Lincoln - A total of 58 Husker student-athletes, including 12 Nebraska football players, earned their diplomas at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s commencement exercises on Saturday morning.
The diverse group of 58 graduates included five Huskers who combined to earn eight CoSIDA Academic All-America awards so far in their careers. It also included extremely talented individuals in competition, from a WNBA first-round draft pick to an NCAA bowling champion and individual All-Americans in track and field, women’s basketball, bowling, women’s gymnastics and an NCAA finalist in air rifle.
Among the 12 football players from Coach Bo Pelini’s Husker program, four earned their degrees before completing their final season of eligibility on the field, including Jason Ankrah, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Brent Qvale and Jeremiah Sirles. Two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American Sean Fisher, along with Justin Blatchford, Jesse Coffey, Jase Dean, P.J. Mangieri and Matt Manninger also received their diplomas Saturday.
Former Husker All-American and NFL defensive back Josh Bullocks earned his degree after majoring in sociology at Nebraska. Bullocks, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., record 291 tackles during his six year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2009. Bullocks earned All-America status in 2003, before being drafted in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Saints.
Coach Gary Pepin’s men’s and women’s track and field program contributed a solid group of 12 graduates, including nine men and three women. Bjorn Barrefors, a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American and Nebraska’s 2013 Male Student-Athlete of the Year, headlines track and field’s contingent. The multi-eventer from Stockholm, Sweden, will earn his degree in computer science. Nate Polacek (Kearney, Neb.) and Brett Grieb (York, Neb.) give the track and field programs two more 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans set to graduate. Barrefors, Polacek and Chris Phipps also represented the track graduates as All-Americans in competition, along with Jessica Furlan, who earned All-America honors on the track in 2012. Furlan, Katie White and Erica Hamik all represented the Huskers in both track and field and cross country during their careers.
Coach Tim Miles’ Nebraska men’s basketball program was represented by four graduates on Saturday, led by 2013 seniors Brandon Ubel and Andre Almeida. Former Huskers Mike Fox and Christopher Niemann also will receive diplomas.
On the women’s basketball side, 2013 All-American and WNBA first-round draft pick Lindsey Moore earned her degree in communication studies. Moore, a point guard from Covington, Wash., was a four-year starter for the Huskers and set the school career assist record with 699. She started more games, won more games and played more minutes than any other Husker in history while leading Coach Connie Yori’s squad to a pair of NCAA Sweet 16 appearances.
Coach Darin Erstad’s baseball team featured four graduates, led by current Huskers Chad Christensen and Zach Hirsch. Both NU seniors represented Nebraska in competition at Hawks Field on Saturday as the Huskers opened a key Big Ten home series with No. 16 Indiana.
Coach Rhonda Revelle’s Nebraska softball team also contributed four graduates to NU’s class, led by former standout pitcher and CoSIDA Academic All-American Ashley Hagemann (Elkhorn, Neb.). The Nebraska wrestling team added four grads to the group, while the men’s golf team featured three graduates from a team that has won three consecutive Herman Awards for producing NU’s top men’s team grade-point average.
Coach Scott Jacobson’s women’s tennis team featured a pair of graduates - Janine Weinreich and Stefanie Weinstein - from the most successful tennis teams in school history in recent years. The women’s tennis team has also won back-to-back Herman Awards and will play host to NCAA Tournament for the first time in NU history May 10-11 in Lincoln.
The men’s tennis team, volleyball, women’s swimming and diving team and the rifle team each contributed a pair of graduates, while the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams, women’s golf and bowling teams each added one graduate this spring.
Kristi Mickelson from Bellevue, Neb., was the lone senior on Coach Bill Straub’s national champion bowling team in 2013. Mickelson led the Huskers to their fourth NCAA title in the past 10 years before capturing an individual national championship of her own at the IBC X-Singles Championships a week later. Mickelson was also an outstanding student as a dual major in criminology and criminal justice/psychology who could contend for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors later this spring.
NU’s May 2013 graduates came from near and far to call Nebraska home during their careers. The group came to Lincoln from 16 states, including 25 native Nebraskans. Members of the graduating class also came from four foreign countries, including Brazil, Canada, Germany and Sweden.
Nebraska continues to feature one of the highest graduation rates in the country, while leading the nation in the number of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (302) and NCAA Top Eight Award winners (16) across all sports.
May 2013 Nebraska Student-Athlete Graduates (58)
Student-Athlete (Sport) - Hometown (Major)
Almeida, Andre (Men’s Basketball) - Sao Paulo, Brazil (Ethnic Studies/Sociology)
Ankrah, Jason (Football) - Gaithersburg, Md. (Child, Youth & Family Studies)
Aumueller, Christopher (Men’s Tennis) - Bayreuth, Germany (Economics/Marketing)