|Sport||Track & Field|
Nancy Kindig-Malone has several “flashbulb memories” — moments in her athletic career that stand out because of their emotional intensity.
There’s the standing ovation she received after beating the Russians in the pentathlon at a Junior Olympic national meet in Lincoln.
Or the crowd’s reaction when the senior returned to the state track meet after breaking her leg in a relay earlier that day. Hobbling, she anchored her team to gold.
There’s her induction into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Kindig-Malone said she didn’t realize the importance of her biggest triumphs until the audience reacted. She was competing for fun, she said, not for recognition or records.
She won gold medals at state in the long jump, hurdles and relays, but it wasn’t until she started getting scholarship offers from UCLA, Iowa and NU that she realized she might be good. Later, she won Big Eight heptathlon and pentathlon titles at Nebraska, becoming an All-American and helping the Huskers win their first indoor national championship in 1982.
Kindig-Malone also won a Class C state basketball title with Hastings St. Cecilia in 1977. She said she and her teammates had threatened in a petition to switch to Hastings High after hearing that St. Cecilia wasn’t going to field a team. They promised they’d win state.
“We had to win because we had said we would,” she said.
Kindig-Malone was The World-Herald girls high school athlete of the year in 1977 and was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. She went on to coach at Fillmore Central, being named the girls track coach of the year in 2012 by the Nebraska Coaches Association as the Panthers won a Class C state title. The year before, Fillmore Central won Class B.
The athleticism runs in the family. Kindig-Malone’s daughter, Maggie Malone, was the 2014 Big Ten javelin champion at Nebraska before later transferring to Texas A&M. Kindig-Malone was teaching and coaching track in Bryan, Texas, in 2015.
Teams played for: Hastings St. Cecilia High and Nebraska Cornhuskers
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Aurora long jumper Sondra Obermeier
Best moment as an athlete: Beating the Russians in the U.S. Junior Nationals
Kindig-Malone was No. 69 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »