The Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame will add three alumni to its ranks on Wednesday, April 9, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Omaha. The inductees are Rusty T. Komori, II, Korie Lebeda and Laura Spanheimer Dechant, DPT.
Komori, a 1991 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, currently leads Creighton in all-time singles wins for men’s tennis at 81. The Mililani, Hawaii native played his entire career in the top two singles positions and no lower than No. 2 doubles during his tennis career. Komori ranks No. 1 overall, No. 1 in singles and No. 8 in doubles victories. He served as a team captain for his final two seasons, 1990 and 1991, and earned the MVP award for the men’s tennis team in 1989 and 1991.
Komori has been the head coach of Punahou (Hawaii) High School Boys’ Varsity Tennis Team since 1994 where he has led the team to 20 consecutive state titles, which established a national record for the most consecutive state championships in any sport. He was named the Professional of the Year by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association in 2009 and appeared as a tennis coach in an episode of the second season of Hawaii Five-O.
Lebeda, graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s of business administration. She played volleyball from 2005-2008, playing the second most matches of any player in Creighton history and starting all 119 matches of her career. She is number one in Creighton history with 5,281 career assists, and set a Missouri Valley Conference record by averaging 13.34 assists per set during freshman year. Lebeda was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference Team three times.
After graduating from Creighton, Lebeda played internationally for the Voley Murcia team in Murcia, Spain in the 2009 season. She worked as an assistant volleyball coach at Papillion-La Vista High School and worked at the Volleyball Academy in Omaha. She was also selected to play for the Great Plains Tornados semi-pro team through USA volleyball. Lebeda is currently working as a graduate assistant volleyball coach at Wayne State College, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in education.
She’s helping the Wayne State volleyball team with a fundraiser volleyball match, The Rumble in Rice, between Creighton and Nebraska in April to help rebuild the sports complex that was destroyed by a tornado in October.
Spanheimer, a 2005 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, was a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year (2003, 2004), earned the 2004-05 Women’s Basketball Team Most Inspirational Award and received Creighton’s Carl M. Reinert, S.J., Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award and John J. “Red” McManus Award in 2005. She ranks first in steals (369), seventh all-time in points scored (1,588) and eighth in games played (125) in Creighton women’s basketball history.
After completing her undergraduate degree at Creighton, Spanheimer returned to pursue a clinical doctorate degree in physical therapy, which she earned in 2008 from Creighton’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. She currently works in Omaha at ProCare3 and is married to former Creighton men’s golf team member, John Dechant.
The Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame started in 1968 with the induction of Bluejay basketball and baseball great Bob Gibson, who played at CU from 1954-57 and went on to a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, 73 other outstanding individuals have also been so honored.