Three people with ties to Wayne are among six coaches, 12 athletes, two contributors and an official who will be among the Class of 2016 that is inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame this fall.
Don Meyer, a Wayne High School graduate, Linda (Schnitzler) Walker of Battle Creek, a standout athlete at Wayne State College in the late 1980’s, and longtime official Jim Paige are among those being inducted this year.
Meyer was a 1963 Wayne High graduate who averaged 20 points per game during his senior year in high school. A two-year starter in football and basketball and an ace pitcher in baseball, he went on to earn All-America honors in basketball at Northern Colorado. He coached David Lipscomb to back-to-back NAIA national championships before finishing his career at Northern State (S.D.), winning more than 900 games in his college coaching career.
The former Linda Schnitzler was a 1985 graduate of Battle Creek High School who played key roles in the Bravettes’ success in the mid 1980s, earning all-state honors in basketball as the Bravettes won back-to-back Class C-1 state championships in 1984 and 1985. She was an all-conference volleyball player and a four-year qualifier for the state track meet. At Wayne State, she set numerous basketball records and was a two-time track All-American.
Paige officiated football and basketball for 53 years and was a track starter for 35 years. He has worked the triple jump at the state track meet for 30 years.
Also inducted as part of the Class of 2016 are the following:
– Terrance Badgett, Omaha South, 1991: Led Packers to the 1990 state basketball championship and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds as a senior while earning all-state honors. He lettered at Nebraska for four years.
– Charlie Borner Jr., Lincoln High, 1964: Won back-to-back Class A state high school golf titles, leading the Links to the team title in 1964. He lettered three years at Nebraska, qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championships three times and played in the U.S. Senior Open.
– Michael “Tony” Davis, Tecumseh, 1971: Rushed for more than 5,000 yards for the Indians, including 1,700 yards his junior and senior seasons. He earned all-state and All-American honors in 1969 and 1970, started in basketball and was a state qualifier in track as a hurdler. He started at I-back and fullback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and played six seasons in the NFL and one in the USFL.
– Stacy (Jakubowski) Longacre, Howells, 1981: Earned 12 varsity letters, leading the Bobcats to six state volleyball and basketball tournaments, including the state volleyball championship in 1981. A two-time Class C state champion in the high jump, she earned Class C all-state honors in basketball and all-class all-state in volleyball. She was a three-time letter winner in volleyball at Kearney State College.
– Jon McWilliams, Sidney, 1952: Starred in three sports at Sidney during all four years, helping the Raiders win the state track title in 1952. He was Class B all-state in football as a senior and named the top athlete in Western Nebraska in 1952. He earned All-Big Seven honors playing end at Nebraska and lettered in track before going on to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.
– Rick Meyer, Superior, 1980: Set the state record in the discus and earned all-state honors in football and basketball. At the University of Houston, he was a three-time All-American, setting the NCAA national meet record in the discus in 1985. He was selected to participate in the Olympic Festival seven times, winning the discus in 1986, and was an alternate for the U.S. Olympic team in 1992.
– Kevin Ramaekers, Norfolk Catholic 1988: Won state championships in football, as a heavyweight wrestler and in the shot put – in which he won two all-class gold medals and set a state record. A high school All-American in football, he went on to play at Nebraska, earning All-Big Eight honors as a defensive tackle.
– Sarah Sasse-Kildow, Lincoln High, 1998: Went undefeated in every girls golf tournament her senior year, capped by back-to-back individual state championships. She became the University of Nebraska's first NCAA All-American in golf and won the Big XII championship in 2003. She played professionally for five years and was featured on The Golf Channel's Big Break series.
– Laura (Spanheimer) DeChant, Omaha Marian, 2001: Led Marian to back-to-back state championships in cross country and basketball, winning the individual gold medal at the state cross country meet in 2000. She won eight gold medals at the state track meet and went on to start 122 basketball games at Creighton where she still holds the record for career steals.
– Bill Weber, Lincoln Southeast, 1980: Played in seven state high school state tournaments and three more in Legion baseball. He was all-state in football while earning all-city football, basketball and baseball. At the University of Nebraska, he started at defensive end for three years, earning All-Big Eight honors in 1984.
– Jim Barker, Scottsbluff: Has guided the Bearcats to 11 state championships and five runner-up finishes during his 34-year stint as the boys cross country coach at Scottsbluff. He also coached the girls cross country team to a state runner-up finish and scored one state track championship during eight years as head coach.
– Randy Carpenter, Lexington: Started the girls basketball program at Lexington in 1974, coaching the Minutemaids for 37 years, including two state championships, two runner-up finishes and 13 district championships. He retired with 492 victories.
– Charlie Gordon, Lincoln Southeast: Coached baseball for 30 years, guiding the Knights to five state championships and four runner-up finishes. His 1958 team provided the school with its first state championship.
– Brad Hildebrandt, Omaha Skutt Catholic: Led the SkyHawks to a total of 20 state wrestling championships (17 team, three dual) from 1993 to 2015. His teams produced 63 individual champions and six high school All-Americans.
– Pat Hoblyn, Ansley: Coaching volleyball for 40 years, she has accumulated 681 victories, five state championships, one state runner-up finish and 25 Loup Valley Conference titles. Also the head boys and girls track coach, she has led the Warriors to two state runner-up finishes.
– Alan Van Cura, Hastings St. Cecilia: Coached the Hawkettes to six state volleyball championships and 19 district championships. He retired with 830 victories. As the girls track coach for 36 years, plus three as boys coach, he led teams to 17 district titles, three state runner-up finishes and the 1980 Class C title.
– Mike Purdy, Bellevue: The executive director of the state athletic directors association, , he has been extensively involved in high school and middle school sports in Bellevue as a teacher, coach and administrator.
– Jim Tenopir, Lincoln: Served as Chief Operating Officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations after serving as Executive Director of the Nebraska School Activities Association. A former athletic director and superintendent at Scottsbluff, McCook and Cambridge, he returned to the NSAA as Interim Executive Director in 2015.
Great Moment in Nebraska High School Sports – Jeralyn Poe, Lincoln North Star. In 2014 she completed a four-year reign as the state cross country gold-medal champion.
Dominant Dynasty – Chadron girls golf team, 1981-84. Led by Hall of Fame inductee Susan Roll, the Cardinals won four state titles with the lowest all-class score in three of the four years.
Dominant Dynasty – Papillion-LaVista softball team, 1993-2014. The Monarchs qualified for the state tournament every year, winning 13 state titles and finishing second four times. The Monarchs won 10 straight state titles from 1995 to 2004.
Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award – Sophie Tate, Columbus cheerleader. Born with one leg, she began dancing in kindergarten and took up cheerleading in high school where she performed stunts including back handsprings. Now cheering for Nebraska Wesleyan.
Fischer Family Award – Jerry and Tina McClain family, Chadron. Standout athletes at Mayville (N.D.) State, they moved to Chadron in 1991 where their six children have participated in three sports every year of high school, with sons Joe and John becoming four-year starters at quarterback for Chadron State College. Jake won all-conference honors in baseball three times at Mayville State, while Jamie Jasmine helped Chadron qualify for the state tournament in volleyball and basketball.
Golden Anniversary Team: Holdrege basketball and golf, 1967. The Dusters went 23-1 in basketball, losing only to Grand Island, one of eight Class A games on their schedule. They defeated Schuyler's “Jolly Green Giants” 66-54 in the state final. In golf, the Dusters shot the lowest single-round Class B score (237) to date while winning the first of back-to-back state titles.
Golden Anniversary Team: Rushville football and wrestling. The Longhorns went 11-0 in football, scoring 44.5 points per game while giving up 4.9, and claimed the Class C wrestling title while crowning two individual champions.
Silver Anniversary Team: Bertrand football and basketball, 1991-92. The Vikings went 13-0 in football while winning the Class C-2 state championship, then went 22-1 in basketball to complete the sweep.
Silver Anniversary Team: Lincoln Pius X girls basketball, 1991-92. The Thunderbolts went 25-0 while winning the Class B state title. The seniors graduated with a three-year record of 70-2.
The Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremony this fall, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2 at Lincoln East High School. For more information, go to nebhalloffame.org.
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