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Gold torch Society is one weekend in November every year. It is a chance for a select few of college women and UNK alumni to be paired as mentors and build strong connections and relationships.
Video at the Antelope
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Missouri duo team up to improve Loper defensive secondary
The phrase “Football is family” is one that Loper safety Dallas Vaughn can relate to. The sophomore from St. Louis, Missouri, had an unexpected journey to UNK. Vaughn originally signed to play football at Alabama A&M University, but the death of his brother on top of eligibility issues led to his return to St. Louis. “I knew I wanted to come home when they told me I wasn’t going to be able to play football,” he said.
Then fate stepped in. While Vaughn was back home, he received a call from the University of Nebraska at Kearney offering him a second chance to play football. Although he had never heard of the school before, he decided to take a chance.
Already in Kearney another St. Louis native, George Brown was making a name for himself in the Loper secondary. “It was the only opportunity I had,” Brown said after only playing one full season of football. His choices of colleges to sign after high school were limited. Like Vaughn, he had never heard of UNK, but he decided to move nine-plus hours for the opportunity.
Going into their second year together, the St. Louis duo have quickly become close. On a team full of new faces, the St. Louis duo understands how important team chemistry is for the success of the Lopers. “It’s a lot of fun,” Vaughn says as he watches film of a play against Northwest Missouri State University.
He smiles as he watches the team’s excitement after cornerback Malik Webb returns an interception. Brown says, “We’re just vibing better this year. It makes It easier to focus on your job when you trust the person next to you.” The focus is evident in the Loper’s secondary this season, only allowing 150 passing yards in their first game after they averaged 220 yards per game last year.
First year head coach Josh Lynn is counting on the secondary to be the heart and soul of the defense this year. “That’s a veteran group. We need those guys to cover,” Lynn said. As the leaders of the secondary and both captains on the team, Brown and Vaughn are up for the challenge.
After his brother passed away, Vaughn didn’t know if he would play football again. Now Vaughn along with his brothers in the secondary are looking to make the Loper defense the most dominant one in the league. It is no easy task but it is one they are anticipating.
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Lady Lopers on record with back-to-back 30-win VB seasons, top MIAA seed
Fifteen straight wins and a season of going undefeated at home has the UNK volleyball team prepped for the postseason. In the regular season, the ladies have not lost a home game since Nov. 1 of 2014.
The regular season finale against Missouri Western on Nov. 11 did not go in favor of the Lopers, as the Griffons were able to pull off an upset in four sets. With both teams sitting at 16-2 in the MIAA, the Griffons and Lopers will share the MIAA regular season title for the 2017 season.
The ladies have made a habit of leaving their mark against each opponent, having sweeps in 20 out of their 33 matches. The Lopers only got swept once during the entire regular season in a matchup against the Central Oklahoma Bronchos on Sept. 30. On Nov. 4, the Lady Lopers got their revenge with a sweep of their own against the Bronchos.
From an individual standpoint, the Loper volleyball team is stacked from top to bottom in talent. Whether it be the veteran Tara Ziegelbein, a senior middle blocker from Lincoln majoring in biology and veterinary medicine, or freshman outside hitter Anna Squiers, an education major from Kearney, the Lopers constantly rotate players and put their depth on display by having different players in the starting lineup almost every game.
Ziegelbein has played a key role for her team all season long both on and off the court and serves as a motivator before each game, hyping up her teammates with all that they do while still bringing her own intensity to the court. Each hit from her coming off of a well-placed set can be heard all around Buckle Court and somehow the opposing blocker can still use her hands the rest of the match.
Ziegelbein is not alone when it comes to killing the volleyball with ferocity. The Lopers combined for 1,558 kills throughout the regular season. Joining Ziegelbein and Squiers consistently this year spiking fear into each opponent that comes UNK’s way is Kendall Schroer, a junior pre-nursing major from Ogallala, Kaitlynn Thomas, a senior business administration and finance major from Yutan and Julianne Jackson, a sophomore pre-nursing major from Bonner Springs, KS.
Ziegelbein leads the ladies with 332 kills, right behind her is Schroer with 328 kills, then Thomas following up with 198 kills. Jackson stays close this year with 187 kills and is closely followed by Squiers with 163 kills.
The Lopers will be heading into the MIAA tournament with the top seed, a 30-3 record and will be putting their 52 game home win streak on the line against Emporia State. The Lopers have yet to lose to the Hornets this season, winning both matches in dominant fashion. As it stands for the tournament itself, the volleyball team is looking to advance to the end and bring the national title back to UNK. The Lopers will kick off the tournament on Nov 14. at 6 p.m. at Buckle Court in the Health and Sports Center.
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Lopers take 8th and 12th in Kearney
The UNK cross country team concluded its season on home turf in the NCAA Central Regional Meet. Fifty-nine collegiate cross county teams from three different conferences gathered at the Kearney Country Club Saturday morning for a chance to qualify for nationals in Evansville, Indiana.
For the Lopers, seven men and seven women were selected to run in the open meet for a chance to compete in the NCAA championships.
The UNK women’s cross country came in with a team finish of 12 out of 32 teams with 334 points. Brady Bonsall, the UNK cross country head coach, said, “No one in the top 10 slipped up enough for us to get in. The difference between 11th and 12th place was a small margin of six points, so we were right there in the end.”
The University of Mary women took first place.
Molly Dibben, a senior communication disorders major from Blair, was the first female Loper to finish, coming in 43rd in the women’s 6K with a time of 22:45.1. “We approached the regional meet with the same mentality that we approach every meet: every race matters. With that, we wanted to attack it, compete hard, and stick our necks out there to see what we were capable of,” said Dibben, an All-MIAA selection.
The UNK men placed eight out of 27 teams with 227 points. This is the men’s tenth-straight top 10 finish at the regional meet. Sophomore from Deweese, Corbin Hansen, was the first male Loper to finish in 16th place and was just one spot away from attending the NCAA championships in Indiana this Saturday.
The Augustana men took first place.
Andrew Fields, a senior exercise science major from Ord, placed 20 in the men’s 10K with a time of 32:23.5. Fields, an All-MIAA selection, describes challenges the Lopers faced heading into regionals: “I think that our two biggest challenges this season were all of us having a great race on the same day, and being able to race for our teammates instead of racing against each other. Very few teams in this region are as deep as the Lopers.”
The last time UNK hosted the regional meet was nine years ago. Dibben recounts the experience: “It was a pretty big deal to host regionals and it created an atmosphere and energy that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.”
Fields feels similarly and describes competing at home for a change, “Being in Kearney and seeing all of your classmates, friends, teammates and even people from your high school was incredibly encouraging and an overall awesome experience. The fact that I was able to rep my Lopes on home soil in my final cross country race is something that I’ll always be proud of.”
Dibben and Fields have both completed their final cross country seasons as Lopers. Dibben recollects her time as a Loper: “Being a Loper student-athlete has been one of the most valued experiences of my college career. I’ve had incredible opportunities to compete for UNK, and I’ve been surrounded by the most dedicated and supportive group of people. After four years, I can definitely say that I will forever be proud to be a Loper,” Dibben said.
No Lopers will be attending the NCAA championships for cross country, but they are gearing up for indoor season which begins early December.
Fields is ready for indoor, saying, “There are more people healthy than we had at this time last year, and everyone has been putting in the work so far in practice. We always hope to go to conference and do the best we can. The MIAA is probably the toughest conference in DII, so you never take anything lightly. Every place is a fight, and we try to put up a good fight for every point we can.”
Catch the Loper track squad in action Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 for the Pre-Holiday Classic in Cushing Coliseum.
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Students stay up late to compete on the ice
Broomball is one of the most popular intramural sports offered at UNK. Played at the Viaero Event Center late at night, students stay up in order to get physical on the ice.
Broomball is a simplified version of hockey. Players use sticks with rubber ends to push around a ball (rather than a puck) into a goal on the ice. Rather than skates, students wear tennis shoes and try their best to stay on their feet on the slippery ice rink.
“My favorite thing about broomball is the aggressiveness,” said Megan Hunke, a senior biology emphasis health science and pre-med major from Holdrege. “I like that we’re all friends and can have a good time and still be competitive— but not be so competitive that it’s not fun anymore.”
Hunke is attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center for med school next year, but still manages to find time between studying to play lots of intramural sports, including mud tug, flag football, sand volleyball, indoor volleyball and broomball.
Broomball is made up of teams with five players total, four on the offense and one guarding the goal. Additional players are allowed to sit on the substitution bench and can sub in during the game.
The game starts with a face-off at the whistle blow, and the chaos ensues. Players slip and slide over the ice, sometimes bumping into each other. An accidental hit or a high-stick results in a two-minute penalty box sit and an intentional or flagrant hit will bench a player for four minutes.
“High sticking is probably the hardest not to do because it feels natural to swing the stick back and then you hear the whistle blow,” Hunke said.
There are two 10-minute halves with a two-minute half time. The team with the most points at the final buzzer wins. A tie results in a shoot-out, where each team chooses a person to shoot at a goalie-less goal, and go back and forth until one team misses.
UNK has three broomball divisions: men’s, women’s and co-ed. In co-ed, teams must have two women on the offense at all times, with males filling in the other two spots. The gender of the goalie doesn’t matter. Men’s points are worth one in co-ed, while women’s points are worth two. Hunke says she likes playing on her women’s team more than on her co-ed team because of the rhythm among teammates.
The intramural office provides required helmets to all. Also supplied by the intramural office are shin guards and elbow pads, which are not required, but strongly recommended for prevention of injury. Players often use duct tape to provide extra security on the helmets and shin guards, as the physical nature of the sport causes some serious wear and tear on the equipment.
New this year were the greatly needed shin guard and helmet replacements and additions, as old equipment had suffered the wrath of the ice and there were often not enough shin guards to cover the legs of all the players.
“It’s about time we got new equipment; I’m glad we have it. It’s nice!” said Hunke.
“We evaluate what equipment to purchase for the upcoming year based on condition, need and, of course, budget. Out of the dozens of leagues we offer, broomball requires the most equipment and is arguably one of the more dangerous intramural sports,” said Andrew Winscot, the assistant director of campus recreation. Those factors among others helped campus recreation make the decision to purchase the new equipment.
“The old equipment was getting really bad, so it’s nice to have all of this new stuff to make sure that we actually have protection and can rely on having stuff to use each time,” said Lacey Johnson, a senior majoring in psychobiology for pre-physical therapy with health science and healthcare management minors from Hastings.
“I wear long sleeves and long pants because you’re probably going to fall on the ice. I duct tape the pads to my knees to make sure that they don’t fall off,” said Johnson.
Also new this year was a required $10 fee on top of the $20 intramural semester fee to play intramurals. This fee had to be paid in person at the intramural office during office hours. Students weren’t allowed to pay the $10 at or before their games, and didn’t have an online payment option like the regular fee.
This caused some problems among players who didn’t pay close enough attention to the email sent out, and resulted in forfeited or canceled games, with some players not able to participate until their fee was paid in the office.
“To be accessible we understand we need to provide affordable and convenient programs. However, there are a handful of intramural sports that require us moving off campus to be able to offer them. We are fortunate that we have community members willing to work with us and allow us to use their facilities,” Winscot said. “An additional fee isn’t always the case when offering off campus programs, but in this particular instance we felt it was warranted. Broomball is one of our most popular sports and the last thing we would want is to deter anyone from participating.”
Students likely understood the logic behind the additional fee, as Winscot said participation numbers were not affected compared to previous years.
Although players vocalize being thankful for the new equipment, it was unclear if the additional fee was used for purchasing the shin guards and helmets.
In addition to the special safety equipment, there are special rules and regulations in place to ensure student safety on the ice.
Winscot emphasizes the importance of reading and understanding the rules. “There are rules specifically for broomball that are in place almost solely for safety purposes. No sliding and high sticking are examples,” he said.
Johnson and Hunke hope to carry their team to the championship. As members of Got That Glitter on Our Ice, they have won several years in a row.
Broomball season is nearing its end, with the regular season games already played and playoffs beginning this week.
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Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs invites you to try it and like it.
College towns are often known for more than the resident university and are especially renowned for good food and unique restaurants. The new restaurant in town, Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs, provides easy accessibility to the ideal college town food and still incorporates the feeling of the owner’s original hot dog carts.
This new eatery is located in downtown Kearney on the Bricks. Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs wants to give Lopers a chance to experience their welcoming, laid-back and fun atmosphere. Now through the end of the fall semester, Patrick McClure, owner of Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs, is offering students who present their student ID card free chips valued at $1.75 with the purchase of their quarter-pound, 100 percent beef Nathan’s Coney hot dog.
Patrick McClure decided to carry on the hot dog legacy when he inherited two hot dog carts from his former father-in-law Dave, “Pa-Pa,” of whom McClure was very fond. “When I was starting my business I was actually given the name “Sprocket Famous Dogs,” but I knew it was missing something.” Mclure said.
Mclure decided to add an American touch to the name, titling it ‘Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs’ in honor of his late father-in-law who served in the military.
Despite receiving two hot dog carts, McClure dealt with many tribulations while getting his business started. “I was going through a divorce, fighting for custody of my kids and trying to afford a successful food business,” McClure said.
He says it took lots of trial and error, but he has proved that hard work goes a long way as he sits in his newly opened eatery with a full kitchen.
“I never get tired of creating sauces, jellies and condiments for the hot dogs,” McClure said. All the jellies and sauces, such as his famous Coney Sauce, as well as the “bean less” chili, cheese potatoes and coleslaw are made fresh in-house. “Making the sauces and jellies took lots of trial and error as well as listening to feedback from the customers to get it just right,” McClure said. “I still change up the ingredients sometimes.”
Although McClure has expanded and opened the doors to a new sit-down eatery, he still plans to incorporate his hot dog stands. “They’re actually in the shop right now getting fixed up,” Mclure said. “I do still plan to use them for events around the Tri-City area.”
McClure said that he plans to have the upstairs, where most of the seating is located, open to the public within the next month. The location of Sprocket Famous Freedom Dogs is on the corner of 24th Street and Central Avenue.
This easy-to-find location allows locals and students to access it quickly on lunch breaks and enjoy a quick bite to eat within a reasonable distance from campus and other businesses.
McClure welcomes everyone of all ages to experience the atmosphere, the food and the homemade tastes. “We’re convinced that once you try Sprocket’s Famous Freedom Dogs, we will become one of your favorite restaurants,” McClure said. “That’s why we guarantee our mouthwatering meals and friendly service.”
Each hot dog is custom made, and if you’re not satisfied, McClure offers to replace it or the meal is on the house. “The whole concept of this business just clicks for me,” McClure said. “I’ll never get tired of it.”
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‘Murder on the Orient Express’ keeps audiences guessing, but not on the edge of their seats
I’ve always been a sucker for a melodramatic mystery narrative, as evidenced by the copious amounts of Sherlock Holmes stories that reside on my bookshelves back home. I will admit, I hadn’t read the Agatha Christie source material before going into this, and while this film wasn’t a spectacle that I will go back to the theater again and again for, “Murder on the Orient Express” provided an entertaining couple of hours filled with suspense, wry humor and a French accent that’s just a little too close to Inigo Montoya in “Princess Bride.”
The story begins with the successful solving of another mystery, thus establishing Hercule Poirot, Kenneth Branagh’s French Sherlock Holmes-esque character, as one of a high reputation in his field of solving crime. Witty, sarcastic and all around similar to Doyle’s character in everything except appearance and nationality, Poirot was one of the few high points in this film. His deductions were impressive enough to curl even his overly-impressive handlebar mustache, but not even this stellar actor, who also directed this film, could keep audiences on the edge of their seats for the duration.
Even with a locked room mystery murder on a train, it was difficult to stay engrossed in the story. As an avid aficionado of detective stories, this tale left me disappointed. Since the ending is one of the most well-known “whodunnit” reveals in the history of the detective genre, it rather fell flat in comparison with other detective tales. What is there to detect when nearly everyone already knows how the story ends? Audiences can’t enjoy the thrill of the chase if they already know where the chase ends up. Of course, the source material is from 1934, and that does leave a bit of time open for spoilers to circulate. Either way, this film left me wanting more.
However, this film was not completely disappointing. The aesthetics were beautiful. The mountains, music and costumes were wonderful, creating a flawless environment for this flawed crime drama. A few moments were packed with Poirot’s sarcasm and isolation-preferring nature, and I can definitely empathize with a character who would rather dive into a book than associate with his fellow passengers on a train, even if that book is written by Charles Dickens.
There are a few praiseworthy performances in this movie that need to be noted besides Branagh, including Daisy Ridley (“The Force Awakens”) as Miss Mary Debenham. Her character not only dressed sharply, but had a mind and a personality to match. Other major actors that did leave a bit of an impression were Johnny Depp as the shady and sleazy murder victim, Edward Ratchett, who also isn’t who he appears to be; Josh Gad as Hector Macqueen; and Judi Dench as Princess Dragomiroff. All of these big names packed into this overly exquisite train should have meant a gorgeous work that I would gladly watch multiple times, but instead it rather fell short of my greater expectations.
Although an aesthetic beauty, “Murder on the Orient Express,” left a lot to be desired. The director didn’t take an express route to actually get into the plot, and maybe that’s why I’d rather remain at the train station than take this ride again.
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Kenan Meadows, a senior theatre major from Kansas City, Kansas, and Trisha Miller, a junior theatre major from Lincoln rehearse for Rashomon. Swords will clash as UNK students bring their show to life at the Miriam Drake Theatre.
SEE A SHOW: Nov. 16-18 at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.
UNK Theatre Box Office (308) 865-8417 OR firstname.lastname@example.org
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After finding a love for Nebraska prairies, job with UNK, nature enthusiast feels at home
Dr. Melissa Wuellner has a passion for human dimensions, wildlife and nature and loves to help others realize the health benefits of being outside.
Throughout her high school and college education, Wuellner was actively involved with the American Fisheries Society (AFS). She is currently working to create a student sub-unit of AFS at UNK.
Wuellner, a new assistant professor of biology at UNK, moved to Kearney in June and started her work in July. She previously worked at South Dakota State University for seven years.
A native of Decatur, Illinois, Wuellner attended Ball State University in Indiana where she majored in biology with an emphasis in aquatic biology and fisheries management.
After graduating, she moved on to Montana State University, where she received her master’s degree, and South Dakota State University, where she received her PhD. She also serves as an Associate Editor for “The Prairie Naturalist.”
She says she and her family have found a love for Kearney and UNK and are planning on living here for years to come.
Q: How did you decide that the freshwater world and teaching were for you?
A: This is a long story, so I’ll try to keep it short. As a high school student, I wanted to work in the marine realm. I thought my undergrad institution had a marine program, but it turns out that it was freshwater.
During my first semester in one of my biology courses, the professor, who became my eventual mentor, plucked me out of class [and] asked if I would be willing to help some of his graduate students in the lab. I fell in love with the freshwater world, and after coursework and several internship and research experiences, I ultimately realized that I wanted to teach and mentor students in much the same way that my mentor had done for me.
Q: How was the Illinois ecosystem different than the Nebraska ecosystem and when did you first get to experience our prairies?
A: Illinois is part of the tall-grass prairie ecosystem, though much of the intact ecosystem has been changed. I think my first true experiences with more intact prairies was in eastern Montana during my Master’s research.
Q: How do you see our prairie ecosystem?
A: Willa Cather once said: “Anyone can love the mountains, but it takes a soul to love the prairie.” They’re underappreciated.
Q: Since you are creating a student sub-unit of AFS here at UNK, are there different sectors?
A: So, there’s what we call “the Society” (which is the umbrella, international part that oversees all); then you have the divisions (based on geography: Northeastern, North Central, Southern, and Western); then you have the state/provincial chapters. The student subunits operate under the state/provincial chapters. At the Society level, there are also many committees that represent certain interests (Education, Marine Fisheries, Fisheries Information Technology, Scientific Communication, etc.).
Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects?
A: Where do I begin? I have many previously completed fisheries projects that I’m working on (either as first author or a co-author) for submission to scientific journals. I have a couple of publications in progress on the scholarship of teaching and learning. My ichthyology class and I are working on developing a review paper on yellow perch recruitment in inland lakes for a scientific journal. I have one in process on the views of fisheries biologists on walleye-bass interactions for a human dimensions journal.
Q: How do you find scientific writing different than the writing you did before?
A: Scientific writing is a practice and an art; it takes lots of practice to learn. We say things like: “the practice of medicine,” or, “the practice of yoga,” for a reason. We use that word intentionally.
Q: What authors/books are your favorite?
A: “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold; anything by Edward O. Wilson; “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv; “Beak of the Finch” by Jonathan Weiner; “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan.
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