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.

Bob Siegel – Fairbury

Athlete. Bob Siegel stepped into the high school basketball limelight immediately upon hitting the scene, scoring at a high level at a Fairbury High School player that rarely has been matched. He scored 31 points in his first high school game as a ninth grader and managed to average over twenty points a game most of the time during a career ending in 1973. Between 1970 and 1973, the Fairbury Jeffs basketball team had a 89-9 record and won 1971 and 1973 State Class B Championships. Siegel’s high school career total was 2,337 points, still high on the all-time list. He was one of the few Nebraska high school players invited to play in a national high school all-star game, he had a successful varsity career in college wearing the scarlet and cream of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. Siegel finished his UNL career 7th all time in scoring and was inducted into the University basketball Hall of Fame in January of 1996.  His uniform number 51 was retired by Fairbury High School.

 

Teri Steer-Cantwell – Crete

Athlete. The 1993 Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star Female Athlete of the Year, Teri Steer-Cantwell was a bronze medalist in the shot put at the 1999 World Track and Field Championships and a collegiate record holder with a throw of 61 feet, 9 ½ inches. Steer earned 12 letters at Crete while starring in volleyball, basketball and track. She was a three-time gold medalist in the shot put and swept the Class B shot put and discus titles in her four high school seasons. She set the state record in the shot put with a throw of 50-10 ¾ inches and she twice placed in the top four in the Class B long jump. In basketball, she earned Class B all-state honors. She earned all-conference honors in volleyball. At Southern Methodist University, she set the Western Athletic Conference record in the discus and was a two-time national champion in the shot put. She competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Long & Strong is pleased to bring you an interview with 1996 Outdoor NCAA Womens Shot Champ, Teri Steer of SMU. Teri, now a senior, recently suffered an ankle injury which leaves her 1997 status up in the air. Teri is a great interview, and has much to share. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Long & Strong: Teri, can you give our visitors a little background information on yourself?
Teri Steer: I am from a small town in Nebraska called Crete (population 5000) and there’s not much to do except for sports. I have been involved with TAC summer track and field which I think now is usa track and field for youth, since I was five years old. I used to long jump and do sprints. When I was eight years old I picked up my first shotput and of course was terribly bad. Then we used a six pound shotput. The very next year I won my first ever national title for ten year olds and under called bantam girls. Then I loved track and field becuase every year we would travel across the States for meets. In high school I was a volleyball, basketball (as you can tell from my ankle injury), and track and field member. In track and field not only did I learn to throw the discus in 8th grade, I of course competed in my favorite, the shotput, long jumped, and ran the relay or hurdles or 100. I decided to sign early with S.M.U. for track and field only. I am recently engaged to the most wonderful man in the world Jason Tunks, who is an Olympic discus thrower from Canada. He and I love love to enjoy and watch every sport together. I am a history major and an anthropology minor. With that I am receiving my education certificate and someday want to teach and coach.

L&S: Can you give us your throwing progression (marks and titles) from high school up to the present?
TS: The titles I have earned I am not for sure but I think I won every tac summer track title in the shotput from when I was nine years old until 17, except for one year. In high school I was state champion in the discus and the shotput all four years. I tried out for my first USA junior team as a sophmore in high school. Interestingly enough, I sprained my ankle one week before the tryouts. My senior year I was third and became an alternate to the team.
High School Freshman: 148′, 45’7″
Sophmore: 146′, 46’9″,
Junior: 145′, 47’8″
Senior: 148′, 50’10”
College Freshman: 154 feet, 51’5, All American (7th outdoor NCAAs)
Sophomore: 160 feet, 53’6″, USA Junior Team
(*)Junior: 175′, 59′ indoors second and outdoors champ!!!, 6th at Oly Trials. (*)My first two years in college I was not training right for me and so when I started to train right I started to throw far.

L&S: Do you use the glide or spin in the shot? Why that style? What do you focus on technique-wise?
TS: I am a glider which makes most people wonder because I am not as strong as most or some shotputters who glide. I love the glide and would never switch I just have a feel for it and I love to do it. I always try and try to relax out of the back and concentrate on the middle of the circle out. I try to keep my shoulder and arm as well as the shotput back as long as possible but I am not a very patient person and so it seems I am always trying to stay back longer. From the middle out I try to turn the right foot and hit the crap out of the finish I extend so far out over the toe board sometimes I wonder how I stay in the ring myself.

L&S: What points do you concentrate on in the discus?
TSI hate to say it, but I am not a discus thrower yet. All fellow throwers and coaches thinks my body is meant for the discus but I have a terrible time with technique and feeling. I can honestly say I have no clue yet as to what I am supposed to be doing. I try and try but nothing ever stays true. I hope to be good someday and was working hard up to my injury but I really should not be giving advice.

L&S: Can you outline what you’re weight training plan is, off-season and in?
TS: Weight training is so important to throwers. I try to get a very big base during the fall. I will start out at very high reps and run six week cycles. I like to lift four days a week and split my routines. I will do 3 sets of 12 on squats, bench, behind the neck press, triceps, leg ext, leg curls, the highest repititions I will do on cleans is 4 sets 0f six. I will do snatches light and extra things that are secondary lifts like lat pulls, biceps, flys, and then twists and situps. Every once in awhile I will put in a shoulder workout with dumb bells. Then as the season progresses I will do do lower reps at higher reps go to 3×10 then 4×8, 5×6, 5×5, 5×3, 6×2, I like to do cleans at longer reps until right before a meet then I go down to two reps.

L&S: Other than the weights, what other types of training do you use?
TS: I am also a strong believer in fitness and I throw better when I feel fit and in shape. Early in the year I will do sprints and jumps. I will do even more during the season!! I love to feel explosive and so jumps are so important to me and I feel although everyone else thinks I am nuts that step aerobics does this for me. So I will try to get three to four aerobic classes in a week. If I am training hard maybe more classes in a week. I think it is important to know that there are different kinds of athletes and each person can obtain far distances by training differently. Early in the year I might mess around with the weight or hammer but during season I will not and I will throw six times a week both events during the season.

L&S: What are your post-collegiate plans?
TS: My post colliegate plans hopefully involve throwing. It is what I have done my entire life. All my goals are set to make some world teams and eventually become one of the top ten in the world. I do not know what else I can do, but i know i can not set limits, so every year I want to get better and better, every year I want to set a goal that is higher then I even think I can reach. For example, the beginning of the year last year I wanted to be national champion and I had only thrown 53 feet once in my life but I knew there was more there, I just needed a breakthrough and look where it has taken me. The only problem would be a sponsor and money to keep throwing. We will see what happens.

L&S: The SMU throws squad has had quite a bit of success over the last two years. What do attribute that success to?
TS: The success of S.M.U. is due to the team family spirit. We have had many great throwers come here from Europe, etc. The people here right now the last couple of years made an individual sport seem like a team sport with a family atmosphere. When talking about throwing every minute of the day, it is hard not to get better. Everyone here is so good that the per
son who is average does not want to to be the odd man/woman out. We all push each other even harder. One workout cycle a javelin thrower and I might be on an ab workout from heck in which we kill ourselves there or I can go do med balls with a discus thrower. Sprints with everyone. The picture there is everyone works out with everyone pushing each other making each other better and that is why we have become so much better.

L&S: The throwing world, as well as sports in general, is male dominated. What advice would you give to female throwers?
TS: The throwing world is very male dominated and sometimes women are looked down upon as being throwers, non athletes, etc. I think it is a bunch of bull. There is no need for throwers to try and look feminine because, hey we are! There is no need for us to think we are not athletes just because we are bigger then most women. First of all I would love to take body fat percentages and just see!!! There are many throwers who would crush other female athletes. Our job is to throw far and ultimately we need to train the way we train to do that no one is going to be small if they are cleaning 250 pounds and squating 350. I think people are starting to see that and many fans are starting to watch the throws now and many male throwers are seeing that women can also do this.

L&S: Being an NCAA champion, you obviously are familiar with competing under pressure. How do you deal with the strain of major competition and still maximize your performance?
TS: I love to compete and a major competition I am usually a little nervous for and I try to use this for good energy. I try to get so excited that I have so much adrenilene running through me anything is possible. The night before I try to relax but I am always thinking about techinique and watching it go far!!! I am constantly playing the motion out of the glide!!!! I then go into to the meet positively! The only time I was ever so nervous I could not sleep eat or concentrate was for my first ever Olympic Trials last year and I will say I was just not prepared for them. I really thought I seriously had a chance to make the team and it was not that I was negative, it was that I was so postive and so excited I was just thinking and thinking what it would be like when I did make the team that I could not sleep and by the fifth or sixth day of that in the Atlanta heat I was done for. I learned and hopefully can carry that with me.

L&S: Any words of advice to prep throwers getting ready for college?
TS: My advice for prep throwers is to make sure you fit in with the team and the coach. Do not be afraid to ask any question. Ask the other throwers what they do for workouts and how the coach is towards them. See if that fits what you want to do. Make sure and tell the coach “hey, I do not want to get here and find out that everything is different from what you said.” If you know anyone that throws, call them up and ask what they know about each school. It is better to talk to athletes because they are usually unbiased and go with what they have heard and talked about with other athletes. Coaches are a good source as well though, and usually give some good advice too! Mainly make sure you love it and the program fits you. Always remember that not every training tip fits you. Find out what makes you throw well and continue to do it.

Career Highlights: 2002 USA Indoor & Outdoor champion; Two-time USA Indoor champion (99, 02); 1999 World Indoor bronze medalist; Two-time NCAA champion; 7-time Nebraska HS champion

Kelly Stauffer – Rushville

Athlete. The picture of a poised quarterback comes to mind in describing this 1982 graduate of Rushville High School. He was named all-state in both football and basketball during his secondary education and was outstanding as a pitcher in the summer. During his senior year he led the Rushville High Longhorns to a basketball winning season of 20-2 while averaging above 25 points per game. After high school, he honed his quarterback skills; first at Garden City Community College where he set national junior college records, and then three years at Colorado State as a starter. In a postseason appearance, he was voted most valuable player in an East-West Shrine game. He has played professional football for several teams, notably while with the Seattle team setting a NFL rookie record for passing.

Reggie Smith – West Point Central Catholic

2013 InducteeAthlete. Class of 1966

With eight carries, six touchdowns, 284 yards in a victory over a previously unbeaten team. Reggie Smith proved unstoppable at times. He led West Point Central Catholic to an undefeated season with 1,566 yards on 160 carries. A leader with a great attitude, he played with intensity and was a natural runner, earning all-state and All-American honors. A linebacker with a knack for finding the football, Smith was “the best athlete I have ever coached,” Hall of Fame coach Lyle Nannen said. In basketball he averaged 18.3 points per game his senior year, and he threw the shot put more than 50 feet. He was recruited to play football at Nebraska, but transferred to Wayne State College after two years, earning all-conference honors as a running back for the Wildcats.

 

 

April , 2013.  SandhillsExpress.com

Recently the Class of 2013 inductees to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame were announced. Altogether, 10 athletes, four coaches, two contributors and one official will be inducted in September.

One of those inductees with local ties is former Sandhills football head coach Reggie Smith. Smith is being inducted as a player for his exceptional play as a high school athlete in football, basketball and track.

“It’s almost beyond words. If you think of the percentages of kids who played Nebraska sports and then being selected as one of many to get inducted into the hall of fame, the percentage it pretty high,” said Smith.

Smith said when he received his induction letter he found his old scrap-book and reminisced about his playing days and says he still gets chills about the positive comments people left about him.

Philip C. Sprague – Lincoln High

Coach.

In his 18 years as Lincoln High gymnastics coach (1951-69), the Links won seven state championships and were runners-up nine times. Twenty-three of his gymnasts won 41 state championships. The 1946 Beatrice graduate competed in his sport in high school and was the state pommel horse champion as a senior.  His support of his sport didn’t end with his coaching career.  While administrator at Lincoln East, he continued to contribute to the sport as meet director and in other capacities for the state gym meet.

Frank Smagacz – Omaha Central

Coach. From early coaching positions at Arlington and Tekamah this talented leader of boys then moved on to arguably the toughest conference in Nebraska where for the next 27 years he was football and track coach at Omaha Central High School. A good example of strong competition occurred the fall of 1960 when Omaha Central High battled cross-town rival Creighton Prep on the football gridiron to a zero-zero tie. Both schools were then treated as co-champions. Between 1958 and 1966 Frank Smagacz coached five Class A Boys state track & field champions,  indicating a superb ability to spot great athletes and guide them to their best efforts. In 1961, he was named high school coach of the year in Nebraska.

 

Rudy Stoehr – Lincoln

Offical

Perhaps Nebraska’s most recognized basketball referee, Rudy Stoehr was often at the center of many state championships. A football referee as well, Stoehr officiated Nebraska high school basketball from 1963-89, working more than 1,000 games and more than 20 state tournaments. He also officiated in the Big Eight Conference for six years. An outstanding basketball and baseball player at Lincoln Northeast and Nebraska Wesleyan (he set a single-season scoring record with 746 points, including 62 in one game).  Stoehr played minor league baseball before an arm injury forced him to return to Nebraska to coach and officiate.

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.