Columbus, Ohio- The Nebraska men’s track and field team earned its first Big Ten Conference title at the 2013 Outdoor Championships on Sunday. A dominating performance by Nebraska on the final day of competition guided NU to the victory with 131.50 points, holding a 38.50 point advantage over second-place finisher Minnesota which had 93 points.
The 2013 Big Ten outdoor team championship marks the men’s first conference team title since the 2010 outdoor season. The last overall conference crown in track for Nebraska came in 2012 when the women were named the indoor champions. The win also adds to the historic 32-year resume of Head Coach Gary Pepin, who now holds 69 conference titles dating back to his first Big Eight win at the 1981 indoor meet. Nebraska has won a total of 105 conference titles dating back to the men’s first team title at the 1921 Missouri Valley Outdoor Championships.
In the women’s race, the Huskers finished sixth with 75 total points. Penn State was named the conference champion on the women’s side as the Nittany Lions totaled 133 points on the weekend.
The men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Levi Gipson, Christian Sanderfer, Miles Ukaoma and Cody Rush ushered the Huskers to the conference win with a first-place finish and a time of 3:07.87 in the final event of the day.
The men’s team also received a boost from Chad Wright. After finishing as a runner-up in the discus on Saturday, Wright used a comeback effort to win the men’s shot put with a personal-best throw of 63-7 ½ (19.39) on his final attempt of the competition. The win marks the first conference title of his career and moves him to third in the nation. Wright is now ranked in the top five in the NCAA in both the shot put and the discus.
Mara Griva led the women with her second conference crown of the weekend as she won the triple jump. She tallied a leap of 43-5 ¼ (13.24) to take first in the event and earn the ninth conference title of her career. Ellie Ewere finished eighth with a season-best mark of 39-8 ½ (12.10).
On the men’s side of the triple jump, Janis Leitis posted a fourth-place finish with a leap of 50-2 (15.29). Patrick Raedler came in fifth with a jump of 49-11 ¼ (15.22), while Devandrew Johnson was seventh with a jump of 49-1 ¾ (14.98).
Annie Jackson tallied a seventh-place finish in the women’s discus as she notched a throw of 156-4 (47.65). In the men’s javelin, Landon Nelson came in seventh as he recorded a throw of 199-2 (60.70), setting a personal best.
Craig Driver came in eighth in the men’s pole vault. He posted a mark of 16-7 ¼ (5.06), while Beau Simmons came in tied for 10th with a vault of 16-1 ¼ (4.91).
The men’s 400-meter runners continued to add to their impressive season on Sunday as Gipson led the way with a second-place showing and a personal-best time of 46.44. Rush finished third with a personal-best time of 46.70, while Sanderfer was sixth with a time of 47.06.
Dexter McKenzie came in fourth in the men’s 100 meters with a season-best time of 10.49, while Tim Thompson was eighth with a personal-best time of 10.55. Mara Weekes tallied a seventh-place finish in the women’s 100 meters with a time of 11.76.
Ricco Hall continued to contribute for the Huskers on the day with a third-place finish and a time of 21.37 in the 200 meters. McKenzie finished fourth with a time of 21.39.
Shawnice Williams added a seventh-place finish in the women’s 800 meters as she recorded a time of 2:10.00. Oladapo Akinmoladun finished sixth in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 14.22
In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Tibor Koroknai tallied a third-place finish with a time of 52.02. Ellie Grooters led the women in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 59.71 for sixth. Mila Andric came in seventh with a season-best time of 59.87.
The men’s 4x100-meter relay of John Welk, McKenzie, Hall and Thompson finished second overall with a time of 40.23. The women’s team of Kari Heck, Mara Weekes, Lexie Oak and Breunna McCarty finished sixth with a time of 46.48.
The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Weekes, Grooters, Andric and Williams finished sixth in their final event of the day as they posted a time of 3:42.85.
The Huskers will turn their attention toward the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, May 23 – Saturday, May 25. The top-48 competitors in each event in the West Region will compete for a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore.
The Big Ten Network will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships at 12 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 19.
Men: 1st- 131.50 points
Women: 6th- 75 points
2013 Big Ten Champions
Mara Griva- Long Jump, Triple Jump
Chad Wright- Shot Put
Levi Gipson, Christian Sanderfer, Miles Ukaoma, Cody Rush- 4x400-Meter Relay