Returning for her final season as a Husker, senior co-captain Kathryn Handrup is determined to set the pace for Nebraska and take her team to its first NCAA Champiohships since 1999. Handrup, and teammate Ann Gaffigan hope to become the first women in program history to earn NCAA All-Midwest Region honors all four seasons at NU. Handrup's health will be a top priority for Coach Jay Dirksen.
"Kathryn is a good leader, as she is a co-captain," Dirksen said. "She hasn't been able to do full training because her body won't let that happen. But there is no question about her talent, and that she has accomplished enough throughout her career which indicates she can run much faster if she stays healthy."
Following an injury, Handrup redshirted. Handrup had a late start to her track season due to rehab from a stress fracture suffered at the start of the cross country season. She ran her only race of the indoor season at the Cyclone NCAA Qualifier where she ran 10:05.49 over 3,000 meters. Handrup ran a season-best 17:26.42 in the 5,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational. At the Drake Relays, Handrup anchored the 4xmile relay team to a school record.
Handrup consistently among the top two NU runners in every meet. Handrup turned in solid races, including a 16th-place finish at the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo., and a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Carbondale, Ill. to capture All-Midwest Region honors for the third consecutive year.
After redshirting the indoor track season, Handrup set two personal bests during the outdoor season. Handrup covered 5,000 meters in 17:24.86 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational and finished with a time of 36:53.89 in the 10,000-meter run at the Big 12 Championships.
After the loss of Nebraska's top two runners of 1999, Dirksen looked to Handrup to lead the team. Handrup did not disappoint, as she was among NU's top two finishers in every meet. Often the Huskers' number one runner, Handrup claimed her first individual title at the Murray Keatinge Invitational in Orono, Maine, reeling in the three-runner lead pack over the last quarter mile to finish in 17:49, helping the Huskers to their only team victory of the season. She was also named to the NCAA All-Midwest Region team for her 21st-place finish at the region meet.
Handrup adjusted quickly to collegiate running to provide a major surprise for the Huskers in 1999. Coming out of high school, Handrup was overlooked by many schools because she suffered an injury during her senior cross country season. Despite starting the season with limited training, Handrup was among Nebraska's top four runners, highlighted by a 23rd-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Region meet to earn All-Midwest Region honors.
Coached by Gary Rath and Ron Haden at Aurora High School, Handrup was a three-time Nebraska Class B state cross country champion, claiming the title in 1995, 1996 and 1997. She was the 1996 and 1997 gold medal champion at the Nebraska State Cross Country Championships and helped lead Aurora to state cross country titles in 1995 and 1996. In addition to cross country, Handrup was also the Class B 1,600-meter champion in 1997.
The daughter of Kirk and Barb Handrup, Kathryn was born Sept. 11, 1980, in Aurora, Neb. Her sister Sarah, 25, was a member of the Northwest Missouri State track and cross country teams. Handrup is an elementary education major.