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Vikings are state bound for fourth straight year

Vikings are state bound for fourth straight year

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WAVERLY – For the fourth time in four years, the Waverly volleyball team is marching on to the State Volleyball Tournament. They qualified after defeating Bennington 25-19, 25-15, and 25-13 during the B-3 District Final on Oct. 30 in Waverly.

It was somewhat of a slow start for the Vikings in the first set with the score tied at 14-14 after a block by Bennington. Waverly would win the next three points of the set, on kills by Hannah Allick, Bekka Allick and Kara Kassebaum.

A block by Hannah Allick extended the lead out to four. The Vikings would eventually win the set by six on a kill and an ace by Bekka Allick.

“Boy did we have nerves and adrenaline,” Waverly Volleyball Coach Terri Neujahr said. “We missed five serves in the first set and they were out by a lot. It was a really big deal for us to control our heart rate and adrenaline and we talked a lot about that.”

The Badgers kept it close once again at the beginning of the second, but it was Waverly who was able to pull away with a kill and an ace by Bekka Allick making the score 17-14. The Vikings would win eight of the final nine points of the set and closed it out with a block by Kassebaum and a kill by Bekka Allick.

Waverly jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead in the third set after a kill by Bekka Allick. From there, the Vikings continued to roll with an ace by Ellie Rine, a kill by Eden Moore, and then a hit that was long by Bennington.

A big reason for the Viking’s dominant play from the midpoint of the second on was their play at the net. They picked up several blocks or were getting their hands on balls and taking speed off the Badgers’ hits.

“We have really been working on blocking hard and getting positive block touches,” Neujahr said. “You know, sometimes we don’t block a ton of balls, but sometimes getting those positive touches is a big deal. There was definitely a time in the middle of the second and into the third, where we blocked a lot of balls back and it was very frustrating to Bennington that they couldn’t get the ball past the net. They were also giving the ball away on tips and rolls to compensate for that, and that played into our hand.”

Leading the Vikings with 12 kills was Bekka Allick, while Jaelyn Dicke had eight, Kassebaum had five, Moore finished with four and Hannah Allick had three. Five of the nine blocks in the match for Waverly were recorded by Mady Banitt, Kassebaum had four, and both Moore and Hannah Allick finished with one.

At the service line, Bekka Allick paced the team with three aces. Coming off the bench, Rine had two and both Karsen VanScoy and Kassebaum had one.

Defensively, Hannah Allick had 27 assists and 12 digs. Earning 18 digs was VanScoy, Dicke had 15 and Bekka Allick earned 10.

The Vikings enter the Class B State Volleyball Tournament as the third seed. They took on Grand Island Northwest in the first round on Nov. 3. Look for results in next week’s newspaper.

Alex Eller is a reporter for the Wahoo Newspaper. Reach him via email at

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WAVERLY – The Waverly Board of Education will hold a recall election in January after petitioners received the 88 signatures needed to force a vote to remove school board president Andy Grosshans from his position. 

The recall bid was filed by Rebecca Kellner-Ratzlaff following the board’s extension in July of a resolution that gives Waverly Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cory Worrell the authority to make decisions on the district’s COVID-19 response without waiting for a scheduled school board meeting or calling a special meeting. 

“In passing this resolution, Mr. Grosshans silences the representation he was elected to uphold by his constituents,” Kellner-Ratzlaff wrote in her request for petitions filed on Sept. 7.

Grosshans’ defense statement included with the petition read: “For 12+ years, I have worked hard to make well-informed decisions to provide the students of District 145 with a safe environment in which to receive an outstanding education. In these difficult times, I hope for continued understanding and patience as we use key resources and area experts to do what’s in the best interest of all students.” 

The resolution was developed and approved at the start of the pandemic in April 2020, and the school board voted on July 5 to extend the resolution for the duration of the 2021-22 school year. 

Grosshans said the school’s attorney, Justin Knight, estimated that 90% of Nebraska school districts adopted similar resolutions in the 2020-21 school year, and approximately 40% readopted the resolutions for the current school year. Knight told Grosshans that many school districts felt like the worst of the pandemic had passed and that they could “let their guard down” for 2021-22.

“We didn’t feel that things were over yet and that we could afford to do that,” Grosshans said. “We felt it was important that Dr. Worrell had the ability to make quick decisions. These things with COVID can happen very, very rapidly, and if we have to rely on calling a meeting where it’s days out, then sometimes we’re losing valuable time.” 

The risk of COVID-19 transmission in Lancaster County is still high, according to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department’s risk dial.

In August, Worrell exercised his authority granted by the resolution, choosing to follow a recommendation from the LLCHD that children under the age of 12 wear masks in school. Masks are currently required for all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students in District 145.

On Sept. 6, District 145 parents attended the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting to voice their concerns over the decision to require masks in school. One parent, Angie Stara, co-founded a Facebook group called “Unmask Our Dist. 145 Kids,” and wrote in an email to The Waverly News after the meeting explaining that the group’s goal was “to get the school board members to take back the power they gave to the superintendent, back in July, to make all COVID-related decisions solely by himself.”  

The next day, Kellner-Ratzlaff filed for the petition to recall Grosshans. She was part of the “Unmask Our Dist. 145 Kids” group and in August had been active in petitioning against the school board’s initial decision to require masks for the 2021-22 school year. Kellner-Ratzlaff could not be reached for comment. 

Grosshans said he understands why citizens are frustrated, but he said the district’s COVID-19 response has been geared toward ensuring students receive an in-person education.

“I’m like everybody, I don’t like wearing a mask any more than anybody else does,” Grosshans said. “But I have a responsibility to the students and staff of this district to do everything we can to keep people safe and healthy while also providing the best option for quality education.”

Grosshans was a write-in candidate for the Waverly school board Ward 4 seat in the 2020 election. He had previously served on the school board since 2008 but hadn’t planned to run for the seat in 2020. No other candidates filed to run by the March 2, 2020 deadline, and the pandemic made its first impact locally that month.

“I thought, well, I’ll go ahead and try to serve another term to help get through this really difficult time,” Grosshans said. “By that point, I had to run as a write-in candidate, and by its very nature, that’s going to attract a lot fewer votes.” 

He won the election with 101 votes out of 249 total. For a recall petition to be sufficient under state statute 32-1303 (1), it must receive signatures totaling at least 35% of the number of votes cast in the general election. Rounded up, 35% of 249 works out to 88. 

Now, the nearly 1,400 voters in Ward 4 will receive mail-in ballots that read: “Shall Andy Grosshans be removed from the office of the Board of Education of Lancaster County School District 55-145, a/k/a Waverly School District 145?” Voters will then check “Yes” or “No.” Ballots must be returned to the Lancaster County Election Commission by 5 p.m. on Jan. 11.

Sam Crisler is a reporter for The Waverly News. Reach him via email at

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