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.
Athlete. This 1982 graduate of Omaha Benson High School ranks near the top of any all-time list of great Nebraska high school basketball players. He led the Benson Bunnies to the state tournament twice, to a state runner-up his senior year. He amassed over 1,200 high school points, understandable in view of his accuracy. Averaged 23.9 in 1982 in his senior year, a figure helped by 64.5 field goal shooting accuracy. Surpassed 1200 points in his career. Top game: 42 points. Member of first Nebraska all-star team that competed in Las Vegas during the summer. All-state twice. Had a strong career at the University of Nebraska (all Big-Eight). His career record at NU was an incredible 2,167 points. An unfortunate injury limited and shortened a professional basketball career.
Contributor. The long-time coordinator of physical education and athletics for the Omaha Public School system from 1979-1998, Duane Haith made it possible for the Nebraska School Activities Association to have track, baseball, softball, tennis and soccer state championship events in Omaha, including serving as co-meet director of the combined boy-girl state track meet for 25 years and the softball tournament for 10 years. He also has been an administrator/advisor to the State Special Olympics and Junior Olympics programs. He joined the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame board of directors in 1995 and served as board president from 1996 to 2000. Honors have come from the Omaha Sportscasters Association, Nebraska Athletic Directors, Coaches Association and Nebraska School Activities Association. Plattsmouth High School graduate. College degrees: Peru State, University of Nebraska.
Hartington Cedar Catholic
Russ Hochstein turned an all-around athletic career at Hartington Cedar Catholic into a football career that culminated in three Super Bowl Rings. A BlueChip Illustrated football All-American as a senior, Hochstein was a 12-time letterman at Cedar Catholic, earning all-state honors for three years in football and basketball and broke the schools 23-year -old shot put record in track. He came close to logging more that 100 tackles three years running and averaged a double-double on the basketball court (15 points, 10 rebounds) as a senior. An all-class, all-state offensive lineman as a senior, Hochstein signed to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers where he was a first-team All-American and a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection. In his 12-year NFL career, he became the second player to win a Super Bowl ring in three consecutive years.
Athlete. A 1973 graduate of Boys Town High School, this sturdy, exciting athlete set the standards for high school track & field in an era when more multiple-races were permitted by high school authorities. Barney Hill became the first back-to-back Class A cross country champion in 1971 and 1972. Perhaps his cross country exploits showed what he could do if allowed to run more than one distance race in track. In 1973, he accomplished a very rare triple victory in the state track meet: winning gold medals in the 880-yard run, the mile run and the two mile run. He won the mile title two years in a row. The times recorded for Barney Hill are still very high on the all-time lists for both the half-mile and the mile.