Boulder, Colo.With his last chance at a Big 12 title on the line, Dusty Jonas added one more chapter to his storybook senior season on Sunday during the final day of the 2008 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Jonas set a new school and conference mark in the high jump, topping the bar at 7-8 3/4 and setting the top standard in the world so far this season.

 

Jonas’ strong finish helped the Big Red finish fourth on the men’s side with 95 points, one point behind third-place Texas. The Colorado Buffaloes used their home field advantage to score 138 points and win their first-ever Big 12 title and first conference title since 1947 when they were part of the Mountain States Conference.

 

In a repeat performance from the 2008 indoor season, the Husker women finished second in the team standings to Texas A&M. The Huskers totaled 105 points over the three-day meet while the Aggies dominated the field with 157 points.

 

“I am impressed with how our women finished, given that we had no one in the sprints,” said Head Coach Gary Pepin following the meet. “We are very young across the board on both teams. If we can mix in some good recruiting over the next few years with our current team we can have a chance to compete for the conference title.”

 

Jonas entered the men’s high jump competition starting at 7-0 1/2 (2.15) and stayed clean through the first five heights as he jumped, 7-1 3/4 (2.18), 7-3 (2.21), 7-4 1/4 (2.24), 7-6 (2.29) and 7-7 3/4 (2.33). With the Big 12 title already in the bag after no other competitor was able to clear a bar higher than 7-3, Jonas then moved the bar up to 7-8 3/4 (2.36). After just clipping the bar with his foot on his first attempt, the Potts Field crowd got behind the small-town kid from La Vernia, Texas, which has a population of 931. With the rhythmic clap from the crowd, Jonas cleared the mark on his second attempt and gave a dramatic fist pump to the crowd. With the jump he set the school record, Big 12 Championship meet record, Big 12 Conference record and put his name at the top of the World list.

 

“I’ve been trying to win this meet, indoor or outdoor for four years,” said Jonas when asked about his Big 12 title. “Everything just seemed to come together today. It just didn’t feel like I was trying very hard, and that is how it should be.”

 

When asked about the crowd, Jonas simply responded, “I love it!”

 

“Dusty is getting better with every meet,” said Head Coach Gary Pepin following the high jump. “Ever since the NCAA Indoor Championships, Dusty has been dominating and I think his confidence is sky-high right now.”

 

Jonas was not the only Husker to jump well on Sunday as freshmen Paul Hamilton and Brandon Sheppard each placed in the top eight and recorded new personal bests. Hamilton finished third with a jump of 7-3 (2.21), improving his regional-qualifying mark and increasing his personal best by 2 1/2 inches. Sheppard placed seventh, adding his name to the regional list with a jump of 6-10 3/4 (2.10). 

 

With a second-place finish in the women’s 10,000 meters on Friday already under her belt, Lara Crofford continued her fantastic freshman season with a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters. Over the three-day meet, the Newville, Pa., native finished tied for tenth among women’s scorers at the meet with 14 total points. Simone Facey of Texas A&M posted the top individual total score on the with 20.50 points.   

 

Freshman Austin Braman and sophomore Ryan Petrocchi each placed in the top eight of the men’s javelin, scoring a total of 10 points. Braman finished second with a throw of 211-4 (64.41) and Petrocchi finishing seventh with a toss of 198-3 (60.42). With Kayla Wilkinson’s first-place finish in Friday in the women’s javelin, the Husker javelin squad scored a total of 20 points at the 2008 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. 

 

Lukas Hulett had full day as he first teamed with Dax Danns, Scott Wims and Dan Christensen to finish fifth in the men’s 4x100 relay with a time of 40.21, improving their regional standing. Hulett then went solo in the 400 meters as he finished sixth with a time of 46.09. He rounded out his day by running the anchor leg of the 4x400-meter relay team that finished third with a time of 3:06.43, improving their regional standing by almost three seconds. Other members of the 4x400 relay time included Andrew Pearson, Cylend Simmons and Dan Christensen. On the day Hulett scored 5.5 points for the Husker men.

 

In distance action, Peter van der Westhuizen earned a third-place medal with a time of 3:47.58 in the men’s 1,500 meters. On the women’s side, Natalja Zarcenko finished fifth at 4:38.11 and Jen Pancoast finished eighth at 4:45.37. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the Huskers had three athletes score with two on the men’s side and one on the women’s. David Adams finished fifth with a time of 9:24.41 and Brian Parr finished seventh with a time of 9:33.37 on the men’s side. Sophomore Rachel Carrizales finished eighth on the women’s side with a time of 11:17.51.

 

After finishing one-quarter of an inch short of winning the long jump on Saturday, freshman Nicholas Gordon returned on Sunday to finish sixth in the men’s triple jump. Gordon’s jump of 51-1 3/4 (15.59) is a new personal best and improves his regional qualifying mark. Over the past two days Gordon scored 11 points for the Husker men. On the women’s side, junior Zarinah Suluki-Drakes finished fifth with a mark of 42-9 (13.03). The mark breaks her previous personal-best of 42-8 3/4 (13.02), also improving her regional standing.

 

Freshman Karyn LaCour and sophomore Nikita Eades teamed in the women’s 100-meter hurdles to score nine points. LaCour came in fourth at 13.52 with Eades right behind her in fifth at 13.64. On the men’s side sophomore Tyrell Ross placed fourth at 13.94. The top-five finishers all broke the Potts Field record, with Shawon Harris setting the new time at 13.55. In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, freshman Adam Dailey earned his first Big 12 Championships medal with a fourth-place finish of 50.38. The time is a new personal best for Dailey and improves his regional-qualifying time.

 

In the men’s pole vault Seth Burney and Zac Holoch added four points to the men’s point total with fifth and eight finishes, respectively. After earning All-Big 12 honors in 2007 and 2008 during the indoor season, Burney earned his first Big 12 outdoor medal with a vault of 16-6 3/4 (5.05). Holoch earned his first Big 12 medal of his career with as he also jumped 16-6 3/4 on more attempts.

 

The women’s teams of Chi Kalu, Karyn LaCour, Nikita Eades and Rachel Butler finished eighth in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 46.11. It was the second event of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships that LaCour, Eades and Butler scored in with LaCour and Eades also scoring in the 100-meter hurdles and Butler scoring in the heptathlon.


The Huskers will now return to Lincoln and start preparations for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional. The regional will be held at Ed Weir Stadium in Lincoln on Friday, May 30 and Saturday, May 31. The regional is one of four across the nation, with the East Regional hosted by Florida State, the Mideast Regional hosted by Arkansas and the West Regional hosted by Cal State Northridge. The top-five finishers in each event at the Regionals will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, at Drake Stadium on June 11-14.

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