Our college sports circle is bustling with action – from Creighton University, which joined the Big East Conference in 2013, to the University of Nebraska Omaha and its history-making Maverick hockey team.

The UNO squad, which had more freshmen on the roster than seniors and juniors combined, made its first appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four in April 2015, a run few expected at the start of the season. While the Division I Mavs fell short of the championship, they still brought a whole new level of credibility to our hockey scene.

In October 2015, the Mavs made history again as the first team to play in UNO’s $82 million Baxter Arena. The 7,500-seat facility serves UNO’s basketball and volleyball teams and the community at large and plays an important role in helping to recruit top athletes.

Iowa Western Community College has established itself as a local sports powerhouse. The Reivers won the NJCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 2014. They returned to the NJCAA World Series in 2015 but fell short of earning a back-to-back title. the Reivers football team generated plenty of excitement last season as well, playing in the NJCAA National Championship Game.

A former Reivers standout continued his upward arc from small-school prep star to NFL prospect in 2015. Quarterback Jake Waters agreed to a free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This piece was an excerpt from Omaha: We Don’t Coast magazine, published by the Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha World-Herald. For more stories, click here