Mark Wortman turned Elkhorn High School into a football powerhouse. After his arrival in 1980, the Antlers became a cornerstone of the state football playoff field, qualifying for 20 straight years from 1995-2014. At the time of his induction, his teams had won five Class B state championships and reached five other state championship games. The Antlers also put together a state-record streak of winning seasons. A recipient of numerous coaching awards, Wortman has compiled a 333-77 record which places him near the top in both wins and winning percentage in Nebraska history.
Lincoln Southeast (Class of 1980)
Bill Weber had an attraction for the action of state tournaments. The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Athlete of the Year in 1980, Weber played in seven state high school state tournaments and three American Legion baseball state tournaments. He earned all-state honors his junior and senior seasons in football while playing defensive end and tight end for Southeast. During his playing career, the Knights qualified for the state playoffs three times and won the state title in 1977. He also picked up all-city accolades in basketball and baseball, playing on the Knights’ state runner-up baseball team of 1979 and the state runner-up basketball teams of 1978 and 1979. At the University of Nebraska, he started at defensive end for three years, earning All-Big Eight honors in 1984. He was named to the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Battle Creek (Class of 1985)
Linda Schnitzler Walker was the cornerstone of Battle Creek’s multi-sport success in the mid-1980s and ’90s. The daughter of Hall of Fame coach Bob Schnitzler, she earned all-state honors in basketball as the Bravettes won back-to-back Class C-1 state championships in 1984 and 1985 – teams that launched a streak of four straight state titles and 15 straight state tournament appearances. She was an all-conference volleyball player and a four-year state track meet qualifier, winning seven medals and capturing the gold medal in the long jump her senior year. At Wayne State, she set numerous basketball and track records while earning All-American honors in both sports. Her 2,224 points established a scoring record for Nebraska state colleges.
Athlete. Larry was a three-sport athlete for the North Platte Bulldogs (Class of 1963) and earned honors in all three. He played offensive and defensive back for two years, then switched to quarterback his senior year while continuing to play defensive back. When the Bulldogs won the state championship in 1962, Larry was a consensus all-state selection and tapped to play in the Shrine Bowl as halfback on offense and defensive back. His Shrine Bowl teammates elected him co-captain of the North team. In basketball he was named all-conference his junior and senior years and was the team’s leading scorer. North Platte made it to the state tournament his senior year and lost in the quarterfinals, but Larry was selected on the Class A all-tournament team by the Scottsbluff, Kearney, Lincoln, and Omaha papers. The Scottsbluff Star-Herald also placed him on its Class A All-State team. The pole vault was his event in track where he tied for fourth in the state meet as a junior and tied for first his senior year. In the district meet his senior year he broke a 26-year-old school record. After receiving offers from 15 colleges, Larry chose UN-L. Those were the days when freshman couldn’t play varsity ball so it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he earned his starting position on the Big Red. Playing at defensive safety he also did punt returns and kicked PATs and field goals. His junior year he was selected first-team All-Big 8 and second-team All-American as a defensive back. Larry racked up a total of 452 yards on returns, which led the Big 8 and the nation until the last game where he lost the national title by seven yards. He made 36 of 39 PATs and 3 of 5 field goals for 45 total points. He was chosen a co-captain his senior year and again led the Big 8 in punt return yards. He was again All-Big 8, and this time first-team All-American. He won the Tom Novak Award presented to the outstanding senior. He finished his Husker career with 788 punt return yards, eight field goals, and 11 pass interceptions including seven in one year. In 1967 he was named by the Omaha World-Herald to its All-Time Outstanding Football Team. In 1982 he was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
Able to hit from any angle on the basketball court, and able to keep from getting hit on the baseball diamond, earned Jan Wall Athlete of the Year staus in 1958. Wall excelled on the basketball court as a two-year all-stater and three-year starter for the Rockets. He averaged 22.3 points per game as a junior and 19.8 points per game as a senior. On the pitching mound, he struck out 121 batters in 103 innings and had an ERA of 0.88, leading Northeast to the state championship in 1957, pitching a 1-hitter in the championship only one day after throwing 7 2/3 innings in relief. Turning down several major league offers, he attended the University of Nebraska where he ws a three-year letterman in baseball and a two-year letterman in basketball. Signed by the New York Mets, he was released because of a bad knee after one year in the minors where he pitched five shoutouts.
Athlete. A legend of Wolbach High School on the edge of Greeley County, this 1937 graduate accomplished a very rare feat, setting a national high school record in the discus of 154′ 9″ during an era when the high school discus was the exact same weight as the college discus in America. High schools went to a lighter discus in 1939 and began separate record-keeping, so Wibbels fans can claim he still holds the national high school mark. He was an all-state football player in 1936 and a state meet gold medal winner in the discus and javelin throw in 1936 and 1937. In addition, Edsel Wibbels was an all-state fullback on the gridiron for the Mustangs. In short, a famous name on the great plains is the legacy of this talented young man.
Scored 1,925 points in his high school basketball career, including a career-high game of 54 points his senior year when he averaged 32 points per game. He averaged 24 points a game throughout his four-year career. He made 31 consecutive free throws during one stretch of his senior year. His career ranked fourth in history at the time of his graduation. He was all-conference at Peru State in 1958 and on the NCC championship team in 1957-58. He spent 38 years in the Millard Public Schools, starting as a teacher and coach and retiring as superintendent.
Any distance, any stroke, P.J. Wiseman could swim it and win it. A five-time individual gold medalist at the state swim meet, he set the state record in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley and swam on the Rams record-setting 400 freestlyle relay. The relay and 200 IM records stood for a combined 31 years. Fifteen years after his graduation, Wiseman was still listed in the states all-time, top-10 performances in six of the eight individual events, and in all three relays. In college, he competed for the Tennessee Volunteers, earning All-American status five times while helping the Vols win the Southeastern Conference title in 1996.
Contributor. For twenty-two years this conscientious gentleman helped to improve the high schools of Nebraska and their activity programs. Between 1934 to 1956, he held the position of Executive Director of the Nebraska School Activities Association. In the early days of the NSAA, high school sports was the main concern of the Association. However, under the guidance and help of O. L. Webb, rules and policies were developed that would govern school competition in all activities. A true pioneer in his chosen field of endeavor.
Athlete. 1955 Graduate. It was a catchy phrase that brought Ernie Wach a special place in high school lore: “Fifty-Five Five in Fifty-Five.” That was his 55-foot, 5-inch state record shot put in the 1955 state track meet. He wasn’t a one-day flash. He lettered four years in football, basketball and track. Ernie scored 141 points for the Bombers in six-man football in 1954. He started three years in basketball. In track, he was a sprinter-weight thrower and was the shot put gold medal winner three consecutive years. He also won the discus gold his senior year and was Class D’s 100-yard dash champion.