|Local residents, city gain state and national achievements|
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Statewide, and in some cases, national recognition was earned by a number of area residents in 2008 in professional, philanthropic or athletic arenas.
Bruce Vires the Nebraska School Activities Association’s top honor, the Distinguished Service Award.
Nick Mullanix, as an eighth grader last year, finished seventh overall in the state spelling bee.
Jacob Boggs, as a high school junior, placed fourth in serious prose at the state high school speech meet.
Hadley Hill and Brian Lee received the American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention.
Three Imperial FFA members, Kelly Kuenning, Ty Martin and Vanessa Schilke, earned their State Degrees in April.
Craig Davidson completed a memorable year as a state FFA vice president.
Marvin Large was honored with election into the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement.
Annie Longan was chosen as one of 6,000 volunteers at the U.S. Open Golf Championship in California.
Young Isaiah Christensen of Imperial was honored with the Browning-Hilger Award from the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association.
Chase County high school vocalists Jacob Boggs and Tom Sullivan chosen for All-State Choir.
Randy Hayes, grade 7-12 vocal music director at Chase County Schools, named 2008 Outstanding Choral Director by the Nebraska Choral Directors Association.
Chase County Schools Supt. Matt Fisher began a year’s term as president of the Nebraska School Administrators Association.
Amy Gittlein of rural Imperial was recognized with honorable mention as Nebraska’s 4-H Volunteer of the Year.
Harlan Norton, a former Imperial resident, was inducted into the Appaloosa Horse Club Hall of Fame posthumously.
The city of Imperial gained a pair of awards last year—1st place in its population division in the Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) and a Housing Groundbreaker Award for its purchase/rehab/resale housing program from the Nebraska Housing Developers Association.
The Imperial Republican newspaper won the Omaha World Herald’s Service to Agriculture state award, largely for its coverage of the Republican Basin water issues.
Jonathan Beverly was selected “Masters Male Athlete of the Year” by Team Nebraska Brooks for his distance running efforts.
Michelle Dill became the first female at the University of Nebraska-Kearney to earn outdoor All-American honors with a seventh place finish in the 1,500 at nationals.
2007-08 Chase County senior Kevin Barnard earned a third place medal at the Nebraska state high school wrestling tournament.
Dan Lenners was chosen as head coach for the West Team in the West Nebraska All-Star Football game; two of his senior players, Wade Courter and Trevor Roenfeldt, will play as West all-star team members.
Ed Kaiser was part of the national championship basketball team at Omaha’s Grace University, which won the Div. II Christian College title.
Erica Pirog, a high school senior last year, won the Class C state championship in the 300 meter hurdles at the state track meet. She also placed third in the 400.
Other 2008 state track medalists included Cara Kunnemann, 2nd in 1600, 5th in 3200 and 6th in 800; and the 1600 meter relay team of Nichole Dickey, Tabitha Russell, Kunnemann and Pirog, 6th place.
In rodeo highlights, Miles Spickelmier earned All Around Cowboy honors at the state high school rodeo, and also captured the season’s steer wrestling title. He qualified for nationals in both steer wrestling and bullriding, and finished 38th on the bulls. CCS classmate Lane Wood placed fourth in team roping at state and qualified for nationals, as well.
Also at the state high school rodeo, Shelby Frasier placed first in barrel racing.
The Chase County high school boys cross country team took second at the state Class D meet; Tyler Talbott earned the 14th place individual medal.
The neighboring Perkins County girls’ basketball team won their school’s first-ever state championship in Class C2.