Prairie Wolf Spelts wins at any distance

2010-06-18T23:25:00Z 2012-05-01T15:38:53Z Prairie Wolf Spelts wins at any distanceBy KEN HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

It took Jackie Spelts a couple of years before she understood just how valuable her time investment would be as she geared up to run distance events.

It all paid off this year.

The senior from Burwell won the Great Plains Athletic Conference cross country meet and became a two-time All-American in the sport. In track, she won the GPAC 1,500-meter and 5-kilometer races outdoors and the 3K and 5K indoor titles.

Spelts knocked two minutes off the school record for the 10,000 the first time she ever ran the race. She won the GPAC title the second time she ever ran the 5,000.

"It takes maturity and trust in her coaches to reach the levels of competition Jackie reached this year," said Nebraska Wesleyan coach Ted Bulling. "It's not easy to make the change from being a half-miler and shorter-distance running to long distance. But Jackie was great at making the change."

Spelts is the first NWU female to win the Journal Star State College Female Athlete of the Year since Kim Oden in 1989 and 1991.

The youngest of four children, Jackie is headed to New Zealand for five months of study in her major, health and fitness.

"And then I'll get back and have one more season to run with our team," said Spelts, who has a season of eligibility remaining in outdoor track. "I can't think of anything better.

Past women's winners

1983: Kari Kramme, Midland

1987: Phyllis DeBuhr, Kearney St.

1988: Laura J. Anderson, UNO

1989: Kim Oden, Wesleyan

1990: Carol Bailey, Concordia

1991: Kim Oden, Wesleyan

1992: Cindy Hays, Midland

1993: Cathy Russell, Doane

1994: Suzanne Weeder, Doane

1995: Heather Rhoadarmer, Doane

1996: Mari Maaske, Doane

1997: Amy Steffel, UNO

1998: Stephanie Schilke, Concordia

1999: Darcy Stracke, UNK

2000: April Kockrow, Doane

2001: Mary Livengood, Doane

2002: Kelly Bowen, Wesleyan

2003: Elizabeth Herbek, Hastings

2004: Rochelle Schmidt, Doane

2005: Molly Engel, Concordia

2006: Katie Kosmos, Doane

2007: Katie Kosmos, Doane

2008: Lindsay Ducey, Hastings

2009: Lindsay Ducey, Hastings

2010: Jackie Spelts, Nebraska Wesleyan

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Steven M. Sipple | Lincoln Journal Star

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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