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Their seasons were canceled, but Nebraska high school athletes will still receive letters

Their seasons were canceled, but Nebraska high school athletes will still receive letters


There isn’t a spring sports season, but it wasn’t the athletes’ doing.

What to do, then, about awarding letters to them?

Many high schools across the state are going ahead and giving them out.

“This year was out of their control and I didn’t think it was fair not to letter a student for a season that was canceled,” Omaha Westside Athletic Director Tom Kerkman said. “Many kids put a lot of time in preseason to get ready for the spring season.”

Nebraska’s spring sports are boys and girls soccer, boys and girls track, boys golf, girls tennis and baseball.

The criteria for lettering during this pandemic year differ from school to school. Even in normal circumstances, lettering policies vary.

Westside is lettering students who were going to be on varsity, Kerkman said.

At Millard’s three high schools, district Athletic Director Nolan Beyer said, “individual coaches have the discretion, but will be very generous in lettering participants based on what would’ve likely occurred.”

At the seven high schools in the Omaha Public Schools, no districtwide decision was made.

“Lettering criteria has traditionally been managed at each individual high school in OPS,” said Steve Eubanks, the district’s athletic director.

Benson’s athletic director, Melinda Bailey, said each sport has its lettering criteria.

“I will allow coaches to make that call and students can receive a letter based upon their coaches’ recommendations,” Bailey said.

In the Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln Southwest Athletic Director Mark Armstrong said, the six high schools will make awards to the athletes whom coaches believe most likely would have lettered during the season.

Bellevue’s East and West High Schools are lettering all seniors who were on a spring roster and any returning letterwinners who were on the roster, said district Athletic Director Bill Richards.

“We came to that decision after discussions with our spring coaches,” Richards said.

Elkhorn South Athletic Director Roger Ortmeier said lettering has been up to the coaches. For example, in boys track, those getting letters will be all seniors and athletes who lettered last year.

At Alliance, Superintendent Troy Unzicker said the school is lettering all seniors and any nonsenior who lettered in 2019.

“We will also letter any underclassman who letters next year for both years retroactively,” Unzicker said.

Another Panhandle school, Hemingford, will letter the athletes who practiced until the cancellation date for boys and girls track and golf, Athletic Director Tim Lanik said.

Omaha World-Herald: Nebraska Prep Zone

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Email

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