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Harkrader and Nurmi Named CU Athletes of the Week

Mar 5, 2008

BOULDER-Track distance runner Bradley Harkrader (junior) and tennis player Veera Nurmi (senior), were named University of Colorado Athletes of the Week for the week of February 25-March 2.  This is the first CU athlete of the week of the year for Nurmi and the second for Harkrader. 


Nurmi now has two career honors, with her last honor being on October 25, 2004; the three year, four month and seven day drought marks the longest stretch in between athlete of the week honors in CU history.  Harkrader also has two honors, as he earned his first honor two weeks ago.


            Harkrader, an Westminster, Colo. (Thornton) native, led a group of Buffaloes to the top four places in the 5,000-meter run on the first day of the 2008 Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championship at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb. Kenyon Neuman took second, Chris Pannone was third and Richard Medina finished fourth. The finish put the Buffs first in the team competition with 29 points in the 5k. Colorado's men recorded 34 points on the first day. Harkrader finished the 25 lap race in 14:11.09 for his first conference championship. His championship marked the fifth straight year that a Buff has won the 5k race at the indoor conference championship and the 10th out of 12th year CU has won; putting him in the same class as other CU greats (Adam Goucher and Dathan Ritzenhein) and current teammates Brent Vaughn and Billy Nelson.


            Nurmi, a Lahti, Finland (Salpausseian Lukio) native, clinched Colorado's match at No. 4 singles defeating Arizona's Jane Huh in three sets, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4.  Nurmi's match helped the Buffaloes (2-6) defeat the No. 52 Arizona, 5-2 in their lone match of the week and it helped CU break a three-match losing streak. The win over the Wildcats was CU's first victory on the road this season.  Nurmi has won four of her last five singles matches. The win was her 63rd career singles match victory.


Others nominated for this week's award were Marcus Hall (men's basketball), Brittany Spears (women's basketball) and Sara Vaughn (track and field).


Men's Basketball: Marcus Hall, Senior, Houston, Texas

Hall averaged 20.5 points, in addition to 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in Colorado's 1-1 week. He scored a career-high 31 points on 13-for-21 shooting, also career-highs in the Buffaloes 67-55 triumph over Iowa State on Senior Day.  Earlier in the week, Hall scored 10 points with seven assists and a career-high three blocks in the home loss to Baylor, 68-57.  In both games, Hall played 38 minutes. The 30-point performance was the first 30 point effort of the season and the 31 points against the Cyclones moved Hall into 21st place on the school's all-time scoring list (1,108).


Women's Basketball: Brittany Spears, Freshman, Pasadena, Calif.

Spears recorded back-to-back double-doubles last week in road games against No. 8 (AP)/8 (WBCA) Baylor and Nebraska. For the week, the 6-1 forward averaged 15 points, 12.5 rebounds and two steals. She scored 16 points and had a career-high 14 rebounds against the Lady Bears in Waco. Spears added 14 points, 11 rebounds and four steals against Nebraska.


Track and Field: Sara Vaughn, Junior, Gering, Neb.

Vaughn put the CU women on the board by finishing fourth in the mile. Vaughn crossed the finish in 4:47.42. She started the race in sixth; moving up to fifth around the halfway point. Vaughn passed Betzy Jimenez (Texas) just before the finish to record an extra point for CU. Vaughn was the first Buff and only female to advance to the finals on Saturday. Vaughn ran a mark of 4:50.20 and won the second heat just ahead of Natalja Zarcenko (Nebraska) who finished in 4:50.35. Vaughn led most of the race to clinch her position.  Vaughn took second in the unseeded heat of the 3,000-meter run, finishing only behind Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego with a time of 9:48.07, but it wasn't enough to score as she ended up ninth after the seeded heat ran.