Husker Women Shine
by Tyler Thomas
When people think about Nebraska, it’s usually two things; corn and the Cornhuskers. That makes sense. Corn is the biggest crop in the state, and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are the premier sports brand. Cornhuskers (or Huskers) brings to mind the football team and the 90,000+ screaming fans that pack Memorial Stadium each Saturday in the fall. But this article isn’t about the football team. This article is about the dynasties being built in Nebraska by a handful of women’s teams.
Collectively the University of Nebraska has earned 28 national titles in five sports. But did you know that three of those championship winning teams are in women’s sports? Husker women’s teams lead the charge with 15 national championships. At Nebraska there are 13 women’s varsity sports. These include; basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cross country, golf, gymnastics, rifle, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
Football is easily the most popular sport across the nation and in the state and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have won five national championships. Five national championships is nice, but in the 20 years that bowlinghas been a varsity sports, Nebraska has become one of the top programs in the nation. Under coach Bill Straub, the Nebraska women’s bowling team has won 10 national championships—five NCAA titles including the inaugural championship in 2014. Nebraska is the only team that has continually qualified for the NCAA Championship and has done so every season in the 14 seasons that the NCAA has sanctioned the sport.
In 2017, the Cornhusker volleyballteam bump, set and spiked their way to the finish line, defeating number two seed Florida, capturing their fifth National Championship in Kansas City. Under coach John Cook, this was the team’s second national championship in three seasons making the Huskers only the third team in NCAA history to win five national championships in the sport. 2017 was a big year not only for the team, but with this win, Coach John Cook made NCAA history being the fourth coach to win four national titles and the third to win four national championships at one school.
The women’s gymnasticsteam finished their 2017-2018 team with a sixth-place finish in the nation after qualifying for the final Super Six in St. Louis, finishing the season with a 28-15 record, posting its highest national finish since 2014. The team has finished in the top 10 nationally eight of the last nine years.
The team kicked off their 2018-2019 season with the groundbreaking for the new gymnastics training complex set to open in January 2020. According to the release from NU Communications, “the facility will be a 26,000 square-foot training space and 46,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility that will serve as a way to celebrate the legacy and accomplishments of alumni, but will also be a game changer for recruitment, performance and competition. The Training Complex will include two practice gyms, locker rooms, a lobby, team rooms, athletic therapy rooms and coaches’ offices. The Gymnastics Training Complex will be built as an addition to the northwest side of the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Both teams will still compete in the main area of the Bob Devaney Sports Center.”
The softballteam has been behind the plate at Nebraska for 43 years! During this time, they have appeared in 24 NCAA tournaments, ranking them 10th nationally and they have captured an impressive 19 conference titles. Nebraska has posted a top-10 national finish eight times in the past 21 seasons. In addition to kicking butt as a team, softball at Nebraska has produced 30 CoSIDA all-time Academic All-Americans, more than any other softball program in the country and third highest total in NCAA history among all female sports. The team is led by head coach Rhonda Revelle, an NFCA Hall of Fame coach, and all-time wins leader across all sports and coaches (male or female) at the Nebraska with 950+ career wins.
The women’s basketballteam has made appearances in the NCAA tournament 14 times in its 43 year history with its most recent appearance in 2018. The team is led by coach Amy Williams who was a four-year letter winner at Nebraska and is in her third season as coach. After leading the team in a major turnaround season, Williams was named the 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year and was one of the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach-of-the-year honors. The 2017-2018 season marked Nebraska’s 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th 20-win season in school history.
The Huskers rifleteam opened their 2018-2019 season ranked seventh in the preseason poll after finishing eighth nationally at the 2017-2018 NCAA Championships in Charleston, S.C. With their sixth consecutive selection to the 2018 NCAA Championships, the huskers broke the school record for most consecutive appearances.
While football might be the most popular sport in the state, the Husker women’s teams should not go unnoticed. They are showing up and winning games, matches and national championships. Next time you’re looking to buy tickets, explore the options available for these winning teams or any of the Husker women’s teams, you won’t be disappointed. Go Big Red!