The end of Saturday’s Husker football game was the start of something greater for Husker cheerleader Lindsey Wood, who left the field with a ring on her finger.
Wood’s boyfriend Toby Omli proposed to her on the field at the conclusion of the Nov. 16 game at Memorial Stadium. Wood said yes and was able to celebrate on the field with her loved ones, including a group hug with other cheerleaders following the proposal.
“I was so caught off in the best way,” said Wood, a senior elementary education major. “All of our friends and family were there, so I just felt so loved.”
Wood said Husker game days are always a blessing because she gets to cheer for the Huskers, pump up nearly 90,000 fans and surround herself with her squad mates. At the conclusion of every game, Wood said the cheer squad rushes onto the field, making a tunnel for the players and huddling with their cheer coaches to wrap the game up.
When the huddle broke last Saturday, Wood said she was trying to exit the field and ran into Omli, who had been planning the proposal since September and told Wood he would be on a business trip in Alabama that weekend.
“I didn’t think anything of it — we always huddle,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to have Toby right there.”
She said she expected to maybe see Omli on one knee over the holidays when the two were by themselves, but the surprise was unlike any other.
“My coaches had helped him out, and it was just so sweet to get to celebrate with my teammates right there,” she said.
The plan, which Omli said was not fully finalized until the week before the game, included the help of both cheer squad coaches. One coach was supposed to position Wood so her back was to Omli while the second would sneak him up behind her and wait until the huddle broke.
“It felt like an eternity,” Omli said. “I was just over there waiting for her to turn around, and then she finally did. She saw me, she was shocked and it was incredible.”
Omli and Wood went on their first date the day after Christmas last year. Omli lives in Memphis, Tennessee, working as an engineer, which Wood said makes the relationship more difficult because of the distance, but they find time to spend together whenever they can.
“I’m still on cloud nine,” she said. “We’re just excited for the future and for what this next season looks like. It’s gonna be a fun time together.”
Wood said her and Omli both grew up in Brookville, Kansas, and were family friends until he asked her out less than a year ago.
Both families knew about the proposal beforehand, and Wood’s two best friends were let in on the secret the week before. Omli said he kept the secret well hidden because Wood wanted to be totally surprised.
“I knew Nebraska was really important to Wood,” Omli said. “She loves cheering, she loves Memorial Stadium, she loves her teammates and so I thought she would really enjoy me doing [the proposal] on the field.”
Wood has been a member of the Husker Spirit Squad for three years and is a senior captain this year. She said her teammates make every day special and made this day even more so.
“I feel so blessed,” Wood said. “Nebraska’s just a special place, I’m pretty thankful. I’m holding on to every last feeling because it’s going by fast.”
Even though the game day didn’t go as she originally expected, Wood said she is thankful for everything she has been given, including the ring on her finger. She said being surrounded by her loved ones and celebrating with her closest friends and family on the turf of Memorial Stadium was an added bonus to her and Omli’s special day.
“I’m just overwhelmed with excitement, too,” Omli said. “This whole thing is so real. It doesn’t get better than Lindsey Wood, so I’m jazzed up.”