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Nebraska baseball enters regular-season finale with postseason hopes still on the line

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Nebraska baseball enters regular-season finale with postseason hopes still on the line


LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska baseball has arrived at the final stop of an unusually twisted season. The Huskers will open a three-game series Thursday at Michigan State within reach of their third Big Ten championship in the past seven opportunities.

Nebraska is 32-18 and 14-7 in conference play. Its case for a spot in the NCAA postseason, to be unveiled May 27, appears strong, though it’s not entirely secure with the visit to MSU and a Big Ten tournament in Omaha still ahead.

On the surface, this is a satisfying position. Beneath the appearance of that smooth ride, Nebraska has endured a turbulent spring.

A window opened in March and April for the Huskers to earn an inside lane to go deeper into the postseason since they last won a regional in 2005. But now if Nebraska is to make a run, its path likely must resemble what coach Will Bolt’s team nearly pulled off in 2021. After winning the Big Ten, it pushed national power Arkansas to the final innings of a winner-take-all game in the Fayetteville regional.

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“When you get knocked in the face,” outfielder Garrett Anglim said, “one thing you’ve got to do is get back up and show up the next day with that fight.”

Nebraska has absorbed its share of punches.

It’s not alone. The national picture entering the final days of the regular season is clouded. In some cases, it looks upside down. Perennial College World Series participants Vanderbilt, Florida, LSU, TCU and Texas are jumbled near Nebraska with RPIs from Nos. 28 to 44, according to warrennolan.com.

The Huskers come in at No. 31.

“Everybody has more access to talent than we’ve ever had in this sport,” Bolt said. “And it’s hard to win.”

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Bolt’s team has won just three of seven series finales against Big Ten foes. Nebraska dropped all three games against in-state rival Creighton and lost 10-6 against lowly South Dakota State on May 8, surrendering six runs in the ninth inning. The midweek defeats crushed hopes the Huskers might sneak into a spot to host an NCAA regional next month.

Two days after the SDSU meltdown, the Nebraska bullpen surrendered seven runs in the ninth against Indiana to lose 10-5.

But, true to the roller-coaster form, the Huskers followed with a pair of clutch wins against the Hoosiers to capture the series and stay alive in the Big Ten race. Nebraska needs to perform one game better than Illinois in this final week to secure a share of the regular-season title and snag the No. 1 seed next week in Omaha.

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The Illini (30-17, 15-6 Big Ten) play at Purdue (33-19, 13-8) to end the regular season.

When these Huskers convened before the season, they established a set of defining characteristics. Among the words they selected was resilient.

“Having done this for a while now, the teams that typically are the best are the ones that don’t get too high or too low,” Bolt said. “Baseball can lend itself to being such an emotional roller coaster if you allow it to — because there’s so much failure.”

High moments for Nebraska have included:

• A solid first month that featured a stockpile of road wins against opponents out of conference to boost the Huskers’ RPI.

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• Six series wins in seven chances in Big Ten play, powered in weekend openers by ace right-hander Brett Sears, who takes a 7-0 mark and a 2.11 ERA into his next trip to the mound Thursday.

• A no-hitter against Kansas State on May 1 thrown by lefty Jackson Brockett, the first by a Nebraska pitcher in 70 years.

• Last weekend’s showing to close the home season. Cole Evans hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the 10th inning to even the series against Indiana on Saturday. Then Brockett and reliever Drew Christo pitched Nebraska to its second Sunday victory since the start of April.

When the midweek losses accumulated or when the relievers struggled, Anglim said the Huskers didn’t dwell on the negativity.

“If things don’t go our way,” he said, “it’s not the end of the world. It’s time to focus on the next thing.”

Nebraska has advanced to the NCAA regional round five times in the past decade. Bolt, as a player with the Huskers, was a four-year starter and played on the first two CWS teams in program history in 2001 and 2002.

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In teams ready to make a run in June, he said he’s seen the kind of resiliency evident in the Huskers — and a tendency for older players like Brockett, Christo and Anglim to emerge from the shadows to play major roles.

Bolt played his best baseball over the final few games of his collegiate career, he said.

“You’ve got nothing to lose at that point.”

Left-handed reliever Caleb Clark, effective over his past nine outings since mid-April after a rocky start to his sophomore season, said the vibe among the Huskers is one of “pure excitement” as they head to Michigan State.

The series opener Thursday in East Lansing is scheduled for 5 p.m. First pitch is planned for 4 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. The Big Ten Network will televise the final two games of the series, presumably for the Huskers with a lot at stake.

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“These were the goals that we set forth at the start of the season,” Clark said. “Being in this position is something that we expected of ourselves.”

(Photo of Cole Evans courtesy of Nebraska Athletics)





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Nebraska

Gallery: Memorial Day Across Central Nebraska

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Gallery: Memorial Day Across Central Nebraska


CENTRAL NEBRASKA — Citizens took time out of their three day weekend to take time to observe the Memorial Day holiday, as well as decorating the graves of loved ones.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and the first national observance was held on May 30, 1868. The holiday was proclaimed by Commander in Chief John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic to honor the Union soldiers who had died in the Civil War.

The modern proclamation calls on Americans “to observe Memorial Day by praying, according to their individual religious faith, for permanent peace.”

More than 600,000 soldiers of the Union and Confederacy fought and died in the Civil War and the scale of the human loss ensured that burial and memorialization took on a new cultural significance in the United States.

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Official recognition as a holiday spread among the states, beginning with New York in 1873. By 1890, every state in the Union had adopted it.

Following the World Wars, the event turned into a day of remembrance for all the members of the U.S. military who fought and died in service.

By 1971, Congress standardized the holiday as “Memorial Day” and changed its observance to the last Monday in May.

There are two other days celebrate those who have served or are serving in the U.S. military.

Armed Forces Day, observed earlier in May, is an unofficial U.S. holiday for honoring those currently serving in the armed forces, and Veterans Day, Nov. 11, which honors all those who have served in the United States armed forces.

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Memorial Day is commemorated at Arlington National Cemetery each year with a ceremony where a small American flag is placed on each grave. Traditionally the President or Vice President lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue,” James A. Garfield said on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.



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6 Best Small Towns in Nebraska for Outdoor Activities

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6 Best Small Towns in Nebraska for Outdoor Activities


For outdoor enthusiasts, Nebraska is not the first state that comes to mind. While the state is not home to national parks, it is home to some beautiful, historic, and natural sites. Many of these incredible sites lie in Nebraska’s small towns. The small Nebraskan town of Brule is home to Lake McConaughy, offering beautiful beachfront views, while Harrison is another small Nebraska town, that draws visitors in to see the Agate Fossil Beds. These are only a couple examples of the natural wonders in Nebraska’s small towns, however, they are worth a visit for outdoor enthusiasts. 

Harrison

Toadstool Geologic Park in Harrison, Nebraska.

Harrison is home to a natural wonder that brings people to Nebraska annually, the Agate Fossil Beds. The hills are the place where paleontologists found mammal skeletons, including the complete skeletons of extinct Miocene mammals in the 1900s. Dozens of fossils show the area’s 20 million years of natural history. At the Agate Fossil Beds, there are 2.7-mile-long Fossil Hills Trail that takes travelers through the hills and across the Niobrara River. Along the trail, there are interpretive signs explaining the plants of the area.

Another outdoor attraction in Harrison is the Gilbert Baker Wildlife Management Area. The area includes 2,537 acres of park and is perfect for camping and hiking. A trail in the area takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. On the trail, hikers might see deer, elk, rabbits, or wild turkeys. Near the wildlife area, lies Monroe Creek and Gilbert Baker Pond; this peaceful creek and pond are great places for fishing or bird watching.

Brule

Aerial view of rural town of Brule in Nebraska
Aerial view of the rural town of Brule in Nebraska 

Brule is a small community in Nebraska with more wildlife than people. The town has less than 500 residents and is a serene, rural area. Lake McConaughy draws people in to visit the town. This is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, with 100 miles of shoreline. The lake is an excellent place for outdoor recreation. The white sand beaches and clear waters are perfect for boating, jet skiing, windsurfing, swimming, and fishing. Golfers are also drawn to the lake area for the Bayside Gulf Club’s course. The golf course is on the shores of Lake McConaughy, offering stunning views while lulling visitors to sleep.

Brule is also near the California National Historic Trail. This trail is for nature and history lovers. The mid-19th century highway was a migration route to the West. The route is 1600 miles, traveling from Missouri River towns to California. Some portions of the road are drivable. Brule is one of the closest towns in the section that goes through Nebraska. Hikers on the trail can rest in town and enjoy the rural countryside scenery. 

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Bayard

A rare and breathtaking view of the historic Chimney Rock near Bayard, Nebraska used by pioneers as a landmark on the Oregon Trail.
A rare and breathtaking view of the historic Chimney Rock near Bayard, Nebraska.

The small town of Bayard is home to Chimney Rock, an outdoor monument that draws people to Nebraska annually. Chimney Rock National Historic Site is a towering rock made from a thin spire standing an estimated 325 tall from tip to base. Thirty-four million years ago, the rock formed from volcanic ash. Folks can see the different layers of volcanic ash in its formation today. The rock is one of the most famous historic monuments in the state. It was an essential landmark for navigating the California, Oregon, and Mormon trails during pioneer days. There is a nine-hole golf course and restaurant near the Chimney Rock Site to enjoy a game of gold while admiring the towering rock. 

Beyond the pretty scenery of Chimney Rock, Bayard has an exciting history. Guests can learn more about it by visiting the Bayard Depot Museum. The museum is in an old Northern Railroad depot and has ancient artifacts of the town. One of the most impressive is a 100-year-old cookie!

Gering

Scotts Bluff National Monument located west of the City of Gering in western Nebraska, United States.
Scotts Bluff National Monument is located west of the City of Gering in western Nebraska, United States.

Gering is near Bayard, a town with vibrant green prairie lands. Gering next to the Oregon Trail and the famed Scotts Bluff National Monument. The Scott’s Bluff National Monument is a towering bluff surrounded by rugged badlands. There are also 3,000 acres of protected and historic areas near the bluff. A popular trail near the monument is the Saddle Rock trail. The 1.6-mile trail has a self-guided tour of the area. The trailhead begins east of the visitor center. For a shorter version of the hike, begin on the trail at the summit of the Scotts Bluff. From the trail, there is a stunning view of the North Platte River Valley that is worth the short trek.

A spot for people who are interested in history is the Legacy of the Plains Museum. The museum has interactive exhibits that show the history of settlement and Westward Expansion in the North Platte Valley and High Plains. Gering is also close to the scenic Yellowstone National Park and the Black Hills, making for some pretty scenery around town.

Bridgeport

Hay field near Bridgeport, Nebraska
Hay field near Bridgeport, Nebraska at sunset.

Bridgeport is another Nebraska town with picturesque scenery. The town has its own Recreation Area encompassing 326 acres of land to explore and 78 acres of water in five sandpit lakes. Visitors can enjoy camping or hiking on the shores. Water activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding, are popular on the East and West lakes in all seasons. 

The Courthouse and Jail Rocks are popular spots to stop at just 5 miles south of town. Made from Brule clay, the rocks look like a courthouse and castle.  Over time, wind and water sculpted the rocks into what they look like today. To get to the stones, there is an unpaved road and trail open year-round. 

Just 6 miles north of the rocks is the Bridgeport Pioneer Trails Museum. This Homestead museum is just off the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, and Pony Express Route. This was a popular stop point for pioneers traveling on the trails. While at the museum, check out a section of the surrounding trails for a peaceful stroll through the woods. 

Sutherland

Sutherland, seen from the east along U.S. Highway 30
Sutherland, seen from the east along U.S. Highway 30.

For history and nature lovers, Sutherland is the ideal town—home to the Sutherland State Aid Bridge, a beautiful bridge over the water that offers scenic views. The bridge dates back to the State Aid Program between 1912 and 1936. The bridge is unique as one of the only remaining unaltered bridges built by the program.  

Another great spot in town with a pioneer history is the O’Fallon’s Bluff. The bluffs are 20 miles long and sit along the South Platte River. Here, visitors can see the Oregon-California Trail wagon wheel ruts and old emigrant trails. You can see the ruts from wagon wheels today because of the thousands of wagons going over the dry bluffs.  Walking through the bluffs makes for a great day hike to enjoy nature and history.

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Beyond the bridge and pioneer history, Sutherland has a large State Recreation Area. The outdoor area has something for everyone, from boating to fishing, camping, and swimming. The recreation area is a popular alternative to Lake McConaughy since it is not as busy.

Whether visitors want to explore the bluffs or enjoy some time on the lake, Nebraska has some surprising outdoor adventures. The small-town vibes of these Nebraska towns and their unique outdoor attractions make them a perfect place for any outdoor enthusiast. The next time one plans a road trip, consider stopping in one of these towns for a pitstop. Whatever season folks are headed to Nebraska, there will be something that caters to the outdoorsy types.



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BOK Financial (NASDAQ:BOKF) & First National of Nebraska (OTCMKTS:FINN) Head to Head Analysis

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BOK Financial (NASDAQ:BOKF) & First National of Nebraska (OTCMKTS:FINN) Head to Head Analysis



First National of Nebraska (OTCMKTS:FINN – Get Free Report) and BOK Financial (NASDAQ:BOKF – Get Free Report) are both mid-cap finance companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, profitability, analyst recommendations, earnings, risk, valuation and dividends.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares First National of Nebraska and BOK Financial’s revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First National of Nebraska N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
BOK Financial $3.13 billion 1.90 $530.75 million $6.86 13.42

BOK Financial has higher revenue and earnings than First National of Nebraska.

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Profitability

This table compares First National of Nebraska and BOK Financial’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
First National of Nebraska N/A N/A N/A
BOK Financial 13.93% 10.52% 1.06%

Institutional & Insider Ownership

0.7% of First National of Nebraska shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 34.4% of BOK Financial shares are owned by institutional investors. 41.7% of First National of Nebraska shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 56.9% of BOK Financial shares are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of current recommendations and price targets for First National of Nebraska and BOK Financial, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
First National of Nebraska 0 0 0 0 N/A
BOK Financial 0 9 1 0 2.10

BOK Financial has a consensus target price of $97.10, suggesting a potential upside of 5.49%. Given BOK Financial’s higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe BOK Financial is more favorable than First National of Nebraska.

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Risk and Volatility

First National of Nebraska has a beta of 0.36, meaning that its stock price is 64% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, BOK Financial has a beta of 1.2, meaning that its stock price is 20% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

BOK Financial beats First National of Nebraska on 9 of the 9 factors compared between the two stocks.

About First National of Nebraska

(Get Free Report)

First National of Nebraska, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for First National Bank of Omaha that provides various banking products and services. The company offers checking, savings, and individual retirement accounts; certificates of deposit; and credit cards. It also provides personal loans and lines of credit; auto loans; mortgage loans; home equity lines of credit and loans; small business loans and lines of credit; small business administration loans; and commercial lending solutions. In addition, the company offers treasury management, debt consolidation, financial planning, retirement planning, wealth management, merchant, and payroll services; and personal, commercial, and farm insurance products. Further, it provides solutions for agribusiness, commercial real estate, healthcare, transportation, and correspondent banking; investment services, such as capital market and institutional asset management; and digital banking services. First National of Nebraska, Inc. was founded in 1857 and is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.

About BOK Financial

(Get Free Report)

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BOK Financial Corporation operates as the financial holding company for BOKF, NA that provides various financial products and services in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Northwest Arkansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Kansas/Missouri. It operates through three segments: Commercial Banking, Consumer Banking, and Wealth Management. The Commercial Banking segment offers lending, treasury, cash management, and customer commodity risk management products for small businesses, middle market, and larger commercial customers, as well as operates TransFund electronic funds transfer network. The Consumer Banking segment engages in the provision of retail lending and deposit services to small business customers through retail branch network; and mortgage loan origination and servicing activities. The Wealth Management segment offers fiduciary, private bank, insurance, and investment advisory services; and brokerage and trading services primarily related to providing liquidity to the mortgage markets through trading of U.S. government agency mortgage-backed securities and related derivative contracts, as well as underwrites state and municipal securities. The company also provides commercial loans, such as loans for working capital, facilities acquisition or expansion, purchases of equipment, and other needs of commercial customers; and service, healthcare, manufacturing, wholesale/retail, energy, and other sector loans. In addition, it offers commercial real estate loans for the construction of buildings or other improvements to real estate and property held by borrowers for investment purposes; residential mortgage and personal loans; and automated teller machine, call center, and Internet and mobile banking services. The company was founded in 1910 and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



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