Fourteen individuals and two teams will take their place in Columbus High School immortality when the Discoverer Hall of Fame welcomes in its 2019 class on Aug. 29 at Ag Park.
The Discoverer Athletic Hall of Fame, organized in large part by Steve Anderson, began inducting members in 2009 and has installed a new class every two years since then.
Roger Brown, a member of the 1972 state championship basketball team, and friend of Anderson's, convinced Anderson over a decade ago that it was time Columbus High had its own way to honor the greats.
Brown and Anderson have teamed together before to set up a regular CHS event. They were the major forces behind setting up the alumni basketball tournament that began in the 1980's.
"He knows I'll do a lot of work," Anderson chuckled about why Brown reached out to him.
"(Brown) knew of some other schools that were doing this and said, 'We ought to do this.' So, he got together myself and a few other people and the hall of fame was born."
Anderson and a committee of former coaches, former athletes and alumni choose the inductees for the ceremony that takes place every two years.
Why every two?
Well, Anderson said, it's quite the process. Most people don't keep their newspaper clippings or photos and such from the past. Thus, other than common knowledge of all-state awards or winning a state championship, putting an athlete's career into perspective can be difficult.
"But it's worth it," Anderson said.
The committee has certain criteria in order to be chosen. For athletes, they must be 10 years removed from graduation and have won an all-state or all-conference award or won an individual state championship, or in the case of tennis, been on a doubles team that won a state title.
Coaches are those who won a state or conference championship. Team recognition is for champions and runners-up. Other meritorious awards are at the discretion of the committee.
This year's class of honorees is made up of 10 individuals, two tennis doubles state champions and a state title team as well as a runner-up.
As the ceremony has been run in the past, this year's edition will once again be presented as a pseudo-episode of Sports Center with CHS grad and Omaha World Herald sports writer Dirk Chatelain as one anchor and current Discoverer boys basketball head coach Jimmy Motz as the other.
Tickets for the banquet are $25 and can be purchased at the CPS Administration building or online at: www.cpsanchor.com.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m.
All tickets must be purchased by Aug. 23, the Friday before the event.
Mary (Olsufka) Bellamy: Bellamy earned 10 varsity letters in her career while excelling at volleyball, basketball and tennis. As a setter, she earned the Best Setter Award at Terry Pettit's Nebraska Volleyball Camp while also being named all-conference in back-to-back years. In basketball, she was also a two-time all-conference awardee. But tennis is where she enjoyed her greatest success. In 1984, Bellamy won the No. 2 singles state title, capping a senior season that included C-Club Athlete of the Year.
Frank Brower: Brower hadn't played more than a handful of varsity basketball minutes prior to his senior year in 1972. Thanks to CHS Hall of Fame coach Jack Johnson, who saw something in Brower, the former Discoverer became a starter averaging a double-double on 14 points and 10 rebounds while helping lead Columbus High to its last traditional team title 47 years ago. In the state tournament, Brower combined for 63 points and 31 rebounds in three games and was named to the all-tournament team. Later, he was selected all-state.
Kari (Krumland) Bice: Bice was a three-sport letter winner, golfing as a freshman and sophomore, winning all-conference basketball awards as a sophomore, junior and senior as well as garnering all-state selections as a junior and a senior. On the soccer pitch, Bice was a four-year letter winner and all-conference player. As a junior and senior she led the state in scoring with 20 goals and 16 assists then 32 goals and 10 assists. She still holds records for most goals in a game (6), most points in a season (72), most goals in a season (32) and goals in a career (71).
Kathy (Gerber) Hash: Hash won a state championship in the 440-yard run as a sophomore, set a school record in the event the following season with another gold medal and was asked to join the Nebraska Track Club where she qualified for the Junior National Track Meet. A foot injury prevented her from defending her 440 state title as a senior. On the volleyball court, Hash started for three seasons and was named to the All-Apollo Conference Tournament Team in 1974. Hash went on to play volleyball at Central Community College.
Roger Iwansky: Iwansky was a three-sport athlete at CHS in the early 1970's, playing football, basketball and participating in track. After graduation, he became a volunteer assistant coach for Discoverer football for over 20 years. He's also been on the chain gang at football games for over 20 years, served on the Discoverer Sports Booster Club Board for 17 years, co-founded the booster club golf tournament and was a chairman of the tournament for over a decade. For almost a quarter century, Iwansky has served as the public address voice of CHS basketball and volleyball and has been a starter at CHS track meets for over 25 years as well as a basketball official for over 30 years.
Dave Murphy: Murphy was only a Discoverer for one year after transferring from Saint Bonaventure (Scotus), but made the most of it as an Associated Press All-Sate football selection in 1965. He was also a student manager on the first wrestling squad and was selected to play in the 1966 Shrine Bowl.
Al Schnabel: Schnabel took over a boys basketball program in 1979 that had a combined mark of just 3-54 in the previous three years and turned it around to a mark of 172-126 in his 27 years of coaching. Schnabel is still the winningest boys coach in school history. Perhaps his most memorable stretch of teams were from 1988 through 1990 in which Columbus High went 57-7, made the state semifinals in all three years and advanced to the championship game in 1989 where the Discoverers fell short by just two points.
Don Soulliere: Soulliere's CHS career included a letter in swimming, three in football and three years in track. As a sprinter, Soulliere ran the 100, 220 and 180-yard hurdles and was on the 440-yard relay. He still holds the school record in the 200 and the 180-yard low hurdles. Soulliere was named the outstanding athlete at the Big 10 Conference Track Meet and received the Joe Greeno Traveling Trophy in 1973. He has a state championship in the 220 at the 1973 state meet and was subsequently named the 1973 CHS Athlete of the Year.
Todd Thalken: Thalken's story is one of determination and doing what's best for the team. In order to make the varsity wrestling squad as a sophomore, Thalken had to wrestle up to the 167-pound weight class though he only checked in at 135. He went 11-13 then 19-11 as a junior when he gained 10 pounds, but was still competing at 167. As a senior at 155, he went 30-0, winning titles at Kearney, Bellevue West, Millard South, the Big Ten conference meet, Trans Nebraska and District. It was all capped with an individual state title and part of three team titles in a row (1980, 1981, 1982).
Bob Wilhelms: A two-year letter winner as a linebacker, tight end, kicker and punter, Wilhelms led Columbus High in tackles as a senior. In the winter on the mat, he was a three-year letter winner, 1980 Kearney Invite champion, 1981 Millard Invite champion, 1981 Big Ten champion, 1980 and 1981 Trans Nebraska Champion and 1980 and 1981 district champion. At state, he was third as a junior at 138 pounds with a 24-5 record. The next year at 145, he completed a perfect season, 24-0, on his way to a state title. In his career, Wilhelms went 50-8.
1989 Girls Tennis Class B No. 1 Doubles Champions: Becky (Kuncl) Andreasen and Anne Koutrous
1969 Boys Tennis Class B No. 1 Doubles Champions: Dave Kincaid and Brad Nelson
1981 Wrestling State Champions
2005 Girls Soccer State Runners-Up
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.