Photo credit: Central Community College As Two-Year Colleges begin their postseason play this weekend, it’s worth noting that some of the top programs in the country come from Nebraska and are fueled by local talent. The National Junior College Athletic…
Photo credit: Central Community College
As Two-Year Colleges begin their postseason play this weekend, it’s worth noting that some of the top programs in the country come from Nebraska and are fueled by local talent.
The National Junior College Athletic Association is divided into three divisions – similar to the NCAA. Western Nebraska CC in Scottsbluff is currently ranked #4 nationally in Division I while Iowa Western – located just across the river into Council Bluffs, Iowa, is ranked #2. Western Nebraska competes in Region 9 while Iowa Western is in Region 11.
McCook Community College also is Division I and plays in Region 9 with Western Nebraska.
In NJCCA Division II, Central Community College in Columbus is ranked #11 nationally and competes in Region 9 with Southeast Community College in Beatrice and North Platte Community College. Northeast Community College – in Norfolk – competes in Region 11 in Division II and is ranked #20 nationally.
Nebraska does not have any NJCAA Division III programs.
Without a doubt, a large part of the success the schools have had comes from rosters infused with talent from Nebraska high school ranks. A generation ago, two-year colleges struggled with the JUCO label stigma, but that has changed in recent years. Athletes who are late bloomers or overlooked in high school now see the two-year colleges to continue to refine and develop their game in order to get to a larger school while also getting college prerequisite classes taken care of in a generally cheaper way.
Here is a look at the success these programs are having and the impact of former Nebraska high school standouts at each school.
Western Nebraska (28-6, ranked #4)
As you might expect from a program in Scottsbluff, the Cougars do most of their recruiting in the western part of the state and into Wyoming and Colorado and also have a strong International presence.
Freshman setter Jayme Commins from Ogallala leads the team with 8.35 assists per set and sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Shaul of Gering is sixth on the team with 88 digs on the year.
McCook Community College (18-16)
Tristen Trampe, a sophomore right side from Amherst, has been on of the most consistent starters for the Indians this year and is averaging 1.45 kills per set while hitting .157 and she is fifth on the team with 174 points.
Freshman setter Ashley Carson of Ord has made a big impact as well for McCook in its 6-2 offense as she averages 4.21 assists per set and she is third on the team with 21 ace serves.
Iowa Western (33-1, ranked #2)
While not a Nebraska school, the Nebraska influences have always been heavy at the school just a couple miles into Iowa. Head coach Alicia (Runge) Williams led Iowa Western to a national title as a player in 2006 and then went on to Creighton and was a captain her senior year. Last year, Williams guided the Reivers to a National Runner-Up finish after losing to Miami Dade in the national championship.
This year, however, Iowa Western does not feature a player from Nebraska for the first time in several seasons.
Central Community College (30-10, ranked #11)
As it is almost every year, the Raiders’ roster is made up complete of Nebraska high school players. Sophomore Amber Anderson, a 6’2 MH, has gone from an unknown at Omaha Benson to one of the top NJCAA players in the nation and leads the Raiders with 2.93 kills per set. Former Columbus Scouts standout Meghan Pieper was averaging 2.83 kills per set before suffering a knee injury for the Raiders this year and Chainey Tompkins (Giltner) and Jackie Laetsch (CWC) each average over two kills a set as well.
Senior setter/RS Paxton Throne of Millard South gets 9.95 assists and 2.23 digs per set while Lexi Holland (Freeman) and Jessica Eurek (Loup City) are second and third on the team, respectively, in digs. Ali Jones (Eustis-Farnam), Jordee Korte (Columbus Lakeview), Morgan Iverson (Columbus Lakeview), Sheridan Holcolm (Arcadia), Taylor Kemper (Twin River) and Maddie Davis (Yutan) have all seen significant playing time this year as well.
Northeast Community College (16-13, ranked #20)
The Hawks are another program with deep Nebraska roots, with 10 of the 11 players on its roster this year hailing from the Cornhusker state.
Monique Schafften (Stuart), Savannah Nelson (Wakefield), Tayler Klassen (Hampton), Taylor Hammers (Hartington CC), Shelby Paprocki (Clarkson-Leigh), Liz Selting (Elgin-Pope John), Peyton Roach (Wayne), Samantha Brester (Howells-Dodge), Delaney Belt (Shelby-Rising City) and Macy Stewart (Shelby-Rising City) all call Northeast Community College home.
North Platte Community College (19-22)
The Knights have a strong Nebraska presence, led by Scottsbluff’s Aly Camacho, who is third on the team in points with 248 while Ogallala native Amanda Koeger is fifth with 180.
Taylin McNair (Chase County) and Jordan Simpson (North Platte) each have 238 digs on the year for the Knights while McNair also is second on the team in assists with 444. Jade Max (Ogallala) and Cheyanne Kuhlmann (Chase County) have also seen playing time for the Knights.
Southeast Community College (8-25)
Southeast Community College has 13 Nebraska natives on its 14-player roster this season and they come from every corner.
Madison Blesecker (Kimball) is second on the team in total points with 222, followed by Sydney Vann (Omaha Northwest), Taylor Wiemers (Battle Creek), Diedre Waite (Leyton), Maggie Parde (Freeman), Kim Whiting (Gothenburg) and Addi Schramm (Omaha Northwest).
Schramm also leads the team in assists with 709 while freshman libber Katie Ellard (Ogallala) is tops in digs with 673. Jade Riddle (Gering) has 246 digs and Megan Haggard (Ogallala) 201 while Sara Pleschourt (Eustis-Farnam) has 122. Tory Jensen (Omaha Northwest) and McKenzie Hixon (South Platte) also compete for the Storm.