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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year in 1989, Viriginia (Stahr) Gee started her career at Centennial High School where she earned 12 varsity letters before her graduation in 1985 when she was the Lincoln Journal Star Athlete of the Year. Stahr’s Centennial volleyball teams had a combined 80-11 record, going 24-0 and winning the Class C-1 state championship her senior year. She was all-state in basketball her junior and senior years and qualified for the state track meet in 12 events during her high school years. She played volleyball at the University of Nebraska, playing for four Big Eight Conference championship teams that had a combined record of 116-20. She played on the 1989 national runner-up team, earning Big Eight Player of the Year and NCAA All-Tournament Team honors. She earned All-American honors in 1988 and 1989.
Chambers Class of 1996
Darcy Stracke rewrote many record books in volleyball and track, but the most in basketball. Starting with her freshman year at Stuart High School, then the following three years at Chambers, Stracke led her teams to state titles all four years, averaging 30.5 points per game in the state tournament. She set Nebraska high school scoring records in a career (2,752) and a season (824 and 872), setting in motion an 87-game winning streak at Chambers. She also earned all-state honors in volleyball and was a Class D state champion in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. As a college basketball player, she earned first-team All-America honors at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In three years at UNK, she set the school’s single-season record for points (679), career record for steals (292) and a single-game record for assists (14). She set both schools’ single-game scoring records with 43 points, each record-setting effort at the others’ expense.
Coach. After graduating from Swanton High School and Doane College, Joe returned to his home town in 1923 as coach, science teacher and assistant principal. In his 17-year tenure with the Jackrabbits he coached them to the basketball state tournament seven times, winning it twice. His 1933 squad was runner-up with only seven players on the roster. Leaving Swanton in 1940 he went to Hildreth as coach, teacher, and administrator for ten years. His teams went to the state tournament seven times and were champions three times and runner-up once. He left teaching in 1950 to go into private business but the lure of education brought him back to teach in Western, Wilber, and once more to Swanton. One final highlight was starting the career of Willard Schmidt, who played at Creighton University and then AAU with the McPherson Globe Refiners and was chosen for the 1936 U. S. Olympic team, gold medal champions.
Elkhorn High School
Alice Schmidt dominated the middle distance races, winning the all-class gold medal in the 800 all four years at the state high school track meet and setting the state record in that event (2:08.84). In all, she won five all-class gold medals and 12 Class B gold medals at the state track meet during her years at Ellkhorn and graduated with school records in the 800, 1600, 3200, and 1600 and 3200 meter relays. At the University of North Carolina, Schmidt was a two-time NCAA champion in the 800 and a nine-time All-American. She continued to compete after college, wearing the USA colors in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, advancing to the semifinals in London. She retired from competition in 2014 with personal bests of 1:58.61 in the 800 and 4:05.64 in the 1500.