Cambridge (Class of 2003)
Christina (Houghtelling) Hudson enjoyed the high school career of dreams. All-class all-state in volleyball and basketball, three all-class gold medals in track, superior ratings in music and class valedictorian, the 2003 Prep Athlete of the Year led Cambridge High School to the state volleyball and basketball tournaments while earning letters in all three sports for four years. Her legacy of honors continued at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she played an integral role in the Huskers’ four Big 12 championships and two Final Four appearances. Named the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year as a junior, she was a two-time All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Kearney High (Class of 1967)
Tom Heller was the epitome of the natural athlete. Name the sport, Heller, the 1967 Athlete of the Year, excelled. Bob Devaney once said he could have played all 22 positions at college football’s highest level. Heller was the first Kearney High football player to rush for 1,000 yards, earning all-state honors while leading the Bearcats to a 10-1 record. He also earned all-state honors in basketball and qualified for the state track meet in the hurdles. At Nebraska, he was a part-time starter as a defensive back and kick returner before leaving after his sophomore year to join the Navy. After his military service, he went on to coach in Colorado where he was a positive influence on many young athletes
DON “TOT” HOLMES
As the sports editor of the Tri-City Tribune, Don “Tot” Holmes used his story-telling skills and a fascination for statistics to develop the newspaper into the center of attention in Dawson County and the surrounding area. Focusing on the Southwest and Hi-Line Conferences, Holmes brought attention and notoriety to thousands of high school athletes. An avid sports fan, Holmes launched the Gothenburg Little League baseball program and was active in other youth programs. He also published comprehensive annual reviews of the Los Angeles Dodgers. An avid historian, he has written books covering 100-year histories of Gothenburg High School football and track.
Rick Hesse put Clearwater on the map. Called a “true mentor” who taught life lessons along with basketball, Hesse built a dynasty that became the first school to win four consecutive boys’ basketball state championships from 1984-87. After 22 years at Clearwater, Hesse moved on to Valentine where he wrapped up his career with 440 wins and 12 state tournament appearances. Noted for rewarding positive actions with a wink or a smile and not raising his voice while correcting his players, he also coached Clearwater’s volleyball team for 10 years, leading the Cardinals to its first state tournament appearance.
Title IX and Pat Hoblyn arrived at Ansley High School at the same time, and they had an immediate impact. In her first year as the school’s volleyball coach, she led the Warriors to a 19-0 record and a state championship. She continued to coach the team for more than 40 years. At the time of her induction, she had celebrated five state championships, one runner-up finish and had compiled 681 victories and a .748 winning percentage. Her teams won 25 Loup Valley Conference titles and a total of 37 tournaments. In addition to coaching volleyball, she was head basketball coach for two years and coached boys and girls track for 17 years, winning a total of 13 conference championships and two girls’ state runner-up trophies.
Few teams have ever enjoyed the dominance of Coach Brad Hildebrandt’s Skutt Catholic wrestling teams. During his tenure from 1993 to 2015, he led the SkyHawks to a total of 20 state wrestling championships – 17 team titles and three dual championships. The run included 13 straight Class B titles from 1998-2010. After a runner-up finish in 2011, the SkyHawks embarked on another string of state titles that carried on beyond his retirement. An Omaha firefighter whose passion was coaching wrestling, Hildebrandt strived to use wrestling to prepare for life. His teams produced 63 individual champions, six high school All-Americans, 101 state medalists and 154 state qualifiers.
Dennis Harrison competed at the top of a very elite group of gymnasts, winning two state high school all-around championships and a total of nine state gold medals. For the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Harrison was an 11-time All-American and the 1994 NCAA all-around champion. A five-time Big Eight champion, Harrison and the Huskers qualified for the NCAAs all four seasons, earning runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1993 before winning the national title in 1994. He set the Husker record in the floor exercise (9.90) and his career-best all-around score of 58.50 ranked second. He competed for the U.S. National Team 10 times, winning the all-around bronze medal at the 1993 World University Games.
Athlete. During the last years of World War II, a young man at Avoca High School in Cass County was stirring up sportswriters and basketball fans with his high-scoring basketball talents. This was Jack Hallstrom, a 1946 graduate, who had a remarkable record during high school of 1,840 points scored on the hardwood. All-state from his sophomore year onward (1944-45-46), he led the Avoca Cardinals to the state tournament with good success such as 27-1 in 1944 and 30-3 in 1946. After an excellent college career at Peru College, he became an outstanding educator in Douglas County, Nebraska, and is remembered as a founder of the Omaha Metropolitan Conference Holiday Basketball Tournament. Also instrumental in the development of the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame.
Athlete. An all-around athlete who stood out in football, basketball and track through high school and college, Hokuf was called “The greatest all-around Cornhusker of them all,” by Omaha World-Herald sports editor Frederick Ware. In high school, Hokuf was a two-time all-state selection in basketball and as an end in football. He also won the 1928 high school state pentathlon. At the University of Nebraska, he earned nine letters He was All-Big Six in football in 1929, 1930 and 1932 and was All-Big Six in basketball in 1931 and 1933. He earned All-American honors in 1933. He was the Big Six javelin champion in 1933. He played three years of professional baseball for the Boston Redskins and tried his hand at minor league baseball. He was an assistant football coach at Wyoming, Columbia and Pittsburgh universities before becoming head coach at Lafayette College and Baltimore Junior College. He has been inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame and the Maryland Football Hall of Fame. Deceased.
Cedric Hunter dribbled through one of the greatest eras of basketball in Nebraska High School history. The Omaha South guard who lettered in all four years, averaged more than 23 points per game as a junior and then scored 27.3 points per game as a senior and was selected the captain of the Omaha World-Herald’s All-Nebraska squad. He went on to play at Kansas, starting eight games as a freshman and 107 in his four-year career. He finished with 1,022 points for the Jayhawks and set the school’s single-season record for assists. He went on to play for the Charlotte Hornets for three years before a long career in the CBA/WBL where he set career records for assists and steals.