Husker Men Take Title; Harris, Mercurio Win Gold
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Nebraska men's track and field team captured the Big Ten Indoor Championships team title on Saturday at the U-M Indoor Track.
The Husker men entered the day with an 11-point lead and led the entire day until Indiana took a 90-89 lead with only the 4x400-meter relay remaining. However, the Huskers' relay team of Givon Washington, Tony Nou, Elijah Lucy and Isaiah Hutchinson ran a season-best 3:09.12 to finish fifth, while Indiana finished eighth in 3:11.71. The Huskers finished with 93 points, and Indiana had 91, giving NU its first team crown since 2016.
“It was really exciting for the fans and for the kids on this team,” Pepin said. “I don’t know how exciting it was for the coaches because we were really worried, but I felt like that’s a great way to go in at the end to try and win the meet with the mile relay. I knew we had a good mile relay. It was exciting and really a good team effort.”
The Husker men won their 67th all-time conference title and 38th indoors. It was the fifth Big Ten title for the Husker men since joining the conference in 2012. For legendary head coach Gary Pepin, it marked his 73rd career conference title and 43rd indoors.
The Big Red women finished fifth with 68 points. It was their best indoor conference finish since 2015, when they also finished fifth. Ohio State won the women’s title with 112 points.
Two Huskers won Big Ten individual titles on Saturday, both from the women's team.
Senior Angela Mercurio earned the triple jump crown for the first time in her career, posting a jump of 42-7 (12.98m) on her fourth attempt to win the event for her third-career Big Ten medal. Mercurio took first place in the triple jump in five of six meets this season. The two-time All-American will cap off her career at the NCAA Indoor Championships in two weeks.
Lakayla Harris won the gold medal in the 60 meters with a personal-best time of 7.26. Her time ranks third in school history and 14th in the NCAA. Harris was the runner-up last year but topped her personal best by .12 seconds to take the title as a senior. She became the first Husker women's track athlete to win a Big Ten championship in a running event since 2013. She followed that with the bronze medal in the 200 meters later in the afternoon after posting a personal-best time of 23.54, the third-fastest time in school history.
"I just worked hard, and I did it," Harris said. "(Coach Martin) said if you have a good practice, you have a good meet. And that's what showed."
Luke Siedhoff was the silver medalist in the 60-meter hurdles after a personal-best time of 7.83. Vincent Ohlman placed fifth with a personal-best time of 7.94. The duo combined for 12 team points for the Husker men.
Jasmine Barge also finished second in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 8.30 in the women's race to finish just .01 seconds behind Iowa's Jenny Kimbro. Chanel Freeman finished eighth in the race at 8.56.
Jared Seay claimed the silver medal in the heptathlon with 5,757 points, a personal best that ranks third in school history and sixth in the NCAA. He set a personal best in the pole vault, clearing 15-7 (4.75m) on his first attempt, which was the second-best clearance by any competitor. He also set a PR in the final event, the 1,000 meters (2:49.83). Zach Podraza also scored team points, finishing in seventh place. Podraza posted PRs in the 60-meter hurdles (8.56) and 1,000 meters (2:49.08) on Saturday.
Ieva Turke added six team points to Mercurio's 10 in the triple jump for a combined 16 between the two. Turke jumped 42-1 1/4 (12.83m) to earn the bronze medal.
The Nebraska men picked up eight points in the shot put. Burger Lambrechts recorded a shot put of 61-5 (18.72m) to finish fourth and secure five team points. Grady Leonard was seventh with a throw of 59-6 1/4 (18.14m), and Nick Coghill was eighth at 57-9 (17.60m).
George Kusche added another top-five finish to his weekend with a fourth-place finish in the mile in 4:04.20. He was third in the 3,000 meters on Friday night. Ty Moss finished fifth in the 600 meters with a time of 1:18.49.
Spencer Powell led the Husker men in the pole vault by finishing fifth with a clearance of 17-2 1/4 (5.24m), a new personal best. Kevin Cahoy posted a season-best 16-10 1/4 (5.14m) in the pole vault to finish seventh.
Isaiah Hutchinson added three team points in the 60 meters by finishing sixth with a time of 6.82. Jessi Smith finished eighth in the 600 meters in 1:32.99. Candice Dominguez was eighth in the high jump, clearing 5-6 (1.68m).
The Huskers will now await the official NCAA Indoor Championships selections next week. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held in Birmingham, Alabama on March 8-9.
Nebraska's 2019 Big Ten Indoor Champions
Mayson Conner, High Jump, 7-3 3/4 (2.23m)
Elijah Lucy, Long Jump, 25-2 (7.67m)
Lakayla Harris, 60m, 7.26
Angela Mercurio, Triple Jump, 42-7 (12.98m)