George Kusche stamped a place in Nebraska cross country history Sunday. Kusche took third-place in the Big Ten Championships, the highest finish for a Husker runner at a conference championship since 1997.
Kusche’s finish was also the highest for a Husker runner since joining the Big Ten in 2011.
What’s more improbable than Kusche’s historic finish for Nebraska, is how he got there.
“I came to Nebraska in August, and since being here, Nebraska has been a huge help,” Kusche, the South African native, said. “You could say I take all the credit but really I give it to all my coaches and teammates.”
Kusche enrolled at Nebraska at the beginning of the year, and has taken the team by storm since.
“He took a visit here, and just said ‘Dave, this is where I’m supposed to be,’” Husker coach Dave Harris said. “We are really lucky to have him.”
Nebraska finished eighth as a team on the men’s side, one place higher than last season’s ninth-place finish at the Big Ten meet and two places higher than 2016.
“We just keep getting better,” Harris said. “We like that trend. Who knows what might happen in a few years.”
Mark Freyhof also finished in 18th for the Husker men.
Judi Jones led the Husker women and finished 37th overall for the Nebraska team that finished 11th at the Big Ten Championships.
There was no change from last year’s competition on either side of the team title race.
Wisconsin won the men’s side, as two roommates topped the field at the end of the race.
Badger senior Morgan McDonald won the Big Ten title with a time of 23:26.4 in the 8,000 meter race.
McDonald’s roommate, Oliver Hoare, won the conference championship last season, and McDonald said he will definitely give his roommate some friendly jabs about getting the crown this time.
“We’re pretty competitive, and it’s actually kind of a funny situation that it came down to us this time,” McDonald said. “I won’t be too hard on him though, we are pretty chill outside of running.”
Hoare finished second in a race the Badgers dominated. Three of their finishers finished in the top four overall.
On the women’s side, Michigan took the championship for the third year in a row.
“We closed really well at the end of the race,” Michigan coach Mike McGuire said. “It was a bit of a toss up at the 4,000 meter mark, but we finished strong. I didn’t envision it being that close that far into the race, but we showed a lot of composure and competitiveness at the end.”
All seven of Michigan’s top finishers were in the top 26, despite only having one in the top seven.
Wisconsin’s Alicia Monson won the individual title for the women. She finished 22nd overall last year at the Big Ten Championships for the Badgers.