The first month of 2023 brought fierce action for Husker athletics, with 11 teams starting or continuing their seasons. January also offered much growth from numerous athletes within the freshman class.
This month’s winner took a big step forward, as she rose up the depth chart to become a starter while also putting up big numbers.
The DN Freshman Athlete of the Month is guard Callin Hake
Nebraska women’s basketball entered the new year with seven Big Ten games. The Huskers finished the month 2-5 to fall to 12-9 on the year. Despite tough losses, a few of the team’s newcomers made great strides.
Guard Callin Hake had the most impressive January of any freshman, putting together her best month of basketball so far. Hake played in all seven of Nebraska’s January contests, had her first career start and produced some of the best games of her season.
The Victoria, Minnesota native entered the month with 45 points, 16 rebounds, 14 made 3-pointers and four assists through 12 games. Hake caught fire in three of the first four games in January, putting up 37 points, six rebounds, two steals and notching three 10-point games.
Her biggest of the three performances was in Nebraska’s win over Penn State. Hake led the team in the victory, scoring 16 points and going 4-of-6 from behind the arc, both marking a career best. She totaled 57 points, 13 rebounds, nine 3-pointers, seven assists and two steals through the month of January.
Hake also reached a landmark in January, surpassing 100 points on the season and thus her college career, the eighth player on the team to do so. She now ranks second on the team in made 3-pointers with 26, behind junior guard Jaz Shelley.
Prior to venturing to Lincoln, Hake was one of the top players to come out of the state of Minnesota, scoring over 2,000 total points and pulling in over 500 rebounds in her high school career. Her freshman year as a Husker started quietly, but she has since become a regular contributor for a potential NCAA Tournament team with eight games remaining in the regular season.
First honorable mention: swimmer Gena Jorgenson
Nebraska swim and dive concluded its regular season in January with two dual meets against Illinois and Rutgers. The Huskers went 1-1 to finish the regular season at 6-3.
Gena Jorgenson capped a massive regular season campaign as one of Nebraska’s top swimmers. Jorgenson competed in both January meets and swam in nine events. The Aberdeen, South Dakota native finished with two individual wins, two new career-best times and even set a new pool record.
Jorgenson’s record-setting time came in the team’s win over Illinois, where she won the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:53.58. Her time set a new Devaney Center Natatorium pool record, while also earning a new career-best time by over 15 seconds. That time currently ranks third in school history, behind Audrey Coffey and Lauren Bailey.
Jorgenson’s other win came in the team’s loss against Rutgers when Jorgenson won the 1,650-yard freestyle with a career-best time of 16:33.70, which also ranks her seventh in school history.
Second honorable mention: guard Jamarques Lawrence
The Nebraska men’s basketball team went just 2-7 during the month of January to drop their season record to 10-13. Injuries have been a major factor to the team but have allowed younger players to step up and fill the void, earning playing time that could be crucial to their development.
Freshman guard Jamarques Lawrence has been foremost among those youngsters, playing in eight games and starting in three of them. Lawrence was a consistent presence on the court, finishing the month with 40 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
His biggest game of his career thus far came in Nebraska’s loss to Northwestern. The Plainfield, New Jersey native led the team in 3-pointers, hitting 4-of-8 to finish the game with 12 points. This was Lawrence’s first — and so far, only — 10-point game of the season. Heading into February, Lawrence now has 56 points, 23 rebounds and 11 assists on the season.
Third honorable mention: diver Kelsey Clairmont
Jorgenson wasn’t the only freshman to have a big performance for the swim and dive team. Freshman Kelsey Clairmont had already been Nebraska’s top diver since the start of the season and concluded her regular season with a couple victories and a career-best mark in an event.
Clairmont’s victories came in the team’s win over Illinois, where she won the one-meter dive and the three-meter dive. The Saskatchewan, Canada native also achieved a career-best mark with her win in the one-meter dive, scoring a 281.70.
On the season, Clairmont leads the team in all three diving events — one-meter, three-meter and platform.