COLUMBUS — Marika Spencer is following through with a lifelong dream.
The Scotus Central Catholic senior announced her verbal commitment Monday to join the Nebraska track and field team.
“It’s crazy. It finally came true that I get to throw for them,” Spencer said.
Spencer is the second Scotus athlete to commit to the Husker track program in as many years, joining Cody Mroczek, who signed with the Huskers last year.
Though she hasn’t gotten a chance to talk to Mroczek about his experience in Lincoln, she has talked to several other Nebraska athletes.
“All of the athletes that I’ve talked to that go to Nebraska love it,” Spencer said. “Hopefully I will, too.”
Scotus head girls track coach Janet Tooley has recognized Spencer’s potential for a long time.
“We knew in junior high that Marika was a special athlete and she had the potential to develop into this level of athlete,” Tooley said.
But Spencer is different than many Division I athletes.
“You look at kids that are going to be Division I athletes and they tend to focus on one sport, but Marika is a three-sport athlete,” Tooley said. “The things that she’s done will transfer to her throws at UNL.”
For the Scotus track team, Spencer set the school records in both throws as a junior and swept the Class B state titles in the shot put and discus. Her season-bests of 42 feet, 1/2 inch in the shot put and 141-10 in the discus were among the top-10 throws in the state in all classes.
Spencer also holds the school records at Columbus High, which co-ops with Scotus for softball, for home runs in a season and career. The senior belted nine homers last season for the Discoverers and 21 in her career.
Tooley said that shows the explosiveness in her hips needed for the throws.
Spencer is also a key contributor for the Scotus basketball team, which reached the C-1 state tournament last season.
“The pressure of competition is something she’s experienced as a three-sport athlete,” Tooley said.
Since she’ll focus on one sport at Nebraska under the tutelage of throwing coach Scott Cappos, Spencer is expecting big improvements.
“Once he starts teaching me his techniques, hopefully I can throw really far and see what happens,” she said.
But first, Spencer plans to use her commitment to drive her to a big senior season when she’ll look to defend her state titles.
“It gives me a lot of motivation,” Spencer said. “I want to throw far for them. It’ll really push me to be better this season.”