Athlete. A 1981 graduate of Albion High School in Boone County, she was the first athlete in Nebraska high school girls’ track and field to win a gold medal in the same event each year of her high school career, 1978-1979-1989- 1981. She bettered her own initial mark in the high jump from 5’8” her freshman year to a record 5’10” her senior year. She was also a double gold medal winner on occasion in the long jump. She held the all class state record in the girls high jump up to 1987. The Class B marks of Sue (Lind) Nelson at the state track & field meet and through the season are still high on the all time list.
Coach. Ted Larson’s teams were always on the run. As a head coach at Lincoln Southeast, Larson’s teams won 24 state championships from 1983 to 2001 – 13 in girls cross country, 10 in boys cross country and one in boys track. The girls cross country team put together a streak of nine straight state championships from 1989 to 1997. In 1992, the Knights boys and girls set scoring records at the state cross country meet, one of five years his teams won both state titles. The national Coach of the Year in 1995, he also coached two years at Lincoln East and two years at Waverly before moving to Southeast. After 2001, he became the first cross country coach at Lincoln Southwest, adding another conference championship (his 28th) and an individual state champion (his sixth) before retiring in 2008.
Contributor. The contribution sportswriters make to the understanding and enjoyment of high school athletics is immeasurable. One of the best was Don Lee, who spent 44 years covering sports as a reliable scribe for the Omaha World-Herald newspaper. He was present for 35 consecutive state basketball tournaments and 35 state track meets. Though his talents extended to the occasional coverage of college sports as well as golf, boxing, horse racing, figure skating and hockey, his close ties with Nebraska high school sports remained paramount. He was very familiar with the vanishing numbers of high schools and the consolidation movement and he made sure that the small town teams as well as the metropolitan giants received proper and frequent coverage.
Athlete. Millard North (1997)
Kelly Lindsey enjoyed a golden high school career in cross country and soccer. A Parade All-American, she led the Mustangs to the state soccer championship during her freshman and senior senior seasons, scoring 99 goals in her career. In cross country, she won the Class A gold medal three times – her bid to be a four-time state champion ended when with a rib injury halfway through the state meet race. She also lettered in basketball all four years for the Mustangs. A member of the under-20 national soccer team, she was a four-year starter at Notre Dame and went on to play professional soccer for three years. She has coached professional and college soccer teams.
Athlete. One of the best girl basketball players in high school history, this 1979 graduate of Platteview High School in Springfield, Sarpy County, was a favorite with fans from the time she first stepped on to any athletic arena for her varsity team. She was named all-state in both volleyball and basketball, and she won the Class B high jump in 1977. Despite all this versatility, she was a basketball player, a real star in this sport. Her statistics: 1,492 career points, a single season record of 533, and a point average of more than 22 a game in her last two years of high school. Basketball was her sport, for sure. She played four years at the University of Nebraska.
An all-around athlete, he was a four-year starter in football and basketball. On the basketball court, he led Clearwater in scoring all four years, finishing with 1,673 points, including 55 against Chambers during his senior season. He was also credited with 32 rebounds in a single game and averaged 21.9 rebounds per game during his career. In track, he went to state every year and as a senior, helped the Cardinals to a share of the Class D team title by winning the shot and discus and taking second in the high jump. On the baseball diamond, he pitched at Pershing College and played in the minor leagues. He has enjoyed a successful coaching career in American Legion baseball.
Before graduating from Ainsworth High School in 1939, Ralph had an outstanding career in all three sports offered at that time. His honors included being selected twice to the All State Teams in basketball and once football. His track events were the pole vault and high jump. In order to gain more practice time Ralph built a pole vault pit in his back yard and even taught his sister how to do the vault. Going on to Creighton U. he quickly established himself as a real “Blue Chipper”. Referred to by some sports writers as the “Blonde Bombshell” he led Creighton’s high point chart all four years he played. Ralph was selected to the All American first team in 1942 and 1943. After college Uncle Sam picked up his option and he was assigned to the famed 10th Mountain Infantry Division. He got one more crack at basketball before going overseas by playing for the Army in an AAU tourney in Colorado Springs. The hastily put together team almost won it all playing against top rated AAU teams of the time. Ralph missed the final game when he was called back to his outfit for maneuvers. He saw duty overseas in the battle for Sicily where he was wounded, received the purple heart and went to Fitzsimmons hospital in Denver for recovery. With his recovery complete he signed on with the Denver Nuggets in 1946. Creighton University Hall of Fame in 2000. Died October 1998.
When Darrell Lenz met with the captains before a game, he reminded them, “We are here to help you play your game.” Lenz started as a coach, but when he gave up the coach’s clipboard for the administrator’s desk, he held onto the whistle. Starting in 1964, Lenz embarked on a 42-year career of officiating high school and junior high football and basketball in Nebraska. He officiated 26 playoff football games as well as numerous district and regional basketball contests. He mentored new officials he brought on to his crew, stressing that they were part of the team. He developed a deep understanding of the rules, which he studied constantly throughout his many seasons.
Coach–Creighton Preparatory High School, located in Omaha, has had a plethora of great coaches over the years, but none better at the game of football than Coach Leahy. 1955 would be but one good example. That fall the Bluejays compiled a record of eight wins, no losses and one tie, ending up ranked number one in the state in Class A. In a 17 year coaching career at Prep, Coach Don Leahy had 118 wins on the gridiron, just 25 losses and 7 ties. He had four unbeaten teams and annually kept Prep at the top of football ratings. Perhaps part of his keen understanding of the programs here is that he was himself an outstanding high school player during his own secondary education at Creighton Prep. His pass-run oriented teams woneight state championships.
A graduate of Marquette University, he was one of the top collegiate quarterbacks in the country and played in the Blue-Grey Game in 1951.
Leahy’s name was synonymous with Omaha sports for decades. Athletic director at both UNO & Creighton followed his illustrious high school career.
A five-time gold-medal swimmer
at the state meet, the seven-time high school All-American still held the
state record in the 100-yard butterfly in 2004. That mark was the second-fastest in
the nation his senior year. He started on Millard South’s state runner-up
baseball teams of 1983 and 1984. He was honored by the American Legion as
being Omaha’s No. 1 scholar/athlete in 1984. He was inducted into the
Metropolitan Conference’s hall of fame in 2002. At the University of Alabama, he lettered
in swimming in 1985 and baseball in 1986 and 1987.