Returning for a fifth year, Eric Rasmussen will be counted on heavily for his experience in 2004. Rasmussen is the only member of the team to have competed in the NCAA Cross Country Championships. As a co-captain, he looks to lead the charge for the Huskers this fall.
"Eric has really improved since he has been here, although it has been tough to see, because he has had untimely injuries and illnesses," Coach Jay Dirksen said. "Last year he redshirted, but he returns healthy and will be a key runner for us."
After deciding to redshirt during the 2003 cross country season, Rasmussen chose to make the track season the center of his attention.
As usual, Rasmussen made the 5,000 meters his main event indoors. He recorded a season-best time of 14:38.56 at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational. Rasmussen would bounce back to set a personal record at 3,000 meters in the adidas Classic with a time of 8:24.63. Even though he would only run the mile one time, Rasmussen set a personal record of 4:19.72. He came down with a virus near the end of the indoor season that limited his effectiveness.
Outdoors, Rasmussen competed in the 10,000-meter run at the Stanford Invitational, clocking in at 30:45.78 in 35th place.
After a good summer of training, Rasmussen was a fixture among Nebraska’s top four runners. Adding quality depth early in the season, Rasmussen finished 19th overall and fourth for the Huskers at their best meet of the year, the Indiana State Invitational. Saving his best for last, he came up big for the Huskers at the NCAA Midwest Regional, where he placed 14th with a season-best time of 30:26.91 on his way to picking up NCAA All-Midwest Region honors.
In the winter, Rasmussen scored a third-place finish in 14:31.35 in the 5,000-meter run at the Frank Sevigne Invitational. At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Rasmussen finished 11th with a time of 14:57.24 in the 5,000-meter run. Rasmussen ran a personal-best 30:07.86 at the Stanford Invitational in the 10,000-meter run outdoors. At the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, he finished in ninth place in the 10,000-meter run.
After a slow start to the 2001 season, Rasmussen got stronger throughout the year with his best races coming at the Big 12 and NCAA Championships.
The outdoor track season proved successful for Rasmussen, as he set a season best in the 10,000-meter run (30:38.74) to finish sixth at the Drake Relays. Weeks later at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Rasmussen finished in 13th-place with a time of 31:03.62
Entering the 2000 cross country season, Dirksen knew Rasmussen had the potential to challenge for a top-seven position, but he did not anticipate how quickly Rasmussen would adjust to the increased workload from high school to college.
Although it took Rasmussen a few races to adjust, he continued to improve. With a strong performance at the NCAA Midwest Region meet where he finished 67th in 32:21, Rasmussen secured his place among the seven Husker runners for the NCAA Championships.
Coached by current Husker track and field administrative assistant Doug Martin at North Platte High School, Rasmussen was the runner-up at the 1999 Nebraska Class A cross country championships and finished fourth in 1998 and sixth in 1997. He was the 2000 Nebraska Class A 3,200-meter champion and the all-class gold medalist with a time of 9:15.11 for the Bulldogs.
The son of David and Julie Rasmussen, Eric was born June 4, 1982, in North Platte, Neb. Rasmussen has a sister, Amy, 24, a graduate of Nebraska. Eric is an education major and carries a 3.44 GPA.