LINCOLN, Neb. — Tristan Gebbia was easy to spot. The redshirt freshman circled the starting point (and finishing line) of the Nebraska Football Road Race with purpose, meeting and greeting fans as they arrived for Sunday's event.
Gebbia isn't the president of the race — that honor falls on senior Bo Kitrell's shoulders — but he's taken his leadership role seriously.
"Last year, Chris Weber was the president and they were looking for a younger guy to help take over the race and to be a leader for the future," Gebbia told Hail Varsity. "Since Bo is the president for this year, I'll be the president next year after he graduates.
"It's obviously a great cause and I'm really blessed to have been a part of it."
The Nebraska Football Road Race kicked off Sunday morning at 8 a.m. with a one-mile fun run, followed by a 5K race. The event benefits the Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC in Omaha, with 100 percent of proceeds going to pediatric brain cancer research.
For Gebbia, the connection to the University of Nebraska Medical Center has made the event even more special. He's hopeful through events like the Road Race and the work being done at UNMC, a cure will be found.
"This is one of my favorite events all year because it means a lot to a lot of people," Gebbia said. "If we can find a cure here? Wow. I'm already so proud to be a part of this university."
Another reason Gebbia is proud to be at Nebraska is the fan support. A record 840 fans showed up Sunday to support the Road Race, which even included infants and dogs.
The Nebraska football team wasn't the only team in attendance, either. The volleyball team, women's gymnastics team and spirit squads were on hand to distribute water at checkpoints along the route and cheer on those participating.
As offensive coordinator Troy Walters noted prior to the 5K, every Nebraska football player was in attendance.
"Obviously the fans show love and I think it's important that we provide love and show it right back to them," Gebbia said.
For those 840 fans, they've also been invited to a closed practice or scrimmage this fall. Gebbia's excited for it, mostly because he's ready for fans to finally see what the team has been working on all summer.
"They'll see a lot of speed, a lot of intensity and a lot of Frost-era football," Gebbia said.
Fans will also see a lot of new leaders on the field. Gebbia included.
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.