The Nebraska women's track and field team ended the third day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a share of the lead in the team race, as thee Huskers helped the squad compile 26 points. Junior Dace Ruskule was crowned a national champion, while juniors Priscilla Lopes and Kayla Wilkinson each added runner-up honors to propel NU into a first-place tie with Texas. The Husker men's team currently ranks sixth with 19 points.

Ruskule won only the second NCAA women's discus title in Husker history with a clutch throw of 180-10 on her fifth of six attempts. The Riga, Latvia, native trailed Rice's Krystal Robinson in second place by less than one foot, but was able to take over the lead with her fifth spin. Alabama's Beth Mallory later moved into second with a mark of 179-7 on her final attempt, but Ruskule was able to hold on to earn her first national title.

"It was a very hard competition today with so much pressure, because after I finally took the lead it would only take one throw for another girl to beat me," Ruskule said. "I hated to watch the other throws, and after each one I just had to thank God."

An Olympian for Latvia in 2004, Ruskule rebounded from a miserable first experience at the NCAA Championships suffered last year, when she struggled to the tune of a 133-9 throw and 27th-place finish. Her performance Friday placed her alongside teammate Becky Breisch as NU's only NCAA champions for the women's discus.

"I was hoping to win last year so badly that I just wasn't mentally ready for it," she said. "I put way too much pressure on myself. I knew it would take at least two years (after she arrived at Nebraska) to get used to my new technique. Last year was just so painful that I am just glad to finally win."

"Not once have we been in a situation this year where Dace didn't come through," NU assistant coach Mark Colligan said. "I felt that if there was anyone in that field that could rise to the occasion with a late dramatic throw, she would be the one to do it."