The Huskers host the Holiday Inn Invitational this weekend at the Devaney Center indoor Track.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Open 2014 Season with Holiday Inn Invitational

By NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska track and field team is set to open the 2014 season on Friday, Jan. 17 when it hosts the Holiday Inn Invitational at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. The two-day meet will then continue on Saturday when the action starts again at 11 a.m.

A nationally prominent program, Nebraska will look to add to their 105 conference team titles in their third year in the Big Ten Conference.

The Husker men’s squad returns a talented group in 2014. All-Americans Ricco Hall (4x400), Levi Gipson (4x400), Christian Sanderfer (4x400), Cody Rush (4x400) and Patrick Raedler (Long Jump) are set to lead the Huskers along with a veteran class of returners and talented newcomers.

The women’s team will be guided by All-Americans Ellie Grooters and Mara Weekes as well as Anne Martin, Annie Jackson and a slew of talented newcomers.

Winning Ways
The all-time winningest track and field coach in the history of the Big 12 and the former Big Eight Conference, Nebraska Head Coach Gary Pepin enters his 34th season at NU during the 2014 track and field season. The longest tenured active coach in Cornhusker athletics, 2014 will be Pepin’s 34th season as head coach of both the Husker men’s and women’s track teams. Pepin captured 23 Big 12 titles as the Huskers’ leader.

In his first 33 seasons at Nebraska, Pepin has coached athletes to 57 NCAA titles, 485 All-America honors and 526 conference titles.

Husker Men Debut in Top 25
The Nebraska track and field team will open the 2014 indoor season this weekend with the men’s team ranked in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 25. Released Monday afternoon by the USTFCCCA, the Husker men will start the season ranked eighth in the country. Arkansas holds the top spot on the men’s side, while Texas is first on the women’s side.

The Big Ten was well-represented in the preseason rankings, with five teams ranked on the men’s side and two on the women’s side.

Husker Men Ranked Fifth in Dual Meet Team Rankings
The Nebraska men’s track and field team received national recognition on Wednesday as they were ranked as the No. 5 men’s indoor collegiate dual-meet team by Track and Field News.

Arkansas led the pre-season rankings, ahead of Texas and Texas A&M. Texas Tech and Nebraska rounded out the top five. Following the Huskers was LSU, Eastern Michigan, Akron, Kent State and Purdue.

In the Midwest/Mountain/West Region, the men are ranked second and the women are first.

Make in 105
The Nebraska men’s track and field team capped its first Big Ten Outdoor Championships in style with 131.50 total points last season. Nebraska has a total of 105 conference titles as a program.

As an overall program, the Huskers won 51 Big Eight titles during the conference’s history from 1974-1996 and Nebraska continued to dominate the conference since moving to the Big 12 in 1997. NU had won a league-high 23 team titles, including the program’s historic 100th conference team title in 2007.

The Huskers added their 101st and 102nd titles during the 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons when they became the first men’s team in Big 12 history to win back-to-back team titles at the outdoor conference meet. Nebraska recorded its 103rd conference title in 2011, as the women’s team upset four-time defending champion Texas A&M at the indoor championships. In 2012, the Husker women claimed the second Big Ten title in school history, earning the indoor crown.

All-America Pipeline
Nebraska has been a staple at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the men’s team alone has produced 120 All-America awards. The men’s squad has been on quite a roll as they have had at least one athlete earn All-American honors at the past 23 national meets. Since the indoor championships began in 1965, the Huskers have failed to leave with at least one All-America award on just five occasions, including 1975, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1990.

The women’s team has been just as good indoors since the national meet started in 1980. Along with three straight national titles from 1982 to 1984, the Huskers have two or more All-
Americans at every meet except for 2002 and 2013 when they failed to earn a honor.

Home-Grown Talent
Fans of track and field in the state of Nebraska will see a lot of familiar faces this season as 68 of the Huskers’ 139 athletes are Nebraska natives. Overall, the team is represented by 18 states and nine countries.

Huskers Name 2014 Captains
The Nebraska track and field team named its 2014 captains earlier this year. Leading the team this season will be Miles Ukaoma, Anne Martin, Trevor Vidlak, Annie Jackson, Chad Wright, Patrick Raedler and Ellie Grooters.  

Among the group of captains the Huskers boast one NCAA Champion, five All-Americans indoors and outdoors (first-team and second-team) and numerous All-Conference competitors.

Red Edges White in Annual Intrasquad Meet
The Nebraska track and field team competed in the annual intrasquad meet on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. The Red team earned the narrow victory over the White team by a slight 137.5-136.5 margin. During competition, both teams took down four meet records.

Freshman Kadecia Baird made a splash in her impressive Husker debut posting a new meet record time of 23.85 in the 200-meter dash. Junior Chantal Duncan smashed an intrasquad mark with a 1:32.74 performance in the 600-meter competition as part of the victorious Red squad.

On the men’s side senior Dexter McKenzie started off his final year with the Scarlet and Cream by notching a meet record in the 200-meter dash. McKenzie stopped the clock in 21.16 to break a six-year old intrasquad meet record held by Scott Wims (21.21).

The final record of the day was taken down the last event of the meet; the men’s 4x400-meter relay. Jake Bender, Christian Sanderfer, London Hawk and Jackson Barbour put together a 3:14.83 showing in the relay for the Red team.

The NU women had numerous freshman shine in their first collegiate appearances. Anna Peer made an impressive showing in her first race in the Scarlet and Cream recording a top finish in the 3,200-meter run clocking in at 10:51.80. Fellow freshman Melissa-Maree Farrington earned first place in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.78 in the finals, while Tierra Williams won the long jump with a leap of 19-1.

For the Nebraska men, sophomore Oladapo Akinmoladun earned a victory for the White team with a 7.84 mark in the 60-meter hurdles, while senior Trevor Vidlak won the 3,200-meter run crossing the line in 8:54.33. Freshman Chris Daniels picked up the weight throw title in his first collegiate meet with a toss of 62-4.5 while junior Devandrew Johnson defeated his teammates in the triple jump by more than four feet.

The meet also offered the opportunity for young Husker fans to get out onto the same track that the Huskers run on, as they were able to run in both the Little Husker 100-meter and 60-meter dashes.


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