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.
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.
A legend in Nebraska women’s golf, this 1978 graduate of North Platte High School earned an individual medal at the very first Nebraska high school girls golf state championship. She followed that with a win in the state amateur tournament, then attended college at Oklahoma State, and eventually proceeded into the ranks of professional golf. She gradually worked into expert analyst roles for golf media.
She began playing golf at the age of 4, after mimicking her father, who was a head golf professional at a golf course. As a junior golfer, Val won two state championships and 20 high school titles as well as some national competitions. This success earned her a golf scholarship at Oklahoma State University, where she gained more athletic achievements, including being named the Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year, GOLF Magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Year and becoming the National Collegiate Scoring Average Leader.
After college, she qualified for the LPGA Tour, won six tournaments and competed on the pro tour for 20 years. She also was a member of the victorious U.S. Solheim Cup team in 1996 is a member of three golf halls of fame.
Athlete. A 1992 Bellevue West graduate, Strickland advanced to the NBA after standout high school and collegiate careers in Nebraska. At Bellevue West, Strickland starred in football, basketball and baseball and was the 1992 prep athlete of the year. He earned all-state honors in all three sports and led Bellevue West’s basketball team to three straight state tournaments, including a runner-up finish in 1991. He was a four-year letterman in basketball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, starting for three years. He was the Big Eight Freshman of the Year in 1983 and was three-time All Big-eight defensive team selection. He played professionally for the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Vancouver Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks.
Demerick (Erick) Montae Strickland (born 25 November 1973 in Opelika, Alabama) is an American professional basketball player formerly in the NBA. Erick starred at Bellevue West High School in Bellevue, Nebraska as an Omaha World-Herald All-State Wide Receiver, and an All-American basketball player where he still holds most of the major school scoring records.
Erick was drafted in the 1992 MLB draft in the 31st round and played in the Florida Marlins organization as an Outfielder. After a college basketball career at the University of Nebraska, he went undrafted, but caught on with the Dallas Mavericks, and went on to play for the New York Knicks, the Vancouver Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 7.5 points per game throughout his career. In 1999, Erick was voted by Sports Illustrated as the 41st ranked athlete in the 20th Century from the state of Nebraska.
Link to Erick Strickland’s NBA career stats.
Athlete. A triple-talented athlete in the sports of volleyball, basketball and track; this 1983 graduate of Beatrice High School ranks high on the list of best women athletes in the state. All-state in volleyball (178 ace spikes, 93 per cent server), she was also all-state in basketball, leading South all-stars to its first win in the Coaches All-Star Game. She was a gold medal champion in track in the 100-meter hurdles, never losing a hurdle race in the last three years of high school. An All-American volleyball player at the University of Nebraska, she led the Lady Huskers to their first NCAA volleyball final four appearance.Drafted by professional Minnesota Monarchs.