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Heath Hotzler, Published December 18 2009

Grooters cites academics in committing to Nebraska

Ellie Grooters is staying in the Corn Belt. And she’s becoming a Cornhusker.

The West Fargo High School standout senior hurdler said Thursday she has committed to the University of Nebraska.

“Nebraska has a really good student-athlete program,” Grooters said. “They really emphasize the student part of it. They are very understanding about getting your degree and going to school, and as a bonus being an athlete. It just seemed like more of the path that I wanted.”

Grooters has earned the North Dakota Class A state 100- and 300-meter hurdles titles in each of the last three seasons.

She was a member of the Packers 400 and 800 relay teams as a freshman, and she helped last year’s 3,200 relay to a state crown.

She made an official visit to Nebraska on Nov. 6-7.

She said she plans to be a pre-pharmacy major.

“The thing that probably stood out the most was being able to talk to the (track and field) coaches,” Grooters said. “I went to a couple of practices and got to see how they interact with the athletes. … It was a good balance of serious and having fun.”

Grooters said Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota State and Wisconsin were her top choices.

The Huskers’ only women’s track and field national titles came in 1983 and 1984.

The team finished third at last season’s Big 12 Conference outdoor meet.

Located in Lincoln, the university is about 475 miles south of Fargo.

Ellie’s father, Greg, the principal at the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center, said the family will make several trips to watch Ellie compete in college.

“We will be wearing out I-29 for the indoor season,” Greg said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562