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Top sports stories of 2021

Top sports stories of 2021

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Gering sports had a wild ride over the past year as athletes finally got back to competing in front of crowds as the year went on. There were nail-biter games and stories of perseverance. If anything is certain, it’s that Gering athletes come to compete.

Here are some of the top sports stories from the past year in rough chronological order.

Gering wrestlers win team title; Scottsbluff’s Paul Garcia wins fourth state title

The Gering Bulldogs made history in February by winning the Class B state wrestling team title without having a single individual state champion on the team. The 2021 team title was also the school’s first since 1997, making it an especially proud year for Gering wrestling.

Advocate says NSAA wronged deaf Gering wrestler

Gering senior Paul Ruff took runner-up in Class B state wrestling in February after losing by just one point to Scottsbluff’s Paul Garcia when Ruff didn’t follow a referee’s verbal cues because he is deaf. With the ref wearing a mask, he was unable to read lips like usual, and it cost him the match. Ruff and his family turned to the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who have been active in pursuing rectification by the NSAA on behalf of Ruff. Since then, the NCDHH and the ACLU have continued to push for more reforms from the NSAA.

POMS team does well at state cheer and dance championships

Despite having to make quite a few last-minute changes, the Gering POMS dance team managed to take home the runner-up trophy in the Class B hip hop dance category. With COVID still running rampant and quarantining students left and right, the POMS had to make some last-second formation changes, but it worked out in the end.

Gering downs Scottsbluff 13-4, wins sub-districts

The constant battle and rivalry between the twin cities came to a head in the softball Class B sub-district 10 game. Gering came out on top, opening their chance at state through a districts game. Gering and Scottsbluff softball teams had gone back and forth all season, the win was a huge confidence boost for the Bulldogs, according to senior Jessie Brown.

Bulldogs volleyball drops final home match to Red Raiders

The Sidney Red Raiders managed to claim a 3-0 win in Gering’s final home match of the season, but the Bulldogs didn’t go down without a fight. The sets went 25-16, 28-26, and 25-18. Despite the loss, the home game was special for lone senior Sydnee Winkler.

Mitchell Tigers come away victorious in double overtime thriller

The homecoming football game did not disappoint spectators in search of a thrilling game. The nail-biter went into double overtime—first after ending the game on a 14-14 tie, and then again after ending the first overtime with a 20-20 tie. Finally, the Tigers managed to pull through, winning by just two points, 28-26.

Gering’s season ends at sub-districts against Sidney

Gering fought hard to extend their season, but it just wasn’t quite enough. The Bulldogs lost to the Red Raiders in a five-set match, 25-16, 23-25, 25-20, 13-25, 15-12. Coach Amanda Cochran said she was proud of her players and the grit they showed throughout the entire game.

WNCC’s Elli Winkler experiences trying year

Gering high graduate and current WNCC sophomore Elli Winkler helped her Cougar volleyball team to the Region IX tournament as a freshman, only to succumb to a former back injury, which flared up in pre-season. The injury cost her the rest of her season and will end her volleyball playing days. Despite finishing the sport early, Winkler stuck it out with her team and supported them every step of the way.

Gering’s Jacob Awiszus signs letter of intent for college athletic career

Senior Jacob Awiszus signed with the University of Nebraska-Kearney to wrestle as a Loper next year. Awiszus said he had always wanted to wrestle for UNK, and now his dream has come true. He credited his coaches and family for helping him see it through.

WNCC’s Esports sees plenty of interest

WNCC began a new sport this year, putting together a sanctioned Esports club that will be participating in the NJCAAE organization. Some of the different games that students can compete in include Rainbow Six: Siege, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Super Smash Bros: Ultimate. During the middle of the fall semester, the team had 14 players and has already begun recruiting for fall 2022.

North Platte downs Gering in outdoor wrestling dual

The 2021-22 Gering wrestling team took part in a unique wrestling dual against North Platte. Usually, wrestling season is cold, but with the decent weather toward the end of fall and beginning of winter, the two schools decided to do an outdoor event, which proved popular. The dual ended with a loss for Gering, 33-47. Jacob Awiszus had the lone individual win for Gering, beating Luke Rathjen at 182, 9-7.


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Olivia Wieseler is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9051 or by emailing

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