The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 07, 1989, Page 19, Image 18

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

Accident slows, doesn’t stop NU runner
_ n' L.>J I 'nAiwr WhnnCInnJ. > . . _ ®
OJf --
Stiff Reporter __
An automobile accident cast a dark shadow
on the running career of Tracy Smith, and also
took her from Florida to Nebraska.
The sophomore from Milton, Ontario, said
she was set on accepting a
scholarship from Florida
An mac ctmrk hv a _I
until -- -L
car three years ago. The
accident caused doubt on
the future of her career, as
she was confined to a bed
for two months after break
ing her pelvic bone and Smith
suffering severe back injuries.
Smith said she didn’t lake the accident seri
ously at first. But as she spent more lime away
from running, life became more difficult.
“Those two months were the most difficult
lime in my life,” Smith said. ‘‘I was scared, but
I knew that someday I would run again.”
—nuiiicu s uatKcoacn Deverty
Kearny learned about her condition, the Gators
withdrew their scholarship offer. That move
added insult to the injury, but Smith said she
does not blame Kearny for doing it.
I have no hard feelings toward her because
a«jholarship is a big investment,” Smith said.
She marked me as damaged goods. But col
lege athletics is a big business and I respect her
Smith said Kearny’s decision prompted her
to become more determined than ever to re
cover. The road to recovery was difficult, she
said, because she couldn’t run until almost six
months after the accident.
When she was allowed to run, she said, she
began working out in a pool. She said that was
beneficial because it strengthened her muscles
while keeping pressure off her back.
Smith said she decided to compete for
Nebraska because of Comhusker cross country
coach Jay Dirksen. She chose Nebraska over
Alabama, Washington and North Carolina
“Jay stood right beside me the whole
time,” Smith said. “He seemed like a very
dedicated coach and a honest person. Thai’s
what I wanted from a coach.”
Dirksen said he originally doubted Smith
would contribute during her first year.
“When Tracy came to Nebraska, she was
still recovering from the accident,” Dirksen
said. “She wasn’t at 100 percent, but she was
very determined and motivated. It was like she
had something to prove to everybody.”
Dirksen said Smith surprised him during her
first season by making a substantial contribu
tion. She finished among Nebraska’s lop five
runners last season, and wrapped up her fresh
man year by finishing 70th at the NCAA cross
country championships.
But that good fortune came to an abrupt end
during the indoor track season. Smith was
bothered by a sprained ankle and an aching
Achilles tendon.
Smith tried everything toolIset her injuries,
she said, including sleeping with her leg in a
bucket of ice. She said that tactic only made
things worse. The pain increased after she
continued to compete.
Dirksen said Smith’s injuries forced her to
rcdshirl during the outdoor season.
“Her injury situation was just getting
worse,” Dirksen said. “Her doctor told her if
she didn’t take some time off, her Achilles
tendon would become chronic.”
Smith said she was frustrated throughout the
outdoor season. She said that reaching the
outdoor season was one of her goals when she
came to Nebraska.
“Outdoor track is usually the most competi
tive season of the year because everybody
wants to make it to nationals,” Smith said.
Dirksen said Smith has the potential to fin
ish high in this year's Big Eight Champion
ships. He said his only worry is she will push
herself loo hard and the aches and pains will
come back.
Jay hawks coach has high-flying goals for new season
By uarran rowier
Senior Reporter
Kansas football caoch Glen Ma
son’s aspirations arc like those of
every other coach in the Big Eight:
He wants to win the conference
“I hope we achieve a level better
than respectability,” he said. “It
takes fortitude to hang in there and
I’m not discouraged one bit We’re
trying to make as mud progress as
we can.”
Mason, who is entering his second
season with the Jayhawks, said meas
uring his team’s progress will take
more than one year.
‘‘1 don’t think you ever have an
idea whal kind of condition a pro
gram is in until you literally lake it
over,” he said. “We’re dealing with
youth and we’re dealing with inexpe
rience right now.”
Kansas lost by an average score of
43-16 last season en route to compil
ing a 1 -10 record. The Jay hawks have
not had a winning season since 1981,
when they finished 8-4.
But, Mason said, most Kansas fans
remain optimistic.
"They saw a lot of young guys
play their hearts out last year,” he
Mason said some fans are critical,
"but I don’t care what they think.”
“I’m only interested in one thing
and that’s the improvement of this
football team,” he said.
Mason said he is confident Kansas
will improve this season because it
returns nine starters on offense and
seven on defense. A majority of those
returners arc underclassmen, he said.
Seven sophomore, three junior
and six senior starters return for
Kansas. Those players make up the
bulk of the Jayhawks’ 39-man roster
of returning lettermen.
‘‘We’re a tremendously young
team,” Mason said.
Starting quarterback Kelly
Donohoe, wide receiver Quintin
Smith, tight end John Baker, tail
backs Frank Hatchett and Tony Sands
return on offense. Four linemen -
including center Chip Budde, left
guard Smith Holland, left tackle
Chris Perez and right tackle Bill
Hundclt - also arc back.
The returning defensive starters
include tackles Mark Konez and
Dave Walton, noseguard Matt Nolen
and linebackers Dan Newbrough and
Paul Friday.
Defensive backs Jason Priest and
Dcral Boykin also return.
Mason said youth is the strength
and weakness of the Jayhawks this
season. Kansas displayed the finer
points of its youlhfulncss on Satur
day, as it opened its season by blast
ing Montana Slate 41-17.
Unlike the situation at Nebraska,
Mason said, Kansas players “know
they arc going to get to play.”
But, motivation of players some
times is difficult, he said.
“I’m not going to say it’s easy,”
he said. “We work just as hard here
as the players do at Nebraska. They
just don’t get the same respect, same
Mason said a story last year that
had several Jayhawks quilting the
team was erroneous. Actually, seven
players were injured and another
seven were declared academically
ineligible, he said.
Three players quit and one trans
ferred, he said.
New and returning talent ignites team
Player adjusts to NU lifestyle
By Darran Fowler
Senior Reporter
Nebraska freshman Debbie Brand has not
had much lime lo adjust to the American life
Brand, an outside hitter on the Nebraska
volleyball team, was in the United States for
the first time when she arrived in Lincoln three
weeks ago.
With injuries sidelining outside hitters Cris
Hall and Linda Barsness, Brand and freshman
teammate Eileen Shannon have played promi
nent roles in the Comhuskers’ first two victo
ries against Drake and Iowa.
Shannon started both matches in place of
Hall, who has been sidelined by back spasms.
Brand replaced Barsness in the first set of the
Iowa match after the junior went down with a
season-ending knee injury.
oranu, wno played on tne Australian na
tional team, said volleyball has kept her busy
since arri v ing here. She said the amount of time
spent training back home was less than the time
spent preparing with the Huskers.
Brand said athletes in Australia work during
the day and train at night
It never was quite as concentrated,” she
Australia docs not have a college system, so
athletes get notoriety by playing on state teams
and also on the Australian National Team,
Brand said.
She said volleyball gets more recognition in
the United States.
Wc don’t have the crowds and we don’t
get as much media attention,” she said.
Brand said extra attention is why she wanted
10 play in the United States. She said she heard
about the Nebraska program via the grapevine.
She said a friend, who attended Florida
State, gave her a list of 37 colleges. Brand said
she wrote all of those schools and afterward she
received letters from several colleges who
requested videos of her in action.
“Nebraska was one of them. (It) was one of
ihc best that offered me a scholarship,” she
said. “I heard things about them like they
always won the Big Eight and that they always
try for the Final Four.”
Brand played for the South Australian State
team and was a member of the Australian
National team.
Shannon, of Elmhurst, III., was named the
Illinois Player of the Year and most valuable
player of the AAU Volleyball Championships
last season. She was also a Rcebok and Junior
Olympic All-America selection.
Brand and Shannon said they feel comfort
able playing at the collegiate level, a statement
which sits well with Nebraska volleyball coach
Terry Pettit.
“I think we’re fortunate in that all our
freshmen arc comfortable on the court,’ ’ Pettit
said. “We think we have an exceptional fresh
man class this year.”
Stephanie Thater, of Union, Mo., and Val
erie Vcrmeulcn, of Wantagh, N.Y., complete
Nebraska’s freshman class.
“We counted on Eileen playing a lot this
year and thought that all of them might contrib
ute in some way,” Pettit said.
With Nebraska’s depth, experience and
tradition, Husker freshmen arc less pressured,
he said.
“Many ways it’s easier to start as a Iresh
man in our program because you don’t have to
do everything,” he said. “If you arc freshman
in a mediocre school you might have to pro
duce all the time. There’s a lot more stress in
that situation.”
Going into the season, Pettit said that health
would play a major role in Nebraska’s “ulti
mate goal” of reaching the Final Four.
That has not changed, he said.
“I think it’s still possible, but health is even
more critical,” Pettit said. “We’ll make ad
justments and have a very good learn The
Final Four is still reachable as long as we don t
lose anybody else.” . . .
Pettit said if there was going to be crisis, it
would have happened during the Iowa match
after Barsness was injured.
“If we were going to fall apart I think yoj*
would have seen it during that game, he said.
Volleyball action worth seeing
Some Nebraska fans fail lo realize a good
thing when they have it.
While wailing for my colleague in front of
the NU Coliseum Saturday before Nebraska’s
volleyball match against upset-minded Iowa, I
overheard a woman express dismay to her
husband and son that the match was even
taking place.
As their red-cladded attire would suggest,
this family definitely was supportive of Com
husker athletics - or at least Husker football.
“Too bad there was a game going on,” the
woman said.
This family obviously wanted a “free”
unguided tour of the student recreation center,
but any tour at that lime would have included a
small fee charged for admission.
But, too bad?
Why not pay the four dollars ~ or one dollar
if you’re lucky enough to have a Husker foot
ball ticket stub - and have the luxury of both
amenities and watch the talented Huskers play
and take the tour afterwards?
Nebraska has built a strong reputation over
the course of 15 years as is evident by the
Huskers winning nearly 80 percent of their
games, all 13 Big Eight titles and seven con
secutive appearances in the NCAA tourna
ment, including a runner-up finish in 1986.
So what’s bad about the seventh-ranked
team in the country playing volleyball on a
Saturday afternoon before 1,257 screaming
Unlike the football team's home slate this
season, the volleyball team’s schedule con
tains a myriad of top-notch teams.
Hawaii, which finished second last year and
is ranked third this season, and Illinois, which
finished third last season and is ranked fourth
this season, arc among the teams which will
challenge the Huskers in the coliseum this
In addition, second-ranked Stanford and
I2lh-ranked Kentucky visit, as well as powers
Houston, Oklahoma and Colorado.
Also, players and coaches arc bold to admit
that this year’s team has “Final Four’’ inten
tions. You’ll never hear the same kind of con
fident and assuring comments from any mem
ber of the Nebraska football team.
Attendance at Husker matches is good and
Coach Terry Pettit is the first to compliment
the support the team receives.
“I think we have one of the best volleyball
crowds in the country,” he said.
But considering Nebraska’s national promi
nence, the support and recognition could be
better, especially from university students.
Student support has increased over the last
two years, but with free admission for those
with student identification cards, even the most
frugal individual can afford two hours of con
stant, fast-paced action. It’s the best entertain
ment money doesn’t have to buy.
Sure, Nebraska football paranoia is un
cqualcd, but it’s not the only game in town.
And if Pettit is to be believed, it may not
even be the best game in town.
“It’s as good an atmosphere at an athletic
nvnnl ms ihnn* knn r.MmniK ” Pi'll it utid iihnni
Huskcr matches in the coliseum. “I think one
of the most exciting things going on in sports is
happening in our situation. It’s just a great
Subjective, yes, but it docs convey truth.
Volleyball matches in the coliseum arc not
boring. The coliseum’s layout gives a spectator
the sensation that one is a part of the action and
the psychological impact that a boisterous
crowd can have there is unrivaled.
Volleyball fever in the coliseum is conta
gious and an individual, student or non-stu
dent, docs not have to sacrifice much to share
in the epidemic.
But then again, most would not hesitate to
surrender their first-born in exchange for a
ticket to watch the football team play Northern
Illinois only to be bored stiff by the first quar
ter, leave at halftime and repeal the process all
over again the following week.
Now that’s too bad.
Fowler is a junior news-editorial major and a Daily
Nebraskan senior reporter.