Danny Woodhead and three linemen who blocked for him during his remarkable 2006 season are among the nine former Chadron State College athletes who will be going into the Eagles’ Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.
The inductions will take place on on Saturday, Sept. 23 when both the CSC football and volleyball teams will be playing at home that afternoon. The new Hall of Famers will be introduced at those contests, followed by a dinner that evening. A link to purchase tickets can be found at the bottom of this article.
Woodhead rushed for 2,756 yards, then the most all-time in college football and still the most in NCAA Division II for a single season, during the Eagles’ 13 games in the fall of 2006. He averaged 8.0 yards a carry and 212.0 yards a game that season, and also scored 42 touchdowns to lead the nation in scoring and earned the first of his two Harlon Hill Awards as Division II’s outstanding player.
Three seniors—Robbie Klinetobe, Jared Lee and Chase Olsen—were up front blocking for Woodhead that autumn and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame with him.
Also to be inducted is one of the defensive stalwarts, linebacker Kalan Jones, along with three track and field standouts, Amanda Owens Cecilio, Emily Volkmer Cheetsos and Jack Sides, as well as volleyball’s Jennifer Luatua.
Each of the linemen was a four-year letterman, at least a three-year starter and each was a first-team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference choice that season, when the Eagles had a 12-1 record and were ranked fifth in the final American Football Coaches Association poll.
A native of Battle Creek, Neb., Klinetobe played guard and, as a senior, was a consensus All-American and the first runner-up for the Gene Upshaw Award that goes to the outstanding offensive lineman in Division II.
Lee was from Doherty High in Colorado Springs, and Olsen, a Sidney native, were the offensive tackles. Besides being all-conference, all three were named to the Omaha World-Herald’s Nebraska NCAA II all-star team as seniors.
When Woodhead was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2018, shortly after he’d completed nine seasons in the NFL, he told the audinece he didn’t have to do anything special, he “just ran through the holes they (offensive linemen) opened.”
In June, it was announced that Woodhead’s name has been placed on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot that is supervised by the National Football Foundation.
Along with going into the CSC Athletic Hall of Fame, Jones will be inducted into the Grand Island High School Hall of Fame this Saturday. He became a starting linebacker for the Eagles as a redshirt freshman and was a starter every game after that when he was healthy.
Jones finished his career with 171 tackles, including 17 quarterback sacks and 27 ½ others behind the line of scrimmage. His teammates voted him the Outstanding Defensive Player his senior year, when he also was first-team All-RMAC and Nebraska NCAA Division II.
Each of the track and field inductees also earned many special honors at Chadron State.
Amanda Owens, a graduate of Harvard High School in south-central Nebraska, placed at RMAC meets 28 times, capped by being voted the Outstanding Female Athlete at the conference’s outdoor championships her senior year. She scored 33.5 points at that meet while placing third in the heptathlon, which involves seven events, and also placing five times in the regular competition.
She then went on to finish fourth in the heptathlon at the DII National Outdoor Meet and also placed in the high jump by clearing 5-foot-7, giving her four All-American honors during her career.
Coming from Kearney, Emily Volkmer placed in all three of her events–high hurdles, long jump and triple jump–both indoors and outdoors at the conference meets each of her four years at Chadron State. She also earned five All-American citations by placing in the triple jump at national meets.
She still has the Eagles’ three longest indoor triple jumps and the four longest outdoor triple jumps, topped by a 41 foot, 9 inch mark.
Sides didn’t take on as many events as Owens and Volkmer during his four years as their CSC teammate, but he excelled as a high jumper.
A graduate of Hot Springs High School, Sides won the high jump 16 times during his career, cleared at least 6-foot-8 on 17 occasions, was an All-American in 2006 when he went 6-11 at the National Indoor Meet, won the RMAC outdoor championship at 6-10 ½ as a senior and holds the Eagles’ outdoor record of 7- ½.
Sides won’t be the first member of his family in the Hall of Fame. His father, John, was inducted in 1990 and, nearly 60 years after he competed, only three CSC men have ever run the 800 meters faster.
Luatua came to Chadron State from Everett, Wash., and excelled as the volleyball team’s libero. As a junior, she set the school record for most digs in a match with 39 vs. Northern Sate of South Dakota.
As a senior in 2008, she averaged 5.62 digs a game, a full dig more than any other player in the RMAC averaged, and Luatua was voted the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. It was the first time in 18 seasons in the RMAC that a CSC volleyball player had received such an honor.