As we close the initial sports season in 2023-2024, it felt important we update you on what we have been up to, some of our observations, and what we are excited about moving forward. I won't speak for my wife Mackenzie because she is a track and field junky, but for me, the fall sports season is my favorite. And when it comes to an end it always makes me a touch sad.
There's so much hype when the month of August rolls around. Summer camps, weights, and spending the offseason getting ready for the year. The folks in each town are excited to get all of the seasons started. I love it when people come up, tell me what they know about the kids, and then promptly ask me what I think about their favorite teams. We are growing a connection with each of these communities and that means a lot to me.
We witnessed fun seasons once again from softball, cross country, girls' golf, football, and volleyball.
Cross Country yielded a state placer on the girls side, Ashley Robertson of Wallace. Robertson placed 11th at Kearney for the state meet.
There really isn't a sport that I don't enjoy in the high school realm. They all are special for different reasons, but football has always been one that's towards the top of my list. That Week 0 or Week 1 game always has a little more juice than any other type of opening night.
It feels like it really "kicks off" (pun intended) the fall sports season. People from near and far will show out for the first game of football game it seems.
A pair of teams within the conference made deep runs into the playoffs. In Class D1, Arapahoe made it to the quarterfinals before falling to the #1 seed Stanton. Arapahoe has a whole host of juniors on that roster that will return next year. I'm willing to bet coach Dustin Kronhoffman will have that group ready to go in 2024.
In Class D2, Dundy County Stratton had a big season too, before hitting the road and falling to Howells-Dodge in the quarterfinals. From that team, we witnessed an incredible statistical season from sophomore Ethan Latta. Latta had 2,002 rushing yards, 34 touchdowns, 525 yards receiving, and five touchdowns receiving too. According to the 1,000-yard guy, Bobby Mills, it potentially is a historic season for a sophomore in Nebraska.
Not too shabby, some might say. Again, only a sophomore. Wild.
Also, in this fall sports season, we saw another incredible volleyball season. The conference tournament brought out some big matches as we expected. Looking at the state tournament though which wrapped up last weekend, we saw three teams compete with one making it to the title game.
Wallace and Southwest went to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday the 2nd of November and faced tough, tough, opponents which you expect when you go to state. You'll play the best of the best when you get down there. Both competed hard and represented our area well, even if it came in a pair of losses, they still battled hard and displayed the talent that is within the conference. While at state, Bryn Lampe of Southwest reached the 3,000 career assist mark. She finished her career at 3,007.
Cambridge was able to reach the title game in Class D2. This provided an opportunity to win a title for the first time since 1993. The Trojans ultimately did fall to Overton, the second time this season they lost to them, but the third time they had battled.
All-in-all this fall sports season was successful for the RPAC and we enjoyed running around covering it.
For us as a business, we tried some new things this fall. To begin with we collaborated with CAMAS Publishing and the Valley Voice and produced a magazine for the fall sports season. We dished out 1,000 copies of it and we appreciated everyone who read it. We are continuing to produce magazines going forward, as our winter edition will be hitting the shelves very soon.
As we evaluated our onsight coverage on social media, we wanted to expand upon that, and we did. For football games, we provided unofficial stats at the half and at the end of the game. And the other item we wanted to display was video highlights. This is something as a student-athlete 10 years ago I would have thought was awesome. It has been fun to work and improve our skills. We are going to keep looking at ways we can improve our onsight coverage, and get to more locations.
And, a bit of an announcement here, as you may have heard and or seen, we have gone full-time with our media business. We have been doing the RPAC Rundown part-time since late July of 2022. A lot of hours go into this, and we want to devote even more time to it and highlight the conference at an even higher level.
We are so excited to see where we can expand and improve our coverage going forward.
Let's get ready for a fun winter sports and activities season.