The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, May 06, 1997, Page 11, Image 11

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    Hard work reaps rewards for NU
YEAR from page 10
ment game, and the Huskers then
downed Duke to improve to 23-0 and
earn the right to play national power
house Portland in the quarterfinals of
the tournament. The Pilots won 1-0,
but the experience gained by Nebraska
will certainly prove beneficial in the
In the least-heralded sport of the
autumn, runners Jonah Kiptarus and
^Cleophas Boor, both of whom jour
1 neyed to Lincoln from Kenya, pro
~ ^vided a one-two punch like NU has
never seen on its cross country team.
Both athletes shattered nearly ev
ery mark in the Nebraska record
books, and Kiptarus placed second at
the NCAA Championships, one spot
ahead of Boor. The Nebraska men fin
ished seventh, their highest spot ever,
and the Husker women placed 20th.
a__— a:a~ n i_:__ __
n uu yy uiuii i uiuig u viuui^w/
in success for Nebraska athletes and
teams. In the four full months since
Jan. 1, five Husker team’s have won
conference titles and two athletes —
Thompson and Nelson—wrapped up
individual national titles with stellar
What started out as a promising
season for the Nebraska women’s bas
ketball team ended in huge disappoint
ment. After a school-best start of 16
1, the Huskers faded fast, losing eight
of their final 11 games and finishing
Then the Huskers had to face the
agony of watching the NCAA Tour
nament selection show in March only
to find that out of the six Big 12 teams
selected, they were not one of the cho
While the women were in a fight
for the NCAA Tournament, the men’s
basketball team ended up in a famil
iar place — the National Invitation
The Huskers did put hopes of their
first Big Dance berth in four years into
the hearts of fans. NU pulled off its
most meaningful victory in three sea
sons by winning a74-69 overtime
thriller at No. 7 Iowa State. Tyronn
Lue poured in 30 points in playing 44
minutes as the Huskers won on the
floor of a top-10 foe for the first time
since Feb. 6, 1982.
ruui uays laici, ieiunieu uuiuc i
to beat Oklahoma State. That set up a <
game at the Bob Devaney Sports Cen- <
ter with No. 1 Kansas. Had the Husk- 1
ers won, they would have had a shot
at the field of 64.
But they disappointed again, los- I
ing to the top-ranked Jayhawks 85-65 1
and then falling in the first round of
the Big 12 Tournament to Missouri. (
The Huskers went to the NIT for ’
the third straight year and looked like j
they would defend their title after beat
ing Washington and Nevada handily j
in the first two rounds. In round three, j
NU ran out of gas at Connecticut — '
just one game shy of returning to i
Madison Square Garden. j
A month after both teams’ seasons i
ended, both men’s coach Danny Nee ]
and women’s coach Angela Beck in
terviewed for jobs outside UNL.. <
Nee interviewed for the job at ]
Rutgers saying, “If they met all that I
wanted contractually, I would be very
serious about it. The opportunity to go :
home would be attractive.”
The Scarlet Knights opted against ■
Nee, choosing Rider Coach Kevin ]
Bannon to fill the spot.
But Beck made a better impression. .
On Sunday, April 20, she held a tear- |
fil led team meeting to say she was tak- j
ing the job with the American Bas- ]
ketball League’s San Jose Lasers. The
news became official two days later. (
“I know I’m leaving a great situa
tion,” Beck said. “One that was built j
with a lot of time, pride, love and per- ,
sonal investment, not only from my
self but my entire staff. ,
While the hard court was filled I
with off-the-court action, many other
Husker teams were full of surprises in i
their sports arenas. i
The NU women’s swimming team i
upset Texas to earn the first-ever Big
12 title and later in March finished a
school-best eighth at the NCAAs, bet- i
ering two ninth-place finishes in 1985
ind 1995. The NU men finished sec
>nd at the Big 12 meet and had their
>est finish at the NCAA meet since
[990, finishing 12th.
Both the women’s and men’s track
earns wrapped up the first-ever indoor
3ig 12 titles. The women earned their
[ 8lh straight indoor title by beating
eventual national third-place finisher
lexas and the men rocked Iowa State
or theirs.
One of the finest NU individual
performances of the year was turned
n by shot putter Tressa Thompson,
rhompson, who set an NCAA indoor
ecord with a toss of 60-feet 7 3/4
nches and won the Big 12 indoor title,
von the biggest title of them all at the
TCAA meet in Indianapolis.
Thompson’s throw of 59 feet out
listanced a 5714-feet toss by Southern
Methodist’s Marike Tuliene.
But Thompson wasn’t the only
Tusker to have individual success this
Marshall Nelson won two indi
/idual titles at the NCAA Men’s Gym
tastics Championships in Iowa City,
kelson won the national champion
;hip on the high bar (9.7875) and the
parallel bars (9.95) and finished fifth
n the vault and 10th on the pommel
“It’s nice to know that all the work
pver the years has paid off like this,”
Melson said. “They don’t realize how
nuch effort goes into this kind of com
As a team, NU failed to qualify for
he NCAAs for the second consecu
ive season. A week after winning the
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
;rown, the Huskers finished fifth at
he NCAA West Regional and were
put of luck to compete as a team in
Iowa City.
But perhaps the most impressive
earn of the spring was the NU
women’s gymnastics team.
This year, the Huskers won the Big
12 title, set a school record with a score
of 196.625 and made the Super Six
finals for the first time.
At the NCAA Championships in
Gainesville, Fla., NU and nine-time
champion Utah tied at 196.025 on the
first day ofcompetition. But the Husk
ers won the tie-breaker when the total
of its sixth gymnast eclipsed that of
the Utes.
“We still didn’t really believe it,”
NU Coach Dan Kendig said. “They
were adding up the scores about 10
times, and we ended up ahead of them.
It was just cool.”
The other cool things from that
meet were the ninth-place finish in the
all-around by Shelly Bartlett and the
All-American finishes by Bartlett,
Misty Oxford and freshman Heather
Other sports this spring had stars
of their own.
The women’s golf team saw the
emergence of freshmen Hanne Nyquist
and Elizabeth Bahensky. NU finished
third at the Big 12 meet and will vie
for its first-ever NCAA Championship
appearance this weekend at the NCAA
West Regional in Tucson, Ariz. The
men’s team finished sixth at the Big
12 meet.
The Husker baseball and softball
teams stmggled this season but play
ers like Jennifer Lizama, Jenny Voss,
Todd Sears and Francis Collins —
who set NU’s hits-in-a-season record
on Sunday—all had outstanding per
Although the Huskers couldn’t
conjure up a repeat performance of last
season’s national titles or the nation
wide attention, the athletic programs
at NU had many outstanding indi
vidual performances and achieve
ments this sports year that will be re
membered forever.
Sports in Review
Here is a list how all the Cornhusker
athletic teams faired this year:
The Huskers finished the year 11-2 losing to Arizona State and Texas, but beat Virginia Tech
31-21 in the Orange Bowl.
NU made its second straight trip to the Final Four and finished the year 30-4.
In its third year, NU completed the regular season as the only undefeated Division I team at
21-0. The Huskers beat Minnesota and Duke in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Portland.
Cross Country
Jonah Kiptarus was second and Cleophas Boor finished third at the NCAA meet.
The NU wrestlers were 12th at the NCAAs as Heavyweight Tolly Thompson finished third.
Men's Swimming
A runner-up finish in the Big 12 was followed with a 12th-place finish at the NCAAs.
Women's Swimming
They won the Big 12 title and finished a school-best eighth at the NCAAs.
Men's Gymnastics
Won the MPSF title, but failed to make nationals. Marshall Nelson won individual titles in the
parallel bars and high bar at the NCAAs.
Women's Gymnastics
Set a school-record team score of 196.625 during the year and won the Big 12 title. Also made
the Super Six for the first time.
Men's Basketball
Finished the year 18-15 after winning two games in the NIT.
Women's Basketball
Were 19-9 but fell just shy of an NCAA Tournament bid. Lost Coach Angela Beck to the ABL's
San Jose Lasers.
Men's Golf
Were sixth at the Big 12 meet and should make regionals.
Women's Golf
Compete in regionals this weekend in an effort to make first-ever NCAA Finals. Finished third
at Big 12s.
Are currently 26-33 with three games remaining at Iowa State.
Finished the year at 27-22 and are waiting to see if they make regionals.
Men's Tennis
Finished the year with a loss in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.
Women's Tennis
Lost to conference runner-up Texas A&M in quarterfinals of Big 12 Tournament. Had one of
thier most successful seasons ever.
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