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Four Peru State Athletic Programs Named NAIA Scholar-Teams

(Peru)- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that 1,290 programs have been named 2013-14 NAIA Scholar-Teams. Four Peru State athletic teams received the annual recognition.

Earning the Scholar-Team designation for the 2013-14 academic year were the Bobcats' women's cross country, women's golf, softball, and volleyball teams. The Bobcat women's golf team had the highest grade point average among the athletic programs finishing with a 3.50 grade point average (GPA).

The volleyball team finished with a 3.34 GPA, the women's cross country completed the year with a 3.19 GPA, while the softball team earned their honor by finishing with a 3.03 GPA.

For a team to be considered for the NAIA Scholar-Team award, it must have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) as defined by the institution. The team grade-point average includes all eligible varsity student-athletes.

Two Bobcats Earn Preseason All-America Honors

Jon Draeger (pictured) finished with 3 sacks in 2013

Tyler Ford (pictured) is a two year letter winner for the Bobcats.

(Peru)- USA Football Network, Inc. has published its 26th USA College Football Division II Pre-Season All-American Teams. Two Peru State football players have been announced to the squads.

Senior offensive lineman Tyler Ford (Lincoln) was named as a preseason All-American while junior defensive lineman Jon Draeger (Dunbar) was on the honorable mention list. In addition, Ford was named a 2014 Football Gameplan (FBGP) Preseason NAIA All-American.

Ford, 6-5 and 270 pounds, was an America Football Coaches' Association NAIA First Team All-American following the 2013 campaign. In addition, Ford earned Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) First Team recognition. He was just the ninth Bobcat ever to receive first team honors. Ford and his teammates paved the way for the nation's third-best rushing offense in the NAIA and after having led the HAAC.

A 6-2, 235 pound defensive lineman, Draeger helped the Bobcat defense have one of the top rush defenses in the country last year. Draeger was a HAAC third team selection after the 2013 campaign. He finished with 54 total tackles – 17 unassisted and 37 assisted and added ten tackles for a loss of 30 yards. Draeger added three sacks for losses totaling 16 yards, had four pass deflections, and added one fumble recovery.

In 2013, the Bobcats finished with a 7-4 overall record, including a 5-4 mark in the HAAC. In the HAAC, Peru State finished fourth and were 24th in the NAIA Football Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll.

Peru State will open up its 2014 season at home when they host Midland University on Saturday, September 6, in the newly-renovated Oak Bowl at 7 p.m.

Schneider on HAAC: "Cadillac Conference in the Country"

Running Back Marccus Spearman and the Cats enter the Season Ranked 24th

(Peru)- The Peru State Bobcat Football season is just 52 days away, when it hosts Midland University on September 6th. The excitement is building around the program that enters the season with a top 25 ranking and a newly renovated Oak Bowl Stadium, "there's no doubt about that, the ribbon cutting event will be on September 6th. That will be a great event for our football players, the college, Southeast Nebraska, small college football in general. Because your not going to find a better football stadium in the region, if not the country, than what we'll have here at Peru State," that's Peru State College Head Football Coach, Steve Schneider.

The Bobcats are one of four Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) teams to be ranked in the top 25. Schnedier says, "the Heart of America Athletic Conference is the Cadillac Conference in the Country. From top to bottom, you better be ready to play each and every week. Because there's not a whole lot of difference between the have's and have-not's in the league, so to speak. You certainly can't take anybody lightly."

Defending HAAC tri-champion Baker, enters the season ranked 5th. Sharing the title with Baker was No. 7 Missouri Valley and No. 11 Benedictine. Peru State enters the season ranked 24th.

On Monday, it was announced that the HAAC will hold its annual Football Media Day press conference on Tuesday, August 5th at the NAIA offices in downtown Kansas City. Eight days later, Bobcat Football players will report to the College on the 13th. The 18th will mark the official start date of practices for the 2014 season.

Bobcat Football Coach Varley Published

Coach Varley speeking at the 6-Man All-Star Banquet

(Peru) – In the recent June 2014 issue of the American Football Monthly, Peru State defensive coordinator, Lou Varley, was published as he wrote an article entitled, "Pressure Defenses."

Varley, a long-time football coach, since retiring from high school coaching, has been a member of the Bobcat football coaching staff since 2008. Currently, Varley is serving as Peru State's co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. Prior to coming to help with the Bobcat program, Varley taught and coached at Superior, Friend, Ravenna, and Nebraska City High Schools.

Varley's article for America Football Monthly discussed the Bobcat Defensive Philosophy, how Peru State places their personnel according to their abilities and skill sets, as well as, describing numerous Bobcat defensive schemes.

Last season, the Peru State defense finished sixth in the nation against in the run and second in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) in total defense.

In addition, Varley was recently invited to speak at the Wyoming-Nebraska 6-Man All-Star Banquet held in Bladen at the Silver Lake High School. Varley shared the good news about Peru State College and Bobcat football at the event. Peru State alumnus, Duane Arntt, was the head coach for the Nebraska 6-Man All-Star squad. Arntt is currently the head football coach and elementary principal at Silver Lake. The Mustangs were the 2013 Nebraska State Champions in 6-Man football.

HAAC Football Media Day Announced

(Peru) – The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) will hold its annual Football Media Day press conference on Tuesday, August 5th , at the NAIA offices in downtown Kansas City.

The unofficial kickoff to the HAAC football season will return to the NAIA's downtown offices for a second-straight year after holding the event at the renovated offices last year for the first time. The event will provide the opportunity for all ten football coaches to address local media as well as the fan bases of their respective teams. All media members in attendance will also be able to conduct one-on-one interviews with each head coach.

Bobcat head coach Steve Schneider, who is starting his third season at the helm of the Peru State program, will be attending. It is anticipated that the conference will also invite two players from each team to join their head coach at the event.

The press conference will be streamed live via a free webcast, providing access for fans of each team to participate in the presentations and receive early insights into the 2014 campaign. Prior to the start of the press conference, the annual preseason coaches' poll will be released, setting the order in which the coaches will speak.

The HAAC goes into the 2014 season with four teams claiming a top 25 ranking in the NAIA Football Coaches' Spring Top 25 Poll. NAIA Football Championship Series quarter-finalist and defending HAAC tri-champion Baker claimed the top spot among the league's teams at #5. Sharing the title with Baker was Missouri Valley, which also landed in the top 10 at #7, while Benedictine was one spot out of the top 10 at #11 after also claiming a share of the 2013 crown. After just missing out on the postseason in 2013, Peru State was the fourth team in the Spring Top 25 at #24.

The start time of the event will be announced, but it will be between 12:30 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Bohlmeyer and Santiesteban May/June Bobcat Student-Athletes of the Month

Traci Bohlmeyer

Randy Santiesteban

(Peru) – Fairbury and Weeping Water native, Traci Bohlmeyer and Randy Santiesteban from Hialeah, Florida have been named the Peru State Bobcat Athletes of the month in May and June.

Bohlmeyer is being recognized as the female student-athlete of the month as she was recognized as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and as a CoSIDA Capital One District Three First Team honoree. She was the only spring sport student-athlete to receive recognition by CoSIDA Capital One. In addition, Bohlmeyer will be a Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Scholar-Athlete when the list is released later this month.

As one of four seniors on the Bobcat softball team, the 'Cats won 30 games this season, more than doubling their mark from 2013. Bohlmeyer finished the season hitting .317 with 44 hits, including seven doubles and two triples. She had a .932 fielding percentage and had 68 assists, ranking third on the team.

This fall, Bohlmeyer will be finishing her degree from Peru State as she will student teach in the Weeping Water school district.

Santiesteban is being recognized as the male student-athlete of the month as he earned several post-season honors and was recently drafted by the Atlanta Braves organization in the 40th round of the MLB Draft.

He was one of two Bobcats to be named to the HAAC Baseball First Team. Santiesteban led the 'Cats on the field and was second in the conference in assists with 123, first for the 'Cats and fourth in the conference with 40 RBI, and was third in the HAAC with six total home runs.

After three years as a Bobcat, Santiesteban is in the Bobcat career record books as he is tied for sixth in career doubles with 32 and is ninth in career RBI with 111.

Bobcat Men's Basketball Hosts Camp

(Peru) – In June, the Peru State men's basketball program hosted a basketball camp for area youth from Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.

The camp was conducted by the new Bobcat men's basketball head coach, Eric Behrens. He was assisted during the camp by Monte Ritchie, Marty Levinson, and Chris Killin.

Participants in both camps participated in the five-day camp where their individual skills were tested and analyzed. In addition, all campers received an evaluation and an off-season workout program. Several skill contests were conducted throughout the week with awards presented at the end.

Area athletes participating in the camp were from:
Plattsmouth- Richard White;
Falls City- Jake Hoy, Mason Crawford, Jamie Stice, Alex Rathje, Kyle Bauman, and Jarrett Simon
Rock Port, Mo.- Daniel Hart
Auburn- Marcus Hudson and James Matteen
Nebraska City- Lucas Nielsen
Nemaha- Payton Boden.

The Bobcat men's basketball team will open their 2014-15 schedule on Saturday, Nov. 1, when they host Doane College.

Oak Bowl Construction Undergoing Finishing Touches

New concrete sidewalks at the Oak Bowl. Photo courtesy of Peru State.

(Peru)- Undergoing its first major renovation since it was constructed in 1900, the Oak Bowl project at Peru State College is in its final stages. "Pouring a lot of the sidewalks, doing some of the work on the concourse area. They will be installing signage and things like that over the next few weeks," said Regan Anson, Director of Marketing and Communications. She added, "We'll see a lot of progress here in the next few weeks and it will definitely be ready for the ribbon cutting on September 6th."

September 6th is the first home game of the season for Peru State when it will host Midland University at 7 p.m. "If you haven't seen the facility, we encourage people to come by. Even now while its under construction. You can get a pretty good view of the field and the turf that's down. It's really a beautiful place." said Anson.

Peru State College broke ground on the $14 million renovation of the Oak Bowl on October 20th.

Nearly 150 Attend Bobcat Football Camps

Bobcat High School Football Skills Camp

Bobcat High School Football Offensive/Defensive Line Camp

Bobcat Junior High Football Camp

(Peru)- More than double the numbers attended this year's high school and junior high football one-day camps hosted by the Peru State Bobcat football program. Nearly 150 area high school players participated in three separate camps held on the newly-renovated Peru State Oak Bowl stadium field.

The first camp, held on June 18, was a high school skills camp which was comprised of individual technique sessions followed by group work. The campers received detailed individual instruction during the contact camp which will have them better prepared for the fall campaign. Participants in this camp included (listed by high school):

Auburn HS: Rex Harmon
Lourdes Central Catholic HS: Tylor Sturm, Ivan Valdovino, Bryan Rojas, Dylan Paap, and Colton Davis
Sidney (Iowa) HS: Tate Thompson, Eric Rodriguiez, and Ramone Gonzales

On June 19, an offensive and defensive line camp was held providing campers with a variety of techniques in order to develop their skills. Those attending this camp included (listed by high school):

Nebraska City HS: Donald Williams
Sidney (Iowa) HS: Anthony Kelsey, Tim Hensley, and Caleb Beharens

A non-contact junior high skills camp was conducted on June 20. Campers received detailed instruction in all facets of football. Participants in the junior high camp included (listed by school):

Auburn MS: James Matteen, Troy Guffey Jr, Hunter Thomas, and Ethan Phillips
Plattsmouth MS: Hunter Smith
Sidney (Iowa) MS: Noah Jorgenson, Thomas Wilson, Tanner Sears, and Christian Nennemann

All three camps were directed by Bobcat co-defensive coordinator, Lou Varley, with assistance from assistant coaches Andy Kohls, Derek Derr, Jeff Reed, Brian Maher, and David Gregory. In addition, area high school coaches provided assistance while working with their individual campers.

Behrens Looking to Win Now with PSC Men's Basketball

Behrens being introduced as new Head Coach in April. Photo Courtesy of PSC

(Peru)- Bobcat fans might not have their minds tuned to Peru State Basketball with the season still four months away. But, for new head coach, Eric Behrens, who was hired in April, he is focused on turning around the programs 9-19 record last year. Behrens says right now he is learning the ropes, "it's a great place. A lot of good people, So, I'm having a lot of fun with it so far."

He has spent the last 13 years as head boys' basketball coach at Omaha Central High School where his teams captured seven state titles. During those seven championship seasons, the Eagles' combined record was 173-25. Behrens' overall record as head coach is 283-58. A winning tradition is something he is trying to implement at Peru State, "we want to win. I told these guys coming in, I don't have a three year plan, or five year plan or anything like that. I'm trying to win next year. I want to see what we can do. Put a good team on the floor right way and go out and compete. "

Behrens says he likes the staff he has around him heading in to the season, "it's a great staff. The guys are hard working, basketball junkies, they want to be around the game. They want to be in the gym with kids."

He says the players are in the weight room this time of year, "getting bigger and stronger. But also, doing a lot of skill development stuff. Getting a lot of shots up, things like that."

Behrens was named the Metro Basketball Coaches Association's Class A Boy's Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

Peru State Men's Basketball tips-off the season on November 1st at home against Doane College.

Peru State Football Booster Golf Tournament set for August 8th

2013 Peru State Golf Tournament

(Peru) – The spots are filling fast, but it is not too late to register for the upcoming Peru State Football Booster Club Golf Tournament, which will be held Friday, August 8. The tournament will be held at the Auburn Country Club. According to Booster Club Member, Mike Gerdes, nineteen of the twenty-two spots available are already filled, "we should have about 90 or so golfers there. This one is specifically for the football booster club. Which, all monies go directly to. We're just trying to help Peru State keep up with the other schools in the HAAC (Heart of America Athletic Conference). So, we supplement them, anywhere from forty to forty five thousand bucks a year."

The schedule for the day includes registration beginning at 8:00 a.m. with a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. for the four-person scramble. A steak dinner will follow the 18-hole event. The cost, which includes green fees and the steak dinner, is $260 for a team of four.

Over the past ten years, the Booster Club has provided over $600,000 in support, "the college is obviously in Peru, but it's really Southeast Nebraska, Southwest Iowa, Northwest Missouri, Northeast Kansas. It's a regional school, its got a lot of support, we get a lot of kids out of those areas. Therefore by having those local kids, your going to get more support financially."

For more information about the contest, contact Mike Gerdes by email at You are asked to provide the team name, names of all team members, contact information for team captain, and number of golf carts needed.

Bobcat Cross Country Adds Sixth Recruit

(Peru) – The latest Peru State cross country recruit is not unfamiliar to the sport or Peru State College. Current Bobcat freshman women's basketball player, Leslie Kirkland (Rock Port, Mo.), plans to be a two-sport athlete this coming year as she will also run for the Peru State cross country team.

Kirkland, who will be a sophomore in the fall, discussed the possibilities of doing both sports with her basketball coach, Joan Albury, and head cross country coach, Katy Billings. After visiting with both, Kirkland made the decision to join the cross country team which should help her endurance for the long basketball season.

The Rock Port high school 2013 graduate participated in cross country as a Blue Jay. During her senior year, Kirkland was her team's second-best runner, running behind her sister Lacy. The Rock Port team qualified for the Missouri state championships in the fall of 2012. Kirkland finished 106th with a time 25:08.31. As a sophomore in high school, Kirkland ran a 23:11 in the Missouri district meet and followed that with a 24:09.57 in the Missouri championships while finishing 77th.

Bobcat Women's Basketball Hosts Youth Camp

(Peru) – Nearly 50 area girls from southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa participated in the recent Peru State women's basketball fundamental skills camp.

Bobcat head coach Joan Albury, along with assistant coach Kacie Lang, current Bobcat player Karlee Stuart, David Gregory, and Whitley Albury conducted the four-day camp which focused on teaching and developing the basic fundamentals of basketball. Campers received daily instruction addressing all areas of skill development featuring both offensive and defensive drills.

In addition, this year's camp featured team competition and two individual contests. All campers received a t-shirt and a camp basketball.

Winning the team tournament were the Johnson-Brock campers. Playing for Johnson-Brock were Jordan Koehler, Jayse Koehler, Audrey Sandfort, Hailey Sandfort, Taylor Buchmeier, Halle Rasmussen, Natalie Clark, Olivia Nichols, Mattie Nichols, Abigail Hodges, Elizabeth Hodges, and Emily Wenzl.

Johnson-Brock defeated Johnson County Central in the championship game. Playing for Johnson County Central were Abby Balfour, Shayla Thompson, Kylie Kleespies, Zadie Plager, Daktoah Ludemann, Carrie Beethe, and Kylie Kalin.

The "Knock-Out" Champion was Kenna McClarnen from HTRS. Olivia Nichols from Johnson-Brock was the free throw champion.

Other schools represented in the camp included: Nebraska City and Nebraska City Lourdes, Shenandoah, Auburn, HTRS, Rock Port, Mo., and Iowa-Heartland Christian High School.

Bobcats' Santiesteban Drafted by the Atlanta Braves

(Peru) – For the third time in five years, a Peru State Bobcat baseball player has been drafted during the Major League Baseball draft. Junior shortstop, Randy Santiesteban was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 40th round as the 1,213th pick overall. "Very emotional, but very exciting all at the same time. It's literally the feeling you get when you work towards something your whole life and you finally get is probably the greatest feeling to date."

Santiesteban, from Hialeah, Florida said he was expecting to be drafted by the Braves, "when it got that late, I was like oh, maybe I won't get drafted. But then when my name popped up, you can imagine, my heart almost dropped."

A two-time Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) first team selection was also a pre-season NAIA All-American this past year. The 6-0 junior started 47 games this past season and finished the season with a .363 batting average and .542 slugging percentage. Santiesteban led Peru State with 40 RBIs and also stole eight bases.

He says someone should be contacting him in the next couple of days with an offer. "I don't know how quickly they can get it to me, or if I'll have to go to them," joked Santiesteban.

Santiesteban joins former Bobcat players Yimy Rodriguez and Andre Kinder as Peru State players drafted by Major League Baseball. Rodriguez was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010, while Kinder was drafted by Philadelphia Phillies in 2011.

Peru State Football Adds 12 New Recruits

(Peru) – Bobcat Head Football Coach, Steve Schneider recently released a second list of additional commitments to join the Peru State football program this fall. Of the twelve new recruits, seven are from the state of Nebraska. Schneider says they like to have 65 to 70 percent of the incoming recruiting class to be from the state, "we made a real concentrated effort this year to recruit the Omaha area. The metro is probably the premier football league in the State of Nebraska...we were fortunate to attract about ten or twelve guys from the Omaha area." He added, "the class as a whole, we got a lot of guys we wanted, which I think is a good sign."

According to Schneider, the academic draw is one of the main reasons recruits choose Peru State, "number two, I think our facilities are now as good as any in the State of Nebraska, at the small college level. Environment, real positive alumni support. Plus this year we were the only Nationally NAIA Ranked team in the state of Nebraska, so I think the quality of football kind of speaks for itself."

The additional commitments added since the initial listing includes:

Chance Bauman – LB – Chadron State College/Beatrice HS –Beatrice, Neb.
Steve Bowers – LB – Papillion-LaVista HS – LaVista, Neb.
Kwante Bright – LB – Crete-Monee HS – University Park, Ill.
Jordan Fikar – LB – Wilber-Clatonia HS – Western, Neb.
Seth Keller – OL – Wilber-Clatonia HS – Wilber, Neb.
Quentin King – OL – Omaha North HS – Omaha, Neb.
Emilio Munoz-Wilcox – OL – George Jenkins HS – Lakeland, Fla.
Keynan Scott – CB – Westside HS – Omaha, Neb.
James Sluka – RB – Exeter-Milligan HS – Exeter, Neb.
Deshaun Smith – FB – Crete-Monee HS – Steger, Ill.
Ricardo Williams – Ath – Sunlake HS – Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Jake Wright – WR – Enterprise State CC – Freeport, Fla.

Fall camp begins for the Bobcats on Monday, August 18. Peru State's first home game will be Saturday, Sept. 6, against Midland University at 7 p.m. That game will also be the official grand opening of the newly-renovated Oak Bowl Stadium.

Peru St. Women's XC Adds Three Additional Recruits

(Peru) – Peru State Women's Cross Country Coach, Katy Billings has announced the signing of three additional recruits for the fall 2014 campaign. With the three recruits, it brings Billings' total to five newcomers to join the one returner this August. Billings was hired in January and says starting later in the recruiting process was tough to get high school athletes, "kids are making their decisions about college a lot earlier than what they use to. But, very fortunate that I picked up the two talented incoming Freshman that I picked up." She added, "in the future I would like to pick up three or four (freshman) a season."

Two of the new recruits will be juniors as they will transfer from Highland Community College in Kansas. Hannah Olson, of St. Joseph, Mo. and Becky Geib, of Faifax, Mo. The third recruit is a current Peru State student, Kiana Borengasser, from Hawaii. Billings says that Olson and Geib will offer significant experience to the program.

She says she is pleased to have increased her squad size to six, "six makes up a full team...that is really good to start my team with, because the cross country team the past few years has struggled to keep a full team."

The Women's Cross Country season begins on September 5th when they will be at the Bearcat/Spoofhound Invite in Maryville, Missouri.

Bobcats Add 12 in 2014 Recruiting Class

(Peru) – When practices open up this August for the Peru State volleyball team, Bobcats fans will find one of the largest teams in recent history. New Peru State Head Coach, Nathan Baker has recruited 12 newcomers to join nine returners for a squad of 21 for the 2014 campaign. "Yeah, it's a lot larger than I wanted it to be in the beginning," joked Baker. "We were just able to find some really good student-athletes...that had a true and genuine interest in Peru State and what the College had to offer. It worked out good for both of us."

The group of Bobcat recruits consists of one senior, five juniors, and six freshmen. Two of those recruits are from Nebraska, Alyssa Martin, a 6-0 freshman middle blocker from Grand Island and Shannon Liewer, a 5-8 junior defensive specialist from Imperial. Baker says it is very important to get recruits from the State, "they (Martin & Liewer) are going to make a huge impact and that's our goal to recruit more Nebraska kids to our program."

Overall, Coach Baker indicated that he is cautiously optimistic about how his initial Bobcat squad will perform in the always tough Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). He added that, "I never like to judge a recruiting class on the front end, I like to judge them at the end of the season."

This Fall, Peru State will be looking to improve on last seasons 21-14 record.

Bobcat Volleyball Adds 12 Recruits for 2014

(Peru, Neb.) – When practices open up this August for the Peru State volleyball team, Bobcats fans will find one of the largest teams in recent history. New Peru State head coach Nathan Baker has recruited 12 newcomers to join nine returners for a squad of 21 for the 2014 campaign.

The group of Bobcat recruits consists of one senior, five juniors, and six freshmen. They will join five seniors, two juniors, and two sophomores in August to begin fall practice while looking to improve on Peru State's 21-14 season in 2013.

The newcomers include:

Nicole Soifua, a 6-1 senior middle blocker from West Point, Utah. Soifua, the daughter of Al and Shirley Soifua, comes to Peru State via Syracuse (Utah) High School where she was a First Team All-Region player as a senior. Then, Soifua was a member of a successful Mustang volleyball program at Western Wyoming Community College before transferring to Division I Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Soifua plans to major in a communications-related degree at Peru State.

Coach Baker's comments on Soifua: "Nicole has played at a very high level and won several championships from high to her nationally-ranked JUCO days. She's a multi-purpose hitter, able to hit from anywhere along the net. Her mental toughness and leadership ability will make for an easy transition to Peru Sate."

Lea Boras, a 6-1 junior outside hitter from Makarska, Croatia. Boras, the daughter of Branko and Marija Boras, comes to the Bobcat program via Srednja skola fra Andrije Kacica Miosica High School in Markarska and played her last two years at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. Boras was named the most improved player during her freshman year on the Bronco squad in New Mexico. Boras anticipates majoring in sport and exercise science at Peru State.

Coach Baker's comments on Boras: "Lea is a lengthy, powerful player with the ability to terminate the ball on the outside, middle, or right side. She also possesses a very high volleyball IQ, understanding how to score and hit at an elite level. Lea's versatility will enable her to hit from multiple positions, which helps her fit in with the offense at Peru State."

Shannon Liewer, a 5-8 junior defensive specialist from Imperial. Liewer, the daughter of Mike and Cindy Liewer (from the Auburn and Johnson area) comes to Peru State via Chase County High School where she was then recruited to play at North Platte Community College. The biochemistry major was very successful as a Knight earning numerous athletic and academic honors including JUCO All-American Honorable Mention.

Coach Baker's comments on Liewer: "Shannon is a very skilled libero with great ball control. She will provide our offense the important ball control we need. Shannon has tremendous reading capabilities that will make for an easy transition to our team. She will bring a lot of positive energy and the "hate-to-lose" mentality that will help those around her get better."

Jennifer Ostrowski, a 6-0 junior middle blocker from Kankakee, Ill. Ostrowski, the daughter of Bill and Heidi Ostrowski, comes to the Bobcat program via Bishop McNamara Catholic High School and Kankakee Community College. At the end of her career at Kankakee, Ostrowski finished as the eighth-best blocker all-time with 226 career blocks and was an Academic All-American candidate. Ostrowski anticipates majoring in early childhood unified education.

Coach Baker's comments on Ostrowski: "Jennifer is another explosive middle hitter who can play all positions on the front row. Her ability to defend with her huge block will provide her the tools to contend for playing time. Jennifer played at a high level at her junior college and that experience will be a welcome addition to our program."

Cristal Quinonez, a 5-8 junior outside hitter from Anthony, N.M. The daughter of Ramona Holguin, Quinonez attended Gadsden High School where she was a member of her high school's back-to-back state championship team. Quinonez played the last two years at New Mexico Military Institute where she earned all-conference and all-region recognition. At Peru State, Quinonez plans to be a criminal justice and psychology major.

Coach Baker's comments on Quinonez: "Cristal is another explosive outside hitter who can play from both pins. Her ability to defend and attack from the back row will provide her the tools to contend for playing time in her first season."

Kelsey Young, a 5-9 junior setter from Goodfield, Ill. The daughter of Troy and Dana Young, played at Eureka High School before playing her first two years of college ball at Illinois Central College. In high school, Young earned all-conference recognition and left as the career leader in assists. Young plans to major in physical education and coaching at Peru State.

Coach Baker's comments on Young: "Kelsey is highly skilled setter who can make great reads and adjustments quickly. She will provide our offense with a great decision making and superior leadership, which will help her as she is challenged to make immediate impact. Her success at the junior college level will bring immediate improvements to our team."

Dana Christensen, a 6-0 freshman middle blocker from Las Vegas. Christensen, the daughter of Dan and Troy Christensen, played her high school ball at Shadow Ridge High School where she earned all-conference recognition her junior and senior years. Elementary education is the planned major for Christensen while at Peru State.

Coach Baker's comments on Christensen: "Dana is a perfect example of a student-athlete. She is a very smart player on the court and excels in the classroom. She is recovering from an ACL injury and will be limited at first, but once she is 100% I look forward to her growth and contribution to our program."

Meg Grose, a 5-11 freshman setter from Peoria, Ariz. The daughter of Karen and Mike Grose, Meg attended Peoria High School where she was earned all-district, all-section, and all-state honors. The education major also qualified for the state tennis tournament.

Coach Baker's comments on Grose: "Meg is a good athlete with a nice understanding of the game. Her ability to play multiple positions makes her a huge asset to our team. Meg will challenge at the right-side hitter and setter positions. Her competitive nature and determination to get better every day will no doubt lead to success at the next level."

Alyssa Martin, a 6-0 freshman middle blocker from Grand Island. Martin, the daughter of Rick and Kristen Martin, played for the perennially-tough Grand Island Northwest High School volleyball team and earned all-area and all-state honorable mention. At present, Martin is undecided about her major.

Coach Baker's comments on Martin: "Alyssa is another highly-skilled athlete who can make great reads and adjustments quickly. She will provide our offense with quickness; she will bring a lot of excitement to the court. Alyssa has unlimited potential, she will develop into a great player and contribute for years to come."

Alexandria Mitchell, a 5-9 freshman middle blocker from Fort Worth, Texas. The daughter of Oneil and Audrey Mitchell, attended North Crowley High School where she earned all-district recognition. Mitchell intends to be a criminal justice major at Peru State.

Coach Baker's comments on Mitchell: "Alex's athleticism will really give her a strong shot to excel at a high level, and she could become a dominant player for us early. Her quickness to both pins will give us more depth in the middle position as she competes for playing time."

Alaya Roberts, a 5-7 freshman outside hitter from Cibolo, Texas. Roberts, the daughter of Hyle and Turquita Roberts, attended Bryon P. Steele High School. The sports and exercise major earned academic all-district recognition.

Coach Baker's comments on Roberts: "Alaya is an explosive, athletic player who has the ability and the versatility to terminate balls from both pins. We see Alaya as someone who can possibly be a six-rotation player and develop into a dominate hitter."

Sela Tharan, a 5-8 freshman setter/defensive specialist, from Denver. The daughter of Patrick and Elizabeth Tharan, played her high school volleyball at Littleton High School where she earned all-conference recognition. While at Peru State, Tharan anticipates majoring in physical therapy.

Coach Baker's comments on Tharan: "Sela is an extremely dynamic, athletic setter. Her ability to run down balls and still run quick tempo, out-of-system sets is exactly what we needed. Sela has played multiple positions and we are looking for her to contribute early here at Peru State."

Overall, Coach Baker is cautiously optimistic about how his initial Bobcat squad will perform in the always tough Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC). Baker noted, "We have worked hard over the last few months to put together a recruiting class that would help our program improve in the HAAC standings. I never like to judge recruiting class on the front end, I like to judge them at the end of the season. With that said, I am really excited about this class, the potential this group has, with the returners from the spring, could be something special. We still have a lot of work to do, but this is going to be a lot of fun!"

Carrie Lierz Wins HAAC Champions of Character Award

(Peru, Neb.) – At their spring meeting of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Board of Governors meeting, HAAC officials announced Carrie Lierz of Peru State was selected as the conference's female Champions of Character scholarship winner.

The HAAC annually awards a $1,000 scholarship to both a male and female student-athlete who best represents the NAIA Champions of Character initiative. Each conference institution submitted electronic nominations which were sent to each Board of Governor member to review prior to voting at their annual spring meeting. The recipient of the award must be a student-athlete who will enroll at his or her institution the following fall semester.

Lierz, a senior-to-be from Holton, Kan., was selected by Peru State's athletic department as their nominee. In learning of her award, Lierz said, "I am humbled just to be selected by Peru State to represent my college. When I learned of this conference recognition, it makes me feel very proud to be a student-athlete, not only at Peru State, but in the Heart of America Athletic Conference."

Recently, Lierz was the HAAC's nominee for the NAIA's A.O. Duer Award.

Athletic Director Steve Schneider stated Carrie is very deserving of this recognition. Schneider noted, "Carrie embodies what the Champions of Character is all about. She is a true role model for all student-athletes. We are very happy for Carrie and her most recent honor."

Members of the athletic department staff prepared the following nomination for Lierz which was centered around the five core values of the Champions of Character initiative. The nomination follows in its entirety.

Carrie Lierz
Peru State College's Female Nominee
for the
HAAC Champions of Character Award

"Play for the name on the front of the jersey and they will remember the name on the back."
Walter Rooney

Carrie Lierz is a student-athlete who is not satisfied with what she has accomplished thus far, and what she will do in the future pales by comparison. In addition, with that being said, the quote which begins this nomination truly fits Carrie as she is not worried about her personal accomplishments, but rather what happens with everything she is involved with at Peru State College. From athletics to academics to extra-curricular to serving others, Carrie puts everything she has into the things she does and to this point, Carrie has done everything very well. Considering all of this, Peru State is proud to nominate Carrie Lierz for the HAAC Champions of Character Award.

Three years ago, Carrie arrived on campus and joined the volleyball squad. After her first three years of not only playing volleyball, but becoming very involved on campus, her work, while maybe not knowing so, has incorporated the five core values of the NAIA's Champions of Character – Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, and Servant Leadership.

INTEGRITY is a combination of all inward traits that build upon one another to determine who a person really is in life. Carrie demonstrates those traits through her honesty, her poise, her patience, her determination, and her passion. She knows and does what is right in every situation. As Carrie pursues a career in the medical field, these traits will be key to her future successes. While she is not an elite athlete, it is her determination to be the best she can be and to help her teammates to do the same while exerting every ounce of effort she can give at any one time.

Maybe Carrie's strongest core value is RESPECT. Each underlying aspect of respect as identified in Champions of Character initiative is something Carrie emulates on a daily basis. She is accepting of all, she is considerate of others, she is always encouraging others, and she appreciates the guidance of all whom are trying to help her. One of her biggest traits is being attentive and ready to learn – whether it be from her coaches, officials, faculty members, or anyone is prepared to offer her guidance. Carrie has gained the respect of many, not only on the campus, but in her community, because she shows that same respect to all with whom she has contact.

As RESPONSIBILITY is the social force that binds a person to the group, Carrie has demonstrated this by being voted/elected/selected to the many positions of leadership over the course of her three years at Peru State. It is obvious that Carrie's peers are confident she can handle the responsibility of being a leader which has resulted in her being twice to the Student Senate and most recently was elected to serve a second year as the President of the Residence Hall Association (RHA). In the latter, the RHA has become a much more active group on campus and much of the credit can go to Carrie's leadership. In addition to the commitment to be a successful volleyball player, Carrie balances her other responsibilities along with maintaining a near-perfect grade point average.

As SPORTSMANSHIP is the following of rules, spirit, and the etiquette of athletic competition, Carrie demonstrates this aspect by modeling the types of behavior expected, both in terms of fairness and with respect to her opponents. Carrie has the ability to be cooperative with her teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials in the mutual quest for excellence. She would be considered to probably be the most gracious and honorable individual on the current volleyball team and is very humble in accepting any accolades which come her way.

As SERVANT LEADERSHIP is serving the common good, Carrie is truly one of those who exhibit the core value of servanthood – that caring for and meeting the needs of others before caring for herself. She is selfless with her work and she understands the links between individual effort and group achievement. Carrie has to be in the top five percent of all of Peru State's student-athletes who embodies the true meaning of servant leadership as she is willing to work hard and to serve and help others.

In addition to the above-mentioned information, Carrie is an excellent student-athlete and serves others in many ways. Carrie was recently named to represent the HAAC as the NAIA's A.O. Duer Award winner which is indicative of why Peru State is nominating her for this scholarship opportunity. She maintains a grade point average of 3.948 in biochemical science, one of the toughest majors on our campus. In addition, this fall, Carrie was named as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and also was named to the Capital One District Academic First Team. Besides what has been mentioned early, Carrie has been involved in the Peru City-Wide Clean-Up, Nemaha County Gives Back, Vacation Bible School, Feeding 44, and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Carrie's future goal is to enter the medical field. By virtue of what we have seen in Carrie in her three years at Peru State, we are sure she will be very successful at whatever she does. And, she will still be playing/working for the name on the front of the jersey when doing so as long as she does something for the greater good of others.

Carrie Lierz is a fine example of what the Champions of Character is intended to produce – a young woman who does exhibit and will continue to exhibit the five core values of Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, and Servant Leadership.

The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to Lierz at the beginning of the 2014 fall term at Peru State.

2014 Peru State Bobcat Summer Camps Announced

(Peru, Neb.) – Athletic camps of all kinds and varieties will be held on the Peru State campus this summer and in satellite locations. Camps for girls and boys basketball, football, and volleyball will be held throughout the summer. In addition, the Bobcat cheerleading squad will host team camps upon request.

The following is a description of each athletic camp that will be held during the 2014 summer.

Girls Basketball Camps

On June 2-5, the 2014 Fundamentals Skills Camp will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for girls in grades 3-12. Campers will receive daily instruction to address all areas of skill development. Sessions will be conducted on both offensive and defensive skills with contests, awards, and games included. The cost is $80. All campers will receive a camp t-shirt, lunch, and a camp basketball.

For more information, campers should contact Bobcat women's basketball head coach Joan Albury at or by phone at 731-617-1546.

Boys Basketball Camps

Two different camps will be held for boys in June.

The first camp will be conducted from June 9-13 and is a skills camp for boys in grades 3-6. This camp will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day. An Elite Skills Camp will be held June 9-13 for boys in grades 7-12. This camp will run from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. The campers in both camps will have their skills tested and analyzed by camp instructors. In addition, all campers will receive an individual evaluation and an off-season workout program.

The cost for both camps is $70. Campers will receive a camp t-shirt, a camp skills book, and will have the opportunity to compete for medals in various skill contests. Campers will need to bring a change of shoes as street shoes are not allowed on the AWAC playing floor.

Campers can check in at 8:30 a.m. for the 9:00 a.m. session and 12:30 p.m. for the 1:00 p.m. afternoon session.

For more information, campers should contact Bobcat men's basketball coach Eric Behrens at or by phone at 402-208-0191. In addition, assistant coach Monte Ritchie could be contacted at or 402-679-5829.

Football Camps

Three separate day camps will be held for football players. In addition, a team camp will be held for the first time.

On June 18, a High School Skills Camp will be conducted by the Bobcat football coaching staff and players. The camp for boys in grades 9-12 will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Oak Bowl. Cost for the camp is $40 and that includes lunch and a camp t-shirt. This camp will be in full pads so campers will need to bring helmets and shoulder pads.

An Offensive and Defensive Line Camp will be offered on June 19 for boys in grades 9-12. The camp will provide campers with the techniques and skill development necessary to be a successful lineman. The cost for the camp, conducted by the Bobcat coaches and guest coaches from the region, is $40. The cost includes lunch and a t-shirt and it will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Campers are required to bring helmets and shoulder pads, as this will be a full-pad camp.

A one-day Junior High Skills Camp will be conducted on June 20 for boys in grades 5-8. The camp will be conducted in the Oak Bowl and will cost $40, which includes a camp t-shirt and lunch. The junior high camp will be broken into individual sessions followed by group sessions. Campers will be provided individual instruction and will leave camp better prepared for their upcoming season. Campers should wear a t-shirt and shorts as this will be a non-contact camp. The camp will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

On July 28 and 29, a padded team camp will be held in the Oak Bowl. The key aspects will include an offensive focus on option football, a defensive focus on fundamentals, and team competition and development. Check-in begins at 3:30 p.m. with the team camp to run from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day. The cost is $40 per participant includes a lunch and camp bag.

For more information, campers should contact Bobcat assistant football coach Lou Varley at or by phone at 402-209-4787.

Volleyball Camps

Two team camps will be conducted by the Bobcat volleyball coaching staff and players. The camps will be held in the Al Wheeler Activity Center (AWAC).

An advanced team camp will be held July 23-25. Our advanced team camp is designed to teach advanced skills and concepts to teams. This camp will assist teams and individual players by combining individual skills work, team work, and competitive play. Peru State volleyball coaches and players will work with campers and coaches in order to provide a greater understanding of individual skills and volleyball concepts. The cost is $95 for each overnight camper and $75 for a commuter camper. Each team must have a minimum of eight players. One high school coach per eight players will be free. Additional coaches will be charged $75 to cover camp costs.

On July 27-28, the 2014 High School Team Challenge Camp will be conducted. The team challenge camp consists solely of competitive play and is designed to give a team a chance to compete against other teams in the region before your season starts. This camp will include both pool and tournament play. Each team will receive a minimum of six matches within the two-day camp. A coach from Peru State Volleyball will review each match and provide each team with feedback on the areas in which need improvement. The check-in will be at 10 a.m. on the first day. The cost is $400 per team for overnight campers and $300 per team for commuter teams. A maximum of ten players and two coaches is the limit for the roster. Schools who bring both a junior varsity and varsity team will receive a $50 discount.

For more information, campers should contact Bobcat head volleyball coach Nathan Baker at or by phone at 804-325-9454. In addition, questions can be answered by graduate assistant Kelsey Monahan at or by phone at 402-340-4759.

Cheerleading Camps

The Bobcat Cheerleaders are available for team camps upon request. Each camp is led by multiple Bobcat Cheerleaders and coaches and tailored to your school's specific needs and goals. Camps can be hosted in the Peru State Al Wheeler Activity Center or at your school. Pricing is available on a sliding scale depending upon squad size. Any school interested in organizing a camp with the Bobcat cheerleading squad should contact head cheer coach Chelsea Allgood at 402-872-2350 or at

All Camps

For more information on each camp conducted this summer, along with the required forms, please go to the hyperlink of

Mike Melendez Named NAIA Pitcher of the Week

(Peru, Neb.) – Michael Melendez of Peru State has been selected as the NAIA Pitcher of the Week the national office announced Tuesday. Melendez was chosen based on his performances from April 28 – May 4 and was selected out of a pool of conference, independent and unaffiliated group winners.

Melendez, a native of Hollywood, Fla., tied a 32-year-old program record with 18 strikeouts in Peru State's 3-1 win over Evangel (Mo.) at the Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship Series on May 2. The senior allowed only three hits, one earned run and one walk to claim his first complete-game victory of the season.

On the year, Melendez owns a 4-2 record and 4.10 earned run average in nine appearances.

Melendez is the only Bobcat student-athlete to receive a national honor this academic year. The last Peru State student-athlete to earn a national honor was softball player Kristin Bodyk who earned National Player of the Week honors last year on April 2, 2013.

Peru State Still Alive In HAAC Tournament

(Peru, Neb.) – After winning their first two games of the (HAAC) Championship Series and then falling in their third game, the Peru State baseball team is still alive with a chance to make the NAIA Baseball Championship Tournament.

The Bobcats started with a 4-1 win over Central Methodist University on Thursday and followed with a 3-1 victory over Evangel University Friday night. Then, late on Saturday afternoon, the 'Cats dropped a 3-0 contest at the hands of the top-seeded MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) Pioneers.

The loss to MNU dropped the Bobcats into the elimination bracket where they will face the Culver-Stockton Wildcats on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. on Monday in Joplin, Mo.

Peru State Baseball Advances to Semis

JOPLIN, MO. - The Peru State baseball team continued their winning ways Friday at the HAAC tournament by defeating #2 seed Evangel 3-1.

Michael Melendez tossed a complete game and recorded a career-best 18 strikeouts, the highest single-game strikeout total by a conference pitcher this season, and matched the second-best total in the NAIA in 2014.

All three runs for the Bobcats were driven in by Tyler Croushorn from the last spot in the batting order.

The Crusaders put the tying run on first base in the top of the 9th inning after a single by Michael Headlee and walk by Caleb Kauffman, but Melendez induced a fly out to complete the win.

Croushorn was the only player in the game to record two hits while Jones had the only extra-base hit of the contest. Sam Garrison (5-7) took the loss for Evangel, yielding two earned runs on eight hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

With the win the Bobcats, advance to the winner's bracket semi final today against top seed MidAmerica Nazarene. First Pitch is set for 4 PM.

Peru State Softball Eliminated from HAAC Tournament

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - The #6 seeded Peru State softball team was eliminated from the HAAC tournament yesterday after two tough losses.

In their first game against #2 seed MidAmerica Nazarene the Bobcats had a 5-2 lead going into the 7th before conceding 6 runs in the inning, falling 8-5.

After the loss the Bobcats dropped into the loser's bracket and faced Benedictine but couldn't get back on the winning track, losing 6-0.

The Bobcats finish the 2014 season at 30-24.

Anticipation Growing in Peru as Oak Bowl Nears Completion

The historic Oak Bowl has been home of the Peru State football program since 1901. While it provides one of the most scenic football venues in the entire state of Nebraska, it had not undergone renovations in over 50 years. Excitement is sweeping through the Peru community as the Oak Bowl's $10 million renovation is nearly complete.

Peru State President Dan Hanson spoke on how the Oak Bowl transformation became a reality.

Hanson: "Lavon Heidemann took the lead on putting together a package in the appropriations committee, and came up with funding for us to make this project possible. He came up with 7.5 million dollars in funding, we needed to match that with 1.5 to get the full amount, and so our foundation and our donors and loyal alumni were critical in making that happen."

Peru State Director of Athletics and Head Football Coach Steve Schneider knew the Oak Bowl needed some attention.

Schneider "The Oak Bowl in its prior state, was aesthetically a great place to play a college football game, but over a period of time the facilities were getting to the point where it's kind of run down, they weren't real fan friendly, weren't real friendly for our visitors, and now with the upgrade it raises the whole level of the competitive venue significantly."

The renovations have brought a spark back to the football program and community according to junior middle linebacker Shane Lloyd.

Lloyd: "Seeing the new field renovations, I mean it brings so much inspiration to just not us but only the community. I mean people drive by and see this field and when they see it, they're like dang Peru State has a great program going for us now, and the football team has a lot to do to pay back the community."

The Bobcats will begin their 2014 season by hosting Midland University on September 6th. There will be a special dedication ceremony held prior to kick off.

Bobcats Excited about Men's Basketball Coaching Hire

Peru State found out the next man to lead the men's basketball program would be seven-time state champion coach Eric Behrens after the 40-year-old formally accepted the position Friday morning.

The excitement has reached as high as the President's Office as Behrens prepares to make the transition from high school to collegiate coaching.

Dan Hanson, President of Peru State College: "When we saw that Coach Behrens' application was in the pool we knew he would be a top candidate, and we offered him the job because of his long history of success, and we're excited to have somebody of his caliber and his connections helping us build a strong future here at Peru State and a strong basketball program."

While a coaching change can be tough on players, Brett Pierce talked about his initial reaction to meeting his future coach.

Brett Pierce, Senior Point Guard: "He (Behrens) came up here and met with us on his interview day he seemed like a real cool laid back type of guy. In practice he sounded like he was going to be; this is it, this is how it's going to be done, and you just go with it. It's going to be intense.

The senior is excited about the new philosophy Behrens will bring.

Pierce: "It sounds like a lot of fun because he said everything is a competition. Not really everything here in practice was a competition, so that sounds like a lot of fun."

A press conference will be held at the Al Wheeler Activity Center Tuesday, April 29th at 3:30 PM to officially announce the hire. Behrens, Hanson, and Peru State Athletic Director Steve Schneider will all be present.

Behrens is set to make $56,000 annually.

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