LINCOLN — Twelve athletes, five coaches, three contributors and one official make up the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame induction class of 2020. The class will be inducted Oct. 4 at Lincoln East High School.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for K-12 students. Pre-kindergarten children will be admitted free. Tickets will be available through the Nebraska Sports Council. The inductees are:
ATHLETES — Emily Anderson Hansen, Lincoln Southeast (1996): A key member of six state championship teams cross country and basketball at Lincoln Southeast, she finished in the top 10 at the state cross country meet all four years, winning the all-class gold medal as a freshman. She started at point guard for three years in basketball and was a four-year letterwinner in track. She continued her basketball career at St. Cloud State. — Dawn Crinklaw Gustafson, Ralston (1985): The runner-up for the Dial National High School Athlete of the Year award, she was recruited to play collegiately in four sports, eventually playing basketball and softball at U.S. International in San Diego before playing professional basketball in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. At Ralston, she was a three-year starter in volleyball and basketball and a two-time all-class gold medalist in the discus. —
Glenwood Einspahr, Hildreth (1950): A one-man track team, competing without a coach, Einspahr gave Hildreth a Class D co-championship by winning the 100- and 220-yard dashes and the long jump. A two-time all-state selection in basketball, he led Hildreth to an undefeated state championship in 1949. He played freshman football at Nebraska and after a stint in the Air Force, he played basketball at Kearney State College.
Steve Erwin, Laurel (1971): An all-class all-state selection in football and basketball, he played quarterback for the Laurel team that won the 1970 mythical state championship. In basketball, he scored 1,427 points and collected 1,321 rebounds in his career. At the University of Nebraska, he started 55 of 71 games over a 3-year span.
Todd Eubanks, Lincoln East (1983): A three-sport standout at Lincoln East and the Lincoln Journal-Star Athlete of the Year in 1983, he earned all-state honors in football and basketball and won two gold medals at the state track meet. A high school All-American in track, he set a city record in the 400. He played basketball for two years and run track for three years at New Mexico State.
John Gibson, Papillion-La Vista (1996): The 1996 Omaha World-Herald Athlete of the Year, Gibson earned all-state honors on the football field and was a three-time gold medalist at the state track meet in the triple jump.At Nebraska, he was a four-year football letterman at wingback and was among the team’s leading receivers in 2001.
Jordan Larson, Logan View (2005): A key player on the U.S. Olympic volleyball teams of 2012 and 2016, Larson earned 12 letters in volleyball, basketball and track at Logan View, earning high school All-American honors involleyball. Larson accepted a volleyball scholarship to Nebraska after her sophomore year in high school, starting four years for the Huskers and earning All-American honors three times.
Nate Lashley, Mitchell (2001): A two-time state golf champion, leading Mitchell to the Class C1 team title both years, he went on to play for the University of Arizona where he was the Pac-10 runner-up in 2005. He turned professional after graduating from Arizona, winning the PGA’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019. At Mitchell High School, Lashley is Mitchell’s career scoring leader in basketball.
Megan Neuvirth Maslanka, West Point Central Catholic (2005): The Nebraska Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year in 2005, she helped her high school volleyball and basketball teams win eight state championships and compile a 201-3 record. A 4-year letterwinner at Creighton University, she scored more than 1,000 points in her career and was twice named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Robert Rands, Bellevue East (2005): The state’s consensus Athlete of the Year b 2005, Rands broke Gale Sayers’ 44-year-old long jump record and became the first in the state to jump 25 feet. He won eh national young men’s championship in the long jump in 2005 and competed at Nebraska. He also enjoyed a stellar football career, rushing for a Bellevue East record 2,650 yards in his career.
Nora Shepherd Ohrt, York (1994): Undefeated in the 1,600-meter run in her high school career, she won three state cross country championships and seven state track meet gold medals. She set York High School records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, establishing a Class B record in the 1,600 as a senior. At UNL, she was a 4-year letterwinner in track and cross country, running on the Huskers’ school-record setting 4×1,500-meter relay.
Tony Veland, Omaha Benson (1991): Owner of national championship and Super Bowl rings, he was a nine time letterman for the Bunnies in football, basketball and track. He earned second-team all-state honors as a quarterback, signed wtih NU and set a Shrine Bowl record for total offense. He was a defensive back on the Cornhuskers’ national championship teams of 1994 and 1995. Drafted in the sixth round of the NFL draft, he was a special teams player on Denver’s 1997 Super Bowl champions and started five games the next year for Carolina.
COACHES Jeff Bellar, Norfolk Catholic: Nebraska’s all-time leader with 363 football coaching victories, Bellar’s 38-year coaching career includes nine state championships and five runner-up finishes. Six of his teams went undefeated.
Norm Mannstedt, High Plains: He started the wrestling program at Clarks High School in 1969 and coached the team through its consolidations for 50 years. His program produced four, three-time individual state champions and 22 other state champions. His 1972 Clarks team won the Class D state championship, and the 1978 team finished second.
Elroy Pierce, Eustis-Farnam: His 50-year coaching career, 47 years at Eustis, covered multiple sports. His track teams enjoyed the most success. The Eustis-Farnam girls won three Class D state track championships and finished second four times between 1988 and 1994.
Jerome Skrdla, Gretna: Currently sixth in state history with 560 victories as a girls basketball coach, Skrdla has coached three schools to the state tournament, winning three state championships — at Kearney Catholic in 1984 and 1985 and Gretna in 2006. At Kearney Catholic, he coached the boys track team to a state title in 1986 and the runner-up trophy in 1985 as well as the football semifinals in 1982.
Sue Ziegler, Lincoln Lutheran: The Warriors’ track coach for 29 years and volleyball coach for 22 years, she led them to five state championships — two in volleyball, two in girls track and one in boys track — and four state runner-up finishes. She surpassed the 400 victory plateau in 2019 while leading Lincoln Lutheran to the state volleyball title.
CONTRIBUTORS — Ken and Ryly Jane Hambleton, Lincoln: The Hambletons joined the Lincoln Journal-Star in 1974, writing about sports until their joint retirement in 2017. Ken was the Prep Sports Editor from 1983 to ‘89 while Ryly Jane was the Girls Sports Editor during that time, taking over as the Prep Sports Editor for the next 28 years when Ken moved on to other beats.
Bobby Mills, Grand Island: Known as “1,000-Yard Guy,” Mills created a listing of Nebraska’s 1,000-yard rushers in 1974 and has published the list every year since. He also writes columns and articles that appear in the McCook Gazette and Grand Island Independent and his on-line blog.
OFFICIAL — Steve Farlee, Norfolk: One of the busiest officials in the state, Farlee officiated more than 3,000 basketball games over a 43-year period. He refereed football and umpired high school and American Legion baseball for more than 25 years. His officiating resume includes NAIA and NCAA games in all three sports.
OTHER AWARDS In addition to the inductees, the Hall of Fame honors teams and individuals for special contributions to high school sports. This year’s honorees are: — Great Moments in High School Sports: The 2013 Class A state championship soccer match between Omaha South and Creighton Prep that drew an estimated 8,200 attendance, a larger crowd than what attended the Class A football championship in that academic year.
Dominant Dynasties: Lincoln High football from 1911-55, which won 20 mythical state championships and compiled a 324-48-18 record.
Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award — Megan Wallman of Syracuse who weighed two pounds at birth and overcame several medical issues as a child to earn honorable mention all-conference volleyball honors in 2019 as a serving and defensive specialist. She set a school record for serving accuracy with only 12 errors in 399 serves.
Fischer Family Award: L.G. and Shirley Harrison family of Omaha, whose 11 children figured prominently in the sports scenes at Omaha Creighton Prep, Marian, Central, Benson, Cathedral and Bryan. Eight of the children were involved in athletics in college, and Les played more than 9,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters and Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem All-Stars.
Golden Anniversary Team: Fairbury’s 1971 boys basketball team, which won Class B with a 22-3 record after defeating Waverly, Aurora and Cozad in the state tournament.
Golden Anniversary Team: Laurel’s 1970 football team, which included 2020 inductee Steve Erwin and went 10-0, outscoring its opponents by an average score of 48-8.
Silver Anniversary Team: Chappell’s 1995 volleyball team, led by Hall of Fame inductee Kim Behrends, that went 28-0 to win the first of back-to-back Class D1 state titles
Silver Anniversary Team: Milford’s 1995 football team, which went 13-0 and won the first of back-to-back Class C1 state championships.