NCHS Hall of Fame

Nebraska City News-Press

The NCHS Athletic Booster Club  recognized thirteen members of the inaugural class of the Athletic Hall of Fame during half time at the Pioneer home football game, Friday, Oct. 1. The public was also invited for a meet and greet at the 5th Quarter at Little Ted’s Pub and Grill following the game.

Look for photos from the festivities on Friday night on the News-Press Facebook page.

Nominees include former athletes (out of high school for at least five years), coaches, teams, and contributors to the athletic program. Like the “Nebraska City Pioneer Athletic Booster Club” Facebook page to see more information about the Athletic Hall of Fame.

The following have been selected into the Class of 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame.

Julie Hermann

Athletic Highlights:

High School – All State Volleyball (’80); State Champion 4x400 Relay Team (’80 – best time in all classes); All Star Basketball Game

College - A 34 year veteran of college sports, a 3 year starter all conference performer for Nebraska volleyball who began collegiate coaching in 1986. Those opportunities would take her from the University of Nebraska, to the University of Wyoming, the University of Georgia, Northern Arizona University, the University of Tennessee and USA Volleyball as they prepared for the Sydney Olympic Games. A World Games Silver Medalist, in ’98, Julie was hired as the Associate Athletic Director at the University of Louisville and ascended to Senior Associate and Executive Senior Associate as Louisville grew from Conference USA, to the Big East to the ACC. In 2013, Hermann was the first woman hired in the modern Power 5 era athletic department at Rutgers University. Under Hermann’s leadership Rutgers moved to the Big Ten and set new fundraising and football attendance records. Having served on numerous community, conference, NCAA and national boards, Julie has spent her career developing first class championship experiences for college students while designing and advocating for a best in class care system for student-athletes. 

Favorite memory: “Winning the gold medal at state for all classes in the 1600 Relay Team. I just remember we ( Betty, Kathy, Cathy and me) were shocked that we beat Class A”. 

Today: Retired in Louisville Kentucky.

Frank Graham

Athletic Highlights:

High School: Two time State Cross Country Medalist; Eight time State Track Medalist and member of the 1985 Boys State Track Championship Team

College:

·         Attended University of Nebraska Lincoln on Track Scholarship

·         Four Year Letter winner in X-country, indoor track, and outdoor track

·         Big 8 Conference Champion in the Indoor Mile

·         Post Collegiate: ran for numerous athletic clubs the likes of HCA Wesley & Nike

·         Academic All-Big 8 numerous times

·         Graduated with a BS in Education / Minor in History

Favorite memories:

1) Coach Dave Novak took Harald and I Bass fishing after practice. He explained the importance of dedicated training, hard work, and goals all while reeling in a 4 pound largemouth out of Berry’s farm pond. It was then that Harald I agreed, “We had found our sport”.

2) When Harald beat me for the first time, it was my wake up call. Unfortunately he consistently started to beat me but we kept it in the family and the “Graham Brothers” became, well; the “Graham Brothers”.

Today: “I am married to the best lady in the world for 30 years. Lisa Darley (Nebraska All American and NCAA / Olympic Trials) and I have two daughters. Samantha Graham is 26 and attended the University of Arizona. She is currently working for Adidas in Portland, Oregon. Alexandria Graham is 24, living in Sedona Arizona while attending school. Lisa is retired from teaching after teaching in numerous school districts in Washington state and Lincoln, Nebraska. I work in aerospace and consider myself the luckiest person in the world. Great parents, super family, and a lot of good teachers and supporters along the way.”

Harald Graham

Athletic Highlights:

High School: Two time State Cross Country Medalist; Eight time State Track Medalist; Two Time State Champion (1600m and 3200m; best time all classes in 3200m); NCHS School Record Holder

College: 1985-1996

·         Big 8 Conference Champion 3000m Steeplechase

·         2 Time NCAA All-American 3000m Steeplechase (Finishing 7th at NCAA meet at BYU / 5th at NCAA meet at DUKE)

·         1992 US Olympic Trials

·         2 Outdoor Track seasons in Europe (Member of US Distance Developmental Team Scandinavia) (season with agent in Belgium)

·         Represented Reebok 

·         Graduated with a BS in Art Education 

 Favorite memories:

1)  “Frank, Myself, Lance and maybe a few others hiding under the pole-vault rain cover, avoiding running and coach B jumping on and firing the starter pistol under the cover to scare us into practicing”.

2)      “First day of practice, freshman getting bused from Jr. High to High School, Frank and I being terrified, playing around in the locker room and missing the entire team heading out on a “conditioning run” our plan was to pole vault. The coaches ran us out of the locker room, we were the last to start and first to finish, we never touched a pole”.

3)  “Frank making varsity as a freshman, me stuck in town when they were at meets, at a freshman practice coach Novak scooped me up during a run and said “get in we are heading to Plattsmouth to watch Frank run” Frank finished I think 6th or 7th in a star studded field of Jr. and Sr. (2 of which would become team mates at UNL years later) That was super exciting to watch and I wanted to run like Frank”.

Today:  Found my wife in Oregon running the Hood to Coast Relay. Mindy and I have been married for 24 years and have two daughters. (Current pet count 1 dog, 1 cat). Brianna is 22 graduating from Western Washington with degree in creative writing and German. Tessa is 21 attending Boise State and working as a VET tech and Kick Boxing Instructor. (She may become a K-6 teacher)

I leveraged my athletic connections /network into starting my own company (Meaty Design) which provide graphic design services and solutions for: Adidas, Under Armor, Brooks, Saucony and on occasion Nike, we do have some local clients large and small as well, including the company Frank works for and is part of the ownership group in. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have these clients and get to be creative in the sports world on a daily basis and MAKE MONEY doing it! I do NOT market my services and the business is solely built on referrals. Our Midwest work ethic and experience is rare out here, and what Frank and I do in business comes naturally. (I miss my farmer friends and work experiences).

My Take:  “Frank and I are both fortunate to have one another and we are blessed with great parents, the best upbringing and wonderful (in most part) teachers and mentors to help guide us. No-one achieve success on their own. From slinging pizzas to walking beans, DJ dances and helping a neighbor. Do the right thing and do it the best you can. We simply have a ton of energy and apply in the right areas of need, that’s all”. 

Chuck Stoner

Athletic Highlights: “It has been my pleasure to be associated with Nebraska City athletics for the past 42 years. While serving as Nebraska City Middle School Principal for 24 years, it was my honor to observe young adults mature athletically as well as academically. Their training and discipline learned in school athletics and the classroom has served each of them in their life pursuits. Lessons have been learned from the successes and failures of competitive competition”.

Favorite Memory: Coming from a coaching background, it is still a thrill for me to be called “Coach”. It was my privilege to watch some of the best coaches mold young athletes. Thank you for the honor of being a part of your lives.

Today: My wife, Diane, and I are retired but the cycle continues. We both participated in high school athletics, watched our two sons (Steve and Travis) participate, and are involved in watching our six grandchildren participate.

Emily(Duran) Stinson

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

2000 Nebraska Gatorade Athlete of the Year 

2000 Mark of discus (165'-0") at the Nebraska Class B district meet was the fourth-best mark recorded by a high school athlete in 2000 and the all-time Nebraska prep record 

2000 All-class gold medal and Class B titles in both the shot put (46'-8 1/2") and discus (157'-2") at the 2000 Nebraska state meet 

2000 Placed 3rd in both the shot put (47'-2 1/4") and discus (157'-1") at the 2000 Footlocker Outdoor National Championships in Raleigh, N.C 

1999 All-class gold medal in the discus (142'-0") and Class B champion in the shot put (44'-4-1/2") 

1999 Junior Olympic national champion in the discus (153'-1") 

1999 Junior Olympic national runner-up in the shot put (45'-10 3/4") 

1999 IAAF World Youth Championships, Bydgoszcz, Poland 7th place discus (45.76) and 12th shot put (12.54)

Class B record holder in discus (165'0")

1999 Class B state champion in shot-put and discus.

College:

University of Nebraska- Lincoln  

2001 Personal-best and NCAA qualifying mark of 171'-0" in the discus at the Northwest Twilight Classic 

2001 Finished seventh in the discus at the Big 12 outdoor meet (158'-11") 

2001 Placed 20th in the discus at the NCAA outdoor meet (137'-5") 

2001 Posted a personal-best mark of 48'-4" in the shot put to finish sixth at the Big 12 indoor meet 

2001 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Team Champions 

2001 Qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the discus as a true freshman 

Doane College- Crete 

2004 NAIA All-American : Weight Throw Doane College 52'-05.25" 

2004 Great Plains Athletic Conference Team Indoor Champions 

2004 NAIA National Meet Team Finish 5th 

2003 Great Plains Athletic Conference Team Indoor Champions 

2003 NAIA National Meet Team Finish 2nd 

Favorite Memory: “I had many great moments in my high school athletic career. To narrow that down is a very difficult task. My athletic accomplishments are small compared to the amount of support I received during my career as an athlete. I sincerely appreciate all those who supported me and encouraged me in my youth. As a mother to 7 children, some of those being athletes, I reflect on all the hard work and sacrifices made by my parents Roberto and Elizabeth Duran”. 

Today: “I have been married to my husband Mark for 17 years. We live just outside of North Platte. I am currently a substitute teacher with the North Platte Public Schools, student at Chadron State College (studying elementary education k-5), and mother to seven children (Alexis, Dominic, Damian, Giuliana, Dylan, and twins Mackenzie and Mark Jr). I have many jobs, but those are the most important. I enjoy watching my children play football, wrestling, and soccer. We are a wrestling household. Every season is wrestling season.  Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to showcase my accomplishments and who I have become today. I am so thankful you guys reached out to me and included me in the first class of the NCHS Hall of Fame. I am so proud to have grown up in Nebraska City and to have graduated as a Pioneer”. 

Jason Stoll

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

NC Football

-2000 Sophomore Year- All Conference

-2001 Junior Year- All Conference. All State

-2002 Senior Year

All Conference, All State, 2nd Team Super State, Class B Defensive Player of the year

NC Wrestling

-2000 Sophomore Year- State Qualifier 189

-2001 Junior Year- Class B State Champion 189, Invitational Athlete at the Disney Dual Event in Orlando, FL

-2002 Senior Year-Class B 2nd place State Tournament 189

Favorite Memory: “Winning and owning the 189 Class B State Wrestling Champ Title my senior year”!

Today: “I currently reside in Nebraska City with my wife Jena, and our two daughters, Kenzi 11, 6th grade & Bryndal 8, 2nd grade. Keeping up with the girls school, sporting and social events is a full time job in itself. I’ve owned and operated my concrete business, Midwest Concrete in Nebraska City for the last 10 years”.

Mitch Krenk

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

Participated in Football, Basketball, and Track

All Conference Selection

1978 Athlete of the Year

1978 Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

College:

University of Nebraska Football

Voted Lifter of the Year by teammates

Professional:

Member of the Chicago Bears Football Team (1984-1985)

1985 Super Bowl Champions

Favorite Memory: “Hanging out with my teammates off the field and court. They asked to never share their exploits”.

Today: “I’m enjoying life and traveling with my wife, Judy, also a NCHS graduate. Our two sons, Nick and Trevor attended NCHS, teach and coach”.

Bret Clark

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

Football: All Conference (two years); All State (one year)

Track: Two time State Champion - 110 High Hurdles; Long Jump (all classes); Silver medalist in 300 Low Hurdles, and member of 4x100 Relay Team.

College:

University of Nebraska Football Team (started at Free Safety ’82, ’83, and ’84)

All Big Eight (’83 and ’84)

All-American (’84)

Professional:

Football – Tampa Bay Bandits (USFL ’85)

Atlanta Falcons (’86, ’87 and ’88), Led team in forced fumbles and interceptions in ’86 and ’88, led team in special tackles in ‘86

Favorite Memory: “Winning the All Class Gold Medal in the Long Jump. Also enjoying all sports because of great teammates, it made all of the practices fun”.

Today: “I am married to my high school sweetheart, Tammy Kreifels. We have three children; two sons, Tyson and Taylor, and a daughter, Danielle, and two grandchildren. I have worked at OPPD for the past 14 years as a Senior Instructional Tech”.

Ellie Windle

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

Participated in Volleyball, Basketball, Track, Cross Country and Softball (9x letter winner)

Eight time State Track Medalist (including gold, silver and bronze)

State Track Champion 800m (’02

Cindy Meyer Outstanding Track Award (’01, ’02, and ’03)

District Track Champions (’03)

Outstanding Track Performance Award at Beatrice Track Invitational

Female Athlete of the Year (’03)

Record Holder (400m, 800m, 1600m and 3200m relay)

College:

Doane University (Track):

Conference champs 4 years

Held three school records at one time (600M, 3200M relay indoor and outdoor).

Seven time All-American in Track and Field.

Four time Academic All-American.

Six all time Doane College Track and Field records.

GPAC Conference record holder in 800 meter run

Philip Stuart Becker Award

Sanderson Prize

Alpha Lambda Delta Senior Award

Favorite Memory: “I have so many fond memories of Basketball, especially my senior year when we made it quite far in the District tournament and everything was clicking for us as a team.  But it’s hard to beat the memory of winning state in the 800m.  I had trained really hard that season, and had put a bunch of pressure on myself.  The feeling after running the best race I could possibly run, and winning, and knowing I had all summer ahead of me… pure relief and joy”. 

Today: “I'm currently the VP of Global Partnerships at a Cybersecurity company, HUMAN, based in NYC. I live in Woodstock, NY with my Partner, Will Heins, and our daughter Lina.  We have plenty of pets; dog, cat, chickens, ducks and turkeys and we are expecting a new baby girl any day now, which is why I’m unable to attend the ceremony in person.  Wish I could be there and very honored to be included with such an impressive group of athletes”!!  

1985 State Champion Track Team Coached by John Barton

Athletic Highlights:

State Medal Winners:

                Tony Jordan, 2nd – 400m; 5th 1600 m relay team

                Brad Martin, 2nd – 300m hurdles; 5th 1600m relay team

                Harold Graham, 1st – 1600m and 3200m; 2nd 3200m relay team

                Frank Graham, 2nd 3200m and 5th 1600m; 2nd 3200m relay team

                Lance Dixon, 2nd 3200m relay team, 5th 1600m relay team

                Corey Friesen, 2nd 3200m relay team, 5th 1600m relay team

Coach Barton:

Coaching Award while coaching Track and Cross-Country

Awarded Scholastic Coach Magazine - National High School Gold 

Award for Track in 1988; and a Silver Award for Cross Country.

Favorite Memory: Coach Barton said “The ‘83 and ‘84 seasons we were undefeated during the regular season and districts.  The Championship in ‘85 is my most fond memory”.

Brian Duran

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

Football and Wrestling

4 time State Wrestling Medalist

4 time B-1 District Wrestling Champion

2 time Class B State Wrestling Champion

Held Class B State Wrestling Record for Most Consecutive Pins at 29.

College: Wrestling: Redshirt freshman year at UNL and forced to retire due to health issues.

Favorite Memories: “The impact of my coaches and all they taught me about life lessons that I didn’t realize as a young man”. The sacrifices that my mom and dad made. The support of the community”.

Today: I am married with three daughters, work in medical sales, and the Head Wrestling Coach at Norris High School.

Cheri Becerra Madsen

Athletic Highlights:

10x Paralympic Medalist and 1x Olympic Medalist

2 Gold Medals

5 Silver Medals

3 Bronze Medals

1 Olympic Bronze

Former World Record Holder in 100m, 200m and 400m

Competed in two Olympic Games (Atlanta ’96 and Sydney ’00)

Competed in Paralympic Games (Atlanta ’96, Sydney ’00, Rio ’16, and Tokyo ’20)

7x World Champion Medalist (Lyon France ’13, Doha ’15, London ’17 and Dubai ’19)

3 Silver

4 Bronze

Favorite Memories: “I have two memories that stand out: My first one is from the Atlanta 1996 Olympic 800m, this was my first time racing in front of 80,000 people and when I broke away from the pack at 300 meters to go, the crowd erupted and the roar they made, I could feel it. I will never forget that feeling. My second is when my family went to London to watch me compete at the World Championships and I could hear Reese in the crowd before I was lining up for my race singing/yelling “Sweet Caroline” from the top of her lungs”.

Today: Cheri just recently returned from the Paralympics in Tokyo and said “I’m resting! My future plans are to work out for fitness and overall general health. Next year I plan on doing some road races. I am married to Eric Madsen and we have two children. Reese is attending Southeast Community College in Beatrice for business and playing softball. She’s really enjoying it and says college is awesome. Malayna is a sophomore in High School and currently running cross country and excited for the basketball season to start”.

Logan Ehlers

Athletic Highlights:

High School:

All State Baseball (’08, ’09, and ’10)

Gatorade Player of the Year (’09 and ‘10)

College:

Baseball – University of Nebraska – Lincoln (’11); Howard College – Big Spring, TX (’12)

Professional:

Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 June Amateur Draft, but decided to attend college and play baseball for the University of Nebraska.

Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from Howard College (Big Spring, TX). 59-game pitching career with the Tigers, Connecticut Tigers, West Michigan Whitecaps and Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Today: Logan currently lives and works in Omaha, coaches youth baseball and gives pitching lessons. Anyone interested can email him at lehlers1818@gmail.com.