Janet Kruse Sellon-Blair

Athlete

Blair (Class of 1987)

Janet (Kruse) Sellon shredded opposing volleyball defenses. With nearly half of her attacks resulting in kills, she proved to be a dynamic volleyball player, starting four years at Blair and earning all-state honors her junior and senior seasons. She also started for three years in basketball, earning all-state honors, and she was a state champion high jumper. But volleyball paved the way in college where she became a three-year starter and a four-time letterwinner for the Nebraska Cornhusker volleyball team. She was Nebraska’s first three-time All-American and an NCAA Woman of the Year while leading the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament semifinals twice.

Jerry Stine-Omaha

Contributor
As a coach, historian, promoter and documentarian, Jerry Stine dedicated countless hours to the betterment of Nebraska high school sports. Throughout his 40-year career, Stine coached boys’ basketball & track at Wheeler Central – Bartlett and girls’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ track at Bertrand. After leaving the coaching ranks, Stine continued to contribute to high school sports as a long-time member of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation’s board of directors, documenting and organizing the board’s historical research. A past-president of the Nebraska Coaches Association, Stine is the creator, author and secretary of the NCA milestone awards that bear his name.

Daryl Stovall-Bellevue West

Bellevue West (Class of 1978)
A lock-down defender on the basketball court and a speedy outfielder on the baseball diamond, Daryl Stovall used his athletic skills to allow him to be selected by the Chicago White Sox in the Major League Baseball draft, and the San Diego Clippers in the NBA draft. At Bellevue West, he averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds as a senior all-stater. On the baseball diamond, he was a two-time all-state selection. At Creighton University, he continued to play both sports, setting a freshman home run record and averaging double figures in basketball his last three years. He signed with the Chicago White Sox before his senior baseball season.

Anne Shadle-South Sioux City

South Sioux City (Class of 2001)
The road under Anne Shadle’s feet often seemed to fly by. At South Sioux City, where her father was the coach, Shadle took the first steps to becoming a premier runner. She won three Class B and two all-class gold medals at the state cross country championships and three all-class gold medals at the state track meet. She went on to earn seven track and cross country letters at Nebraska, making the jump to the next level when she won the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500 at the NCAA championships in 2005. She graduated from Nebraska holding two individual and three relay records. After college, she ran professionally for three years, competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Renee Saunders-Omaha Marian

Omaha Marian (Class of 1995)
Renee Saunders kept her eye on the ball. Named all-class all-state in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior seasons, she led Omaha Marian to the state basketball tournament every year and a state runner-up finish her junior year. She graduated as Marian’s all-time leader in scoring and rebounding. On the volleyball court, she garnered All-American honors, logging 335 kills as a senior. She also lettered in softball and track and field at Marian and was the consensus athlete of the year by The Omaha World Herald and The Lincoln Journal Star her senior season. Saunders went on to play basketball and volleyball at the University of Nebraska. Though her basketball career was short, she was a major contributor for the Husker volleyball team.

LAURA SPANHEIMER DECHANT – Omaha Marian

Omaha Marian (Class of 2001)
The Athlete of the Year tag stuck to Omaha Marian’s Laura Spanheimer, who twice earned the honor from the Lincoln Journal-Star and as a senior from the Omaha World-Herald. She led Marian to back-to-back state basketball championships those years, earning all-metro and all-state accolades. An outstanding runner as well, she burst on the scene by winning the All-Class gold medal in the 1,600 at the state meet as a freshman. She went on to win two individual 800 gold medals and ran on four state-champion 4×800 relays, including one that set a state and state meet record. In cross country, she finished second in state as a sophomore and junior and won the event as a senior. At Creighton University, she earned All-Missouri Valley basketball honors and finished her career with the most steals in Bluejay history and the second-highest total of games played.

SARAH SASSE-KILDOW – Lincoln High

Lincoln High (Class of 1998)

In spite of her diminutive size, Sarah Sasse-Kildow cast a long shadow on Nebraska high school girls golf. After tying for fourth at the state meet as a freshman and second as a sophomore, she won back-to-back state titles as a junior and senior. She also dominated the amateur golf ranks, winning three state junior match-play championships and the first of five women’s state amateur championships the summer before her senior year. At the University of Nebraska, Sasse-Kildow was a three-time All-Big 12 pick and the conference champion and Player of the Year as a senior, the year she claimed first-team All-American honors. She established Husker records for the lowest 36- and 54-hole scores and went on to compete in three U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships.

Ron Simmons – Sumner

HOF inducteeAthlete. Ron could be best described as “Mr. All” at Sumner High School. Before graduating in 1964, his honors in basketball were All Conference (’61 ,’62,’63,’64), All Region (’61,’62,63,’64), All District (‘6 l,’62″6 3,’64), Class D All State (’62,’63,’64), All Class All State (’64) and All American (’64). He is second on the list of all time scorers in Nebraska with a total of 2,406 points, all made prior to the three-point rule. In football, he made All Conference (’61,’62,’63), All Region (’61,’62,’63), All State (’63) and was picked to the North Shrine Bowl squad in 1964. Track was not to be left out. He was a three time state qualifier in the pole vault winning the Class D championship one year and a two-time state qualifier in the hurdles. At UNL, he lettered all four years being picked All Big 8 Honorable Mention (’67) and first team all Big 8 Academic (’67), Honorable Mention All America Academic (’67) plus the Dean’s list for Academics (’65, ’66, ’67). He was on the UNL Baseball team in 1966 and was a Detroit Tigers draft pick in 1967.

John Sherlock – Omaha South

2013 InducteeAthlete. Class of  1979

John Sherlock found fame and glory paving the way for the Nebraska Cornhuskers’ “Scoring Explosion” team of 1982 and 1983. It easily could have come on other fields. A consensus Nebraska high school Athlete of the Year in 1979, Sherlock stood out on the wrestling mat and the shot put circle as well as the football field. On the gridiron he was a three-year letterman at Omaha South, helping the Packers win the Metro Conference championship in 1977 and earning all-state honors in 1978. On the wrestling mat, he garnered numerous AAU championships and completed his high school career capturing the Class A heavyweight championship in 1978 and 1979, posting a two-year record of 61-0. A 60-foot shot putter, he earned the all-class gold medal at the state track meet as a junior and senior.

Data specialist dropped few clues about his athletic achievements

It’s been a few years since John Sherlock, data specialist in the College of Nursing, graduated from Omaha South High School in 1979. So it hadn’t even occurred to him that in 2013, he might be inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Do his co-workers in continuing nursing education know?

“Well,” he said sheepishly, “it kind of got leaked out in the paper.”

The news is out. And after more than 30 years, the memories came flooding back: “Coaches,” Sherlock said. “Situations. Long days. It was always fun, never work.”

Really? Yes, Sherlock said. He was always optimistic. Even on days when the coaches were yelling and making them stay late and do drills till they dropped, “I figured they couldn’t keep you overnight.”

The work paid off. Sherlock set the state record in the shot put. He was all-state in football, helping the Packers win a Metro championship. He went undefeated in his final two wrestling seasons, winning two state titles along the way. As a senior, he was the Omaha World-Herald’s prep athlete of the year.

He was so good in football he eventually became a starter on the University of Nebraska’s 1983 “Scoring Explosion” offense, as a tackle (“Every game we played was a track meet,” he said). But it was wrestling he loved most.

“Everything else was just to keep me in shape,” he said. He knew, as a serious wrestler, he’d be in training: “I figured, you can either run, or you can play something fun.” So he did.

And he had fun.

But his best moment in sports, he said, was when he was a freshman in high school, before anyone knew his name. He was the lowest seed in a wrestling tournament. He went up against Omaha North’s Paul DeBolt, the top seed (DeBolt was always the top seed in those days; he went on to become a first-team all-conference lineman at Nebraska-Omaha). Too young to fully realize what a big deal this was, Sherlock won, and walked off the mat.

What a feeling it was.

Years later, he became the top seed everyone went after. Years later, his daughter made him a soccer fan. Years later, he works at UNMC. He hadn’t thought about a lot of this stuff for a long time.

“It’s a great honor,” Sherlock said.

It’s been great to remember that long-ago wrestling match one more time.

 

Willard Schmidt – Swanton

Athlete.  Despite his height – 6 feet, 6 inches – Willard Schmidt did not start playing basketball until his junior year when he joined the team coached by Hall of Famer Joe Sukovaty. His junior year, Schmidt led his team to a Class L state basketball championship. Schmidt scored 43 of the 107 points the team tallied in four games. His senior year (1928), Schmidt, by then an inch taller, led Swanton to a 22-1 record and a Class F title. Swanton outscored its opponents 109-46, and Schmidt had 45 of the 109. Schmidt went on to play for Creighton University from 1931 to 1934 and was a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. Creighton was the MVC champion the 1931-1932 season and runner-up the next two seasons. Schmidt played for the AAU national championship team from McPherson, Kan., in 1936 and was picked for the 1936 Olympic team that won the gold medal in Berlin – the first American team to win an Olympic gold medal.