dakota Mines and Black Hills State but the games did not count towards their RMAC record.
Friday's opponent, the Mountain Lions of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, are 5-8 overall and 3-0 in RMAC play.
After finishing 2-6 in two non-conference tournaments, the Mountain Lions started conference play by sweeping South Dakota Mines and New Mexico Highlands and beating Black Hills State in four sets.
Last weekend in a pod hosted by Regis, UCCS was swept by the Rangers and CSU-Pueblo.
Offensively, Nicole Medlin leads the Mountain Lions with 105 kills, an average of 2.19 per set. She also leads the team in attack percentage, hitting .285.
UCCS has used two different setters during the year. Joei Barela leads the team with 329 assists, an average of 6.85 a set, while Maylen Mitrovich has 93 assists and an average of 5.47 per set.
Mackenzie Ransom and Sydnee Walker both average over two digs per set this season. Walker has recorded 99 and averaged 3.11, while Ransom averages 2.83 with 136 digs. Medlin has a team high 36 blocks.
The Regis Rangers are currently ranked #12 in the nation with a 10-3 overall record and a 3-0 mark in conference play.
Their conference victories all occurred in three sets over South Dakota Mines, Black Hills State and New Mexico Highlands. In last weekends pod series, the Rangers defeated UCCS in three sets and won in four sets over CSU-Pueblo.
Three players have over 100 kills for Regis. Klaudia Sowizral leads the trio with 137 while Halle Thies and Nadine Burbrink have 111 and 110, respectively. Sowizral is hitting a team high .363.
Setter Mara Legrand has 469 assists, an average of 10.2 per set.
Defensively, Haley Kennedy leads the team with 162 digs. Mara Legrand and Bre Skala have 130 and 108 digs, respectively.
Burbrink has 57 blocks and Amelia Davis has 56. The duo ranks second and third currently in the conference standings for blocks.
Both games will be streamed at the