Hershey's Maddie Seamann goes up for a shot in the state tournament, contested by Samantha Byrn of St. Pat's.
Photo by James Parrish
North Platte's Drew Callaghan defends the lane against Buay Tuach of Omaha South
Five North Platte High School state qualifying pole vaulters, from left: Marcos Avalos, Tori Kurth, Class A runner-up and two-time champion Allexis Menghini, Rachel Kosmacek, district champion and state medalist Evan Lamphear.
A recap of the biggest sports events of 2013 in Lincoln County:
The North Platte St. Pat's boys and Hershey girls won the South Platte Valley Association basketball tournaments on Jan. 19.
The Hershey girls, defeated St. Pat's 44-30 in the SPVA championship game by pulling away in the fourth quarter.
"It's a huge monkey off our back," Hershey coach Jeremy Thomas said. "The girls worked so hard for this and this is a big goal. The SPVA is not just a conference tournament, it's a big thing in this area. I couldn't ask for a bigger thrill."
In the boys' title game, St. Pat's beat Imperial 44-33 with Mark Mayfield scoring half of the points for the Irish.
The game was bittersweet for St. Pat's, however, as star guard Sean Keenan suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter of the game.
In the fourth meeting between the Hershey and St. Pat's girls' basketball teams, St. Pat's won a double overtime thriller 48-43 in the C2-11 subdistrict finals on Feb. 14.
While St. Pat's advanced to the district finals, which the Irish won over Bridgeport, Hershey's season didn't end there as the Lady Panthers picked up one of two wild cards for the state tournament.
Dylan Gage of Maxwell and Aaron Houser of North Platte High School were the top area performers at the state wrestling meet as they both finished in third place.
On Feb. 22, the illustrious career of longtime NPHS swimming coach Jon Beggs came to an end. Beggs, who had coached the Bulldogs in 1985, announced at the beginning of the season that he would retire after the state meet.
Tyler Halligan, who was the only NPHS boys' or girls' swimmer to make state last year, became the last state qualifier of the Beggs era.
Hershey and St. Pat's (22-4) played for a fifth time in the first round of the state tournament on Feb. 28. The Panthers took the finale and the series with a 53-34 victory.
"Almost every one of the five games we've played with them has been a defensive battle," Thomas said. "We were able to execute our offense and we shared the ball well. We found holes in the defense."
After getting past the Lady Irish, Hershey fell to Hastings St. Cecilia 52-42 in the state semifinals on March 1. In the consolation game the following day, the Lady Panthers (22-5) beat Homer behind 27 points from Maegan Hiatt to claim third place, the best finish in school history.
The Sutherland girls’ basketball team (20-6) also qualified for state. The Lady Sailors lost 52-34 to O’Neill St. Mary’s in the first round.
The Maxwell wrestling team qualified for the inaugural state dual tournament and the Wildcats finished sixth out of the eight teams.
For the first time since 1934 both the North Platte High School and St. Pat's boys' basketball teams qualified for the state tournament.
NPHS got the lone wild card in Class A after a heartbreaking one-point loss at home to Papillion-LaVista South in the district semifinals. St. Pat's continued its string of state tournament appearances by winning its third straight district championships.
Both teams lost in the first round on March 7. North Platte, in its first state tournament appearance since 2004, lost 52-36 to an Omaha South team led by Cameron Williams, who would sign to play for North Platte Community College a month later.
St. Pat's lost 56-49 to Hartington Cedar Catholic in its first round matchup.
Both the North Platte Community College mens' and womens' basketball teams qualified for the NJCAA National Tournament.
The Knights mens' basketball team won the Region IX tournament for the second time in four years after beating Otero Junior College 51-46 in the finals on March 6.
NPCC won its first round game at Nationals on March 18 over Mineral Area Community College 76-50. But the Knights (30-6) lost in the following round to Iowa Western Community College on March 19.
The NPCC girls qualified for Nationals by winning the district championship over the Dakota College at Bottineau 64-40 on March 13 at the McDonald Belton Gymnasium.
In Nationals on March 19 and 21, the Lady Knights (15-16) lost to Mesa Community College and Iowa Central Community College.
The North Platte High School girls' soccer team won its second straight Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference championship on April 6 by beating Kearney 4-2 in the finals that pitted two undefeated teams.
On April 30, Evan Lamphear broke NPHS' long-standing school record in the pole vault. The junior vaulted 15-feet, 2-inches to best Bill Lauer's mark of 15-1 1/2 that was set back in 1971.
The North Platte Legion Baseball program inducted its inaugural class into its hall of fame on May 4.
The six-member class was made up of former coaches George Lebedz and Chuck Francis, former star players Bill Hayes and Shawn Fleck, longtime radio announcer Chuck Schwartz and ambassador Lynn Stockall.
The North Platte High School girls' soccer team (12-3) ended their season on May 1 when they lost 1-0 in a shootout to eventual state champion Millard West in the district finals at Bauer Field. The game was played on an unseasonably cold day with both teams struggling on the snowy field.
NPHS qualified five pole vaulters for the state tournament on May 8. Lamphear and defending girls' Class A champion Allexis Menghini won district championships with Marcos Avalos, Tori Kurth and Rachel Kosmacek also qualifying.
Menghini, who had just been cleared right before districts from a broken foot, finished in second place at the state meet on May 18. Lamphear was third behind Grand Island pole vaulting brothers Steven and Kevin Cahoy.
Brooke Frederick of Hershey won her second straight Class C pole vault championship on May 17. The Lady Panther broke the Class C record at the state meet with a height of 11-6.
Also winning at state on May 17 in the pole vault was South Loup's Brady Weinman, who took the Class D boys' title with his vault of 14-4.
Austin Starr of Stapleton-McPherson County won the Class D title in the triple jump on May 17 with a distance of 44-8.
Former Sutherland volleyball star Sam Kennedy was named the most valuable player for the East squad in the West Nebraska All-Star volleyball match on June 1 in Scottsbluff.
The North Platte First National Bank Seniors got a big win on June 25 when they defeated Kearney 4-3 at home. The First Nationals scored all four runs in the last three innings after falling behind 2-0 to their rivals.
To be continued...