When looking for an example of consistant improvement, one should look no further than Anne Shadle. Shadle came to Nebraska as a solid recruit and is now making waves on the national scene for Coach Jay Dirksen. The winner of Nebraska's Most Improved Runner Award for two consecutive years, Dirksen expects her to improve upon her outstanding junior year in 2004.
"Anne will be counted on to be a leader," Dirksen said. "She is a co-captain, she has three years of experience and has been to four national championships (in cross country and track and field). Anne will be the anchor of the team. She is a very tough competitor and I look for Anne to have her best season yet."
Shadle let everyone in the Big 12 know that she was due for an exceptional year when she claimed the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational in her first race of the season. She continued to play a key role as lead runner during the next two meets as Nebraska jumped into the national rankings where it peaked at No. 19 after the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. Despite battling a severe case of the flu, Shalde finished third on the team at the NCAA Championships.
She continued her dominance on the track by winning the 1,000-meter run at the Big 12 Indoor Championships (2:48.49). At the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Shadle finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:38.06) behind teammate Ann Gaffigan, who set a meet record, while she qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second straight year in the same event with her fourth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Shadle was also a member of two record-setting relay teams. The distance medley relay ran 11:17.91 at the Alex Wilson Invitational, which qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and the 4x1,600-meter relay set a school record time of 19:49.42 at the Drake Relays.
Starting the season in Omaha, Neb., Shadle led the team to a second-place finish at the Avaya Cross Country Classic. A consistent third runner, Shadle steadily improved during the season.
After a good cross country season, Shadle had an outstanding track campaign. Competing in the 1,000-meter run at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Shadle finished fourth in a time of 2:52.30, helping the women’s team to a second-place finish behind Texas. Outdoors, Shadle teamed with Ann Gaffigan to form a strong one-two punch in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. At the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, she struggled with heat problems and managed only a ninth-place finish (11:19.91). Shadle rebounded to finish third in the NCAA Midwest Region (10:36.49), and received an automatic bid to the national championships in Sacramento, Calif. At the NCAA Championships, Shadle clocked a 20th-place time of 10:32.21 in the preliminaries, a Nebraska school record at the time.
Making the transition from high school to Division I running, Shadle was consistently one of the Huskers’ top five runners. While competing at the Briar Cliff Invitational in McCook Lake, S.D., near her hometown, Shadle won with a time of 18:35 on the 5K course. In her first Big 12 Championships appearance, Shadle finished 58th with a season-best 6K time of 22:58.8.
On the track, Shadle proved successful in the distance runs with a season-best time in the mile (5:05.89) at the Nebraska Last Chance Indoor meet. She earned a sixth-place finish at the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:57.28.
Coached by her father, Steve Shadle, Anne helped lead South Sioux City to the 1999 Class B state cross country championship. After an individual runner-up finish to former Husker teammate Kathryn Handrup in 1997, Shadle went on to capture three straight Class B state titles. In both 1998 and 2000, Shadle won the all-class gold medal at the state cross country meet.
Shadle also had a memorable senior season on the track for the Cardinals, winning the Class A 1,600-meter run and all-class gold medal at the 2001 state meet for the second consecutive year. She also captured the 3,200-meter run all-class gold medal in a personal-best time of 10:48.87, avenging her runner-up finish in 2000. For her efforts, Shadle was named the 2001 Nebraska Gatorade Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year.
While at South Sioux City, Shadle was also a member of the swimming team and the National Honor Society.
The daughter of Steve Shadle and Colleen Sernett-Shadle, Anne was born on Dec. 1, 1982, in Sioux City, Iowa. Shadle has one sister, Leah, 24. Shadle is majoring in exercise science and carries a 3.27 GPA.