All Roads Lead to Omaha!

Posted: 03/06/2011 - by ElkhornSports Editor

All Roads Lead to Omaha!
No, we are not talking about the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Baseball College World Series Championships held annually in the great city of Omaha.  But, another NCAA championship caliber development that started in our city just in the last few years ago.

We are talking about the current 2010-2011 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) Women’s Basketball Regular Season and Conference Tournament Champions; The Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats. 


This team has almost half the roster from the Omaha market.  I say almost because 6 of 14 (43%) players on the roster are from our eastern Nebraska town’s geographic area.  However, a bigger point of interest is 5 of 6 players with the most playing time are from Omaha’s own urban developments.  Better yet, and yes there is bigger point to be made, is that 4 of the 5 starting players are native eastern Nebraska residents.

This team has almost half the roster from the Omaha market.  I say almost because 6 of 14 (43%) players on the roster are from our eastern Nebraska town’s geographic area.  However, a bigger point of interest is 5 of 6 players with the most playing time are from Omaha’s own urban developments.  Better yet, and yes there is bigger point to be made, is that 4 of the 5 starting players are native eastern Nebraska residents.


The players are: Abby Henry (Bellevue West High School), Emily Hauder (Bellevue West High School), Shelly Martin (Westside High School), Gentry Dietz (Millard North High School), Tara Roach (Elkhorn High School), and Kyla Roehrig (Papillion High School).


This is pretty amazing when you think about the needs of a coach, and the assistants, when developing a Team of Champions.  Usually when you look at a lineup of players on any team’s roster, let alone the starting five, you expect that team members to be geographically random at best.  Usually a player from here and another player from there, then another player from over that way and another player from way over in that direction.  I think you are getting my point.  For a coaching staff to assemble a championship program it usually takes miles and miles of travel. 

NOT HERE! NOT AT NORTHWEST MISSOURI!! 

This “Omaha’s Team” finished the 2010–2011 regular season with a conference record of 18-4, and with an overall record of 25-4.  The 25 wins ties the school record for total victories in a season. Also, this “Omaha’s Team”, earned it’s way into the regional NCAA tourney with a #2 seed ranking.  This is this “Omaha’s Team” highest seeding in an NCAA tourney field.  This “Omaha’s Team”  won the conference regular season championship out right for the first time in school history.  The last time the “Omaha Bearcats” won the regular season title it was shared with two other teams.  Also, for this Omaha’s Team, it was the first time in school history that they won both the season championship and the year-ending conference tournament out right.


So, as I finish writing my little article about this “Omaha’s Team”, I start to think about what coach Gene Steinmeyer and his coaching staff must be up to today.  I think I saw Coach Stein at Elkhorn High School today talking to a new recruit in Courtney Jensen and asking “Who should I be talking to here in Omaha?”  I can visualize Meghan Nelson and Katie O’Grady “shopping” in Omaha and stopping off at Millard West high school or Elkhorn’s rival Gretna high school looking for “a new shoe that just fits right”.  I also see all three coaches stopping off at both Bellevue East and Bellevue West high schools on the way home and saying to the high coaches, “We were just in the neighborhood, so we thought we would stop by”.  


No matter how you look at this version of the Northwest Missouri Bearcats, all of Omaha should be proud of what you, as a community, have developed.  Think about the countless hours that Omaha’s key contact points: parents, players, coaches and schools have put in over the years to develop such a high quality of individuals that also play championship women’s basketball.

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