(Story Courtesy: Con Marshall)
Judd Norman, who is generally considered Chadron High School’s all-time outstanding wrestler, was inducted into the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame during recent ceremonies in Grand Island.
Norman grew up on the family farm near Whitney and had an 82-18 record while competing for the Cardinals, topped by his 26-0 record as a senior in 1978, when he won the Class B 167-pound championship. He went on to win three letters while wrestling for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
He and his family live in the Lincoln area, where he is an investment advisor. His mother, Norma, and three sisters live in Dawes County.
Norman is one of only two Chadron High wrestlers who concluded a season with an unblemished record. The other is Dan Littrel, who was a state champion as a senior in 1991-92, the only year he was in the Cardinals’ varsity lineup.
Besides being an undefeated state champion as a senior at Chadron High, Norman placed third at the state tournament as a junior, when he lost his first match but won the next four.
His high school coach, the late Bill Kant, a 1989 inductee into the Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, after directing the Cardinals’ program 20 years, always insisted Norman was the best wrestler he ever coached.
While concluding his high school career, Norman received scholarships to wrestle for the Cornhuskers the next five years, including one when he redshirted. He had already earned some mementos when his career with the Huskers was cut short by injuries. They included a Nebraska letterman’s jacket and a ring that in those days was awarded to three-year lettermen. He also had at least one huge win during his career. It was over Ricky Stewart of Oklahoma, a four-time All-American and a two-time national champion.
Norman is the first Chadron High wrestler to go into the state’s Wrestling Hall of Fame strictly as a competitor. Besides Coach Kant, two others who were connected with the Cardinals’ program have been inducted.
One is Bart Voycheske, who, like Norman, was a Cardinals’ state champion in 1978, became an All-American wrestler at Chadron State and went into the Hall of Fame in 2015 after serving as the head wrestling coach at Ogallala High most of his career.
The other is Ed “Murph” Planansky of Hemingford, who was Kant’s assistant at Chadron High nine years and later was the head wrestling coach at Hemingford 20 years and at Hay Springs five years and was the junior high coach at Alliance several years. He was inducted in 2017 after having coached wrestling about 40 years altogether.