By Jessica Schwager
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Adam Dailey’s hurdling career was supposed to have finished two years ago after the 2007 Nebraska state track meet.
With the thunder of the state track crowd behind him, Dailey stepped into his starting blocks. The Bishop Neumann senior heard the pull of a trigger and soared over a series of hurdles for the last time in his high school career.
He crossed the 300-meter hurdle finish line with a time of 38.17, the best across any class in the state of Nebraska that season. Dailey’s efforts earned him the prestigious 300-meter All-Class gold medal. He also captured two additional 2007 Class B event titles in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter dash, and helped his 4x400-meter relay team to a bronze finish.
The three gold and one bronze medals draped around his neck were proof of his successful prep career.
Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even sure about the future of his hurdling career at the time.
Dailey, a Wahoo, Neb., native, made plans to attend Nebraska after high school, but not as a student-athlete. Instead, Dailey applied to NU's architecture college as an ordinary student with no athletic commitments.
“Up until my junior year of high school, I wasn’t sure about going to NU at all,” Dailey said. “I didn’t want to do a sports team, but I started to really think about architecture and some of my friends said they were going to NU, so it was an easy decision as far as school goes.”
But Dailey’s successes at the state track meet didn’t go unnoticed by the Nebraska track and field team. Nebraska Coach Gary Pepin had his eye on Dailey from the start of the meet.
“The coaches started contacting me around the time of the state track meet,” Dailey said. “They said, ‘No pressure.’ I did really well at my district and state meets and had a visit to Nebraska and decided to compete.”
Dailey began training with the NU track team as a walk-on in the fall of 2007.
“Coming into my first season, I looked at my self as the newbie,” Dailey said. “I didn’t think I was even going to compete. I was intimidated by people. But as the year went on, I saw myself with everybody. From then on, I just believed that I could get to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.”
After only one year with the track and field squad, Dailey became an instant success both on the 400-meter hurdles and in the classroom. As an architecture major, Dailey has earned three-consecutive Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll awards and a spot on the 2008 USTFCCCA All-Academic Team.
Athletically, he placed within the top-10 finishers at seven of his eight track meets during the 2008 outdoor season.
In his first outdoor meet with the Huskers, Dailey finished second with a time of 51.40 at the Jim Click Shootout. The walk-on then earned 400-meter titles at both the Ward Haylett Invitational (51.56) and the Nebraska Invitational (52.00). He shaved more than an entire second off of his time at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships with a time of 50.38 for fourth place.
Upon setting a personal-best time of 50.33 and earning a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional, Dailey automatically punched his ticket for the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Dailey advanced through the NCAA preliminaries at the outdoor championships with a time of 50.90. However, he was unable to move past the semifinals with his time of 51.21.
With the season underway, Dailey was hoping for another shot at the 2009 NCAA Championships. Already, Dailey has captured a 400-meter title at NU’s first outdoor meet with a time of 51.19.
“Last year I was focusing on a lot of hurdle form,” Dailey said. “I didn’t have that good of form last year. Now I feel like I have that part down. I don’t even think about hurdling when I’m running. It comes natural. This season is about getting conditioned and having confidence."