Neligh Girls 1972 Relay Team

He wanted to set the record straight. And he did.   

In his spare time, Larry Hughes likes to browse through old athletic records and compare them to the latest ones being set.

Hughes, a Neligh native who now lives in Palm Desert, California, was doing just that a few months ago when he noticed something missing. As he looked back through the Nebraska State Track Meet records on the NSAA website, he found a relay record he recognized.

There it was: Neligh earned the All-Class gold medal in the girls 440-yard relay at the 1972 Nebraska State Track Meet in a time of 52.3 seconds. However, there were no names listed for the relay runners.

“My sister was on that relay team,” Hughes said. “I looked and it was the only one without names.”

He contacted the NSAA and was able to get their names added to the 47-year old record. His sister, Judy Hughes, and her teammates Carol Spieker, Karen Spieker and Carol Tingle are now etched into Nebraska sports history.

Hughes said he was proud of the relay team’s efforts, because it wasn’t just the best relay time in Class C that year, it was the fastest time in the entire state.

“Smaller schools have a harder time finding four girls fast enough to win the All-Class gold medal,” he said. 

Hughes had another reason to set the record straight this year. Judy was battling cancer. Last month, she died at age 63. 

Judy was able to see her name on the record just weeks before she passed away.

“It was a rewarding thing to get this done while she was still alive,” Hughes said. 

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