Bellevue (Class of 1973)
A three-sport athlete at Bellevue High School, Rik Bonness shone brightest on the football field where he played center and linebacker, earning all-state honors his senior season and earning a scholarship to play at Nebraska. For the Cornhuskers, Bonness achieved the honor of being the seventh two-time All-American playing center. The Oakland Raiders drafted him in the third round of the NFL Draft. Converted back to linebacker, he played 59 games in the NFL for the Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a member of the Raiders’ Super Bowl championship team of 1977.
Omaha South (Class of 1958)
Richard Brown played a crucial role in bringing a championship atmosphere to Omaha South. A four-time state wrestling finalist and three-time champion, he led the Packers to three straight state championships in wrestling. In football, the standout halfback and cornerback helped the Packers win the mythical state championship in 1957. He furthered his wrestling career at Iowa State, finishing third in the Big Eight Tournament in 1960. After college, Brown taught and coached at Wesley House for 26 years and served as the youth district director for USA Wrestling Nebraska.
An outstanding athlete at Geneva High School and the University of Nebraska, Larry Bornschlegl never got far away from the playing field, enjoying a long career as a coach, school administrator and referee. Considered one of the premier basketball referees in the 1970s and ‘80s, Bornschlegl completed a basketball officiating career that covered 20 years and included 10 state tournaments and eight state championship games. After putting away the whistle, he dedicated his efforts to improve the quality of officiating, offering advice while helping develop the Nebraska School Activities Association’s program of observing and evaluating officials. He has served as an observer for more than 20 years.
Chappell (Class of 1997)
Kim (Behrends) Buckendahl rewrote Nebraska high school volleyball’s record books. From her 42 kills in the state championship match to her 1,643 career kills, Behrends dominated small-town volleyball like no other. She led Chappell to back-to-back undefeated state championships and a 55-match winning streak. All-class all-state for two years and Class D-1 all-state all four years, she earned Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 1996 and was Volleyball Magazine’s runner-up for National Player of the Year. Also a basketball standout, she finished her career with 1,384 points. The Lincoln Journal-Star’s 1997 Female Athlete of the Year, Behrends went on to letter four years on the Nebraska Cornhuskers volleyball team and was one of the tri-captains on the 34-0 national championship team of 2000.
Jim Barker arrived at Scottsbluff in 1988 and turned the Bearcats into a cross country power – a project that has resulted in 11 boys state championships, more than any other coach in Nebraska history. In addition, the Scottsbluff boys accumulated five runner-up finishes. In his 28 years at the helm, the Scottsbluff boys qualified for state 26 times, finishing in the top four 22 times. Dedicated to the success and improvements of all on his team, not just the best, he also coached a number of highly successful girls cross country teams, including two state runner-up squads. He coached girls and boys track and field for nine years, including the 2012 boys team that won the Class B championship and the 2013 and 2015 boys squads that placed second. He retired as the school’s track coach in 2016, but he continues to coach cross country.
Omaha South (Class of 1991)
Terrance Badgett, a two-time all-state player, led the Packers to the Class A state championship in 1990 and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game the following year while earning honors as the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year. A Nebraska Cornhusker recruit, he made the Big Eight All-Freshman team and, as a senior, was named to the Big Eight All-Bench team. As a Husker he played in 127 games and scored more than 200 points each season, finishing with a career total of 953. He played professionally for five seasons in the U.S. and overseas.
Coach. One of a handful of great high school football coaches for Lincoln High School over the years, his success began as a student Red and Black-clad Link himself, lettering in both basketball and football days. During the early 1930s he was both a basketball and football coach for Jackson High School in Lincoln, then competing at the Class A level, with his hardwood athletes reaching championship levels there. Starting in 1936, he became a head coach in a number of sports at Lincoln High School and for over a decade he was a winner in each.
In basketball, the Links earned a hard-fought Class A State Championship Tournament in 1938. His 1942 and 1944 track teams were also state champions. In the late 1940s, his golf teams were unsurpassed. Most remembered are his great football teams, winning six state championships under his guiding hand. Ralph Beechner and Lincoln High had a seven-year stretch where the football team won 65 games, lost seven and tied four.
The athletic stadium at Lincoln High School today appropriately bears his name.
Class of 1969
A defensive stalwart on the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ Team of the Century, Blahak made his mark on the high school scene competing in football, basketball and track. A Class B all-state football player in 1968, he led Scotus in rushing, scoring and interceptions as the Shamrocks claimed a state title. He led the basketball team in scoring his senior year, and turned to track in the spring where he won five state meet gold medals. His junior year, he won the 100-yard dash, the 180-yard low hurdles and the long jump. As a senior, he won the low hurdles and the long jump and qualified for the state meet in all five field events as well as the 100 and the 880-yard relay. At Nebraska, he started at cornerback for three years, earning All-Big Eight honors twice and second-team All-America honors as a senior. He went on to play five years in the NFL.
Athlete, 1971. The 1971 Fremont graduate picked up seven varsity letters in high school, two in football, three in basketball and two in track. Football honors included All State twice and All Conference twice, 1969 to 1970, and in 1970 was selected High School American both academic and athletic. Football found him running, catching, kicking field goals and playing defense. In basketball, he was twice All State honorable mention and twice All Conference. In track , won the All Class Gold Medal in the 400 yard dash with a time of 49.6 (pre metric) in the 1971 State Track Meet. In 1971 he was selected as runner-up High School Athlete of the Year selected by both the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World Herald. University of Nebraska football, three letters. He started as wingback in 1973 and moved to split end in the ’74 season and led the team in receiving yardage. Selected Academic All Big 8 receiver in 1973. Drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in 1975, but due to a back injury couldn’t pass the physical. Now a CPA, he lives and works in Lincoln.
Coach, Humphrey St. Francis: Brungardt compiled a career basketball coaching record of 473-159 over 29 years, winning Class D-1 state championships in 1990, 1992 and 1994 at Humphrey St. Francis as well as a state runner-up trophy in 1988. He also coached at Hayden High School in Topeka, Kan.; Cathedral High School in Denver; Norfolk Catholic; St. Bede Academy in Peru, Ill.; and Battle Creek. His Cathedral team finished second in the Colorado Parochial League state tournament.