UNO athletes bring home accolades
June 28th, 2013
Omaha, NE – UNOâ€™s Sami Spenner, a junior from Columbus who competes on the track and field team, finished 10th last week in the heptathlon at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/6-28.mp3]
The heptathlon is the womenâ€™s equivalent to the decathlon, which includes seven events over two days. UNOâ€™s head coach Steve Smith says it was Spennerâ€™s final event, the 800 meter dash, that was her most impressive.
â€œIn the 800, which she has been improving in all year, she was in a competition with some of the best athletes in the nation,â€ Smith said. â€œThese girls, some of them seasoned veterans, that are well in their 20â€™s some even close to 30 years old and they can flat out run the 800. So she rose to the occasion, she has the ability and has run some pretty decent 800â€™s (this year) but she was in a field that was very talented but she rose to the occasion and put up a really good time ,â€ he said.
Spenner had a stellar junior year as the Summit Leagueâ€™s Track and Field Athlete of the Year and as a member of the All-League Team. But she isnâ€™t looking at her past accomplishments; she is looking at improving as an athlete heading into her senior campaign.
â€œ(I was) kind of hoping that training is a little bit harder just so I can push myself a little bit more so I can see those changes for next season,â€ Spenner said. â€œAnd I have my own personal goals out there and I hoping with my coaches training that I get to reach those goals.â€ she said.
Spenner isnâ€™t the only Maverick whoâ€™s had an outstanding year. Senior outfielder Ryan Keele has been named the Summit Leagueâ€™s Male Athlete of the Month for May and June. This following a month span which included a .529 batting average for May and a massive .754 slugging percentage to go with 19 RBI. It was Keele who hit the decisive walk-off home-run to secure the Mavericks first Division-I regular season title and head coach Bob Herold says Keele may have only played at UNO for one year, but he made a major impact.
â€œHe brought some leadership. He brought some maturity to our team,â€ Herold said. â€œ(Heâ€™s got) really good work ethic, he has incredible discipline at the plate and immense power. So heâ€™s got a really good eye (and) heâ€™s a very advanced hitter; he will still make you walk him but if you donâ€™t walk him then he is going to hit it hard someplace and I mean it is usually a long ways. He ended up being, besides an outstanding ball player, a very good team leader too,’ he said.
Keele wasnâ€™t selected in the Major League Baseballâ€™s first-year player draft in June, which baffles Herold. Herold also said it wasnâ€™t clear what Keele planned to do going forward, but he called him a blessing to UNOâ€™s baseball program.
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