Welcome back to this week’s installment of Corn Kernels, the weekly column previewing & reviewing the week in the low-profile Husker sports. (A big thank-you to Corn Blight for suggesting the name!) There’s some big stuff set for this week, with the NCAA Bowling championships and Women’s Gymnastics regionals set for this weekend, so let’s get going.
First off, the Kernels would like to congratulate Husker Wrestling Coach Mark Manning for being named the Big XII Coach of the Year. This year, the Husker wrestlers had their best season in years, finishing second in the conference championships (their highest finish ever) and fourth at the NCAA championships (their highest finish in 15 years), and finishing 2nd at the National Duals in January. The Huskers also placed 5 wrestlers as All-Americans (meaning they placed at the NCAA championships), all of whom return next season. The Huskers, losing only one senior, look poised for even bigger things in 2009.
The No. 1 Husker Bowlers have the weekend off to prepare for the NCAA Championships, which begin Thursday at Thunder Alley in Omaha, where the Huskers look to capture their 3rd National Title in the five seasons bowling has been sanctioned by the NCAA, and their 8th overall. Eight teams are in the championship field: Nebraska, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Arkansas State, Central Missouri, Minnesota State-Mankato, New Jersey City, Sacred Heart and Vanderbilt. The tournament consists of two days of double-elimination, best-of-7 Baker-style matches (meaning that five bowlers rotate frames) in two brackets. The winners of each bracket will meet on Saturday night in the finals, which will be broadcast live on ESPNU at 7 PM CDT.
Tickets are available from the Husker ticket office, and will be available at the door.
Update 4/6/08: The Lincoln Journal-Star has an informative Fan's Guide to the NCAA Bowling Championships up today.
The Husker women’s gymnastics team had a disappointing 4th-place finish at the Big XII Championships last Saturday, though Tricia Woo won her first Big XII championship on the Beam. Seniors Emily Parsons and Desire’ Sniatynski finished 2nd and 4th respectively in the All-Around. This Saturday at 6 PM CDT, the 15th-ranked Huskers travel to Gainesville, FL, for the NCAA Regionals, along with No. 3 Florida, No. 9 UCLA, No. 21 NC State, No. 25 West Virginia, and unraked North Carolina. The top two teams and top two all-around finishers not on an advancing team advance to the NCAA Championships April 24-26 in Athens, GA.
The Men’s Gymnastics team begin their postseason this afternoon in Lincoln, hosting the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference championship, with No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 4 Cal, and No. 15 Air Force competing with the No. 9 Huskers. Nebraska is looking for its first Conference title since 1999, and its first event title since 2002. After the MPSF Championships, the Huskers will wait to see if they are one of the 12 teams to advance to the NCAA Championships in Palo Alto, CA on April 17-20.
The Husker Track & Field got its first good news of the young season yesterday when Skyler Reising provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships by being the top collegiate scorer in the Decathlon at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson. The field events at the Jim Click Shootout continue today. Meanwhile, Husker distance runners are participating in the Stanford Invitational this weekend in one of the West Coast’s biggest events. Next weekend, Decathloners and Heptatathloners head to Columbia, MO for the Audrey Walton Multis while the rest of the team heads to Norman for the John Jacobs Invitational.
The Husker Softball team was swept over the weekend by 12th-ranked Oklahoma and lost Monday in the first game of a doubleheader with Northern Iowa, before breaking their six-game losing streak by winning 3 straight, beating Northern Iowa and sweeping a doubleheader with South Dakota State. This weekend, the Huskers, still looking for their first Big XII win of the year, travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech., before hosting Creighton at Bowlin Stadium Wednesday night.
The Men’s golf team finished 7th of 16 teams in the Diet Pepsi Shocker Classic over the weekend. All 5 Huskers finished in the event’s top 50 for the first time in 2 years. The Huskers have the weekend off, before heading to Charlotte, N.C. for their final regular season tournament on April 14.
The Women’s golf team had a pair of strong finishes last weekend, finishing 6th out of 17 teams at the Mountain View Collegiate tournament, and placing 4 teams in the top 25. Then, the Huskers finished 2nd out of 13 teams at the BYU Dixie Classic with Huskers Kate White and Charlotte Wendner finishing tied for second overall. The women’s golfers also have the weekend off before heading to their final regular season tournament on April 19 at the Ohio State Invitational in Columbus.
The Men’s Tennis Team beat 74th-ranked Wichita State in a match in Wichita on Saturday before coming home to start Big XII Competition this weekend. However, the Huskers started conference play on a down note, losing to 21st-ranked Oklahoma State. The Huskers host Texas this afternoon, and Texas A&M on Friday, before traveling to Lubbock to face Texas Tech next weekend.
The 54th-ranked Women’s Tennis Team continue their Big XII road trip this weekend, facing two unranked opponents in Oklahoma and Oklahoma State after dropping two to higher-ranked Texas and Texas A&M last weekend. The Huskers are currently 2-3 in the Big XII, with all 3 losses coming to top-35 opponents. Next weekend, the tennis team faces Missouri and Colorado at home as they enter the home stretch of Big XII play.
Next weekend, Corn Kernels will be late, as I will be indisposed with my comprehensive exams and weekend classes, but I will try to post on Sunday night with a wrap-up of the NCAA Bowling Championships and the Women’s Gymnastics Regionals.