Joe Salerno – Omaha Central

Athlete. (1988)From nearly as far back as he can remember, Joe Salerno found tennis in his back yard. He won four straight No. 1 singles championships in high school – the second player in Nebraska history to do so — within sight of his home. The Salernos lived in the upstairs of the Dewey Park […]

Amy Stephens – Alliance

Athlete. High school basketball state scoring leader in several categories for a number of years. Career points: 1,656. Points in one season: 779. Points in one game: 48. Frankly, there was nobody quite like her. She was a four-year starter at Nebraska. She averaged over 17 points. Kodak District V All-American. Twice All-Big Eight. Second […]

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 […]

Debbie Spickelmier Noble – Hayes Center

Athlete. (1985) A small-school superstar who, along with her twin sister, Donna, made Hayes Center a player on the state tournament scene where the Cardinals won back-to-back Class D state track championships in 1984 and 1985, the Class D-2 state basketball championship in 1985 and finished second in volleyball in 1984. Debbie excelled in track, […]

Enid Schonewise – Beatrice

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 […]

Willard Schmidt – Swanton

Athlete.  Despite his height – 6 feet, 6 inches – Willard Schmidt did not start playing basketball until his junior year when he joined the team coached by Hall of Famer Joe Sukovaty. His junior year, Schmidt led his team to a Class L state basketball championship. Schmidt scored 43 of the 107 points the […]

Donna Spickelmier Vallin – Hayes Center

Athlete. (1985) A mirror image of her sister, Debbie, the Spickelmier twins dominated Class D throughout their high school careers that included two state track championships, a state basketball championship and two state track and one volleyball runner-up finish. Donna won 16 medals at the state track meet, including an all-class gold medal in the […]

Homer Smith – Omaha Benson

Athlete, Coach. One of the better known football offensive coaches in America, Homer Smith did well as an athlete himself before graduating from Omaha Benson High School. Named all-city in Omaha in football, he was a winning Class A long jumper at the state track meet and a good hurdler. While playing football at Princeton […]

Theresa Stelling Gosnell – Auburn

Athlete. Theresa Stelling Gosnell, who started her high school career at Wakefield and finished at Auburn, won four all-class gold medals in the 1,600-meter run and three in the 3,200. She had career-best times of 5 minutes, 0.6 seconds in the 1,600 and 10:44.0 in the 3,200. She set the Class C state track meet […]

Del Schoenfish – Cambridge

Coach. Del Schoenfish’s coaching career extended for more than 40 years. He coached at Valentine for five years before moving to Cambridge where he became a coaching icon, leading the Trojans to state championships in two sports. His teams drew praise for their preparation and the way they represented the school and community. He logged […]