Their jerseys say “Verdigre”, so how does this pertain to Niobrara?
Even before the two town schools co-opted their sports programs in 2010, Niobrara girls have traveled to Verdigre to partake in its successful softball program ran by Dana Konopasek and Debbie Ives.
Konopasek and Ives began Verdigre’s softball program about 30 years ago, and because this was not a school affiliated sport, they chose not to use the school’s mascot.
They chose yellow for the jersey color because at that time, Verdigre’s school team colors were yellow and blue, but instead of blue they decide to change it up and go with black. With team colors of yellow and black the most logical mascot was a bee or better yet, a “Stinger”.
In the late 2000s, Niobrara girls started venturing over to Verdigre as Niobrara did not have a softball program. There have been an estimated 25 to 30 players from Niobrara to date that have played for the Stingers in the last 10 years. This year’s state qualifying 12U and 14U teams had a total of eight Niobrara students on its roster and the numbers rise when throw in the T-ball and 10U teams.
When Niobrara and Verdigre became the “Cougars,” the softball team remained the “Stingers,” as the softball program continued to be unaffiliated with the schools. But, it also generates players from other towns such as Creighton, Plainview and even Arizona.
They may be the “Verdigre Stingers” but they are still your Niobrara home town girls playing their hearts out for a team and sport they love.