Kiburz Leaves Sports Journalism for YMCA Sports Career

By Hunter Kiburz
Gothenburg Sports Director


Hello, my name is Hunter Kiburz. I am the sports director at the Gothenburg YMCA. As I am going on one year of working at the YMCA, I thought I would introduce myself. 

I grew up in Lexington, where I played basketball, baseball, and football. I enjoyed growing up in Lexington and being involved in sports. I graduated from Lexington High School in 2017. After high school, I continued my education at Wayne State College where I studied sports journalism. I enjoyed sports journalism because I stayed busy writing about all the sporting events at the college, and I had always hoped for a sports-related career.

After my third year at WSC, I decided that sports journalism wasn’t what I wanted to do forever so I decided to change my major. As I was going into my fifth year in college, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go with my career. During this time I considered construction. Although construction wasn’t something I enjoyed, I knew I needed to commit to a career path. This was a hard time in my life because I think every person wants to find something that they love to do and enjoy going to work every day.

A few weeks later, I received an email from the YMCA of the Prairie CEO Riley Gruntorad, who wanted to offer me the job of Sports Director in Gothenburg. This conversation was a pivotal moment for me because, after a short conversation with Mr. Gruntorad, I knew I was interested in this job. Growing up in Lexington, I constantly saw parents and community members volunteering to help with youth sports, and I wanted to be able to do the same.

A few days later, I was notified that I got the job, and I was excited to get started and move back to central Nebraska. My parents helped me find a place to live in Gothenburg, and I quickly got settled in. I officially started in May 2022, and by that time baseball season was right around the corner. Luckily with my background in baseball and helping the city of Lexington in the summers when I was younger, I had experience getting the fields ready. But there was a lot more work than just getting the fields ready. My summer consisted of putting kids on teams, finding umpires and coaches for the teams, and making sure they had everything they needed to have a successful summer season of baseball. I appreciated the volunteer coaches for spending their summer making this youth sport possible, as well as everyone who helped me out during my first summer here.

Working in Gothenburg has been great because of the community and the people I work with. I also enjoy helping with adult sports at the YMCA, including coed softball, basketball, and volleyball. Helping with adult sports is a nice change of pace, and I even get to join in on these activities every once in a while.

Besides sports-related activities, I also enjoy helping Antonia Mendez with the after school program. I help pick up the kids from school and find activities to do together at the YMCA. Another person who is always there to help me is Micah Waskowiak. He helps me whenever I need help with a social media post, getting the fields ready, or setting up basketball hoops.

Julie Czochara is someone I look up to a lot. After one of my first conversations with Julie over Zoom, I knew she was going to be an amazing boss and easy to work with. She has made this an easy role for me to jump into and helps me with any questions I have along the way. I think the people that I work with really help make this job enjoyable and keep me motivated to come to work every day with a positive attitude.

Overall, I am grateful for the community of Gothenburg and my co-workers for making this first year in Gothenburg so amazing. I am also grateful for Julie and Riley Gruntorad for giving me the opportunity to work here at the Gothenburg YMCA, and I hope to continue working with the community and doing what I love.

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