Adding to the overall changes this year, Hastings College has made multiple changes to its coaching staff, including Cara Romeike, who will take over the startup of the women’s wrestling program.
Romeike spent last year coaching at Cyprus High School in Utah, but was ready to move into the college ranks.
“I always knew that I wanted to be a head coach of a college. I didn’t know when that opportunity would present itself, but I always knew that that was like a dream of mine to be a college coach. I was coaching at the high school level and that was great and I really loved it, but it’s really nice to just focus on coaching and coaching wrestling,” Romeike said.
Romeike understands the challenges of a startup program and wants to create a positive environment and emphasize small victories, in hopes that they can carry that into the coming years. The team’s schedule has yet to be announced.
“My goal for this year would be to just win one dual. I mean, we don’t have that much of a dual team this year, because we’re giving up a lot of weight classes. We have from like, 130 to 191 covered, but below that we don’t have any girls that fill those weights,” Romeike said.
There are some changes on the men’s side of wrestling as well. Joshua Erickson, will take over the reigns after Tyson Springer held the title for three years. He will coach his first match on Nov. 24 against Midland.
“It’s been a dream of mine my whole life to be a college wrestling coach. As an assistant coach at the UNK (University of Nebraska Kearney), I was pursuing that for several years,” Erickson said.
Erickson took some time off from wrestling after assisting at UNK, starting his own business company. When COVID-19 forced Erickson to slow down and he saw that the HC men’s wrestling job was open, he was very excited about the prospect of returning to the mat.
“I was kind of sitting around and this job came up and I was like, ‘wow, I think I’m ready to do this again now’ and talked to my wife about it. And she said, ‘Yep, it’s time’,” Erickson said.
Men and women’s bowling will also see new changes this year as Charles (C.K.) Moore takes over a program previously occupied by seven-year Head Coach Ron Hergott, that had both teams nationally ranked last year before the shutdown.
“My number one goal is to have a team with 15–20 interchangeable parts, so that you don’t just have a few good bowlers and everybody else fills in, but you can make everybody good bowlers so that, depending on what pattern is on the lanes, how the lanes are playing, you can put players there where that’s their strength,” Moore said.
With many players returning and a solid recruiting class, Moore, who has bowled at all levels, including professionally, has high expectations for both teams. Both teams will open the season this weekend at the Warrior Open in Omaha, Nebraska.
“The improvement is just keep it going. I think not to have anything go backwards (is the goal), and then to try and recruit behind the kids that Ron brought in last year that are freshmen now,” Moore said.
The Broncos also made a change to the women’s soccer team, as Jade Ovendale replaced Alex Peikarski, who led them to a spot in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) National Championship although only coaching the team for one season.
Ovendale, who played soccer at Northern Oklahoma College and University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, has always been interested in coaching at HC, so she was excited when the job opportunity arose.
“I have always known about Hastings soccer way back when I played in the NAIA in Oklahoma. Both soccer programs and the college overall has always been known for its excellence and dedication to their student-athletes. HC provides them with an environment where they can work on their craft to become the best versions of themselves,” Ovendale said.
While the team had lots of success on the field last year, Ovendale wants to make sure that they take steps to understand how they can be most successful.
“I believe there are five traits that build winning characters that can help them control their future and leave out the excuses: dedication, resilience, passion, humility and confidence. I believe by espousing these traits, any person can rise to their full potential and create the future they want,” Ovendale said.
Ovendale has started the season 2–1 in the first 3 games. Following the postponement of the Mount Marty match, HC will be back on their home field on Sept. 24 against Jamestown.