Huskers Head to NCAA Indoor Championships
A total of nine Nebraska track and field student-athletes are headed to the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas at Gilliam Indoor Stadium this week.
The Huskers have six total entries in the meet, which is their most since 2015. Nebraska’s qualifiers are Antoine Lloyd (60-meter hurdles), Landon Bartel (high jump), Grant Anderson (high jump), Kaiwan Culmer (triple jump), Angela Mercurio (triple jump) and the men’s 4x400-meter relay of Sam Bransby, Elijah Lucy, Moujtaba Mohammed and Andy Neal. Bartel, Culmer and Neal are making their second career appearances at the NCAA Indoor Championships, while the rest of the Huskers will be competing there for the first time. Bartel was a second-team indoor All-American in 2016, while Culmer was a first-team All-American in the triple jump last year. Neal was a second-team All-American with the 4x400 relay in 2016.
Nebraska high jumper Petra Luteran would have qualified with her clearance of 6-0 3/4 (1.85m) this season, but she will miss the meet after suffering an injury at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
The NCAA Indoor Championships begin on Friday, March 9 at Gilliam Indoor Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M. The first Husker to compete will be Lloyd in the 60-meter hurdles prelims on Friday at 6:55 p.m. The rest of the Huskers will compete on Saturday, March 10. Mercurio, Bartel and Anderson will all begin at 3:30 p.m., while Culmer will jump at 5 p.m. The 60-meter hurdles final is set for 5:10 p.m., while the 4x400-meter relay finals will start at 6:40 p.m.
About the Huskers
• Antoine Lloyd is the Huskers’ top entrant with a 60-meter hurdles time of 7.68 that ranks fifth in the nation. Lloyd won his first career Big Ten title this season with his personal best that ranks third in Nebraska indoor history. He will be making his first career NCAA Indoor Championships appearance.
• Landon Bartel, the Big Ten champion in the high jump for the second time in his career, has a personal best this year of 7-3 3/4 (2.23m), which ranks ninth in the country. Bartel will make his second career appearance at the indoor national meet. He finished 14th in 2016. He was also a second-team All-America outdoors last year.
• Fellow high jumper Grant Anderson will compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time with a PR of 7-3 (2.21m) this season, the 13th-best mark in the nation. Anderson finished third at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
• Kaiwan Culmer is seeded 13th in the triple jump after his Big Ten title-winning jump of 52-9 1/4 (16.08m). His indoor PR ranks seventh in school history. Culmer was a first-team All-American indoors last year, finishing sixth, and outdoors in 2016, finishing eighth. The Nassau, Bahamas native is a two-time Big Ten champion.
• Angela Mercurio, a junior from Kitchener, Ontario, will make her first NCAA Indoor Championships appearance after an indoor personal best of 43-0 1/4 (13.11m) this season, a mark that ranks eighth in school history. Mercurio was the Big Ten runner-up two weeks ago and finished 12th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season.
• The men’s 4x400-meter relay of Sam Bransby, Elijah Lucy, Moujtaba Mohammed and Andy Neal qualified for nationals after running the second-fastest indoor time in school history, 3:05.53, at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Nebraska finished fifth in that race and grabbed the 12th and final qualifying spot at nationals. The men’s 4x400-meter relay has been at the NCAA Indoor Championships four times in the last five years.
Three Huskers Win B1G Titles; Men Finish Second
Nebraska track and field seniors Landon Bartel, Kaiwan Culmer and Antoine Lloyd all won individual Big Ten indoor titles, and the Nebraska men’s track and field team came within half a second of capturing the team title at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute.
Heading into the final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay, Ohio State had 91.5 points and Nebraska had 89.5 points. Needing to outscore the Buckeyes by two points to at least share the team title, the Huskers’ relay of Sam Bransby, Moujtaba Mohammed, Elijah Lucy and Andy Neal ran the second-fastest time in NU indoor history, 3:05.53. But Ohio State finished in 3:05.09 to hold off the Huskers. Nebraska finished second with 93.5 points, while Ohio State won with 101.5 points. The Husker women finished ninth overall with 47.5 points.
Lloyd produced the best race of his career with a personal record of 7.68 to win the 60-meter hurdles title for the first time in his career. Lloyd, whose best finish in the event at the Big Ten meet was third in 2016, ran the third-fastest time in NU history and the No. 4 time in the NCAA this season, which will earn him a spot at the NCAA Indoor Championships for the first time.
Culmer returned to the top of the podium in the triple jump with an indoor personal-best winning mark of 52-9 1/4 (16.08m). The Nassau, Bahamas native was the 2016 indoor champion in the event before finishing fourth last year. Culmer collected his third career Big Ten triple jump medal with his mark, which came on his first attempt and moved him to No. 9 in the nation. The top 16 in the nation will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Bartel continued his outstanding indoor season with his second career Big Ten high jump title by clearing 7-2 1/4 (2.19m). Like Culmer, Bartel was the 2016 indoor champion but didn’t reach the medal stand at last year’s indoor meet. Bartel, whose personal best of 7-3 3/4 (2.23m) this season will qualify him for the NCAA Indoor Championships, was the only jumper to clear 7-2 1/4 (2.19m) on Saturday and did so on his second attempt.
For the Husker women, Angela Mercurio was the runner-up in the triple jump with a mark of 42-2 3/4 (12.87m). Petra Luteran finished second in the high jump with a clearance of 5-11 1/4 (1.81m) on her third attempt. Lakayla Harris was the runner-up in the 60 meters as she matched her personal best of 7.38 that she set in prelims on Friday. Harris also picked up two team points in the 200 meters by finishing seventh in 23.71, a new personal best that ranks eighth in NU indoor history. Jasmine Barge was fifth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.43.
Nebraska’s Big Ten Indoor Champions
Landon Bartel, High Jump
Kaiwan Culmer, Triple Jump
Antoine Lloyd, 60-Meter Hurdles
Luteran Named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week
Nebraska track and field sophomore Petra Luteran was named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week on Jan. 31. Luteran earned her first career honor after setting a new personal best in the high jump at the Air Force Invitational with a clearance of 6-0 3/4 (1.85m). Luteran’s mark is the best in the Big Ten this season and is tied for the second-best jump in NCAA Division I.
Husker Men Claim Dual Meet Championship in 2017; Women Finish Third
The Nebraska men’s track and field team won the 2017 Dual Meet National Championship as determined by Track & Field News Magazine. It marked the first time the Husker men were crowned dual-meet champions since the final rankings switched to absolute - including both the indoor and outdoor seasons - in 2013. The Husker men finished off a perfect 15-0 indoor and outdoor dual-meet record after winning the team title at the Red Raider Shootout in Lubbock, Texas. With a decisive win over the then-No. 3 Red Raiders, the Huskers extended their streak to 20 straight dual-meet wins dating back to 2001. In that span, the Huskers have beaten 53 opponents.
Despite the win streak, the Huskers were never able to finish higher than second (in 2016) in the final rankings, which were discontinued from 2006 through 2012. In 2017, Nebraska maintained the top spot in the rankings throughout the outdoor season and earned the first-ever dual-meet title for a Big Ten men’s program since the rankings began in 1968. The women (14-1) finished No. 3 in the rankings behind LSU and Oklahoma. It was their best final ranking since finishing second in 2004.
To be ranked in the dual-meet rankings, a team must compete in one or more dual meets (defined as a scored meet between four or fewer teams). Teams are ranked on wins and losses, marks, and strength and depth of dual-meet schedule. Teams are rewarded for taking dual meets seriously.
Pepin Still Going Strong at the Helm for the Huskers
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 will enter his 38th season as the head coach of the Nebraska men’s and women’s track and field teams in 2018, making him the longest tenured active coach in Cornhusker athletics and among Big Ten track and field programs.
Pepin is a USTFCCCA Hall of Fame member and has led the Husker programs to a combined three national team titles, 72 conference team titles, 59 individual national champions and 561 individual conference champions. Additionally, 515 first-team All-America honors have been achieved under Pepin, and 58 CoSIDA Academic All-America honors have been earned under Pepin’s guidance, which dates back to 1981 for the women’s program and 1984 for the men’s team.
Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference in 2011-12, Pepin’s teams have won five Big Ten championships, including a men’s sweep of the indoor and outdoor titles in 2016. The Husker men claimed the Track & Field News Dual-Meet National Championship in 2017, as they finished an unbeaten season in dual, tri and quad meets. Individually, Huskers have captured 48 Big Ten event titles, including four in 2017.