Yvonne Turner was one of four women's basketball players to receive a diploma on Saturday.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

All-Americans Highlight Huge Husker Graduating Class

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln - All-Americans in both competition and the classroom headlined a large and talented graduating class of 70 University of Nebraska student-athletes during spring commencement ceremonies Saturday morning at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

NU's class was highlighted by Nebraska Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year, Craig Brester and Kelsey Griffin, who were two of Nebraska's nine All-Americans who graduated in May.

Griffin, a first-team All-American for Coach Connie Yori's Big 12 champion Nebraska women's basketball team, was Nebraska's first winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, honoring achievement on the court, in the classroom and in the community. The biological sciences major from Eagle River, Alaska, was also the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft. She will not be able to attend commencement because she is preparing with the Connecticut Sun for the WNBA regular season.

Brester, a three-time All-American at 197 pounds for Coach Mark Manning's Husker wrestling team, was a two-time NCAA runner-up. The Howells, Neb., native also carried a near-perfect GPA as a mechanized systems management major.

Former Husker wrestling All-Americans Vince Jones and Paul Gomez added to the All-America flavor of the 2010 graduating class, along with former Nebraska baseball All-American Shane Komine.

One of the most decorated players in NU history, Komine was an All-American as a pitcher and as a student during his playing days. The native of Honolulu, Hawaii, returned to complete his degree after a successful professional career that included a Major League League stop with the Oakland Athletics. Fellow baseball academic All-American Brandon Buckman also earned his degree as a representative of Coach Mike Anderson's program. Current Husker DJ Belfonte, a candidate for academic All-America honors, joined teammate Tyler Farst at graduation before leading the Huskers against Southeast Missouri State at Hawks Field on Saturday. Former Huskers Mitch Abeita and Erik Bird also graduated.

Coach Gary Pepin's track and field program produced 21 graduates, including All-Americans Dan Christensen, Leandra McGruder, Kirkland Thorton and Megan Wheatley.

Coach Bo Pelini's Nebraska football program also supplied nine graduates, including returning senior quarterback Zac Lee and fellow returning players D.J. Jones and Anthony West. Other Husker football graduates include Shukree Barfield, Chris Brooks, Wes Cammack, Jacob Hickman, Armando Murillo and John Reece.

Coach John Walker's soccer program added five graduates, while the women's basketball team added four graduates, led by Griffin, fellow first-team All-Big 12 pick Yvonne Turner, and first-team academic All-Big 12 picks Kala Kuhlmann and Nikki Bober.

The Nebraska softball and swimming and diving programs each added four graduates, while the NCAA Tournament-bound Husker men's and women's tennis programs combined for four graduates as well.

The Husker graduating class provided an exciting mixture of student-athletes who came from near and far to call Nebraska home during their collegiate careers. Nebraska's 2010 May graduates came to Nebraska from 19 states and three foreign countries.

Nebraska Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academics Dennis Leblanc said the May 2010 graduating class consisted of strong examples of student-athletes who had the ability to excel in the classroom, in the community and in competition.

"This class of Nebraska student-athlete graduates is one of our largest and most accomplished in recent years," Leblanc said. "I also think it is one of our most diverse and well-balanced. I commend each one of these student-athletes for the way they have balanced classwork with competition. They have represented Nebraska at the highest level in academics and athletics.  The athletic department, the University and the state of Nebraska should be proud."            

The spring graduating class of 70 is added to the December class of 37 graduates to bring the total number of Husker student-athletes graduating during the 2009-10 academic year to 107 before summer commencement exercises in August.  Nebraska continues to feature one of the highest graduation rates in the nation with an exhausted eligibility graduation rate of 94 percent, while leading the nation in the number of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and NCAA Top Eight Award winners across all sports.

May 2010 Nebraska Student-Athlete Graduates (70)

  • Abeita, Mitch - Baseball (Dallas, Texas) - Sociology
  • Barfield, Shukree - Football (Camden, N.J.) - Sociology
  • Belfonte, D.J. - Baseball (Kansas City, Mo.) - Finance
  • Benak, Bo - Men's Gymnastics (Omaha, Neb.) - Industrial Technology Education
  • Berkshire, Julie - Soccer (Omaha, Neb.) - Business Administration
  • Bird, Erik - Baseball (Omaha, Neb.) - Communication Studies
  • Bober, Nikki - Women's Basketball (Murdock, Neb.) - Management
  • Bray, CJ - Swimming & Diving (Omaha, Neb.) - Nutrition, Exercise & Health Science
  • Brester, Craig - Wrestling (Howells, Neb.) - Mechanized Systems Management
  • Brooks, Chris - Football (St. Louis, Mo.) - Economics
  • Buckman, Brandon - Baseball (Monument, Colo.) - Civil Engineering
  • Cammack, Wes - Football (DeWitt, Neb.) - Agricultural Engineering
  • Carrizales, Rachel - Track & Field/X-Country (Morrill, Neb.) - Elementary Education/Coaching
  • Carwile, Crystal - Softball (Chino, Calif.) - Communication Studies
  • Christensen, Dan - Track & Field (Omaha, Neb.) - Business Administration
  • Cicmanek, Marianne - Women's Tennis (Kirchdorf, Germany) - Advertising
  • Custer, Kyle - Track & Field/X-Country (Cambridge, Neb.) - Dietetics
  • Dickerson, Shannon - Soccer (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) - Marketing
  • Duran, Amanda - Softball (Tucson, Ariz.) - Psychology
  • Farst, Tyler - Baseball (Cedar Park, Texas) - History
  • Foust, Cody - Wrestling (Choctaw, Okla.) - Nutrition, Fitness & Health Promotion
  • Goldstein, Ari - Track & Field/X-Country (Soldotna, Alaska) - Biochemistry
  • Gomez, Paul - Wrestling (Castroville, Calif.) - Spanish
  • Griffin, Kelsey - Women's Basketball (Eagle River, Alaska) - Biological Sciences
  • Hickman, Jacob - Football (Bakersfield, Calif.) - Construction Management
  • Jonas, Frank - Wrestling (Wichita, Kan.) - History
  • Jones, D.J. - Football (Omaha, Neb.) - Communication Studies
  • Jones, Vince - Wrestling (Sicklerville, N.J.) - Sociology
  • Karn, Matt - Men's Basketball (Philpot, Ky.) - History
  • Komine, Shane - Baseball (Honolulu, Hawaii) - Sociology
  • Kuhlmann, Kala - Women's Basketball (Charter Oak, Iowa) - Spanish/Psychology
  • Lee, Zac - Football (San Francisco, Calif.) - Business Administration
  • Lind, Andrew - Track & Field/X-Country (Lake Oswego, Ore.) - Psychology
  • Marsh, Elizabeth - Track & Field/X-Country (Wichita, Kan.) - Spanish
  • Mauldin, James - Men's Gymnastics (Racine, Wis.) - Communication Studies
  • Macdonald, Tara - Soccer (Austin, Texas) - Sociology
  • McGruder, Leandra - Track & Field (Jefferson City, Mo.) - Psychology
  • Minnick, Lisa - Track & Field (Cambridge, Neb.) - Nutrition Science
  • Mullin, Meghan - Softball (Mesa, Ariz.) - History
  • Murillo, Armando - Football (Tampa, Fla.) - Sociology
  • Nelson, Ben - Men's Basketball (Atwater, Minn.) - Mechanized Systems Management
  • Nuttleman, Chris - Track & Field (Kearney, Neb.) - Advertising
  • Ottun, John - Track & Field (Fremont, Neb.) - Veterinary Science
  • Pancoast, Jen - Track & Field/X-Country (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) - Dietetics
  • Parr, Brian - Track & Field/X-Country (Fremont, Neb.) - Marketing
  • Petrocchi, Ryan - Track & Field (Ralston, Neb.) - Nutrition, Exercise & Health Science
  • Poehling, Lindsay - Soccer (Elkhorn, Neb.) - Business Administration
  • Powell, Shay - Soccer (Dallas, Texas) - Psychology
  • Reece, John - Football (Houston, Texas) - English
  • Ring, Maria - Women's Tennis (Linghem, Sweden) - Marketing
  • Ross, Tyrell - Track & Field (Mullica Hill, N.J.) - Accounting
  • Rutherford, Darcy - Softball (Omaha, Neb.) - Communication Studies
  • Schutter, David - Track & Field (Larned, Kan.) - Psychology
  • Shanahan, Kyle - Men's Gymnastics (Monument, Colo.) - Finance
  • Somer, Bryce - Track & Field/X-Country (Yankton, S.D.) - Nutrition, Exercise & Health Science
  • Stahmer, Hendrik - Men's Tennis (Hamburg, Germany) - Business Administration
  • Stroud, Jenna - Swimming & Diving (Lincoln, Neb.) - Communication Studies
  • Suluki-Drakes, Zarinah - Track & Field (Orlando, Fla.) - Sociology
  • Swarting, Wiveca - Women's Tennis (Stockholm, Sweden) - Finance/Economics
  • Thies, Eric - Track & Field/X-Country (Arlington, Minn.) - Accounting
  • Thornton, Kirkland - Track & Field (South Holland, Ill.) - Economics
  • Toler, Jenny - Swimming & Diving (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) - Art History & Criticism
  • Turner, Yvonne - Women's Basketball (Omaha, Neb.) - Child, Youth & Family Studies
  • Wallof, Stefan - Men's Gymnastics (Rowlett, Texas) - Civil Engineering
  • West, Anthony - Football (San Diego, Calif.) - Sociology
  • Wheatley, Megan - Track & Field (Perth, Australia) - Food Science & Technology
  • Williams, LeRon - Track & Field (Omaha, Neb.) - Sociology
  • Wofford, Levi - Wrestling (Aurora, Neb.) - Communication Studies
  • Yanz, Jessica - Volleyball (Bolingbrook, Ill.) - Business Administration
  • Yemm, Christina - Swimming & Diving (Sterling, Ill.) - Nutrition, Exercise & Health Science


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