(Written By Con Marshall)
Nine former Chadron State College athletes have been selected for induction into the Eagles’ Athletic Hall of Fame this fall. The inductions will be on Saturday, October 15 following the football game against Adams State.
The honorees include five seniors from the 2004 football team, track and field All-Americans Joel Duffield and Jacqueline Wells Hobbs, basketball standout Bec Kyba Ray and breakaway roper Jennifer Nelson Gale. Six of them are Nebraska natives and five of them are living in the state. Two others reside in Wyoming and another in her native state of South Dakota.
The football players to be inducted include Chadron native Mitch Barry, who made 105 unassisted tackles, had 11 pass interceptions and broke up 28 more passes as a four-year starter at cornerback. He also averaged 38 yards as the Eagles’ punter three years, returned 89 punts for 998 yards while having that responsibility all four years and still holds the CSC school record for the longest touchdown run with an opponents’ fumble, 86 yards. Like the others, he earned numerous all-star honors.
Another inductee, Casey Haldeman of Douglas, Wyo., was a four-year starter and a three-time first-team all-conference choice while playing defensive end for the Eagles. He participated in 172 tackles that included 19 quarterback sacks for 118 negative yards. Defensive Coordinator Todd Auer said Haldeman’s “motor was always running.”
The inductees also include Shawn Eisenreich of Gordon, the Eagles’ starting quarterback for three years while completing 606 of 1,905 passes for 7,840 yards and 70 touchdowns. His 581 yards passing against Fort Lewis College is the still the single-game school record and his 55.3% career passing figure was the CSC record when he graduated.
Bryce Flammang, originally from Cambridge, was the Eagles’ leading receiver as a junior and senior, catching 90 of Eisenreich’s passes for 1,492 yards and 16 touchdowns. In the game against Fort Lewis, he caught 15 passes, the most in school history at the time, for 250 yards, which ranked second on the all-time list.
The other football player going into the CSC Hall of Fame is Layne Sievers, a native of Randolph, Neb., and the offensive line leader. He was a three-year starter at right tackle and received all-region honors as well as all-conference and all-state as both a junior and a senior. He helped the Eagles average 485 yards in total offense in 2004, still the third highest total in school history.
Track standout Joel Duffield of Morrill held the Chadron State records in the 200 and 400 meters both indoors and outdoors when he graduated in 2006. Only one of the four has been eclipsed in the last 16 years. His time of 45.92 seconds in the 400 outdoors as a senior was the fastest in the nation in NCAA Division II and remains the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference record. He was the silver medalist in the 400 at the National Indoor Meet in Boston in 2004 and he was voted the RMAC’s Track Athlete of the Year.
Jacqueline Wells won first in a throwing event for the Chadron State track and field team 55 times during her career, when she was a nine-time conference champion and a 10-time All-American. The Albion native held the school record in the shot put and weight throw indoors and the shot and hammer throw outdoors when she graduated. She also was placed on the RMAC’s 12-member All-Century Women’s Track and Field Team in 2009. Both Duffield and Wells also received special academic honors.
Originally from British Columbia, Bec Kyba had been an All-Region 9 honoree at Western Wyoming College before transferring to play basketball at Chadron State. She had an especially outstanding season as a senior in 2006-07, when she led the team in nearly every category while averaging 15.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. The 36 points that she scored against Metro State were the most in the RMAC that season. She’s now a Nebraskan, living near Thedford.
Jennifer Nelson’s time at Chadron State had a sad ending, but she demonstrated her abilities in a crisis situation. The Hartford, S.D., native was leading the breakaway roping at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper in 2005 when her horse, Pickle, died while she was warming him up for their final run. She immediately put the saddle on her father’s horse, caught the calf in 4.8 seconds and finished third in the standings. Nelson and Pickle had dominated the region during the season and they had caught the first three calves at nationals in 2.3, 2.4 and 2.8 seconds. She was given the Hardluck Cowgirl Award at nationals, but it was not what she was expected to receive before tragedy occurred.