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CCC Athletic Hall of Fame Gains New Inductees

October 20, 2017

Five individuals and a team were inducted into the Central Community College Athletic Hall of Fame on Oct. 14 at its seventh annual banquet and induction ceremony at the Ramada Columbus River’s Edge Convention Center in Columbus. The inductees were:

Steve Buckner

Steve Buckner of Grand Island was a standout hurdler on the 1973 CCC track team, finishing third in the 60-yard high hurdles at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national indoor meet. He finished seventh in the 120-yard high hurdles at the NJCAA national outdoor meet.

“This is a great honor for me after 40 years,” Buckner e said. “Most of all, it’s a great honor to be back and to be back in Columbus. When (former track and cross country coach) Ron Suggs came to my house to offer me a scholarship for track, he said he would take me anywhere I wanted to run. The year that I was here, I really had a good time. Being a Platte College student was great.”

Jenny Kosch Sander

Jenny Kosch Sander of Lincoln was an outstanding athlete in both basketball and volleyball and was an All-Region IX selection in basketball in 1991.

“It definitely was the best two years of my college years,” Sander said and went on to tell how she had played in a high school all-star volleyball game at CCC and was offered a scholarship afterward by coach Sharon Vanis. “My dad said, ‘you’re going to go there.’ I wish it was a four-year school. There’s something about the Columbus community that just pulls you in. The campus was beautiful, wonderful faculty. Dick Bentz, I took all of his PE classes. The cafeteria ladies who kept the cafeteria open for us student athletes. I think one of my best memories is just having Coach Vanis as a coach and a friend. I did come back and coach for a couple of years. I always tell my seniors that junior college is a wonderful opportunity.”

Mary Whetstone Santin

An All-Region IX selection in volleyball in 1975, Mary Whetsone Santin of St. Paul led Platte College to its first National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament appearance. She was also a member of the first Platte College women’s basketball team.

“Every day, I am so blessed that Marge (Burkett) believed in me,” Santin said. “I also want to thank my teammates. I learned so much from every one of my teammates.”

Dennis VanFossen

Dennis VanFossen of Lincoln was an outstanding coach for the CCC women’s basketball program from 1978 to 1988. His 1983 team won the National Little College Athletic Association district championship and placed sixth at the NLCAA national tournament.

“I really lucked out with Jack Johnson (coach at Columbus High School),” VanFossen said. “I’m very thankful I was with some really good people and they really helped me along the way.”

Tim Williams

Tim Williams of Omaha was a standout player on the 1973 CCC men’s basketball team that qualified for the NJCAA national tournament. He was an All-Region IX selection in 1974.

“I had a ball, and I just want to thank you for the opportunity,” Williams said.

1992 Volleyball Team

The 1992 Raiders volleyball team won the Region IX championship team and finished seventh at the NJCAA national tournament in 1992. Sharon Vanis of Gilbert, Ariz., was the coach and Mary Schmitt Gregoski of ST. PAUL was the manager.

“I remember the region championship (tournament) like it was yesterday,” Vanis said. “I remember the regional championship a lot more than the national championship tournament. We represented Platte well. We finished seventh in the nation.”

The team included these members:

  • BROCK: Theresa Sherman Gravatt;
  • BURR: Emily Sherman Lubben;
  • COLUMBUS: Misty Moser Marking and Tracy Kucera Wessel;
  • CRETE: Becky Wetjen Deisley;
  • DONIPHAN: Brenda Silva Horne;
  • ELKHORN: Tammy Gablenz Vanderwilt;
  • FULLERTON: Heidi Kingery Conway and Kayla Kuhnel Paczosa;
  • KEARNEY: Jody Hurlburt Whalen;
  • LINCOLN: Andrea Graff Havel;
  • OMAHA: Cindy LeCrone Grabenstein;
  • SEWARD: Michelle Preusser Winkelmann;
  • MARYSVILLE, KAN.: Katie Craig Denner.