NU Notes: Huskers Sign Iowa Transfer Ahron Ulis
Nebraska Men's Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg announced on Wednesday that former Iowa guard Ahron Ulis will transfer to Nebraska for the 2023-24 season.
Ulis, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard from Chicago, spent the last three seasons at Iowa and started 27 games in the 2022-23 season, averaging 6.1 points, 2.1 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game. Ulis had a career-high 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting at Michigan State on Jan. 26. He will be a senior with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
"Ahron is a player we've gotten to know well having faced him five times over the last three seasons," Hoiberg said. "He brings a lot of valuable Big Ten experience to our program. Ahron possesses a very competitive defensive mindset, while offensively he is a talented ball handler and playmaker who is good in transition. In 2022 when Iowa won the Big Ten Tournament, he shared his team's Top Playmaker Award. Ahron has been to three NCAA Tournaments and comes from a great Marian Catholic high school program in Chicago. We're excited about the winning mentality he will bring to our team."
Ulis scored in double figures five times for the Hawkeyes last season, helping Iowa reach the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his career. Over a three-game stretch against Ohio State, Michigan State and Rutgers in late January, Ulis averaged 15.0 points per game on a 60.7 field goal percentage.
Ulis played in 17 games as a freshman for the Hawkeyes in 2020-21 and 35 games in 2021-22. In his second year at Iowa, he was second on the team with 73 assists and was co-winner of the team's Top Playmaker Award. In his three seasons at Iowa, Ulis had a 2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he shot 31.0 percent from 3-point range and 78.0 percent from the free throw line.
At Marian Catholic, Ulis was a two-time East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) Player of the Year and was named to the AP All-State Class 4A First Team as a senior. He led Marian Catholic to 78 wins in his final three seasons as starting point guard, including 27 victories as a junior, the third most in school history. Ulis led Marian Catholic to its first third-place finish at the Illinois 3A state championship, as well as sectional and super-sectional championships in 2019.
Ulis' older brother, Tyler, was a standout at Kentucky and was drafted 34th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2016.
Nebraska and Creighton to Resume Suspended Game on May 9
Nebraska and Creighton will resume last month's suspended game on Tuesday, May 9 at 5 p.m. at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha.
The game, which was suspended due to lightning, will resume tied at four in the bottom of the seventh inning with Nebraska batting and no outs. Gabe Swansen will be at the plate with the bases loaded and an 0-0 count.
Following the completion of the suspended game, the Huskers and Bluejays will meet in the series finale scheduled for 7:03 p.m. on the Huskers Radio Network.
Huskers Ready for NCAA Raleigh Regional
The Nebraska women's golf team travels to North Carolina for the NCAA Raleigh Regional, May 8-10.
The 12-team regional field will be challenged by a 6,324-yard, par-72 layout at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course with the opening round getting underway with tee times on Monday, May 8 at 7 a.m. (CT), before Tuesday's second round tee times also start at 7 a.m. (CT). Wednesday's final round is set for a 7 a.m. (CT) start, with the top five teams from each of the six NCAA Regionals advancing to the 30-team NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. (May 19-24).
No. 2 Wake Forest headlines the Raleigh Regional field as one of the nation's six No. 1 seeds in the 72-team NCAA field. No. 11 Florida State and No. 14 Florida State claimed the No. 2 and 3 seeds in Raleigh, while No. 21 Florida and No. 26 Arizona round out the five favorites in the Raleigh Regional hoping to advance to the NCAA Championship. No. 35 North Texas, No. 38 TCU, the hosts from No. 46 North Carolina State, No. 50 Purdue and No. 56 Nebraska, along with No. 76 Campbell and No. 150 Richmond will contend to upend the favorites.
Live scoring for the five-count-four tournament will be available through GolfStat.com.
True freshman Kelli Ann Strand (Challis, Idaho) leads Nebraska to its second regional appearance in the last three seasons with a team-best 71.94 stroke average, which is on pace for a school record. She has produced six top-10 finishes, including a tournament title at the Green Wave Classic in her collegiate debut. She also owns 18 rounds better than par this season. The second-team All-Big Ten performer is ranked among the top 115 players nationally by both Golfweek and GolfStat.
Sophomore Miu Takahashi owns Nebraska's No. 2 stroke average with a 73.33 average over 34.5 rounds. Takahashi (Nasu-machi, Japan) was unable to complete her first round of the Big Ten Championship because of illness, but rebounded with a strong second round. She won the Dale McNamara individual title and owns four top-10 finishes on the year.
Graduate student Megan Whittaker will compete in her second NCAA Regional as a Husker after helping Nebraska to the NCAA Columbus Regional in 2021. The fifth-year golfer from Elkhorn, Neb., carries a career-best 73.44 stroke average and owns five top-20 finishes this year.
Juniors Lindsey Thiele (74.73), Michaela Vavrova (75.72) and Andrea Velez (76.91) round out Nebraska's NCAA Regional contingent, which will include one alternate to its five-player lineup. Vavrova joined Whittaker in Nebraska's 2021 NCAA Regional lineup, while Thiele was NU's alternate in Columbus.
NCAA Raleigh Regional
Host: North Carolina State
Lonnie Poole GC (Par 72/6,324 Yards)
Monday, May 8 (Round 1): 7 a.m. (CT) (Tee Times)
Tuesday, May 9 (Round 2): 7 a.m. (CT) (Tee Times)
Wednesday, May 10 (Round 3): 7 a.m. (CT) (Tee Times)
Live Scoring: GolfStat.com
12 Participating Teams (NCAA Regional Seeds)
(1) Wake Forest
(2) Arizona State
(3) Florida State
(6) North Texas
(8) North Carolina State
1. Kelli Ann Strand
2. Miu Takahashi
3. Megan Whittaker
4. Lindsey Thiele
5. Andrea Velez
ALT - Michaela Vavrova
Nebraska's NCAA Regional History
The Huskers heard their name called for the second time in the past three seasons when they were selected to compete in the 2023 NCAA Raleigh Regional.
Nebraska will be making its 13th all-time NCAA Regional appearance dating back to the 1994 NCAA West Regional. Current Husker Megan Whittaker's mother - Kim (Lefler) - was a member of NU's 1994 Regional team.
Most recently, Nebraska competed in the 2021 NCAA Columbus Regional, tying for 15th in an 18-team field in Ohio.
The Huskers made regional appearances in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2021, including NCAA Championship berths in 2000, 2003 and 2006.
Nebraska's highest regional finish came with a fifth-place finish in a 21-team field at the 2003 NCAA Central Regional at Firethorn Golf Club in Lincoln (May 8-10).
Sutherland Leads Huskers
In her first season as Nebraska's head coach, Jeanne Sutherland is guiding her 19th team to an NCAA Regional appearance in 2023.
Sutherland, who spent one season as Nebraska's associate head coach (2021-22), was named head coach on May 5, 2022. She came to Nebraska after spending 10 seasons (2011-21) as the head coach at SMU. She previously spent 15 seasons as the head coach at Texas A&M (1992-2007).
She has coached three individual All-Americans, five individual conference champions and three conference players of the year.
In 2018, Sutherland was named the inaugural winner of the WGCA Kim Evans Award. She also earned the WGCA Founders Award in 2017. A four-time conference coach of the year at Texas A&M (3 Big 12, 1 Southwest Conference), Sutherland was also a two-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year (1997, 2007). She led 13 Texas A&M teams to NCAA Regional play, including four NCAA Championship appearances in 1997 (17th), 2004 (24th), 2005 (22nd) and 2006 (19th).
Sutherland coached SMU to five consecutive NCAA Regional bids (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
Strand Earns All-Big Ten Honors
Kelli Ann Strand captured All-Big Ten honors when the conference announced its annual awards on April 26, just hours before the NCAA Regional selections were made public.
Strand was one of eight second-team All-Big Ten choices for 2023, while the conference also announced eight first-team honorees.
The true freshman from Challis, Idaho is ranked among the top 115 players nationally by both Golfweek and GolfStat entering the NCAA Raleigh Regional.
She leads Nebraska with a 71.94 stroke average, which is on pace to set the school record set by All-American Kate Smith (72.18) in 2019-20. The previous Nebraska freshman record (73.90) was also set by Smith in 2016-17.
Strand, a three-time Idaho state champion who was ranked among the top-310 players in the world (WAGR 308) before arriving at Nebraska, made an instant impact in her collegiate debut.
She won the Green Wave Classic individual title in New Orleans (Sept. 12-13), tying the school record with a 54-hole score of 202 (-14). She also set the Husker freshman record with a second-round 65 (-7) at the Bayou Oaks South Course.
Strand fired a 29 (-7) over the back nine in the second round before opening the third round with a 31 (-5) on the front nine, carding a 60 (-12) over those consecutive 18 holes splitting two rounds. The NCAA record for best round of women's golf is 61. Strand also was named the Big Ten Golfer of the Week (Sept. 15).
Strand, who earned her second straight Idaho Golf Association Women's Player of the Year award in December of 2022, won the Idaho Women's Match Play title. She added a runner-up finish at the Idaho Women's Amateur. She was also the runner-up at the Girls Junior Americas Cup (July 24-28) for the second straight year with a three-round total of 205 (-11). She captured third at the IMG Academy Junior World Championship (July 12-15) with a four-round total of 280 (-8), which came before competing at the U.S. Girls Junior Amateur in Kentucky (July 18-23), where she advanced to Match Play before finishing in a tie for 33rd.
Whittaker Returns to NCAA Regionals In Fifth Season as a Husker
A hard-working golfer who has shown impressive improvement throughout her five collegiate seasons, Megan Whittaker returned to lead Nebraska to its second NCAA Regional appearance in three seasons in 2023.
The graduate student from Elkhorn, Neb., owns Nebraska's No. 3 stroke average with a career-best 73.44 over 35.5 rounds this season.
Last season, Whittaker produced Nebraska's No. 2 stroke average (74.04), just missing an individual NCAA Regional bid. She trailed only NCAA Regional qualifier Kirsten Baete (73.94) among the Huskers.
Whittaker opened her fifth season as a Husker with a career-best 207 (-9) to take sixth at the Green Wave Classic. It followed a big summer for Whittaker that included a sweep of the Nebraska women's match play and stroke play championships and a berth in the U.S. Women's Amateur.
Whittaker produced the first two top-10 individual finishes of her career while matching Baete and Vanessa Bouvet for the team lead with seven top-25 finishes last year.
A star in the classroom and the community, Whittaker earned her bachelor's degree in finance in May of 2022. She is a four-time WGCA Scholastic All-American, a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
In the community, Whittaker was named a Nebraska Heart & Soul Award winner in 2023 for going above and beyond in all phases of the Husker Life Skills program. She earned a prestigious Sam Foltz 27 Hero Leadership Award at Nebraska in 2021. She was also Nebraska's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner for women's golf in both 2021 and 2023.
Whittaker's ties to Nebraska women's golf are very strong, as her mother Kim (Lefler) lettered as a golfer for the Huskers from 1991 to 1994, helping Nebraska advance to the 1994 NCAA West Regional as a senior.
Takahashi Breaks Through in Year Two, Wins Dale McNamara Title
Miu Takahashi won her first college title to lead Nebraska to a runner-up finish at the Dale McNamara Invitational in Broken Arrow, Okla., Oct. 10-11. Her one-stroke win came with a then-career-best 213 (-3), including a final-round 69 (-3).
Kelli Ann Strand added her third consecutive top-five finish to open her career, tying for third at 215 (-1), including a final-round 69 of her own. Michaela Vavrova contributed a 70 (-2) in the final round to surge into a tie for 22nd, while Megan Whittaker added a tie for 22nd as well with a three-round total of 223. Lindsey Thiele also pitched in a 70 in the final round to tie for 30th (226) in a 75-player field in Oklahoma.
The Huskers closed the 54-hole tournament with an 869 (+5) team score, just one stroke back of the team champions from Tulsa. Nebraska's final-round 280 (-8) was the best 18-hole score of any team in the tournament.
Takahashi has been a difference-maker in her second season at Nebraska. The sophomore from Nasu-machi, Japan ranks second among the Huskers with a 73.33 stroke average over 34.5 rounds. She owns four top-10 individual finishes among her five top-20 showings.
Thiele Continues to Improve, Produces Strong Junior Year
Lindsey Thiele captured her second career top-10 finish by tying for eighth with a career-best 209 (-7) at the season-opening Green Wave Classic (Sept. 12-13). Her effort included a career-best 69 (-3) in the opening round.
As a junior, Thiele (pronounced TEEL) has produced a 74.73 stroke average - 2.16 strokes per round better than her sophomore season (76.89). As a freshman, Thiele was Nebraska's alternate at the NCAA Columbus Regional, finishing with an 80.13 stroke average over 15 rounds on the season.
Thiele was Nebraska's No. 2 finisher at the 2023 Big Ten Championship, tying for 34th (228). It was her seventh top-35 finish of the season.
The Wahoo, Neb., native who is the most recent of three sisters (Haley, Hannah) to play golf for the Big Red, is an outstanding student. Thiele is a Regents Scholar at Nebraska and a two-time WGCA Scholastic All-American.
Huskers Honor Daegan Page with Folds of Honor Bag
The Nebraska women's golf team is honoring Marine Corporal Daegan Page from Omaha as part of the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program during the spring of 2023.
Page, who was one of 13 service men and women killed in action while helping to evacuate people from the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021, has his name, rank and branch of service displayed on a Husker women's golf bag this season.
Megan Whittaker, a graduate student from Elkhorn, Neb., proudly carried the bag in Page's honor in Nebraska's first spring tournament as part of a nationwide program sponsored by the Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). Kelli Ann Strand carried it during Nebraska's run to the Westbrook Spring Invitational title in Arizona, while Michaela Vavrova carried the honor bag at the Briar's Creek Invitational.
Folds of Honor is a preferred charitable partner of the WGCA and the GCAA, and the groups work together to ensure that no family is left behind in the fight to preserve American freedom. Through scholarships and other assistance, they give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.
Daegan William-Tyeler Page would have celebrated his 25th birthday on Feb. 6, 2023, when the Husker women's golf team opens its spring season at the FAU Paradise Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday. He was born in Red Oak, Iowa and moved to Omaha at age 5. He was an avid hockey player, competing for the state champion Westside Warriors, before graduating from Millard South High School in 2016. Page also loved skateboarding, the outdoors and animals.
Cpl. Page was a rifleman in 1st Platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. To learn more about Daegan Page, or to help others "Live the Dae Way" visit the Cpl. Daegan Page Foundation website at daeganpage.org.
Huskers Set Pace in Classroom
Nebraska leads NCAA Division I with 349 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time across all sports. The Huskers also lead all schools in history with 18 NCAA Top 10 Award winners across all sports.
Nebraska women's golf leads the nation with 90 WGCA Scholastic All-Americans since 1989, including three in 2021-22. Kirsten Baete, Lindsey Thiele and Megan Whittaker all earned WGCA honors for the second straight season in 2021-22.
Baete and Whittaker became the seventh and eighth four-time WGCA Scholastic All-Americans in Nebraska history in 2021-22. This season, Whittaker could become the first five-time WGCA Scholastic honoree in the Husker record book. Megan's mother, Kim (Lefler), was also a three-time WGCA Scholastic All-American at Nebraska (1992, 1993, 1994).
Lindsey is the third Thiele sister to be a WGCA Scholastic All-American, joining Haley (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020) and Hannah (2018).
NU also owns a 95 percent graduation success rate across all student-athletes.