Kaiwan Culmer won the Big Ten indoor triple jump title last year and enters this year's meet with the No. 2 mark in the conference.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Head to Ohio for B1G Indoor Championships

By NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska track and field team travels to the Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio. The meet begins on Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. (CT).

Big Ten Network will provide live streams of both days of competition to those who subscribe to BTN Plus through BTN2GO.com. A BTN Plus subscription is available online for $9.95 for one month of access.

On Friday, streaming coverage will start at 4:30 p.m. CT. On Saturday, coverage will start at 11 a.m. CT. Stream times are subject to change. Additionally, the championships will air tape delayed on BTN on Monday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. CT.

It will be the fifth straight year the meet will take place at the oversized track at the SPIRE Institute. Last year, the Husker men won their second straight Big Ten indoor title, while the women finished sixth.

The NU men have 37 all-time indoor team titles, while the women have 24. While the men won it all in 2015 and 2016, the women’s last indoor title was in 2012. The Husker men have won at least two individual conference indoor titles eight years in a row. Landon Bartel (high jump), Kaiwan Culmer (triple jump) and Tierra Williams (long and triple jump) are defending indoor champions.

Two Huskers enter the meet ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in their events, and both are pole vaulters: Steven Cahoy for the men and Andy Jacobs for the women.

Husker Men Chasing Three-Peat
The Nebraska men are seeking their third straight Big Ten Indoor Championship in 2017, which would be their first conference three-peat since 2003 to 2005 - the end of a string of six straight Big 12 indoor titles. The last Big Ten men’s team to win three straight titles was Minnesota from 2009 to 2011. The Husker men swept the Big Ten indoor and outdoor titles in 2016 for their first conference sweep since 2004.

The Huskers scored 116 points at last year’s conference meet. Junior Antoine Lloyd scored 14 points last year with a runner-up finish in the 60 meters (6.74) and a third-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (7.78). Malcolm White also scored in two events, finishing second in the 200 meters (20.94) and seventh in the 60 meters (6.79). Landon Bartel (high jump) and Kaiwan Culmer (triple jump) were Big Ten indoor champions last year and will look to repeat in their junior seasons. Steven Cahoy, a three-time runner-up in the pole vault, is seeking his first Big Ten title in the pole vault after three career runner-up showings.

Big Ten Championships Preview
Sprints/Hurdles
Men – Antoine Lloyd and Malcolm White finished second and sixth, respectively, in the 60 meters last year, but both have been banged up for the majority of the 2017 indoor season. Lloyd has only competed in the 60 meters once, and both he and White rank outside the top 20 in the Big Ten entering the meet. Davon Clark has the fastest 60-meters time for the Huskers this year, 6.86. White was the runner-up in the 200 meters last year, but he has competed in that event just twice this year. In the 400 meters, Sam Bransby (47.22) and Jake Bender (47.34) rank sixth and seventh in the Big Ten. Andy Neal (47.46) is 11th. Neal and Lloyd could lead the Huskers in the 60-meter hurdles, as they rank sixth and eighth entering the meet. Lloyd finished third in the event last year. The Huskers’ chances of a three-peat will hinge on the health and performance of Lloyd and White, who combined for 24 team points at last year’s Big Ten Indoor Championships.

Women – Sophomore Lakayla Harris has had a breakout year for the Huskers and enters the conference meet as a threat to score in the 60 meters and 200 meters. Harris has set PRs in both events this year and now ranks ninth in school history in the 60 meters (7.48) and the 200 meters (23.86), an event in which she is ranked sixth in the Big Ten. Freshman Kierra Griggs ranks 10th in the conference in the 400 meters with a PR of 55.00. In the 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Jasmine Barge clocked an 8.33 this season and enters the meet with the sixth-fastest time in the conference.

Middle Distance/Distance
Men – The Huskers had three team members place in the 600 meters last year and two of them are back. Moujtaba Mohammed, coming off of his sixth-place finish last year, has the ninth-fastest time entering the meet (1:18.28). Sam Bransby, who finished eighth in 2016, holds the No. 2 time in NU history: 1:17.38. Mohammed was a standout for the Huskers in the 800 meters this season, posting a best time of 1:49.82, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten. One of the biggest surprises for the Husker men in 2017 has been the emergence of sophomore distance runner Wyatt McGuire. He moved into the all-time Husker top-10 charts in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters and ranks sixth in the 5,000 meters with his time of 14:11.76. The Husker men have not had an individual score team points in either Big Ten Indoor Championships race since joining the Big Ten in 2012.

Women – Ashleigh Carr (1:32.63), Chelsey Jones (1:32.78) and Michaela Peskova (1:33.08) rank 13th, 14th and 15th, respectively, in the 600 meters. Carr and Jones rank eighth and ninth in school history in the event.

High Jump
Men – Defending champion Landon Bartel has a best clearance of 6-11 (2.11m) this season, which ranks sixth entering the meet. Bartel owns a personal-best clearance of 7-2 1/4 (2.19m), which he set at the conference meet two years ago to finish second. He has not competed since Jan. 28 in the long jump at the Adidas Classic. Grant Anderson, with a season best of 6-10 3/4 (2.10m), is a strong candidate to score team points once again after finishing fifth last year. Mike McCann has scoring potential with a season-best mark of 6-9 1/2 (2.07m), which puts him at No. 13 in the Big Ten.

Women – Three Huskers rank in the top 12 of the high jump, led by 2016 Big Ten outdoor champion Reka Czuth. She cleared a bar of 6-0 (1.83m) last weekend, which is third-best in the Big Ten. Petra Luteran (5-8 3/4, 1.75m) and Tierney Lindner (5-8 1/2, 1.74m) are 11th and 12th.

Long Jump/Triple Jump
Men – The triple jump has potential to be the Huskers’ strongest event in 2017. Defending champion Kaiwan Culmer has a personal-best mark of 52-8 3/4 (16.07m) this year, second-best in the Big Ten and No. 9 nationally. Freshman Isaiah Griffith jumped 51-8 1/2 (15.76m) in the opening meet of the season, but missed the next four weeks with an injury. Griffith returned to action last weekend and enters the meet with the third-best triple jump mark in the Big Ten and the 11th-best long jump mark (23-11 1/2, 7.30m) in one time competing in each event. Reilly Lambrecht and Jace Anderson are eighth and ninth, respectively, in the Big Ten in the triple jump, while Austin Starr ranks 11th, giving the Huskers five triple jumpers in the top 11 in the conference. In the long jump, Elijah Lucy is ranked sixth with a best jump of 24-2 1/2 (7.38m).

Women – Tierra Williams will look to defend her Big Ten long jump and triple jump titles. Williams swept the events at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships and was a first-team All-American in the triple jump last year. Williams has season bests of 20-6 1/2 (6.26m) in the long jump and 42-2 3/4 (12.87m) in the triple jump. She ranks third and fourth, respectively, in the Big Ten in the events. Angela Mercurio enters the meet eighth in the triple jump at 40-7 1/2 (12.38m), while Jazmin McCoy is seeded ninth in the long jump at 19-4 3/4 (5.91m). Reka Czuth is also a strong candidate to compete in the long jump after posting a mark of 19-8 (5.99m) in her one and only competition in the event last weekend. That’s the No. 7 mark in the Big Ten this year.

Pole Vault
Men – Steven Cahoy, a three-time Big Ten runner-up in the pole vault, enters the meet with the top clearance in the Big Ten and the 20th-best in the nation this year: 17-8 1/2 (5.40m). He will look for his first Big Ten title, while Tyler Loontjer owns the fourth-best jump in the Big Ten this season after his PR 17-3 3/4 (5.28m) last weekend. Kevin Cahoy, the freshman brother of Steven, has cleared 16-5 1/4 (5.01m) and is ranked 11th in the Big Ten.

Women – Freshman Andy Jacobs is the Big Ten leader in the pole vault with a personal-best clearance of 13-8 1/2 (4.18m). Her mark ranks seventh in school history. She has improved her mark in all six meets she has competed in this season, and she has won three pole vault titles.

Throws
Men – Nick Percy, the national champion in the discus at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year, is seeded 10th in the weight throw with a mark of 65-3 1/2 (19.90m) this season. Nick Coghill’s personal-best shot put of 57-4 1/4 (17.48m) moved him up to No. 14 in the event this season.

Women – Toni Tupper enters the conference meet with the fourth-best shot put in the Big Ten this season, 53-0 1/4 (16.16m). That mark ranks seventh in school history.

Relays
Men – The Huskers’ 4x400-meter relay team ran a season-best 3:07.84 at the Adidas Classic, which ranks third in the Big Ten this season. That time was run by Andy Neal, Moujtaba Mohammed, Sam Bransby and Jake Bender. The distance medley relay squad ran 10:10.31 at the Holiday Inn Invitational in January and enters with the ninth-fastest time in the conference.

Women – The Huskers are positioned well in the 4x400-meter relay with the fifth-fastest time in the Big Ten this season, 3:39.97, run by Kierra Griggs, Chelsey Jones, Jasmine Barge and Lakayla Harris. The distance medley relay team ranks ninth in the Big Ten at 12:14.16.

Combined Events
Men – Cody Walton is one of the Big Ten’s top combined event athletes, finishing third in the decathlon at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships last year and fifth in the heptathlon at the indoor meet. Walton’s score of 5,530 in his only heptathlon this season ranks sixth in the Big Ten and was a personal best. Noah Gabel set a personal best of 5,371 at the conference meet two years ago.

Percy Receives Votes for The Bowerman Award Preseason Watch List
Nebraska junior thrower Nick Percy received votes for The Bowerman Award Preseason Watch List released by the USTFCCCA in early January. The award is presented annually each summer to the top track and field student-athlete in the nation. Percy won the NCAA discus title last June and was also the Big Ten champion in the event.

Pepin Still Going Strong at the Helm for the Huskers
In his 37th season as head coach at Nebraska, Gary Pepin continues to lead the Huskers to individual and team success. Pepin was named both the Big Ten Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2016. It marked Pepin’s 27th conference coach-of-the-year honor since 1997, when the Huskers started competing in the Big 12. The 2016 Big Ten men’s outdoor title was Pepin’s 72nd career conference title and 30th outdoors. The all-time winningest track and field coach in Big 12 and Big Eight history, Pepin is the longest tenured active coach in Cornhusker athletics and among Big Ten track and field programs. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference in 2011-12, Pepin’s teams have won five Big Ten championships. Individually, Huskers have captured 44 Big Ten event titles, including nine in 2016. Pepin has been honored as the USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year 10 times in his career, including the men’s outdoor honor in 2016.

Huskers Hold Record Dual Meet Win Streak
The Husker men have won 17 consecutive dual/tri/quad meets dating back to 2001, the longest streak in the NCAA per DailyRelay.com. In that span, the Huskers have defeated 44 opponents.

Huskers Name Five Team Captains
The Nebraska track and field program has five captains for the 2017 season: seniors Jake Bender, Sarah Firestone and Tierra Williams, and juniors Kaiwan Culmer and Nick Percy.

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