EUGENE, Ore. - Nebraska sophomore thrower Nick Percy won the national championship in the discus on day three of the NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships on Friday at Hayward Field, highlighting a day that included three first-team All-America performances by the Husker men.
The Nebraska men scored 17 team points to finish tied for 10th in the team race, their best finish since 2003. Florida won the team title with 62 points.
Percy took the early lead in the discus with his first throw in flight two, 201-0 (61.27m). It was a personal best for the sophomore from Ventnor, England and the fourth-best throw in school history. His mark held up for the rest of the competition to win him the national title, fending off three competitors who were within two inches of his mark. Percy, the Big Ten champion in the event, finished 15th last year as a freshman and was seeded eighth entering this week's championships.
"I was absolutely shocked," Percy said. "The conditions weren't very good today. The wind was swirling a lot. To throw nearly a three-foot PR on the day, at nationals in the first round, I couldn't really ask for more. It was good enough to win and I couldn't ask for any better way, in the first round, to just get it in the bag and relax."
Percy is the third Husker male to win the discus national title, joining Chad Wright (2012) and Howard Debus (1943). He captured the Huskers' 79th individual national title all-time and is the Big Red's first national champion since Miles Ukaoma in the 400-meter hurdles in 2014.
"I've had great practices here the last couple of days," Percy said. "I've had some big throws, so I had the expectation that I wanted to win. I knew if I could get a big throw, around 61 (meters), I had a chance. But I at least wanted to get a throw in the first round because last year I had two fouls. I wanted to be able to get a throw in the first round, then I wanted to make top nine, then I wanted to try and compete. Luckily, first round did all three."
The men's 4x400-meter relay (Levi Gipson, Tanner Townsend, Sam Bransby, Cody Rush) finished third with a time of 3:03.39 in the final, just .08 off their time in prelims, which was the third-fastest in NU history. They earned the Husker men's best relay finish at the outdoor championships since 1991.
Kaiwan Culmer opened the triple jump with a mark of 52-3 1/4 (15.93m), which qualified him for the final in the eighth position. The sophomore remained in eighth place after his final three attempts and achieved first-team All-America honors in his first trip to nationals.
Another Husker sophomore, Grant Anderson, tied for 13th in the high jump after clearing the opening bar, 6-10 1/4 (2.09m), on his first attempt. Although he was unable to clear 7-0 1/4 (2.14m), he earned second-team All-America honors in his first trip to nationals.
The meet wraps up on Saturday with the women's finals. Reka Czuth will compete in the high jump at 5 p.m. (CT), and Tierra Williams will compete in the triple jump at 5:30 p.m. (CT).
NCAA Outdoor Championships Finishes (Bold from Friday)
Nick Percy, Discus - 201-0 (61.27m) (1st)
4x400m Relay (Gipson, Townsend, Bransby, Rush) - 3:03.39 (3rd)
Kaiwan Culmer, Triple Jump - 52-3 1/4 (15.93m) (8th)
Brittni Wolczyk, Javelin - 166-7 (50.77m) (11th)
Cody Rush, 400m - 45.98p (11th)
Paula Andrie, Pole Vault - 13-3 1/2 (4.05m) (t11th)
Cody Walton, Decathlon - 7,567 (12th)
Grant Anderson, High Jump - 6-10 1/4 (2.09m) (t13th)
Sarah Firestone, Javelin - 161-7 (49.26m) (16th)
Sean Pille, 400m Hurdles - 51.61p (16th)
Tierra Williams, Long Jump - 20-2 1/4 (6.15m) (16th)
4x100m Relay (Pille, Hall, White, Lloyd) - 40.49p (18th)
Antoine Lloyd, 110m Hurdles - 13.90p (20th)
Karolina Pahlitzsch, 400m Hurdles - 59.05p (20th)
Jazmin McCoy, Long Jump - 19-4 3/4 (5.91m) (22nd)
Reka Czuth, High Jump (Saturday)
Tierra Williams, Triple Jump (Saturday)