Howells (Class of 1981) A proven winner, Stacy Jakubowski led Howells to the state championship in volleyball and a state runner-up finish in basketball. A four-year, three sport letterman, Jakubowski placed in the high jump at the state track meet all four years, winning gold medals her junior and senior seasons. A three year starter in volleyball and basketball, she helped the Bobcats to a 79-5 record on the hardwood and a 74-9 record on the volleyball court. Her senior season in basketball, she averaged 16.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. A hard-worker who often stayed an hour after practice to perfect aspects of her game, she earned all-state honors in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior years. The Fremont Tribune Athlete of the Year in 1981, she played volleyball and ran track at Kearney State College, earning NAIA All-American honors in the high jump.

CHARLES BORNER, JR. – Lincoln High

Lincoln High (Class of 1964)






The face of Lincoln’s Hillcrest Country Club as the resident teaching professional who stresses fundamentals and a respect for the game, Charles Borner, Jr., forged a very successful competitive golf career that included back-to-back Class A state championships in 1963 and 1964, a feat not matched for 49 years. The first junior golfer to win the Lincoln city championship for adults, Borner led Lincoln High to the state team championship in 1964 and went on to letter three years at Nebraska. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championships three times and played in the U.S. Senior Open. In the Western Amateur in Wichita, KS, in 1970, Borner lost in the final to future PGA Champion LannyWadkins and, on the way to the final, defeated Paul Purtzer, Tom Watson and John Mahaffey. His early teaching experience included seven years as coach at North Platte High School.

Shona Jones Smith – Hastings

Athlete. Shona Jones Smith didn’t wait until high school to start winning gold medals. In grades 7 and 8 she was an age group AAU national champion in cross country. In high school cross country she was undefeated all four years, which of course made her a four-time Class A state champion. Competing in track and field, she was a gold medal champion in the 800, 1600, and 3200 meter runs. In fact, she scored all of Hastings High’s points in the 1986 state meet winning the 1600 and 3200 meter runs. Her 1984 time of 4:59.60 rated on the ‘best of the all-time” chart, as did her 10:40.3 in the 3200. During the winter months she played basketball and was a starter for three years.

By Tony Boone, Hastings Tribune – October 2001

Shona (Jones) Smith lives with her husband, Jon, and 13-year-old son Zach not far from Hastings High School. From her home, she sees many of the local track and cross country athletes training for their respective seasons.

“I see a lot of kids out running,” Smith said. “And I can’t help but think about it.”

That’s because running has been such a big part of her life.

During her career at Hastings High (from 1982-86), Smith was the top distance runner in the state. Her achievements in track and cross country recently earned her a spot in the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame’s class of 2001.

Smith still loves to run, except her event today is a three-to-five mile jog with her family’s dogs twice a day. For the past 14 years, Smith has spent her days working at Armour Foods in Hastings. She spends the rest of her time being a wife and mother and fulfills her love for athletics by watching Zach participate in football and soccer at Hastings Middle School.

Smith said she misses the thrill of running at times. But competitive racing is a thing of the past, at least for now.

Smith said she owes a lot of her success in racing to her father, Dick Jones. The two started running together when she was eight years old. Their workouts became the reason her father quit smoking.

He was her biggest supporter and fan, she said, pushing her to always get better.  “He was always reading something and finding all these different workouts,” she said. “Even after track practice there was always more.” Her father taught her to never be satisfied with her performance and to always try to improve.

“I was always concerned with bettering myself every time out,” Smith said. “I always ran against the clock, not against other people. I wanted to know every split of every lap and my dad would be there to yell them out. Then I would pick up the pace if I needed to.”  Smith said none of her races ever ended at the finish line. “No matter how tired I was, I always kept running until I met my dad,” she said. “I had to see what he thought of my race.”

Smith’s high school cross country and track careers were almost too good to believe. She was the first girl to win four consecutive state cross country championships. Smith also won five individual gold medals in her career at the state track and field meet.  Her times in the 1,600 meter run (4:59.6) and 3,200 meter run (10:40.3) are still atop the all-time Tribland track chart. Smith finds that fact somewhat surprising.

“They’ll break them one of these days,” she said. “When they do, a part of me would be a little bummed, but I would be very happy for that individual. I know they’d have to work very hard to beat them, because I know what kind of commitment I had to make.”

As a senior, Smith won state titles in the 1,600 and 3,200. She also won the 1,600 as a junior.  Her sophomore year, she was the 800 and 3,200 meter champion.

Calvin Jones – Omaha Central

Calvin Jones

Omaha Central


 Calvin Jones speed put him at the front of Nebraskas football and track scene.  A prep All-American, Jones averaged 8.4 yards per carry as a senior and established Class A single-game (367 yards), single-season (2,196 yards) and career (3,965 yards) rushing records.  On the track, he won five gold medals at the state track meet, winning the 100 and 200 meter dashes as a senior and running on Centrals winning 400 meter relay.  The Lincoln Journal-Star Prep Athlete of the Year in 1990, he went on to rush for 3,153 yards for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and earned third-team All-American honors before turning pro.  Drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Raiders, Jones earned a Super Bowl championship ring with the Green Bay Packers in 1997.

Willis Jones – Beatrice

Coach. Willis Jones, according to noted sportswriter Gregg McBride was one of the top 10 prep football backs in the state. At Minden High he lettered seven times in three sports earning all-state honors in football and basketball and quarterbacked the Whippets to an undefeated season as a senior. After a service stint, he enrolled at UNL where he was a three-year letterman in track and holder of the Big 7 indoor high hurdle record in 7.5 seconds. Anxious to be a coach, he made it through college in three years and hitch-hiked to Beatrice for his first teaching and coaching job. Happily, they said in Beatrice, he didn’t leave. He was head track coach for the next 37 years. His teams won many conference and district championships as well as back-to-back Class A state meets in 1956 and ‘57. In ‘57 he was named high school coach of the year. Plus track duties, he also assisted at one time or another in football, frosh football, frosh boys and girls basketball, wrestling and cross country. Serving as the first athletic director at Beatrice, he was instrumental in the founding of the Nebraska Athletic Directors Association. The NSAA honored him in 1980 for his outstanding contributions to prep track.

Larry Jacobson – Omaha

Coach. Larry was a four year letterman at Homer High School participating in football, basketball and track.  He was his team’s leading rusher in football for two years and was selected to the all-state football team his senior year.  Graduating in 1956, he attended Kearney State College where he lettered in football and track all four years.  While playing football at Kearney he set records in rushing and was selected NAIA All-American.  Larry began his teaching career as a traveling physical education teacher for the Omaha Public Schools.  He later taught and coached at Monroe Junior High. During this time he also played for the Omaha Mustangs semipro football team.  In 1968 he was assigned to Burke High to teach physical education and coach gymnastics and wrestling.  In 1969 he became the head football coach for the Bulldogs and in his first year he produced Burke’s first winning season with a 6-3 record.  His overall record at Burke was 167-83-2 over a span of 26 years, 20 of which were winning seasons including a Metro championship, two undefeated regular seasons and two state runner-up teams.  Individual coaching and teaching honors include Shrine Bowl coach, Metro Coach of the Year, Burke High Teacher of the Year, and the 1991 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award.  Larry was inducted into the Kearney State Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1988.  He also received the Johnny Appleseed Award from the Nebraska State Arboretum Society for his work in planting trees around Burke Stadium and the high school campus, honoring individuals who had contributed heavily to the Burke program.  He also received the AK-SAR-BEN Service to Sports Award in 1995.  Larry still acts as Head Field Judge at the state track meet, a job he has held for 30 years.

John Johnette – Omaha Burke

Coach.  John Johnette, Omaha Burke’s first basketball coach, led the Bulldogs to state championships in 1977 and 1986. He compiled a 292-251 record in 25 years as Burke qualified for the state tournament 13 times. On the baseball diamond, Johnette coached from 1963 to 1970 and ended on a high note with a state championship in 1970. Johnette started at Omaha Benson, then moved to Omaha Beveridge before helping Burke get off the ground. He was one of the organizers of the Nebraska Coaches Association and in 1975 was selected as an assistant coach in the NCA All-Star Basketball Game. He was given the NCA’s Ed Johnson Award in 1981. In 1987, Johnette was awarded the Nebraska School Activities Association Outstanding Service Award in basketball.

Ed Johnson – Lincoln Northeast

HOF inducteeCoach–In his very first year as a head high school basketball coach in Nebraska, this legendary gentleman led the Lincoln Northeast boys rocketing to a Class A state championship by winning his first state tournament. For nearly forty years he would often repeat this performance, winning seven state titles in boys basketball and nearly 500 games in a career, second to none in the field. Observers were often mystified at his success which consisted of superb skill in inspiring the very best from his secondary school athletes, He had a knack of taking his talent (sometimes tall, sometimes small compared with other teams, sometimes quick and other times not so fast) and using the basics of the sport to mold winners year after year.  Teamwork and defense were the trademarks of his teams.



Charles “Deacon” Jones – Boys Town

Athlete. An NCAA cross country champion, Charles “Deacon” Jones set the American record in the steeplechase in 1957 and competed in the Olympics in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1956 and 1960. However, his first rewriting of the record books came while representing Boys Town where he set a national high school record in an AAU meet in St. Louis, Mo. Jones was the Nebraska high school Class A champion in the mile run and anchored Boys Town’s champion mile relay team. He played outfield on Boys Town’s baseball team, halfback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. He earned all-state honors in football and basketball as a senior and helped Boys Town win the Class A state basketball championship his senior year. He went on to compete in track and cross country at the University of Iowa.  Lives in Chicago.

Mary Lou Jasnoch Kucera – Oshkosh

HOF inductee


Athlete–A 1974 graduate of Garden County High School located in Oshkosh, this pioneering athlete was one of the first well-known girls high school track & field champions during the resurgent years for girls sports in Nebraska during the 1970s. In 1973 she led her high school to a grand championship in girls track. Winning 10 individual champion medals in state track meet competition, she set state records in three sprint races. Her time of 24.9 in the 200-meter dash in 1974 stood for fourteen years as a Class C state meet record. She won 10 gold medals in individual state track meet competition. She led Oshkosh to the grand championship team title in track in 1973. National record-holder in 50-yard dash.  Her youth running in the Junior Olympics programs produced records in sprint events at each and every age group in which she competed.