COLUMBUS — Friday night couldn’t have gone much better for Lakeview supporters.
Before Vikings fans celebrated the football team’s 34-21 upset victory over 10th-ranked Kearney Catholic, they honored some of the players, coaches and contributors who proudly donned the blue and white in years past.
During halftime of the home football game, Lakeview recognized the first group inducted into its new hall of fame.
The inaugural Lakeview High School Hall of Fame class includes six athletes, two coaches, two contributors and two teams dating back to the school’s first year in 1969.
A project around three years in the making, the hall of fame started as a vision of Lakeview Athletic Director Jake Shadley that came together with assistance from a board of directors.
Honorees, selected based on accomplishments during their Lakeview and post-high school careers, are recognized on stainless-steel plaques displayed in the south hallway near the high school’s main gymnasium. This “Wall of Fame” was created near existing plaques that list Lakeview’s sports records and photos of the school’s All-State selections.
This year’s Lakeview High School Hall of Fame inductees are:
1969 Football Team
When Lakeview High School opened its doors in 1969, football was the first sport.
This first team of young men and coaches, most of whom had never played together, arrived at Lakeview from more than 10 different schools and there wasn’t even grass on the football field.
Most of the inductees were among those who volunteered to put sod down and install goal posts and bleachers so they could play.
Lakeview lost its first game before winning the remaining contests to finish with an 8-1 record.
1981 Volleyball Team
This team ran off 19 consecutive wins, losing only one set during that time. The streak included winning the Central Conference and district tournaments. Their only loss was in the Class B championship match at state to finish as the state runner-up with a 19-1 record.
The team included two All-State performers and finished the season ranked No. 2.
Herman Oehlrich was one of the founders of the Lakeview High School Adult Booster Club and served as its president from its inception until his death in 1977.
He also organized the parking attendants and ticket-takers, helped sponsor sock hop dances after sporting events and convinced the local radio stations to broadcast Lakeview games.
Oehlrich was instrumental in organizing the first bus trips for Lakeview High School patrons wanting to attend away games.
He loved Lakeview High School and Lakeview athletics.
Judy Peterson was hired as a teacher in 1969 at Lakeview. At that time there were no female sports at the school.
In 1970, she started the first volleyball team. By 1973, her team qualified for the state tournament, making it the first girls team ever at Lakeview to go to state.
She started the first girls track team in 1971 and, in 1973, her team won the conference championship and included four state qualifiers.
Peterson then started the girls basketball program in 1972. And in that first year the team had a winning record.
Peterson’s hard work and passion as the first girls athletics coach provided a solid foundation for future Lakeview female athletes.
Lynae (Loseke) Thomas
In volleyball, Lynae (Loseke) Thomas was a two-time All-State selection and as a senior was named honorary captain of the All-State team. A three-time All-Conference player, she was a starting member of three state-qualifying teams, two of which finished as state runner-up.
A two-time Class B All-State team member in basketball, Thomas led the team in scoring and rebounds.
In track, she was a four-time state qualifier in the high jump and three-time state medal winner. Her school record of 5 feet, 7 inches still stands today.
In 1982, the Omaha World-Herald selected her as the High School Female Athlete of the Year for Nebraska, the only Lakeview athlete to earn this award.
Osten played a key role in the success of the new school’s first football squad, which posted an 8-1 record. Starting at end on both offense and defense, he led the team with 30 receptions for 495 yards.
Following that season, Osten became Lakeview’s first-ever All-State selection in any sport and Lakeview’s first Shrine Bowl participant.
In addition to his football abilities, Osten started on Lakeview’s first basketball team and excelled in track.
Clete Pillen led the Vikings in tackles for three years. He was selected to the All-State team his senior year and participated in the Shrine Bowl game.
Clete Pillen’s intensity carried over to basketball. A three-year letter winner, he participated in Lakeview’s state basketball tournament debut in 1971.
After Lakeview, Clete Pillen went onto a stellar career as a Husker linebacker. He was an inductee into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big Eight selection and 1976 Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year.
Clete Pillen still holds the Nebraska record for most tackles in a game with 30 against Oklahoma State in 1976.
In football, Jim Pillen twice earned all All-Conference honors and was named an All-State running back and placed on the All-Class All-State Second Team. Record-setting numbers included 1,865 rushing yards and 2,350 all-purpose yards that year.
Basketball honors included Honorable Mention All-State and All-Conference First Team.
In track, he set a school record of 9.9 seconds in the 100-yard dash. Later he was named a World-Herald Athlete of the Year finalist.
Jim Pillen went on to become a Nebraska Cornhusker three-year letter winner as a defensive back, two-time Academic All-American, two-time All-Big Eight player and Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Julie (Schaf) Groteluschen
A nine-time letter winner, Julie (Schaf) Groteluschen proved to be a dominant force for Lakeview High School athletics. A knee injury during her senior year prevented her from being a 10-time letter winner.
In volleyball, Groteluschen was twice named to the All-Conference and All-State Tournament teams. As a junior, Groteluschen was named as an All-State performer.
In basketball, Groteluschen was twice named All-Conference.
She set school records in four track events — 100-meter dash, 200, 100 hurdles and 400 relay team — one of which still stands today.
Ryan Went was a two-time All-Conference and All-Conference Player of the Year at running back. During his senior year, he led the football team to a repeat West Husker Championship and the state semifinals while rushing for 1,383 yards.
Went was an All-State selection his senior season, Shrine Bowl selection and Husker walk-on recruit.
Went also was a three-year starter and letter winner as a forward on the basketball team. He led the team in scoring and rebounds his senior year.
Robert ‘Bob’ Lake
Bob Lake coached girls basketball, girls track, boys track and football. He was also twice named Lakeview Teacher of the Year.
Lake took five teams to the girls state basketball tournament, including the first in Lakeview’s history and established a career record of 269-149. He coached more than 140 athletes who qualified for state competitions.
A Vietnam veteran, Lake was also a long-term volunteer for Columbus Area Recreational Trails and a trail bears his name.
Lake’s greatest accomplishment, as a Lakeview coach, was that he was instrumental in changing the culture of female athletics in a positive fashion.
Larry Whiting coached 68 sports seasons during his tenure at Lakeview. His 1972 Viking basketball team became the first in school history to qualify for the state tournament.
Whiting served as the boys track coach for 20 years. He organized the first boys and girls cross country teams, and coached these harriers for 31 years. Whiting coached more than 100 state qualifiers.
He was also active in community organizations and coached many Little League teams. Whiting was loved and cherished by all who knew him, and he left a lasting impression on thousands of students.