NORFOLK, Neb. – The time has officially come.
The Northeast Community College rodeo team will assemble and make their maiden voyage to River Falls, Wisconsin for the first rodeo since the inception of the program on Oct. 18, 2018.
In the meantime, the Hawks found their first rodeo coach in Fenton Nelsen, a former four-time collegiate national finals qualifier and a PRCA finals champion. Nelsen was able to quickly establish a roster of 18 student-athletes that will proudly wear the Northeast Hawk logo for the first time in the rodeo arena tomorrow. The Hawks will compete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association's first rodeo of the Great Plains Region.
"My goal for the team this year is to create a positive environment on campus, as well as in the community," Nelsen said. "In the arena, I would like to have two individuals qualify for the college national finals rodeo in June."
The Hawks welcome a plethora of Nebraska talent in both male and female student-athletes.
Freshman bull rider Ben Wood (Greeley, Neb.) was a 2018 and 2017 Nebraska National High School Rodeo qualifier and a state finals champion. In 2018, Wood was a fifth-seed and ultimately went on to win his first performance at the national finals with a ride of 77.
Fellow bull rider Jason Alder (O'Neill, Neb.) was a Mid-States finals qualifier, while Heath Calvert (Aurora, Neb.) was also a two-time national qualifier. Steer wrestler Zane Patrick (Bartlett, Neb.) brings a wealth of experience to the arena after winning the steer wrestling event in 2017 at the Nebraska High School rodeo. Also in 2017, he placed eighth in the team roping as a heeler and took fifth-place in team roping in 2014.
The entire roster includes: Jason Alder (O'Neill, Neb.), Brody Benson (Valentine, Neb.), Grace Brodd (North Bend, Neb.), Heath Calvert (Aurora, Neb.), Victoria Buresh (Hoskins, Neb.), Timothy Hughes (Burwell, Neb.), Ethan Naughtin (Spalding, Neb.), Garret Niewohner (Albion, Neb.), Zane Patrick (Bartlett, Neb.), Kenzie Radenz (Norfolk, Neb.), Stephen Richardson (Hughes Springs, Texas), Kyle Smith (Allen, Neb.), Tanner Stelling (Milford, Neb.), Alison West (Norfolk, Neb.), Laurissa Wilson (Norfolk, Neb.), Ben Wood (Greeley, Neb.), Seth Johnson (Norfolk, Neb.) and JW Schell (Wymore, Neb.).
"I expect them to perform and act in a professional manner while representing Northeast Community College, Northeast Rodeo and rodeo as a whole," Nelsen added.
After competing this weekend in River Falls, the Hawks head to Mid-Plains Community College on Sept. 13, Iowa Central Community College on Sept. 27, Iowa State University on Oct. 18 and North Dakota State University on Nov. 1. The spring portion of the schedule will be released once the fall portion has concluded.
"Being the first season, I do not have any student-athletes that have been through the rodeo program before as far as upperclassmen," Nelsen said. "But, I do have student-athletes that have been in the rodeo arena quite a bit and I hope those student-athletes step forward and show the others how to get up and down the road in a proper manner."
For all news related to Northeast Community College athletics, visit northeasthawks.com for complete coverage. Fans can also follow the Hawks on Twitter @NortheastHawks for game-day coverage.