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The Antelope

The Antelope

Athletes find academic plans in unexpected extra year

KOSUKE YOSHII / ANTELOPE STAFF Maddie (left) and Anna Squiers (right) team up to block an attack attempt.

Athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 cancelling the 2020 fall sports season. Many UNK athletes took advantage of this opportunity to come back but had to alter their plans academically. 

Blake Bubak’s decision to come back to the football team wasn’t hard. 

“I felt like there was more out there that needed to be done,” Bubak said. “I felt like I couldn’t just play two games and be finished with my career.” 

When the shortened season was announced last August, Bubak stayed on after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in recreation park and event management with an emphasis in travel tourism. He is now pursuing a master’s degree in sports administration. 

“I’m really happy with the decision I made, and now we’re undefeated so it’s really paying off,” Bubak said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

On the volleyball team, Anna and Maddie Squiers are the only two returning seniors from last year’s team that played a spring season. Anna had a tough decision to make as she was accepted into occupational therapy school at UNMC. 

“I was kind of waiting to hear back from them before making my final decision, but thankfully they were able to work with me and they are holding my spot for next fall,” Anna said. “Once they decided to do that it was kind of a no-brainer to come back.”

Maddie was already planning to study speech-language pathology as a UNK graduate student after earning her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in May. 

“I was kind of all in once they said we got an extra year of eligibility,” Maddie said. 

Maddie is taking normal graduate classes for her program while Anna only had to take six credits, which includes yoga. 

Both sisters looked forward to playing again for the nationally ranked Lopers.

“I’m very happy that I came back,” Anna said. “I really wouldn’t change it for the world. This team has one of the best chemistries that I have ever been a part of.”

UNK football’s placeholder, Grant Buschkoetter, also came back for another year to be a part of the football team. 

“I see a lot of potential and good things going on in this group, and I really wanted to be a part of that,” Buschkoetter said.

Buschkoetter interned with the Kearney Police Department last fall. Despite the possibility of an opening for him, he still decided that he wanted to play football.

“You can only play football for so many years and I have the rest of my life to work,” Buschkoetter said.

Buschkoetter is in graduate school for clinical mental health after finishing his undergraduate degree as a major in criminal justice with a psychology minor. He has been a walk-on all six years paying for school out of pocket. He also works for the city parks department. 

Defensive lineman Shane Henderson finished his undergraduate in sports management and is studying sports administration for his graduate degree. 

“Last year wasn’t a final ending for me,” Henderson said. “From the football side of things, it didn’t feel right to end my last fall the way we did. It never felt like we got our senior season.”

To practice this last spring, Henderson had to give up an internship opportunity. He was going to work a minor PGA tournament in Omaha at the Pinnacle Bank Championship.

He hasn’t decided yet whether he’s gonna continue grad school or find a job after this semester. Henderson also wants to potentially coach after his football career is over where he would have to start out as a graduate assistant for two years.

“I have a very natural understanding of the game of football,” Henderson said. “I take a lot of pride in being one of the smartest guys on the football field.”

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