Allison’s grit and determination gained one very elite step. She competed in the 2004 Para-Olympic Games in Athens as a member of the US National Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team.
1992 and was a state qualifier in 1991.
Neil Halford of Fort Calhoun placed fourth in the state wrestling meet in 1992 and was a state qualifier in 1991.Halford lost his sight at the age of two when he was kicked in the face by a horse. Despite blindness, he placed fourth in the state wrestling tournament in 1992 and was a state qualifier in 1991. A self-proclaimed “huge” football fan, Halford used athletics to build character and fuel a competitive nature. After winning only a handful of matches during his freshman and sophomore years, he turned hard work and dedication into a successful junior and senior campaigns. His senior year, he practiced and worked out with the football team and, although he didn’t play, was named a team captain. He has written a book, “The Sound of Sight,” about how his hearing has helped him cope. See his website.
Staci Rene Perrigo-Venneman never shied away from competition. Born without a right arm below the elbow, Staci began competing in swim meets at the age of eight. At 12, she earned a spot on the United States Amputee Athletic Association swim team, competing in international events in England, Australia, South Korea and Holland. In 1991, she set the world record in the 50-yard freestyle and was named the Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Amputee Athletic Association. At Omaha Northwest High School, Staci joined the swim team as a freshman, competing for four years and qualifying for the state meet her senior year as a member of a relay team. She also played soccer for the Huskies and went on to play soccer for two years at Rockhurst University.
An amputee who lost her lower leg when she was 2 years old, Gouldie, a senior at St. Paul High School, has played first base on the high school softball team and played for the U.S. Paralympic volleyball team.
A two-time state wrestling champion and an all-state football linebacker, Jason Branigan was diagnosed with testicular cancer, brain cancer, and cancer of the lymph nodes while a high school senior. The diagnosis followed a loss in the 1991 state semifinals where Branigan, nearly doubled over with pain in the third quarter, continued to play until the final gun.
His competitive athletic career was over but he was determined to defeat cancer and remains in sports and education as the wrestling coach and a social studies teacher at Papillion-LaVista South High School.
Dr. Tom Heiser suffered a physically limiting spinal cord injury in Maui, Hawaii, in 1980, but never let it keep him from an outstanding career in orthopaedic medicine. He no longer works as an operating surgeon but continues to champion a career as a physician, utilizing his exquisite diagnostic knowledge and experience while managing care of his patients. Tom was an outstanding school athlete at Columbus, a high-scoring all-state running back in football, and a starter on the 1972 Class A state championship basketball team. He enjoyed a stellar football career at Nebraska.
Keefe Lodwig enjoyed success in his youthful swimming days, winning a high school state championship while attending Omaha Benson and winning a handful of Big 8 championships while swimming for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. But it wasn’t until many years later, when he started competing in Masters events that Lodwig displayed the success that can be inspired by what is learned as a youth. Lodwig has set hundreds of age-group American and world records in the pool and claimed hundreds of national championships. In 2008, he was named the Cornhusker State Games Male Athlete of the Year.