Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Kusche Garners Freshman of the Year Honors

By NU Athletic Communications

The Big Ten Conference announced the individual award winners for the 2018 men’s and women’s cross country seasons on Tuesday afternoon. George Kusche was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, while Eric Karl II and Nicole Colonna were Sportsmanship Award recipients.

Kusche, a native of Malelane, South Africa, is the first Nebraska runner to earn the conference freshman of the year honor in the last 20 years. Kusche made headlines on Sunday afternoon, finishing in third place in the 8K of the Big Ten Championships with a personal-best time of 23:39.0. The third-place finish was the highest a Husker has ever finished at the meet and earned him first-team All-Big Ten accolades. Kusche’s finish was also the best finish by a Nebraska male runner since 1997, when Cleophas Boor finished as the runner-up at the Big XII Championships.

During the regular season, Kusche paced the Huskers in three meets and was the second member of the Big Red to cross the finish line in the fourth meet. He tallied up three top-five finishes, placing third at Augustana Twilight, second at the Woody/Greeno Invite and fourth at Loyola Lakefront.

Nebraska’s two Sportsmanship Award honorees are Karl II and Colonna. The student-athletes chosen for the award are individuals who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. 

The Big Ten Athlete of the Year will be announced on November 20, following the NCAA Championships, which will be contested on November 17 at Wisconsin’s Thomas Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Huskers are now preparing for the NCAA Regionals on Friday, November 9 in Peoria, Illinois.

The complete list of Big Ten Cross Country award recipients can be found below.



Freshman of the Year: George Kusche, Nebraska

Coach of the Year: Mick Byrne, Wisconsin


Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees

Billy Magnesen, Sr., Illinois

Kyle Burks, Sr., Indiana

Daniel Murphy, Sr., Iowa

Jordan Hewitt, Jr., Michigan

Justine Kiprotich, Sr., Michigan State

Shane Streich, Jr., Minnesota

Eric Karl II, Sr., Nebraska

Michael Zedan, Fr., Ohio State

Colin Abert, Sr., Penn State

Jacob Hanawalt, Sr., Purdue

Conor Murphy, Sr., Rutgers

Tyson Miehe, Sr., Wisconsin



Freshman of the Year: ANNE FORSYTH, Michigan

Coach of the Year: MIKE McGUIRE, Michigan


Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honorees

Allison McGrath, So., Illinois

Lexa Barrott, Jr., Indiana

Anna Hostetler, Fr., Iowa

Caroline Augelli, Jr., Maryland

Hannah Meier, Sr., Michigan

Jeralyn Poe, Jr., Michigan State

Elyse Prescott, Jr., Minnesota

Nicole Colonna, Sr., Nebraska

Sarah Nicholson, Jr., Northwestern

Emily Stoodley, Sr., Ohio State

Danae Rivers, Jr., Penn State

Megan Slamkowski, So., Purdue

Lou Mialhe, Jr., Rutgers

Shaelyn Sorensen, Sr., Wisconsin


Unanimous selections listed in ALL CAPS


More News Sponsor - First National Bank


Tickets Sponsor - StubHub