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40 Husker Student-Athletes Earn Degrees

(KFOR NEWS  December 23, 2019)  A total of 40 Husker student-athletes will earn degrees Saturday at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s commencement exercises at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska’s talented collection of graduates includes 11 Nebraska football student-athletes, eight members of the track and field program and five members of the Nebraska baseball and soccer programs, along with four swimmers, a pair of volleyball student-athletes, and two members of the men’s tennis team, in addition to individuals from the Nebraska softball, rifle and men’s gymnastics teams. A total of three Husker graduates combined for four All-America awards during their Nebraska careers.

Nebraska’s 11 graduates from the football program include All-Big Ten defensive back Dicaprio Bootle, who earned his management degree prior to entering his senior season in 2020. Junior defensive line starter Ben Stille also earned his degree prior to his senior season on the field. Stille, a nutrition and health sciences major, was a CoSIDAAcademic All-District selection in 2019. A third junior, Deontai Williams, added a bachelor’s degree prior to his senior season as well. Five 2019 seniors, including Isaac Armstrong, Alex Davis, Christian Gaylord and Jackson Walker, were joined by Tyrin Ferguson, Pernell Jefferson and Jacob Weinmaster as Husker football graduates.

Nebraska Coach Gary Pepin’s track and field program added eight graduates to the Husker class, including a trio of All-Americans.  Two-time All-American and Big Ten javelin champion Brittni Wolczyk headlines the group of track and field graduates. A psychology major, Wolczyk was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. Jasmine Barge added a second-team All-America award in the 400 hurdles in 2017, while joining Wolczyk as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Chanel Freeman contributed second-team All-America honors in the 100 hurdles in 2019. Other track and field graduates include two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Simon Wiedel who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, Jared Seay, Tierney Lindner and Lakayla Harris along with with track and field and cross country runner Rachel Brush, who was also a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar during her career.

Former Husker Jesse Wilkening headlines the list of five Nebraska baseball graduates. Wilkening was an All-Big Ten and All-Region catcher for the Huskers before being chosen in the 14th round of the MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. Angelo Altavilla, who started 160 games for the Huskers in his four-year career, earned spots on the 2019 Big Ten All-Tournament Team and the 2019 NCAA Oklahoma City All-Regional Team before claiming his degree in communication studies. Chad Luensmann, a freshman All-American pitcher for the Huskers in 2016, Mike Waldron and current Husker Ben Klenke will also claim their degrees Saturday.

Sinclaire Miramontez leads a solid group of five Husker soccer graduates. Miramontez was a three-time All-Big Ten and All-Regional performer who was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. Goalkeeper Aubrei Corder was also a third-team All-Big Ten selection who was a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar for the Huskers. Another third-team All-Big Ten selection, Savanah Uveges, joins Caroline Buelt and Kristi King in Nebraska’s graduating class.

Head Swim Coach Pablo Morales helped produce a quartet of high academic performers in this December’s graduating class, led by three-time Academic All-Big Ten selections Dana Posthuma, Kaylyn Flatt and Anna McDonald. McDonald was also a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, as was Bridget Pacilio who was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten choice. Posthuma added a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award of her own in 2019.

Second-team All-Big Ten selection Toby Boyer highlighted a pair of Husker men’s tennis graduates alongside two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten choice Rok Krizaj.

Husker volleyball student-athletes Mari Kurkova and Brooke Smith added degrees, along with three-time Academic All-Big Ten men’s gymnast Austin Lober.

The December graduates came from near and far to call Nebraska home during their careers. The group came to Lincoln from 15 states and four foreign countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Slovenia.

Nebraska continues to feature one of the highest graduation rates in the country, while leading the nation in the number of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (338) and NCAA Top 10 Award winners (18) across all sports.

December 2019 Nebraska Student-Athlete Graduates (40)
Angelo Altavilla (Baseball) – Lakeville, Minnesota (Communication Studies)
Isaac Armstrong (Football) – Lincoln, Nebraska (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Jasmine Barge (Track & Field) – Florissant, Missouri (Criminology & Criminal Justice)
Dicaprio Bootle (Football) – Miami, Florida (Management)
Toby Boyer (Men’s Tennis) – Ham Lake, Minnesota (Management)
Rachel Brush (Track & Field/Cross Country) – Clive, Iowa (Elementary Education)
Caroline Buelt (Soccer) – Polk City, Iowa (Business Administration/Finance)
Aubrei Corder (Soccer) – Barboursville, West Virginia (Communication Studies)
Alex Davis (Football) – Riviera Beach, Florida (Sociology)
Tyrin Ferguson (Football) – New Orleans, Louisiana (Communication Studies)
Kaylyn Flatt (Swimming & Diving) – Centennial, Colorado (Chemistry Education)
Chanel Freeman (Track & Field) – Pembroke Pines, Florida (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Christian Gaylord (Football) – Baldwin City, Kansas (Communication Studies)
Lakayla Harris (Track & Field) – Miami, Florida (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Pernell Jefferson (Football) – New Orleans, Louisiana (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Kristi King (Soccer) – Burlington, Ontario, Canada (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Rok Krizaj (Men’s Tennis) – Idrija, Slovenia (Management)
Ben Klenke (Baseball) – Seward, Nebraska (Management)
Mari Kurkova (Volleyball) – Opava, Czech Republic (Applied Science (Master’s)
Tierney Lindner (Track & Field) – Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (Mathematics Education)
Austin Lober (Men’s Gymnastics) – Albuquerque, New Mexico (Marketing)
Chad Luensmann (Baseball) – Altoona, Pennsylvania (Mechanical Engineering)
Anna McDonald (Swimming & Diving) – Evergreen, Colorado (Nutrition & Health Sciences)
Regan Mergele (Softball) – San Antonio, Texas (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Sinclaire Miramontez (Soccer) –  Lenexa, Kansas (Accounting)
Bridget Pacilio (Swimming & Diving) – Colleyville, Texas (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Dana Posthuma (Swimming & Diving) – Omaha, Nebraska (English/Psychology)
Nina Radulovic (Rifle) – Belgrade, Serbia (Political Science/Psychology)
Jared Seay (Track & Field) – Ankeny, Iowa (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Brooke Smith (Volleyball) – Weatherford, Texas (Nutrition & Health Sciences)
Ben Stille (Football) – Ashland, Nebraska (Nutrition & Health Sciences)
Savanah Uveges (Soccer) – Bartlett, Illinois (Nutrition & Health Sciences)
Nick Virka (Football) – Morse Bluff, Nebraska (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Mike Waldron (Baseball) – Omaha, Nebraska (Finance)
Jackson Walker (Football) – Overland Park, Kansas (Accounting)
Jacob Weinmaster (Football) – Loveland, Colorado (Nutrition & Health Sciences)
Simon Wiedel (Track & Field) – Hebron, Nebraska (Elementary Education)
Jesse Wilkening (Baseball) – Cedar Lake, Indiana (Criminology & Criminal Justice)
Deontai Williams (Football) – Jacksonville, Florida (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Brittni Wolczyk (Track & Field) – Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada (Psychology)

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